How to Jump-Start Your Internship Search

Job search

The time has come to begin thinking about your summer internship. Yes, I know it’s only December, but some summer internship applications are already closed!

When I started my internship search last year, I had no idea where to begin; I had no industry experience, no connections, and no idea what to do. But I did have ambition, drive, and a good internet connection. Here are 3 ways to jump-start your internship search.

1. Reflect

The first step is to take some time and really reflect on your professional goals. Take a minute to consider the different career paths you could pursue, and where you would be happiest. For any major, there are a number of different careers to choose from, so make sure you know what you want to do.

2. Research

Once you have an idea of what kind of position you’re interested in, it’s time to research it. Learn everything you possibly can about the industry: Where are the best companies in that industry located? What is the job like? What is the industry culture like? Do they have a hiring season? These are all important questions to ask yourself. Nearly every company has a website. Use it to your advantage to learn everything about the specific companies your interested in working for. Also, check the company’s website for job openings; if there aren’t any posted don’t hesitate to contact their office to ask if they have an internship program.

Not only should you research the industry and the companies, you can also research the job market. Sites like InternMatch (that’s how I found my internship), Intern Sushi, and indeed are great internship search engines.

3. Reach Out

After you’ve found some perspective internships to apply for, reach out to people that work there. If you don’t already have connections to the industry LinkedIn is a great tool for finding people that work for a specific company. As awkward as it may seem to reach out to a complete stranger, it’s totally worth it. But don’t reach out asking for a job or an interview, when you connect with someone make the conversation about them. Fore example: ask them what they do on a daily basis, what they like about the job, or how they got to where they are.



Photo Credit: Kate Hiscock

Five Post-Career Fair Tips

So you made it through the Hawk Career Fair – phew! Take a deep breath; the hardest part is over with. The only thing left to do is follow up with employers.

Hawk Fair 1

It seems like many students forget or disregard this step, which can hurt them in the long run. I’ve developed five post-career fair tips that can help you stand above the rest. You don’t have to complete all of these steps. Only do what you feel is comfortable and appropriate.

Send Employers a Thank-You E-mail

Do you ever notice how nice it is when someone thanks you for your time or service? Pay it forward, and thank the employers you talked to at the career fair for their time. Over 100 employers took time out of their day to attend this fair. Many employers do this annually, and even more travel to other college campuses to present at more career fairs. If you send them a quick e-mail, chances are, they will remember you. They might even jot down your name or e-mail address to remember it when you interview for them!

E-mailing an employer is an easy way to get recognized and to be remembered. Ideally, you should send this e-mail 24 after the interview or career fair, but, better late than never!

Connect With the Employer on LinkedIn

Did you have a great conversation with one of the employers? Did you network with another student or staff member? Connect with them on LinkedIn! LinkedIn is a powerful tool to use when searching for a job, and the more connections you have, the better (that is, if you personally know all of your connections!).

Tweet at the Employer or Company

If you don’t know that using Twitter to help you get a job, then I don’t know what rock you’ve been living under. Twitter might be the next best thing, under LinkedIn, of course, to help with your career path. If you’re active on Twitter, tweet about your experience at the Hawk Career Fair. Tweet to the companies you’re interested in, tweet at the employers you talked to, tweet about the positive things you experienced at the career fair, and tweet about where you see yourself in a few years! (Just don’t overdo it!) Employers will see the positive energy you elude about their company, and they will love it.

Got an Interview? Celebrate! (And Prepare!)

Some employers at the Hawk Career Fair will invite you to be interviewed with them when you talk to them. Some won’t, and that is okay. Every company has a different way of hiring and conducting interviews. If you do get an interview, make sure you prepare for it! Their first impression of you at the career fair was great, now make sure you shine in your interview!

Check out these archived blog posts about interviewing – Top Interview Tips; Common Interview Questions & Answers; Tricks and Treats of the Interview Process

Create a Pro-Con List

Were there more goodies at this year’s career fair than ever?! I’ve never seen so many pens, stress balls, hand sanitizers, stuffed animals, and food! I hope you snagged just as many business cards as you did free pens, because for this step, you need to sort out all the business cards and write a pro-con list of which companies you liked and which ones you didn’t.

Then, evaluate the pros and cons. Why did you like a certain company? (It better not be because their pens write better than another company’s pens!) What is important to you in a career? This will help you better evaluate where you see yourself working after graduation.

