What I Wish I Knew My Freshman Year

Dear Freshmen,

As I begin my junior year, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much I’ve learned since I was a confused freshman wandering aimlessly around campus. After two years of college, it’s safe to say that I’ve adapted more to the ever-busy college lifestyle since my freshman year. We put a lot of thought into what we wish someone would have told us during our first semester of college, and here’s the advice we have to offer to you all.

1. Don’t be so quick to judge

Be open-minded. Join a club you never thought you would have joined. Talk to new people. There are a lot of great opportunities out there for you to submerge yourself in new things. It’s a great way to not only meet new people, but to really get involved with the campus community.

2. (Romantic) Relationships aren’t everything

Don’t get me wrong, you may find that the love of your life lives across the hall, but remember that college is also a time to grow as an individual. Keep this in the back of your mind and try to continuously learn both for and about yourself.

3. Check out the Involvement Fair

There are clubs for EVERYTHING. Go to a meeting, and get the feel of what an organization is about. It’s a great way to start building your resume and again, you’ll meet a ton of new people along the way! This year’s Involvement Fair will be on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 from 11-2 in Wyman Mall (UC to Goodhue). If you feel like you may need some guidance on what to get involved in, be sure to make an appointment with a Student Involvement Office intern! They are here to help you get connected to everything the UWW has to offer. For more information, check out the following link. (http://bit.ly/1M8a7Nw)

4. Accept your parent’s help

Independence that first year of college is amazing, but sometimes you WILL need to ask for help from your parents, and that’s okay.

5. Get enough sleep!

You should not be pulling all-nighters every night. It WILL catch up to you and it’ll affect your health, grades, and wellbeing. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

6. Work hard play hard

Working hard your first semester is vital. You don’t want to get into bad study habits your first semester a kill your GPA. Go to the library, but at the same time, make sure you’re not forgetting to have some fun, too.

7. Attend SI sessions

If you’re having trouble with a class, go to the SI session! SI (Supplemental Instruction) sessions are there for students who may be struggling with course content or just want the extra review of material. These can be very helpful and can save you a lot of stress if you feel like you may not have done the best on one of your exams.

8. Attend Advising meetings

THIS IS IMPORTANT. You don’t want to be taking classes you don’t need. Your advisors are here to help make sure you stay on track, so don’t skip your advising meetings! If you’re unsure of what career path you may want to go down or want to learn more about a specific industry, you can also set up a meeting with a Career Advisor as well. Check out this link for more information on Career Advising Services. (http://bit.ly/1UE5Yjv)

9. Call home

Your family misses you; don’t forget about them when you’re at school. Make sure to give them a call every once in awhile!

10. Diversify classes

Being in five business classes can be both stressful and boring. Switch up your classes to make sure you stay interested in what you’re learning.

11. Student Discounts

Your student ID gets you SO many discounts! Take advantage of that and save your money, you broke college students.

12. Never stop applying for scholarships and grants

Your parents probably made you apply for a ton of different grants and scholarships. Don’t stop once you get to college. Keep looking for them and save yourself some money on tuition. It’s an expensive four (hopefully) years.

13. Read the syllabus

I know hearing each professor go over their syllabus is boring as can be, but there is a lot of very useful information in them. Make sure you read it all and know the expectations for that class right off the bat. Knowing important dates for each of your class will help you plan ahead and avoid any potential conflicts.

Good luck to all of you freshmen on your first semester of college! Remember to always make the most out of your time here, it goes by all too quickly.

 

Surviving Finals Week: Stress Management Tips

With finals season approaching, it is not surprising that stress levels are rising. For a lot of us this is the most stressful time of year. From final exams to group projects and presentations, it seems like the work will never end.

I did some research to see what we can do to help reduce our stress levels and finish out this semester strong. Here are a few tips that I found:

1. Sleep. I know that sleeping when it seems like you have endless amounts of work to do seems like a bad idea. However, getting a good amount of sleep every night can actually help you feel less stressed during the day.

If you are someone who works better at night, schedule time for a nap during the day. Your body needs to rest. Getting sleep can help you feel more relaxed and allow you to focus on the schoolwork that you need to accomplish.

2. Make some time for fun. If you are spending all of your time in the library studying all day every day, you are eventually going to get burnt out. If you schedule a few hours in your week to just hang out with your roommates or watch some Netflix, you will start to feel less stressed.

While it may seem like a good idea to stay in and study all the time, your brain needs a break too. With the weather getting nicer, find a friend to just sit outside and talk with. This way your brain is getting a break from all of the educational stuff and you’re getting a chance to relax.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you have that assignment that you just can’t figure out. Whether it’s coming up for a topic for your big paper, or just getting some pre-presentation jitters out. Your professors are there to help you. They have office hours for a reason. Go in and talk to them, chances are they’d be more than happy to work through your problem with you so that understand what you are doing.

Ask your friends for help. If you haven’t been there already, you probably will in your time here. Friends are there to help you practice your presentation and tell you that you are saying “um” too much. Plus, chances are they’re going to ask you to return the favor someday.

4. Remember to eat. From experience I can tell you that there’s nothing worse than spending all night studying and then remembering you didn’t eat. Is it worth it to eat right before bed, or do you just wait until the morning? The decision is never easy. Even if you are just snacking while you are reading your textbooks, or creating a presentation. That is better than nothing.

