Snuggies and Career Planning: Winter Break “R&R”

I can remember sipping the last drop of an energy drink while watching a long night transition to another day. It’s that time of the year again: Finals. I know the pressure you all feel as finals are underway. Luckily, winter break is right around the corner.

Winter break is a time when you can take a mental vacation from coursework and get some good “R&R”: rest and relaxation. Sorry to say, but career planning never takes a break. Getting rest and relaxation is absolutely necessary, but I want to propose an additional type of “R&R” that will help you take another step towards your career aspirations: reflect and reconnect.

Coffee time

Reflect

  • Social media and journals: take the time to look back at your past interactions. How have you grown? What have you learned? Identifying your strengths and experiences make you a more effective interviewer and improves your ability to make career decisions. In addition, employers are very likely to search your name on the internet, so take good care of your online presence. Search your name on Google to explore results and remove any off-putting results. If you do not have a social media presence, take the time to create a LinkedIn page.
  • Master resume: create or update your master resume. A master resume is a placeholder for all of your experiences. When you get ready to submit a targeted resume, you can easily copy and paste experiences from your master resume. Also, this is a great way to maintain an up-to-date resume and to assess additional experiences you would like to pursue.

Reconnect with Family and Friends

  • The Questions: Family and friends will want to know your major, your career aspirations, and every other detail that will take place for the next twenty years of your life. While these questions can be burdensome, welcome them. Your career is a serious matter and whether you are a freshman or senior, discussing your future can lead you to new ideas, create renewed excitement, and challenge you to do more research about your career aspirations. Also, discussing thoughts about your career can help you become more effective in articulating your interests and career aspirations which will be help with interviewing, career fairs, graduate personal statements, and other situations.
  • Networking: Family and friends are a prime source for networking. Connect with family or friends who may be in a career field of interest. Be intentional and these conversations can lead to a variety of opportunities such as a mentor relationship, job shadowing, informational interviews, and future volunteer, internship, or job opportunities.

Make an appointment with a career counselor at Career and Leadership Development to get more tips on effective networking, identifying career interests and majors, and internship or job search strategies during winter break.

Don’t forget to curl up in your snuggie and enjoy your break!

Past entries about ways to utilize winter break:

What To Do During Winter Break?
Winter Break To-Dos: Part 2

Photo by Roger Price.

Welcome Back Students!

The staff in Career & Leadership Development are here to help you with your career-related needs. We can meet with you in person, have a conversation over the phone, or electronically. Feel free to schedule with us by calling our main office at (262) 472-1471, or by stopping by our office located in room 146 of the University Center.

Let me introduce the career staff available to help you. The following staff work with students in each of these areas:

Brian Bredeson – All majors in the College of Education; All Science and Mathematics majors

Jason Brown – All Humanities and Social Science majors; Career assessment, counseling/planning

Kathy Craney – Veteran’s, Returning Adults, Federal Government jobs, and work visas; Career counseling/planning

Laura Jacobs – All majors in the College of Arts & Communications; Internships

Frank Lanko – All majors in the College of Business & Economics

Margaret O’Leary – Available to answer questions about your Hawk Jobs account

Eunice Lehner – Available to answer questions about our On-Campus Interview program

Here is an overview of how we can help you…

Career Exploration – Meet with a career counselor to talk about career paths that best align with your interests, values, and abilities.

Career Information – Staff can assist with your research into various careers and industries, and talk about employment trends.

Job Search Strategy – Discuss how to best organize and conduct your job or internship search. Learn to implement an effective process for finding a job, and about the resources we have online to help you with your search.

Help with Internship and Job Search – Whether you’d like your resume reviewed or help preparing for your interview, we can help you with all aspects of your search.

Developing Your Professional Network – Discuss how tactics such as informational interviewing can help you develop your professional network and help guide your job search.

Social Media – Do you want to know more about how to use LinkedIn for your job search? Other forms of social media? Staff are willing to review your profile and discuss how to effectively use these tools.

Advice About Accepting Offers – We’re here to offer advice on the “do’s” and “don’ts” when responding to employment offers.

Transition Into Work Issues – Staff are available to help talk through strategies for successfully starting your job or internship.

The Career & Leadership Development office is open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Summer Services

UW-Whitewater students and alumni are encouraged to contact Career & Leadership Development for help with their career-related needs. Here is a summary of the career services we offer:

Self-Exploration Services – Meet with a career counselor to assess your interests, values, and abilities, and gain a better understanding of your career path.

Career Information – Staff can assist with your research into various careers and employment trends.

Job Search Strategy – Talk with a staff member about how to organize and conduct your job or internship search. Learn about how to follow an effective process for finding a job, and discover the resources we have online to help you with your search.

Help with Internship and Job Search – Whether you would like your resume reviewed or help preparing for interviews, we can help you be prepared for your search.

Developing Your Professional Network –  Discuss how tactics such as informational interviewing can help you develop your professional network and help guide your job search.

