December Graduates – What Comes Next?

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

Graduates

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!

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

The Benefits of Attending the Hawk Career Fair

A new school year has just begun and while you are starting to get acclimated to your class schedule and back into the school routine, it is also time to start thinking about your career or internship search. Now is the time to mark your calendar for an event on the very near horizon that is of great importance to all students looking for full-time jobs or internships. 

The 2012 Hawk Career Fair is scheduled for Wednesday, September 26 from 12:00 – 4:00pm in the Williams Center – Gym 1. The event will feature over 100 employers looking to talk to students from all academic disciplines.

So I am sure a few of you are asking yourself…why should I attend the career fair? With this question in mind, I present three key reasons why you – yes, you – should attend the Hawk Career Fair:

  1. Learn about specific industries, organizations, and careers – With over 100 employers registered for the event, there is a wide variety of full-time job opportunities and internships to explore. Visit the Career Fairs tab in Hawk Jobs to view the current list of employers and the job opportunities they are looking to hire for. 
  2. Networking – The career fair gives you the opportunity to meet with employer representatives face-to-face. You can talk about your resume and sell your skills and experiences to employers while getting your questions answered. Where else will you have an opportunity to meet with over 100 employers in one room, at one time?          
  3. Find a job! – Granted, you will not actually get hired at the career fair itself, but this is one of the first steps in the interviewing and hiring process for most employers. Employers will be attending the Hawk Career Fair looking to talk to you! They are eager to discuss their career opportunities and are seeking new talent to hire into their organizations – and they are looking to hire now. That’s right – employers will be looking for candidates for full-time jobs and for internships for the summer of 2013 at the Hawk Career Fair. 

The time to begin your search for full-time jobs and internships is now. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the over 100 employers that are coming to campus to meet and hire UW-Whitewater students! Between now and September 26, take the time to review the list of participating employers and the jobs they have to offer and polish your resume and personal branding statements.

If you need assistance, schedule a meeting with a member of the Career & Leadership Development team. For a quick resume review, you can also stop by the “Resume Doctor” events at Andersen Library on September 18, 19, and 20 from 1:00 – 4:00pm.

See you at the 2012 Hawk Career Fair!

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A student talking to a First Business Bank representative at last year’s Hawk Career Fair.

What Valentine’s Day Means for the Job Seeker

Valentine’s Day can oftentimes be a gift to the unaware. Stores are filled with candies, stuffed animals, and flowers behind an overlay of red and pink. Restaurants are creating a cozy and romantic atmosphere. It’s nearly impossible to forget that Valentine’s Day is near and love-related gestures are expected.

Today, during the week of Valentine’s Day, I want to offer students a similar gift by sharing when you should become a job seeker. There are no significant reminders through commercials and consumer products as to when to begin the job search. As a result, several students ride into the glory of graduation unaware: a college degree in hand, with no resume developed, no networking contacts and a job search that has barely began. This timing makes the task of finding employment even more daunting.

There is a great need to become a job seeker before becoming a graduate. Here are a couple of tips on becoming a job seeker.

  • Apply to job openings as early as the beginning of the spring. Employers are responsible for advertising a position, evaluating applicants through resumes and cover letters, interviewing, evaluating interviewees, checking references, and following a job offer, negotiating a salary. This process could take up to two months from the initial job advertisement. In addition, it is not uncommon for employers to allow two weeks to a month for new employees to begin work. Apply now and manage details of the starting date later.
  • Begin connecting with any networking contacts including current and past employers and internship supervisors, and other individuals who you know in your field of interest. Explain the type of job you are seeking out, ask for any advice of navigating your field, and ask for introductions to new contacts. Networking is a process, and if you begin at the start of the spring semester, your connections have the chance to introduce opportunities before you graduate.

If you are wondering about how to become a job seeker before graduation, make an appointment with a Career Counselor in Career & Leadership Development to organize your job search and discuss the best job strategies for you as a job seeker.

Have a great Valentine’s Day and take joy in the gift of reminders.

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt.

Teacher Career Fairs: Should You Bring Your Fishing Pole?