Photo by UWW Career.

Last Minute Prep for the Career Fair

With the Hawk Career Fair upon us, what last minute preparations do you need to do to ensure you have a successful experience? Well, you’re 95% ready if your resume in tip-top shape, you’ve researched the employers attending and the jobs they seek to fill, and you’re business attire is ready to wear.

Career Fair Collage

Here’s a little advice for you to complete your preparation:

Practice your introduction and handshake. This may sound a bit silly, but you don’t want to appear clumsy or unsure of yourself because the opportunity to create a positive first impression only comes along once. Practice, practice, and practice some more on what you plan to say when you introduce yourself. Practice alone, with friends, ask your teachers to listen to you, your adviser, anyone! You want to feel totally comfortable with what you’re going to say to recruiters so you can move effortlessly into the main reason for the conversation, to learn about employment opportunities. Practice helps.

Check the weather. The forecast for tomorrow is sunny with a high of 70 degrees. Perfect. However, weather changes, so be aware of the forecast and know that it’ll probably be warmer than 70 degrees in Gym 1 during the fair. Give yourself some time so you’re not rushing and overly warm when you enter the fair. If you feel over-heated, take a moment to cool down so you feel at your best.

Bring breath mints. One of the biggest complaints recruiters working career fairs have is close contact with people whose breath doesn’t smell the best. Since you’ll probably attend the fair between classes and other commitments on your busy schedule, make sure to have some breath mints with you to use before and during the fair. You don’t want to be remembered as “that” person after the fair.

Now you’re 100% ready to have a great fair experience. Make a great impression and enjoy the moment!

Photos by UWW Career.

The Ultimate Guide to De-Stress

The end of the school year is coming up fast and we all know what that means: late night study sessions, hectic schedules, and high stress. But there are plenty of ways to take the edge off and relax before summer.

Get Some Shut-Eye

For many students, exam time means pulling all-nighters and loading up on tons of coffee and energy drinks. If you look back at my early college years, I did the same thing. But taking an exam or going to a meeting on little sleep and high amounts of caffeine is never a good idea.

Not only will your body feel awful, your mind will not be as sharp either. So make sure to get your 7-8 hours to feel fresh and more relaxed for what you need to accomplish the next day.

Take Some “You-Time”

This time of year can be hard to find time for yourself. Between studying for finals, job searching, and everything else on your hectic schedule, there is little time for relaxation. Make sure to take some breaks. Even if it is just setting your textbook down for a half hour and taking a walk, it will help!

Our minds and bodies can only take so much information and stress at a time. Find little things you can do throughout the day to keep yourself level-headed and relaxed.

Use Your Weekends

A rule of thumb I like to use to de-stress is to always to use my weekends to my advantage when possible. During the week I am jam-packed with internship duties, class, projects, and meetings. So as long as I don’t have something on the weekends that I HAVE to accomplish, I use it to enjoy myself and unwind.

If you are really stressed, I would not recommend participating in crazy, extravagant weekend plans. Do something to escape your week-day reality a little bit. Here are some things you can do to take the edge off without going overboard:

  • Go see a movie
  • Go to a local museum
  • Watch a local band
  • Have dinner with friends
  • Spend an afternoon at Barnes & Noble (reading is free!)
  • Go to a karaoke bar
  • Try a yoga class
  • Cook or bake
  • Perform an act of kindness
  • Take a social media break (yes, I said it.)
  • Enjoy the outdoors (if it warms up out there!)
  • Get a professional massage
  • Shop around local thrift shops for hidden treasures

Hit the Gym

Nothing says de-stress like a good workout! It goes without saying that working out does amazing things for your body and mind, and finals are the perfect time to get in the routine.

Don’t like working out in public? Here are some awesome workouts you can do in  your office, apartment, or home.

Don’t Procrastinate

We all procrastinate at times. But it does nothing but makes us more stressed and rushed. An easy way to keep from procrastinating is make a detailed schedule and checklist. There are many apps you can download to have a detailed schedule and to-do lists right at your fingertips. My favorites are the Cozi and Paperless apps.

Also make sure to keep close communication with your boss, professors, and others you need to work with to ensure everything is on schedule so that you are keeping on track.

