How I Landed My Dream Job

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Hello friends! As the days until graduation dwindle, I can’t help but look forward to the next phase in my life. I’m fortunate enough to have landed my dream job post-grad *YAY.* I don’t mean to brag, I really don’t, but it took a ton of work to get to this point, and I really want to help all of you reach your dreams. Here are 4 quick bits of advice to help you earn your dream job. 

1. Know your dream

This might seem like common sense, but you can’t really achieve a dream if you don’t know what it is. Look at the possibilities of your future career and aim high! Nothing is impossible. I don’t care what school you went to, what your degree was in, or what your grades were like – you can pretty much do whatever your little heart desires (so cheesy, but I’m being 100% serious). So put on your favorite PJ’s and get to dreaming.

2. Plan

Good things come to those who wait, not those who wait around. Once you have your dream in mind make sure you develop a plan that will get you there. You can’t just expect your dream job to fall into your lap without any effort.

Ask yourself: Who do I need to contact? What are the stepping stones? How do I even get started?

3. Network like nobody’s business

“It’s all about who you know.” People aren’t just saying this to hear themselves talk, it’s the truth. Before my first internship I knew NO ONE. However, after I interned with my first agency, I met a lot of people that had their own connections to other people in the industry. I ended up with a pretty good connection with someone at almost every major advertising agency in Chicago through my co-workers. Everyone knows somebody who knows somebody, so take advantage of those connections.

Side-note: don’t just network with industry people, network with your peers. They have connections too!

4. Embrace failure

The likelihood of you getting your dream job on your first try is slim. I was turned down the first time I applied to mine, but I said thank you and kept in contact. A “no” doesn’t always translate to “never,” sometimes they just don’t have room for you at that time. Take this time to gain more experience that will make you an even better candidate and try, try again.

 

Tick Tok: 3 Loose Ends that Need Tying

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Tik tok, on the clock
But graduation countdown don’t stop
Tonight, I‘mma apply
For the job of a lifetime 

Tik tok, on the clock
But second semester won’t stop
Tonight, I’mma scrape by
Til I reach the finish line

Yes, that was my very own career parody of KE$HA’s “Tik Tok,” please hold your applause. While I hope you found it funny, upcoming graduation is no laughing matter. In just a few short weeks, all of you grads will be walking across that glorious stage and receiving those hard-earned diplomas. But don’t get a severe case of senioritis just yet, because there are A LOT of things you need to get done before that big day (and I’m not talking coursework). Here are the top 3.

1. Job Search

Please, please, please don’t wait until the day after graduation to start looking for your first job. The time is now –  actually it was a month ago, but better late than later. Many people think that they don’t need to look for a job until they are actually available to work, but this is not the case. The hiring process is a long one and it takes a lot of time to find a job, get an interview, negotiate, and get hired.

2. Networking

Now is the time to reach out to your contacts. Let them know you are graduating in a month, and that you’re looking for a job. Connecting with them now is good because they can give you leads on jobs that may not be publically posted. People remember what it was like to be a wide-eyed college grad, and they want to help you! So don’t let your pride get in the way and let them.

3. Letters of Recommendation

A lot of job applications ask for a list of people they can contact for recommendations in addition to actual letters. This is the time to ask your professors and supervisors for those ever-coveted letters. By asking 6 weeks before graduation you give them plenty of time to put a lot of effort into it. You’re also half way through the semester, so they should be pretty familiar with your work ethic, strengths, and capabilities.

 

Best of luck to you wide-eyed hopefuls!

 

Colliding Worlds: Student & Professional

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You’ve been a student your entire life! The daily ritual of getting up, going to class, and doing homework has become nothing short of a habit for you. But unlike Peter Pan, you have to grow up and become a professional with a career. Here are three easy ways to act like a professional while you’re still technically a student.

1. Polish your image

You’ve slowly created a public image of yourself over the years. Whether it’s your voice mail, e-mail address, or social media presence, they all speak about who you are. For this reason, it’s important as a professional to polish your professional image. Change your voice mail to a simple one that a recruiter will understand and respect. Make sure you create an e-mail address that is professionally appropriate, no more “h0tbAbe545@aol.com.” Instead, opt for an e-mail address that includes some variation of your first and last name. Lastly, make sure your profile pictures across all media are appropriate. While you can make these accounts private, people can usually still see your profile picture.