Sound ridiculous? Hope so. Yet, that’s what happened at a teacher job fair several years ago when a teacher candidate, with an apparent affinity for fishing, brought his fishing pole into the job fair, fully extended, with an index card on the hook stating, “Fishing for a Job.”

Fishing on Kalunkijärvi, Käylä near Ruka

Memorable? Yes.

Recommended? Probably not.

If you are an Education major who is graduating this semester and seeking a teaching job, attend a teacher job fair to diversify your job search strategies and to sharpen your interpersonal and interview skills. A job fair is a great opportunity for visibility, especially if you make a good impression in person, and even more so if your in-person impression is better than your on-paper impression.

In keeping with the blog post from two weeks ago, you may have to extend your geographic boundaries to consider employment in a location that may not be your first choice in order to help you secure your first professional job. Think of relocation as a great opportunity for your personal and professional growth.

In chronological order, here are several upcoming teacher job fairs in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin:

Multicultural Career Fair
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Noon to 4:00pm
UW-Whitewater (University Center, Hamilton Room)
Cost = Free
While this fair consists mainly of companies and corporations, several school districts have registered to attend, including the School District of Holmen, Milwaukee Public Schools and Verona Area School District. The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County has also registered to attend.

Mid-America Educator’s Job Fair
Monday, February 27, 2012
10:00am to 3:00pm
Northern Illinois University (Convocation Center) – DeKalb, IL
Cost = $10 for non-NIU candidates
NIU students/grads are eligible to attend at 9:00 am, whereas all other students/grads are eligible to attend beginning at 10:00 am. Schools/districts from Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Texas and Honduras have registered to attend this fair. Review each district’s profile to determine their anticipated vacancies.

Lake County Education Job Fair
Saturday, March 10, 2012
8:00am to Noon
Adlai Stevenson High School – Lincolnshire, IL
Cost = Free in Advance Online; $5 at the Door
At the time of this post, 16 school districts from the Chicagoland area had registered to attend this fair.

University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Teacher Job Fair
Saturday, March 24, 2012
8:00am to 5:00pm
University of Northern Iowa – Cedar Falls, IA
Cost = Free
School districts from Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming have registered to attend this event.

Southeastern Wisconsin Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, April 21, 2012
8:00am to 1:00pm
South Milwaukee High School – South Milwaukee, WI
Cost = $15 in Advance Online
Typically, about 12-15 school districts from the Milwaukee area attend this event. Districts are yet to be announced. Preregistered candidates can enter the job fair at 8:00 am, whereas onsite registrants cannot enter until 10:00 am.

Wisconsin Educational Recruitment Fair
Monday, April 23, 2012
2:00pm to 7:00pm
Monona Terrace – Madison, WI
Cost = $5 for students/grad from sponsoring Wisconsin colleges/universities
The name of this event is a misnomer in that the fair is not limited to Wisconsin school districts. At the time of this post, districts from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin had registered to attend. In the past, districts from Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia and Nevada have also attended. Click on ‘Candidates,’ ‘District Recruiters’ and then on the District name to reveal the district’s areas of recruitment interest. Registration, via WECAN, begins in March.

Take time to review the information for each fair carefully, because each event has nuances. Also, go back to the fair websites periodically, and especially as the event draws near, for any changes to the list of participating districts and their recruitment intent. Finally, arrive early, bring your professional image, pleasant demeanor and enthusiasm, teaching experience and knowledge, and plenty of resumes – and leave your fishing pole at home.

Photo by Heather Sunderland

How to Introduce Yourself Effectively at the Career Fair

First impressions matter, a lot. I heard this from my mom, a long, long time ago. And, as usual, she was right. Recruiters tell us about their experience at our career fairs – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

One of their biggest frustrations they share is when students approach them and don’t say anything at all, or say the wrong thing. “What kind of job do you have for me?” is not a proper way to introduce yourself to a potential employer.  Oops! The good news is we can all improve our career fair skills.

John Grisham Gives a Me a Book

Realize that a career fair is a networking event. It is all about how effective you are in introducing yourself to recruiters, and how comfortable you appear while carrying out your part in a brief, focused conversation.