Laugh Until Your Abs Hurt

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter lightens your mental load and actually causes positive physical changes in your body. Here are some other benefits of laughter:

  • Promotes creativity
  • It’s contagious
  • Treats insomnia
  • Makes you more approachable
  • Boosts immune systems
  • Lightens the mood
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Creates a more enjoyable work environment

Can’t seem to work up a good laugh? These might help:

Start implementing these tips into your hectic schedule and you will de-stress in no time!

If you want more tips on stress management or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

Friday Favorites – Career Advice From Famous Figures

If you’re a graduating senior, I can bet that you’re stressed out about graduating, trying to find a job right away, and then going through the whole process of interviewing and getting call backs. Relax. You will find a job, you will get an interview, and you will get a call back, and when you do, listen to these wise words by these five influential people.


Pro Athletes on Interviews

You scored an interview for your dream job or internship. That’s great! What should you do next? Take advice from gymnast Mary Lou Retton. ‘At the 1984 Olympics, Retton became the first gymnast to win the all-around gold medal. Following the win, Time magazine reported in an Olympics story, ‘On the night before the finals in women’s gymnastics, famous athlete Mary Lou Retton, then 16, lay in bed at the Olympic Village mentally rehearsing her performance ritual.”

Before you interview, try visualizing your performance. Try to see yourself in the interview room, conversing with your interviewer. Practice your questions just like gymnasts practice their routine. You might not win a gold medal because of this, but you might score a second interview! This tip was brought to you by 7 Job Search Tips You Can Learn From Pro Athletes.


Abraham Lincoln on Reputation

Abe Lincoln was a man of few words, but the words he did express spoke volumes about communication, determination, and wisdom. Honest Abe said, “Reputation is like fine china: once broken it’s very hard to repair.” To read more quotes, check out the 6 Abraham Lincoln Quotes to Inspire Communicators.

Your reputation in the workplace is more important than you think it may be. How you dress, what you say, how you socialize, and how you use social media can all be manipulated by you and only you. Once your reputation is tarnished, your coworkers and boss may not be able to see you the same way. Your peers will see you in a certain light. Make sure it’s a positive light.


Michelle Obama on Leadership and Gratitude

Even if you’re not a fan of the Obama administration, you should take this into consideration. The First Lady shares some wise words on leadership in this article, 5 Leadership Lessons From Michelle Obama.

Michelle Obama says, ‘President Obama believes that when you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity…you do not slam it shut behind you…you reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.’ Pay gratitude to the people who have helped you get where you are today, and give chances and opportunities to those less fortunate than you.


Celebrities on Going to Grad School

Did you know that James Franco, most famous for his roles in 127 Hours, Pineapple Express and Milk, went to graduate school? He got his MFA in creative writing at Columbia University in New York City. He also taught classes at New York University! ‘He’s stated in many interviews that he just loves education and learn what he wants,’ according to 5 Celebrities Who Went to Grad School.

Over the course of a lifetime, a person with a master’s degree tends to earn $400,000 more than someone with only a bachelor’s, according to Graduate School: Should You Get Another Degree? It’s no secret that receiving a degree from graduate school may provide you with more opportunities in your field. Understand how attending graduate school might benefit you, and be sure to check out the list of graduate studies degree programs available at UW-Whitewater.


Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on Leaning In

‘Lean In,’ the new book by Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, has become a movement of its own. The book is geared towards encouraging women to lean into their careers, rather than stepping back to worry. If you’re deep into your career, take some advice from Facebook’s COO.

‘Leaning in means never letting fear drive your decisions. What’s one of the biggest things holding professionals from all industries, at all levels, back? Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of trying something new. Fear of other people’s opinions. Fear that choosing one options means abandoning all your other possibilities.’ For more tips, read 5 Career Lessons from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, or the book itself!

Lean In

Photo by Elizabeth M and

7 Ways to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Did you know there is a place where there is little excitement, minimal room for growth, and large amounts of boredom and fear? It’s called your comfort zone!

I think it’s time to stretch those limits a little! Not only will your life become more exciting, but you’ll also build confidence, meet new people, experience new things, and diminish fear.


Here are some ways to start stepping out of your comfort zone.

Try Something New Every Day

Don’t be intimidated by this! When I say try something new every day I don’t mean bungee jumping one day and swimming with sharks the next. It can be the teeny tiniest thing: trying a new food, taking a new route to work, or smiling at strangers.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes the littlest changes can make the biggest difference.