Social Media – Want to know more about how to use LinkedIn for your job search?  Other forms of social media? Staff are willing to review your profile and discuss how to effectively use these tools.

Advice About Accepting Offers – We’re here to offer advice on the “do’s” and “don’ts” when responding to employment offers.

Transition Into Work Issues – Staff are available to help talk through strategies for successfully starting your job or internship.

Major Specific Help – These staff work with students enrolled in the following academic programs, or students interested in these employment areas:

Brian Bredeson – All College of Education majors; and all Science and Mathematics majors

Ron Buchholz – All College of Business & Economics majors, including MBA and MPA

Kathy Craney – Anyone interested in Federal Jobs; Veteran’s; and Returning Adults

Laura Jacobs – All Arts & Communications majors; all Languages, Social Sciences, and Humanities majors

We’re available to meet with you in-person, on the phone, by 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.

How I Learned to Be More

In March, I wrote about attending a national conference and questions to ask yourself when attending a conference. Well, since then, I attended the annual national conference for the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) in Baltimore, MD, and had an awesome learning experience. If you are a student in a professional organization, try to take advantage of the lower costs to attend a conference (whether it’s state, regional, or national).

The conference theme for this year was: “Be More.” Simple, right? Each session, talk, and interaction helped me to realize that I need and WANT to be more of a professional and to excel in the field of student affairs.

Here’s how I learned to BE MORE:

  • When attending sessions, challenge yourself to pick topics that you don’t have experience with. The knowledge will broaden your horizons and ultimately help you understand your students even better.
  • Become involved and be intentional with that involvement. Check out committees or other small groups within the larger organization. They may even have a student specific group! ACPA has the Standing Committee for Grad Students & New Professionals & I’m a part of that group (along with the Standing Committee for Women).
  • Twitter can have an amazing power. I met so many people in person that I’ve been connected to online for a while now. It’s amazing to meet someone in person for the first time and to have them give you a hug as if they’ve known you forever. (true story) Plus, it was great to be the presence of great, talented, movitated, and innovative people.
  • When suggesting to meet by “the escalators,” make sure to specify which set of escalators as there can be up to three sets of them on one floor. Oops.
  • Take notes. You never know who you’ll be sharing the information with (co-workers, classmates, future co-workers, etc.).
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand what’s going on in the session.
  • If you are worried about meeting people, volunteer at the convention and you’ll automatically make connections. I applied to be a part of the ACPA Ambassadors group which directly connected graduate students with higher level professionals involved in the inner workings of the organization.

When I reflected on the conference once it was all over I discovered that I will be more: Involved, Aware, Thoughtful, Reflective, and Present in Life Outside of Work/School.

Have you challenged yourself to BE MORE recently?

It’s Conference Time!

It is conference season in the world of Student Affairs and Higher Education. Luckily, I have the opportunity to attend the ACPA (American College Personnel Association) National Conference in Baltimore, MD, in just a few short weeks. I’ve been a grad student member of the organization for about three years and this is my first opportunity to attend the national conference. However, I have attended conferences on the state level for the past two years. I thought I would share with you my experiences before, during, and after the conference. Before and after will be covered here on the blog and you’ll be able to catch the “during” over on our Twitter account (http://twitter.com/UWWCareer) when I use my assigned day of tweeting to cover what I’m learning at the conference.

So how does my going to a conference affect you as a student? It’s to prove that becoming involved in a professional association related to your field is important while you are still a student. Plus, the fees are generally quite a bit cheaper as a student!

The student affairs field has several professional organizations to choose from. A few associations are for general student affairs and others are function-specific. Some associations include:

While these associations don’t represent every single association in the student affairs field, it’s a good start. Do research into your own industry. Which associations look interesting to you? Which have opportunities specifically for undergraduates or graduates to become involved? Which associations stretch your thinking about your future industry? Once you’ve found a professional association you want to join – do it! Then find out how to get involved.

Here are some questions to think of prior to attending a conference (no matter what level of the association – i.e. state, regional, or national).

How will I benefit from this conference?

Professional Development, knowledge, exposure to new ideas, networking with professionals already in the field, etc.

Can I further my participation at the conference besides attending sessions?

Participate in Case Study Presentations (put your classes into action!), present research, or volunteer your time to help (I was lucky enough to be selected as an ACPA Ambassador and will be participating in a variety of activities and volunteering my time while in Baltimore)

What is the social media backchannel?

If you’re connected to social media (such as Twitter) you can follow the backchannel (attendees tweeting live!) of the conference whether you’re there or not. The ACPA conference will be rocking the #ACPA11 hashtag on Twitter for all to follow the many experiences, thoughts, and revelations that attendees are having.

What are the different networking opportunities?

Speed networking, receptions, dinners/lunches, socials (organized or informal – such as tweet-ups)

What is the expected etiquette?