2. Invest in business cards

Business cards are a great way to make sure your new connections have a way to contact you. I know it sounds a little weird to have business cards as a student, but they are the easiest way a person can retain your contact information. You can buy relatively inexpensive business cards, some sights, like vista print, even offer free business card options. As a student, consider putting your school name, major, and expected graduation date on your new cards. Be sure to include your full name, e-mail, and phone number. Bonus: if you have a LinkedIn Account, then include your URL.

3. Become an industry expert

Whether you’re a media major or a finance major, you need to know the industry. Make sure you’re up to date on trends and hot topics within your industry. Nothing is more worse than not being able to answer an industry related question in an interview. Here are some relevant trade publications for advertising, book publishing, business, finance, media, nonprofit, science/health, technology!

 

*Some of these tips are from Lindsey Pollak’s book Getting from College to Career. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it!*

Put the “Work” in Networking

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“It’s all about who you know.” As much as you might not want to believe it, there is nothing truer than that statement. For this reason, it’s crucial to network in order to ensure your future career’s livelihood. Having a connection can make the difference between landing your dream job and staying unemployed (sad but true). In order for your connections to work, you have to be actively reaching out to them. It’s time to put the work in networking.

Step 1: Create a network

Even if you haven’t started your professional career you still have a network. Your network can include friends, family, classmates, and professors. Anyone you have a connection with is a part of your network, so make sure you maintain good relationships with everyone around you. Creating a network is not a task you can complete; it’s an enduring process that will continue throughout your professional life.

Step 2: Reach out to YOUR contact(s)

Just because you know person X, Y, and Z at a company doesn’t mean they’re going to be looking for a job for you; that’s on your shoulders. If you’re starting your job search make sure to send out a quick e-mail to your contacts asking them for advice on whom to contact at the company. They’ll likely have their own network at the company and will help you get your foot in the door. Make sure you always attach a current resume to these e-mails so they have something to pass along to HR or whoever their inside contact is.

Step 3: Reach out to THEIR contact(s)

After you reach out to your contact, they are likely to give you additional contacts at the company to reach out to for more information. When you are contacting this person make sure your e-mail is strictly professional. When you send them an e-mail make sure you (a) mention who your mutual contact is and how you know them, (b) attach a current resume, and (c) treat the e-mail like a cover letter and format accordingly.

From there it’s a waiting game. Hopefully this contact will pass your resume to the person who is in charge of hiring. Remember to be appreciative and professional, these people are doing you a favor and it’s important they know how thankful you are.

 Happy networking!

How to Jump-Start Your Internship Search

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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

Friday Favorites – Five Awesome Upcoming Events

This semester, Career & Leadership Development, as well as other UW-W departments and colleges, are hosting five exciting events coming up which you can all take part in!

C&LD Front Desk

UWW Career Cover Model: Valentines Day Contest

The other social media intern, Heather, and myself, will be hosting a Facebook Cover Photo Contest that starts today! Students can submit a completed form explaining their experiences from a job, internship, or career-related experience that they loved. The chosen student will be featured on our Facebook Cover Photo and this blog and will also recieve some awesome prizes! For more details, visit the official contest rules and entry form.

Remember, this contest starts today and ends on February 7th so hop on the UWW Career Cover Model Contest bandwagon and start sending us your submissions!

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Resume Doctor

The career counselors of Career & Leadership Development will be holding their annual event, Resume Doctor, on Tuesday, January 29, Wednesday, January 30, and Thursday, January 31, from 1-4pm in the Andersen Library. There are separate Facebook event pages for each day: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

  • What do you need to bring? Your resume, a pen, questions, if you have any, and a good attitude!

Look out for three more Resume Doctor events at the end of the semester, on Tuesday, April 2, Wednesday, April 3, and Thursday, April 4. They will be from 1-4pm in Andersen Library as well. There are separate Facebook event pages for each day: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Individuals in need of accommodations or those with questions should contact Laura Jacobs for more information.

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Multicultural Career Fair

‘The Multicultural Career Fair is an annual event co-sponsored by the College of Business & Economics, the College of Education and the UW-Whitewater Minority Business and Teacher Preparation Program. The event will include freshman through graduate students and will provide them with the opportunity to network with the representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as with school personnel.’ This information was taken from the College of Business & Economics website.

The Multicultural Career Fair will take place on Wednesday, February 6, from 12-4pm in the UC Hamilton Room. For more information, contact Freda Briscoe or Kathy Milnar. Check out the Facebook event page too!