Stop Comparing

Social media makes this one a little difficult, but it is doable. If you are constantly looking at your friends’ profiles and seeing posts like, “Just booked a ticket to Africa, leaving tomorrow!” or “So many great things happening to me; ready for this new chapter in life!” it can make your life seem dull in comparison and can be discouraging.

Comparing our lives to others is not realistic. Everyone has different opportunities, financial stability, and lifestyles. So try to not compete with others and just challenge yourself in your own ways. Here’s something to try: When you see pictures on Facebook of someone jumping out of a plane from thousands of feet, instead of being envious, ask yourself if you would even want to do something like that if you had the chance. Personally, I’d rather check swimming with dolphins off my bucket list!

So if you start doing things that are important and fulfilling to you trying new things will come a lot easier!

Take Opportunities

Okay, I’m guilty. There are plenty of times that sitting on my couch watching my backed up TiVo seems more appealing than taking up an offer to join a cupcake decorating class with friends.

But if you don’t start taking opportunities that are presented to you, then you might really be missing out. The next time your friends ask if you want to try a charity run or take an acting class, do it! You never know when that opportunity will come again.

Make a Bucket List

I’m proud to say my bucket list has hit three pages already! Making a list of things you want to do in your life will not only be motivating, but it will be a constant reminder of the things that spark your interest.

Not sure where to start with your bucket list? Here is a great website of bucket list inspiration.

Learn to Laugh at Yourself

One of the biggest reasons people don’t step out of their comfort zone is because they are afraid of being embarrassed or failing. But if you learn to be a little more light-hearted and laugh at things that don’t always go right, trying new things will be a no-brainer!

The next time you take a pottery class and your pottery wheel gets a mind of its own and your clay flies up against the wall (yes, this happened to me), just make a joke out of it and keep going!

Embrace Your Fear

Sometimes the fear of the unknown is a big reason for staying in your comfort zone. But the key is to turn that fear into excitement.

Have you ever caught yourself in the same boring routine? Or always doing the same things over and over again? Well the reality is there is no excitement in always knowing what will happen next. So embrace the mystery of the unknown and give them a try. The outcome could be life-changing!

Involve Friends and Family

It’s okay to have security blanket outside of your comfort zone. Having friends or family there to try new things with you will not only make you feel more comfortable, but also make you more likely to keep trying new things.

UntitledIf you want more tips on stepping out of your comfort zone or have questions about health and wellness, feel free to email me at and use “Health and Wellness with Heather” as the subject heading.

Friday Favorites – Seniors Job Search

For this week’s Friday Favorites, I had the chance to interview five UW-Whitewater students who are graduating in May and searching for jobs. They’re all at different points during the job search process and all have very different experiences and advice to give to other seniors. Check out their interviews below!

Murphy Waldhuetter

Nelson Ritthaler, a senior, is majoring in organizational communication and minoring in philosophy.

Are you worried about not finding a job? “Yes, sometimes more than other times but I’m trying to be optimistic. The closer I get to graduation, the more anxious I get.”

What advice would you give students who are going through the same thing you are? “Keep applying and keep getting feedback on your resume. A well written and well formatted resume can open more doors. The more you apply, the higher chances you give yourself to land a job.”


Jamie Selck is majoring in management with a human resource emphasis.

What kinds of platforms did you used when searching for a job? “I mostly used Hawk Jobs because it was so precise. The other job boards were very broad. With Hawk Jobs, everything was in one place.”

Were you worried about not finding a job after graduation? “I was worried, but I just got offered a job with Colony Brands. They were on Hawk Jobs and had a bunch of jobs listed so I submitted my resume for one of them, got an interview, got invited back for a second round of interviews at Monroe, which is where their headquarters are, and then they offered me the internship!”

What advice would you give students who are going through the same thing you are? “Start early, make sure you have a Hawk Jobs profile and a LinkedIn profile, so when it comes time to apply, you aren’t overwhelmed. Make sure you have a resume that you always update. Have copies of your resume and copies of your references with you at your interviews. Apply for everything; even if there isn’t an job you might not want, you should do the interview for practice.”


Patrick Johnson will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts with Instrumental Music degree and is minoring in advertising.

What kinds of jobs are you looking for? “Music administration, but also anything in public relations/advertising agencies.”

Do you have any worries or concerns about not finding a job? “Very. As far as jobs come, it’s very hard to find a job, so I’ve applied for internships. I’m worried the internship might not pay enough.”