Develop and practice your self-pitch. Your self-pitch is what some people may call their “elevator pitch.” It’s a way to introduce yourself and communicate your personal brand. One of the main things we encourage students to do before the fair is to develop and practice your self-pitch, including the handshake. For some networking events your self-pitch may last about a minute, but for a career fair I suggest making it no longer than 30 seconds. When I’m the hiring manager, I want candidates to be enthusiastic about their chosen career path. Passion. I want to see their eyes light-up. For me, it’s maybe more of a feeling than the words they say.

Before writing your self-pitch, reflect. Why did you choose your particular career path? What excites you about working in this field in the future? Which of your values, interests and abilities best align with what’s needed to be successful in this field? What experience do you have that have helped you prepare to work in the field? Answering these questions and others will help you connect with your passion, to find your spark.

Knowing this, weave the spark into your introduction. Include in your introduction some of the basics: name and major, expected graduation date. Then find a way to include your spark into your self-pitch. I don’t believe there’s one, correct way to do this – everyone will have a slightly different self-pitch. By sharing your “spark” you will set yourself apart from the others who meet the recruiter. You’ll be remembered.

Photo by Scott Brenner.

Winter Break To-Dos: Part 2

Last week, I covered a few things to work on towards your career goals while you’re enjoying winter break. This week I have another item that you can have as an option for during winter break. Create your LinkedIn account and start networking with professionals in your intended career field. This social media platform allows you to join groups with other professionals that have similar career interests as you, you can do an extensive amount of company research (find out everything from who was recently hired to how the company shows up in the news), and also job searching.

Here are some useful handouts and guides to help you get started:

If you are currently getting ready to look for an internship, check out Laura’s tips internship winter break to-dos.

We will be taking a break from updating our blog for the duration of Winter Break. We’ll be back in action towards the end of January. We will be tweeting throughout winter break, so you can follow us there for the latest news about the world of work and UW-Whitewater.

We will be closed on the following days:

  • Friday, December 24th (Holiday)
  • Monday, December 27th (Furlough)
  • Friday, December 31st (Holiday)

Photo by: Ellen Hatfield

Top Three Job Search Tips From Recruiters

2013 World Water Week Young Professional's_24

Tip #1 – Be focused

Before you start looking for a job, know what kind of job you’re looking for. While it’s good to be flexible, you need to know what you’re good at, what you’re interested in, and what environment shares your values.

Don’t apply for just any job you see. Do your research. If you are qualified for the job and it interests you, apply.

Keep in mind, an organization wants the best person for the job. Why are you the best person for the job for which you are applying? Be able to articulate, both on your resume and at an interview, why you are the best. If you are asking an organization to accept your word that you are the best, here’s a hint – they won’t. If you can’t tell them specifically what they want to know and back it up with facts and figures, that interview, much less the job will not be yours.

Tip #2 – What have you accomplished?    

It’s good to be a “leader,” but what, exactly does that mean? What have you accomplished as a leader? Be prepared with facts and figures to back up your statement.

Do you have good communication skills? What specifically did you accomplish with those skills? How are your customer service skills? Again, what specifically did you accomplish with those skills?

Accomplishments are strong indicators of how qualified you are. They are more significant than your job duties/responsibilities. Make sure your accomplishments are verifiable and measureable and related to the job qualifications and description.

Tip #3 – Learn how to network effectively

Long before you start looking for a job, you should learn to effectively network. Good networks take time to generate. Think about your best friend. How long have you known him/her? Have you been friends for years?

Like good friends, networking is a two way street. You’ll want to help them just as they help you. None of this happens overnight. If you expect someone to recommend you for a position, they need to know you, which will take time. If you want a recruiter to think of you for a job that’s open with their organization, they have to know if you will be a good fit, which also takes time.

Finally, don’t forget your contact just because you found a job. Keep in touch with them. Congratulate them when you hear about a promotion they receive. Did you find some information that may be of use to them? Forward it to them. Or just keep in touch by saying “Hi.” If they helped you find your job or gave you some good advice, don’t forget to thank them. A little kindness and courtesy goes a long way.

Do you have any good advice to share with us? We’d love to hear from you!

Photo by worldwaterweek.