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Disney College Program Information Night

For those of you who are interested in the Disney College Program, there will be an information night on Tuesday, February 19, from 5:30-6:30pm in the Timmerman Auditorium, Hyland 1000. Be sure to sign up on the Facebook event page.

If you’re ready to apply to the program now, you can attend the Disney College Program Apply NOW Session or sign up on the Facebook event page. The UW-Whitewater campus advisor for the program, Laura Jacobs, will be hosting the event along with the UW-W Campus Reps, students who have already completed the Disney College Program. They will be able to offer assistance and answer any questions you may have. This event will be held on Wednesday, February 20, from 5:30-7:30pm in McGraw 19A, which is a computer lab. You can stop in whenever you can and don’t need to stay for the whole time.

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Community & Human Services Career Fair

The Community & Human Services Career Fair helps to connect students in Psychology, Sociology, Social Work, Women’s Studies, and Counseling with employers looking for interns, volunteers, or permanent employees. It is a smaller fair with only 20-30 organizations who will be present, but it is very focused for students looking to go into the human services profession or nonprofit sector.

This event will be on Wednesday, April 10, from 2-5pm in the UC Hamilton Room.

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I hope you all take advantage of these great events throughout the semester! If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to send an e-mail to mediacld@uww.edu. Have a great semester!

Photo by UWW Career.

Friday Favorites – Top Job Searching Tips

December has been a busy month. With wrapping up job or internship duties, studying for final exams, figuring out your plans for the holidays and possibly even graduating, you might not have had any time to search for a job. That’s where I come in! I’ve provided you with the best job searching tips – from using a job board to utilizing social media. It’s all there!

Job search

If you’re searching for a job for the first time, have no fear! It’s not as hard and scary as it seems. There are many steps, but what better time to do them than over winter break?!

To get started…

  • First, do research. You need to find out what kind of company you would like to work for and if there are job openings. You can usually find a ‘career’ or ‘employment’ tab at the bottom of the page.
  • You can also utilize job boards, such as Hawk Jobs! You can filter your search on many levels, you can post your resume so employers might see it, and you can even get e-mail notifications for when jobs you might be interested in have open positions.
  • Then, narrow your search. Which companies have openings in your state, or near the city where you live? Make sure you target your search so you’re only applying for the job you want, not a job that you might be qualified for and you might enjoy.
  • Beggars can’t be choosers. With that in mind, don’t pass up the good job for your dream job.

Create your personal brand

  • Make sure you create a professional profile on LinkedIn, and if your Twitter or Facebook profiles are public, make sure you clean it up incase an employer searches you. Be yourself, but do it with class. (via Ryan Park)
  • Make sure you know your personal brand as well. Mashable has a great step-by-step  formula to show you how you can create your personal brand!
  • Then, prepare your ‘elevator speech’. Now is no better time to prepare your ’30-second resume’! There are many aspects that go into this, and I suggest checking out this article which is all about preparing your own elevator speech.
  • When was the last time you updated your resume? Now is a good time to do that too, before you’re flooded with networking events and interviews!

Network, network, network!

  • Reach out to your network. Talk to your supervisor, your coworkers, even your aunt Sally. They could have great ideas for you and they might even know someone who works at your dream company.
  • Did you know that you can find a job on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook? So the next time your mom catches you on Twitter while you’re supposed to be job searching, just present her with this article by Mashable!
  • This goes without saying, but make sure you are on your best behavior when out looking for a job. If you are dropping off your resume or waiting to talk to an employer,  the employer or receptionist won’t be the only one who will notice you. Dress appropriately, be prepared and be organized.
  • Never be afraid to ask questions! I’m sure employers would rather have a person clearly interested in the company by asking questions than a quiet one not saying anything.

While you’re waiting to be called back for that interview…

  • Volunteer! This will look great on your resume, and you’ll be able to mention that during your interview.
  • Read! Whatever job you’re applying for, make sure you’re knowledgeable on the ins and outs on the type of job path you’re going into and the company itself. Knowledge is power.
  • Travel! What better time to travel than now? Your potential interview, job boards, and dream job will still be there when you get back. If you’re worried about all the travel expenses, think about how quickly you’ll be able to pay them off when you score a new job!

What not to do while job searching?

  • Don’t hide out online. Sure, social networks can have their perks and benefits to job searching, but there are other ways to find a job, such as going to networking events, parties and having conversations face-to-face.
  • Don’t forget to prepare! If you do snag an interview, make sure you’ve done research on the company, have your resume up to date and dress nicely.
  • Don’t be a negative Nancy. Keep your head up, keep networking, and keep a smile on your face.
  • Never give up! Job searching can be tough, but if you stick it out, you may score that job you’ve always wanted.