What advice would you give to students who are in the same place you are, graduating soon and haven’t found a job yet? “Be patient. And don’t be afraid to apply for everything.”


Britt Asbach, a senior, is majoring in organizational communication with a minor in special education. She will be going to graduate school.

What kinds of platforms have you used when searching for a graduate school or job? “I use a lot of social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and various career blogs and books) to research potential jobs and schools. Networking is also extremely important when searching for a job and this is a skill I’m always looking to improve upon. Half the battle is learning creative and innovative techniques to tap into the right medium to connect to new networks and interesting people.”

What kind of job would you like to get after you finish grad school? “After grad school, I would like to get a job with a medium size company or nonprofit organization and work in the human resources department as a director of staff training and development. I’m extremely interested in transforming leadership in the workplace and helping people to reach their full potential. I also want to understand the parallels between the family unit and the workplace. I desire to conduct training seminars, conferences, and travel internationally as a motivational speaker. Ultimately, I would like to end up working at an international children’s organization or at a big church in family ministry where I can use my leadership and development training to help children and their families.”

What advice would you give students who are going through the same thing you are? “Start thinking about your plans for post graduation by the end of your sophomore year. Time flies so fast in college and what you do with your time matters. I was lucky because my parents always kept me thinking about my graduation plans years ahead of time. They encouraged me to pursue my passions, but also keep a level head about my professional expectations after college ends. I would also encourage students to stop listening to much of the new stories about job markets today. The fact is that economy is always going to be changing and it is more important for you personally and professionally to continue to foster those “learning relationships” and key networks. You will be much more happier if you learn early on how to communicate your values successfully and live out your passion in the workplace.”


Cameron Schultheis is majoring in media arts and game development with a minor in advertising.

What kinds of platforms have you used when searching for a graduate school or job? “The platforms I primarily use in job searching are agency website directories (, and Big Shoes Network.”

What kinds of jobs are you looking for? “The jobs I’m looking for junior art director or art director intern positions. I’m heavily interested in the creative side of the advertising process.”

What advice would you give students who are going through the same thing you are? “If you work hard enough, and don’t give up, you have nothing to worry about. My advice to other students is to chase your dream and never give up. The moment you give up is the moment you forfeit everything you’ve worked for to get to that point.”
Thank you to all the students I interviewed! I know you all will be successful in whatever path you choose to take in life.
Photo by UWW Career.

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.


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.

Preparing for a Career in Occupational Safety

Occupational safety is one of the under-the-radar majors offered at UW-Whitewater, but it shouldn’t be. Year after year, graduates of the program experience a strong employment rate, along with one of the highest paying entry-level salaries of all majors at UW-Whitewater.

Power line safety IMG_5317-

Career & Leadership Development compiles an Annual Report of Employment & Continuing Education, a record of where the past year’s graduates are employed or are attending graduate or professional school. Here is a sample of where some of the safety grads from the past couple of years were employed after graduation:

I contacted several of the employers listed above, and here are some selected attributes that they expect students to demonstrate in their employment preparation before entering the Safety profession:

  • As a UW-W Safety graduate myself from several years ago, one of my personal recommendations for students looking for internships or their first job would be to spend the time up front on their resumes. I believe one of the most beneficial decisions I made as a student was to have Career & Leadership Development and the Safety faculty review my resume in advance.
  • Make your resume uniquely and effectively different in terms of organization, layout, communication, relevance and substantive content that speaks to the job description.
  • We are looking for students who can demonstrate that they have a strong work ethic. When reviewing resumes we are always looking for evidence that they are active in their education. Resumes should highlight past work experience, current GPA and coursework, and student or professional organizations. Review and have others review your resume before submitting.
  • Resume presentation and interview performance are samples of how one presents oneself; this is a skill that will be needed many times in the Safety profession.
  • During the interview, internship candidates should be prepared to provide examples that support their resume. We are looking for candidates that can demonstrate examples of problem solving, leadership, initiative, conflict management, and teamwork. A general understanding of the company and their product or service also goes a long way.
  • During the interview, express energy, passion, initiative and a hunger to enter the Safety profession; be willing to do what it takes to succeed. These characteristics may be verbally and non-verbally communicated by tone of voice, mannerisms, confidence and conviction expressed during the interview.
  • Lack of confidence during an interview can be a deal breaker. Know yourself well and practice interviewing so that you seem more sure of yourself.
  • Demonstrate a balance of sincerity and conviction for Safety compliance, along with interpersonal toughness and resilience when getting employees to buy in to Safety procedures.
  • I think the most important characteristic an aspiring Safety professional needs to have is being personable and relating to your coworkers. Knowing all the regulations and all the safety information in world won’t matter if you can’t build rapport and form relationships with your coworkers. Aspiring Safety professionals must understand that in order to get coworkers and management to buy into safety, you have to explain why you need safety, how to work safely, and most important is asking for coworkers’ and management’s input on safety. People are more likely to do something that they suggested or helped develop. A Safety professional has to know how to deal with all different types of personalities and leverage those different styles to help move the safety program forward.