Dress, behavior, attendance to programs or evening events

Are you going with anyone, such as a classmate or colleague?

If you are attending with one or more other people, I suggest creating a plan of attack and planning out who is attending which sessions. You’ll be able to acquire more information/knowledge from the conference if different people are attending different sessions.

Share the information you learn with others. Talk about sessions afterwards to give yourself a chance to process what you have learned. Talking through the information together may improve your understanding of the content.

Is there an opportunity to interview for job positions while at the conference?

Higher Education can be somewhat unique in that we have “placement exchanges” in conjunction with conferences so people who are job searching can interview with multiple schools all in one place (TPE & C3). Generally, the next step after this is to have an on-campus interview if you’re in the running for a position. Check to see if your industry/field does events like this.

How can I continue the conversation once the conference is over?

Connect with people you’ve met at the conference through email/Twitter/LinkedIn once you get home from the conference.

Get involved in the organization: committees, write for newsletters, join if you haven’t already, if you attended a national conference – check to see if there is a state or regional chapter you can join.

That’s all I have for pre-conference information. Let us know if you have questions by connecting with us through the comments section, Twitter, or on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!

Follow my national conference experience through the @UWWCareer account on Twitter on March 29th.

Office Services

Here’s just a quick reminder of the services we offer for career development.

We are open 8-5p, Monday through Thursday, and 8-4:30p on Fridays.

There is a wealth of information available on our website including:

You can schedule appointments to meet with a career counselor by calling us at 262.472.1471 or stopping by our office in the University Center (Rm 146) across from Freshens.

Check out Hawk Jobs to apply to internship and job postings, find a job on campus, and explore resources such as: Internships.com, Going Global, EmployOn, and Vault. You can also find lists of employers when career fairs are approaching. It’s FREE and all you need is your UWW username and password to login!

Visit us at our Resume Dr. table. We’ll be available for quick questions and resume reviews a couple different times throughout the semester in different buildings on campus. Stay tuned for date and location announcements. (Our first Resume Dr. is Feb 2-4! Click here for dates, times, and locations.)

You can “like” us on Facebook to find out about events, advice, and links to articles about what is happening out in the “real world” economy.

You can follow us on Twitter through @UWWCareer and @uwwinternships to learn about the changing landscape of the world of work, office events, and jobs and internships from local employers. You can also ask us questions through Twitter!

Non-Traditional Students

National “Non-Traditional Student Week” is the first week in November. We thought this would be a good time to talk about areas that would focus on a few items that are of interest to our non-traditional students.

First, what is a non-traditional student? According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there is no real definition. In general, a student who meets the following criteria is generally considered non-traditional:

  • Delays enrollment (does not enter post-secondary education in the same calendar year that he or she finished high school);
  • Attends part time for at least part of the academic year;
  • Works full time (35 hours or more per week) while enrolled;
  • Is considered financially independent for purposes of determining eligibility for financial aid;
  • Has dependents other than a spouse (usually children, but sometimes others);
  • Is a single parent (either not married or married but separated and has dependents); or
  • Does not have a high school diploma (completed high school with a GED or other high school completion certificate or did not finish high school).

While this may not be a formal definition, you can see why non-traditional students have some needs that are unique to them. Because of those unique needs, I thought it would be useful to list a few resources that might be useful to you as a non-traditional student. Since most non-traditional students are very busy, time management is a major concern. Get your Time Management skills in order.

One of the areas I always struggled with was test taking. Here are some resources to help you become a better test taker:

In some cases, you might just need some good Study Guides and Strategies.

Another skill you have to acquire is writing. This is useful not only for class work, but when you are looking for a job; it’s a skill employers are looking for!

Finally, a few more important to-dos:

Congratulations on your decision to return to school and the best of luck to you!

Resource: Vault Career Insider

Career & Leadership Development has subscribed to  a very good career resource called Vault Career Insider. This product contains information useful to most job seekers, as well as valuable information to those exploring various career paths. Vault may be found from your Hawk Jobs main page – select Career Resources on the top bar, then select Vault. First time users will need to create their account, which is very simple to do. You’ll receive an immediate reply from Vault, then you’re ready to access the information!

For those of you exploring career paths, check out the Career Guides. The are 12 Career Topic Guides, providing useful information about what it’s like to work in various fields. The guides also provide a wealth of information about various industries, employers, international career opportunities, and tactical information about resumes and interviewing.

Vault also provides resources helpful to learn about your job search – from information and samples of resumes, to career videos and blogs, and discussion groups. As you’re working to develop your job search plan, Vault will provide you with wonderful resources that will help you land that job you most desire.

And for those of you seeking information about various employing organizations, Vault provides more than 10,000 company profiles. These profiles allow the thoughtful job seeker to learn more about which organizations are the best fit for them. The company profile resource also provides 2011 edition of the “Best Companies to Work for…” list.

So when we suggest that you research the employer before your interview, start with Vault!