If you’re still looking for more tips, check out Career & Leadership Development’s Job Search Strategies.

Photo by Kate Hiscock.

December Graduates – What Comes Next?

For those of you who are graduating in December – this post is for you!

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First of all, congratulations! The day is almost here. Graduation can’t come soon enough, right?! Your mind might be focused on December 15, your cap and gown, and your graduation party, but… have you thought about what happens afterwards? There are many paths you can take after graduation, such as working at a full-time job, joining a non-profit organization or going to graduate school.

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For those of you who have jobs lined up, that’s awesome. You’re ahead of the game! But for those of you who are still looking, it’s okay. Finding a job takes time, and there are a lot of factors that go into it. Take some of these tips below into consideration.

Create a Job-Search Plan

  • Don’t rely on just one method when hunting for a job or internship. Searching online at job boards, such as Hawk Jobs, is a great method, but you can expand this by searching directly on employer’s websites and looking for ‘employment’, ‘careers’ or ‘internships’ towards the bottom of the page.
  • Make sure your resume is up to date. You never know when you’ll need to reference it or e-mail it to a potential employer. Going along with these lines, make sure you have a LinkedIn profile as well.
  • Network, network, network! It’s important to talk to people who work in the field you want to get into. If your mom knows a friend of a friend who is the CEO of that company you’ve been dying to work for, ask that person if you can set up a phone call or informal meeting with them. Also, mention to your friends and family that you’re looking for a job. Having that word of mouth factor can definitely help you out in the long run, and being connected will make it easier to find a job.
  • While you’re on the job hunt, keep yourself busy. This may not seem like a big deal, but when you have your interview for X company, I guarantee they will ask you, ‘What have you been doing since graduation?’ Be prepared to answer that question with: I’ve been volunteering at the local hospital/I’ve been working on a new hobby of mine/I’ve been helping my father out at his landscaping business/I went on a mission trip to help build a church in Mexico/I’ve been going to graduate school, or whatever it is you’ve kept yourself busy with.
——————————————————————————————————————–If you’re not ready to settle down with a full-time job right away, joining a non-profit organization may be the perfect option for you.Volunteering

 
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Graduate school
is another path to take after graduation. Did you know that UW-Whitewater offers a graduate school program?Kristina Stankevich, a senior at UW-Whitewater, is studying accounting. She will be graduating in December and continuing her education at grad school at UW-Whitewater. She used Hawk Jobs as a resource to find her internship.
 
‘After I graduate, I will be attending graduate school at UW-Whitewater. My first semester as a graduate student I will be interning at Schenck, an accounting firm in Milwaukee. The accounting program has an internship program set up through Hawk Jobs that I interviewed through and I was able to be placed at a firm. I haven’t been actively looking for a full-time job. I still have a year and a half left of graduate school, so I have some time to find a full-time job. My goal is to work with taxes for the entirety of my career. Eventually, I would love to work with International Taxes.
 
‘Kristina, we wish you the best of luck at graduate school and your internship. Also, good luck to all the December graduates!

As one last tip, the career counselors at Career & Leadership Development will always be a great resource for you to utilize whenever you need it. The career counselors aid all students and alumni of UW-Whitewater.

Connecticut College graduates

Photos by Tulane Public Relations and manjidesigns.

Friday Favorites – What NOT To Do

This past week, our tweets have been focused on what NOT to do while job hunting, interviewing or at your current job.

Keep these ‘what NOT to do’ tips in mind, and you will avoid wanting to pull your hair out at an interview or at work!

Streeter Seidell, Comedian

When Networking…

  • Networking is key and takes time and practice. Don’t overwhelm the businessperson you’re talking to.
  • Don’t demand any information about the person you’re talking to, their boss, the address of where they work, etc. Let the conversation pan out smoothly, and when the time is right, then you can ask for their contact information.
  • Genuinely be interested in the people you’re talking to; don’t fake it.
  • Don’t be desperate. Networking is a small albeit important factor in the job-searching process. Don’t blow it by being vain and irrational.
  • Never say no to an opportunity.
  • You don’t have to stick to strictly work-related talk. Small talk can go a long way!