Several employers seeking safety candidates attended the Hawk Career Fair on September 26. This semester and next, some employers will also be conducting interviews in Career & Leadership Development’s Bailey Interview Center for employment and internship opportunities in safety.

To find out which employers will be interviewing, check Hawk Jobs for interview schedules and attached job and internship descriptions.Then, be prepared to impress the employers, based upon the tips that are provided above, and the research that you’ve conducted about them.

Photo by N A I T.

Career Advice for Athletes from Athletes

On Sunday, March 18th, Career & Leadership Development, along with UW-Whitewater Intercollegiate Athletics and the Student Athlete Advisory Council, sponsored the first ever career panel for our student athletes. Seven panelists, all former college athletes who are established and successful in their career fields, provided sage advice for our current student athletes in attendance.


The purpose of the panel was to provide career advice to students, specifically how the qualities and mindset gained as a college athlete helps with career success. Graduation years of the panelists ranged from 1985 to 2001. All are highly successful in their careers, and each provided our students with great career advice that will serve as a formula for career success.

Two main themes emerged during the panel. First, as college athletes, the panelists indicated that they developed attitudes, behaviors, and skills which have helped them tremendously in their careers. Because of their dedication of time, and the physical and psychological energy required of a college athlete, all panelists believe they learned a tremendous lesson that they’ve applied to help them succeed in their work and life in general. From their current perspective, they each looked back and realized they benefited from athletics in more ways than they realized while they were a student.

The second theme was the advice for career success they provided to our current student athletes. This advice is applicable to all students, but was grounded in the mindset the panelists learned as a result of their participation in college athletics. Here is a sampling of their career advice:

  • Participation in college athletics is hard work. So is a career. The work ethic you develop as an athlete should be applied to your career. Understand that your career requires you to fully dedicate yourself – it’s more than just a 40 hour a week job. If more time is needed, then work more time.
  • Athletes are all part of a team. They need to work effectively with their teammates, coaches, trainers, and everyone else who contributes to success. The same goes for your career. To be successful in your career, you need to be able to get along well with your co-workers, to work effectively as a member of a work unit, and to know when to lead and when to follow.
  • Athletes have a competitive drive. They like competition and don’t shy away from it. Many career fields, such as business, require a competitive drive. This same drive that has helped an athlete succeed should be applied to their career as well. Always strive to do better, to perform better tomorrow than you did today.
  • Self-discipline is required of athletes. Most recruiters I know refer to this as self-management. A bit different, but similar in many ways. Career professionals need to effectively manage their time, organize their work, maintain a healthy body and mind, deal effectively with stress, and accept and learn from failure. Sounds a lot like what athletes need to do to succeed.

Thanks to the following panelists for continuing to give their time and talent to UW-Whitewater:

Mike Grahl, 1998 UWW graduate – Baseball
Interactive Marketing Manager with the Milwaukee Bucks

Aaron Jagdfeld, 1993 UWW graduate – Track & Field
President & CEO of Generac Power Systems, Inc.

Cyndee Kelsey, 1988 UWW graduate – Softball
Client Relations Director for Great-West Retirement Services

Matt Krueger, 1995 MATC graduate – Basketball
Managing Director/Owner in the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network

Tim Patterson, 1995 UWW graduate – Football and Baseball
Owner/Partner of Ansay & Associates, LLC

Lisa Schaffer, 2001 UWW graduate – Gold
Professional IT Recruiter for TEK Systems

Jack West, 1997 UWW graduate – Wrestling
District Marketing Manager for Federated Insurance

Photo by Fabio Stefano Alla.