When Job-Hunting…

  • Do not say right off the bat that you need a job.
  • Social media is a great resource to use – don’t pass it up! Create a LinkedIn profile, tweet your way to a job, research about the company through Facebook, or use Pinterest to get a job. You can even use YouTube to find a job!
  • Make sure your resume is up to date. Avoid grammatical and spelling errors as these can make you look very unprofessional.
  • You don’t need to stick to only looking up jobs online. Try checking the newspaper or talking to people who already work at the company you’re interested in. Word of mouth is also very powerful.
  • Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Create a new website or blog, start your own business, have one of your works of art published, or volunteer with an organization you’re passionate about. Be sure to mention that during your interview.
  • Never give up! Job hunting isn’t easy, but with determination and confidence, that dream job will soon be yours.

When at an Interview…

  • Dress appropriately. Don’t look like you’re going to a funeral…or like you’re going out clubbing.
  • Don’t show up unprepared, late, or looking unprofessional.
  • Practice what you are going to say to some of the most popular interview questions. Avoid filler words such as ‘um’ and ‘like’.
  • Don’t chew gum, check your phone, fidget in your seat or fiddle with your hands or hair.
  • Never bad-mouth your former boss, coworkers or situation.
  • Don’t ask if the person you’re talking to if they can pass your resume along to their supervisor. It is their decision what to do with your resume.
  • Interviewing is about the company, not about you. Keep this in mind: What can you do for the company? NOT: What can the company do for you?

At Work…

  • Your job is to work, not to gossip about the new hire or your crazy night at the bars last weekend. Stay productive.
  • Remember: there are two sides to every story. Don’t be closeminded.
  • Avoid drama in the workplace! Try not to mesh your work life with your personal life.
  • Be considerate of your coworkers and managers. Don’t think it’s all about you.
  • Don’t be a debbie-downer. Trust me, nobody likes that person.
  • Don’t create problems. ‘It could be said that the main reason you have a job is to solve a problem.’ From The Fast Track
  • Put your whole heart and effort into any project you complete. Don’t do anything carelessly. I guarantee your boss or manager will notice.

I hope these ‘what NOT to do’ tips have helped you out and will continue to help you out at your future job! Do you have any ‘what NOT to do’ tips?

Photo by Zack Klein.

6 Tips to Network Like a Pro!

So you finally gathered up the courage to go to a networking event (good for you!). What seems like hours have passed, and you’re still standing between the table of smelly cheese and the table of overly sweet and sour drinks. Well time to buck up and start selling yourself!

Nowadays, life is a constant opportunity to get you closer to success through conversation. And it’s not about being seen: we need to go deeper, engage people in conversation and allow them to connect with us. A true conversationalist knows the key to meeting people, befriending them, teaching them, persuading them, and inspiring them.

Unfortunately, we are not all born conversationalists. Some people say they fear public speaking and networking more than death! But there are some very simple ways to start conversations at these events and promoting your own personal brand.

Here are some tips to get you started!

  • Smile. The easiest way to have people approach you is to make them feel welcome and comfortable. A simple smile can be a friendly way to invite someone over to start a conversation. Remember, you need to make people WANT to interact with you! No one wants a Grumpy Gus on their hands.
  • Ask Questions. Seems obvious right? Well a lot of the time when people are interviewing or talking about a job opportunity they do a lot of listening to information, instead of asking for it. Don’t be afraid to speak up! Employers and those you are interacting with with appreciate your curiosity and ability to start conversation.
  • Know Your Audience. Prior to the event find out who will all be attending. Do your research and see what these people are all about. Yes, I mean pull out Google and type these people in! You will have a lot more confidence approaching people and holding a conversation if you know a little something about who you’re talking to.
  • Read Them Like a Book. Try to figure out what the person’s motivations are. If you pay attention to body language and facial expressions it is easy to see if this person is “all business” or not.
  • Sell What You Know. You know yourself better than anyone. That gives you a lot to talk about and sell. So don’t try and impress these people about your knowledge of 401k plans when just yesterday you thought a 401K was the world’s longest marathon.
  • Let Loose! It’s hard to not feel uptight in your shirt and tie or blazer and skirt; but don’t forget the person underneath those stuffy clothes! Don’t be afraid to let your guard down and stray away from serious work-talk a little bit. For example, you might notice the employer has a Green Bay Packers logo on their portfolio. Ask them if they saw the game last night. “Yeah, maybe we should both leave here and go apply to be referees!” It’s okay to joke around and show some personality!

You’ve got the tools and tips. Now get out there and network, network, network!

Career Fair 12

Photo by Heather Schwartz