Your body needs food to function. If you forget to eat, then you will lose any momentum you had in studying and you will have to spend refueling yourself. Also make sure that you don’t just go on a diet of Toppers and McDonalds. Treat yourself to some nice fruits and veggies everyday so that you are making sure you stay healthy.

5. Manage your time. If you are like most college students, you will have more than one project to work on or more than one exam to study for. Make sure that you are spacing out your time wisely. If you know that one of your exams is going to be really difficult and you are going to need to put a lot of time into studying for it, start early. This way, instead of spending hours at a time studying for just that one exam, you can break it up over a few days and study other things along with it.

Doing this will help you not only not get bored with the topic you are studying for, but will give your brain a chance to retain the information. The breaks that you give yourself can be used to nap, sleep, or have some fun. This way both you and your brain are getting the breaks that you deserve.

While finals are a stressful time of year, it is not impossible to keep your stress levels down. These are also not the only ways that you can help calm your stress. Everyone handles stress differently, so figure out what works best for you and do that.

Building Your Experience: One Bullet Point at A Time

“Please attach your resume to the application.”

These words appear on every job application. Everyone always tells you to make sure that your resume stands out against the other candidates. How am I supposed to make sure that mine is different from all the rest? What are the important things that I need to include on it? These are all questions that come to mind when writing a resume.

I have read plenty of articles giving me all sorts of resume tips. I have been in classes where creating a resume was an assignment. How was I going to make sure that mine stood out?

I start from the top. Name, contact information, and education. Your name is important, so I make mine a little bit of a bigger font than the rest of my resume. I include my address, phone number, and email so that when the employer reads my amazing resume they knew how to get ahold of me. I put my school name, my major, expected graduation date, so the employer knows that I have the education background for the job that I want. This section wasn’t too bad.

In the related work section I make sure that I bold all of my position titles, places of employment, and the dates that I was there. This way, when the employer is scanning my resume they can quickly see the titles and then read on if they are interested. In the sub-points for each job, I describe what I did, always starting with a verb (this website has a great list of verbs that make your resume more powerful https://www.themuse.com/advice/185-powerful-verbs-that-will-make-your-resume-awesome.) If I currently hold the position, the verb is in the present tense, if it was a past position, the verb was in the past tense. I put my experience in chronological order. You can choose to do it this way or you can order the positions by relevancy.

2Throughout college I have been involved in many different student organizations. My resume was a perfect place to show all of the relevant skills and experiences I have gained through those. This section is formatted just like the related experience section except instead of them being employment related, they are leadership and professional organization related.

The final step in my journey to make my resume one that would stand out to employers and land me that job is to get feedback. My family is happy to help, my friends are almost as happy, but I will have to read a couple of their resumes too. I will also take it to one of Career & Leaderships Resume Doctors so that I could get a more professional opinion on it as well.

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After talking with these different people I also got some advice on what not to put on my resume. The two most important pieces of advice I received was to make sure that I did not have any spelling, grammatical or punctuation errors on my resume and that my resume was not more than one page long. These mistakes could take me one step back in my goal to look professional. Another piece of advice was to make sure that I am using an easy to read format so that the employer could easily follow my experience and skills and relate them back to the job. Finally, they told me to make sure that I am highlighting that I have the required skills and experience for the job. I can do this by taking out experiences that aren’t as relevant and elaborating a little bit more on what was.

A resume is never completed. With every new job and every new experience there is something to add. As time goes on there will be things that are no longer relevant. However, now after going through my resume and making sure that the basic layout is good, I feel a lot better about attaching my resume to the job application and sending it out to future employers.

5Note: It is not recommended to send out massive quantities of your resume unless it is tailored to each specific position.

Career & Leadership Development is a great place to get your resume reviewed no matter what field you are in! Call (262) 472-1471 to make an appointment today!

kickSTARt Your Interview

 

Two short weeks ago I was in the heart of the Windy City for the Chicago Advertising Federation Career Day. It was an all day affair complete with breakfast, lunch, panel discussions, and networking opportunities. I learned a lot through my anxiety-ridden experience, and want to share my new-found knowledge with all of you!

The lunch portion of the event was particularly helpful because we (the very nervous interviewees) had our very own, real life HR Recruiter at our table. Luckily, she was very nice and let us ask as many questions as our hearts desired, and I asked “what advice do you have for how we should approach the company booths during the networking time?” Her answer was simple, informative, and easy to implement – simply be a S.T.A.R.

Whether it’s a quick talk at a booth, a phone interview, or an onsite interview, the S.T.A.R. method is the best way to answer any question a recruiter poses. In order to implement this answering method you have to use real life examples. For example, if the interviewer asks you about a moment you are most proud of this is how you would answer using the S.T.A.R. method:

Situation:

Anytime you give an answer you need to give the recruiter/hiring manager some context of what was happening. What you may think is obvious might not be to them, so make sure you include information about the basics of the situation.

Example: The moment I’m most proud of is when I won my internship competition last summer when I was a digital media planning intern at MediaCom. The competition consisted of five teams with four people on each, and lasted throughout the 10-week internship.

Task:

This is where you describe what you were asked to do, or what the challenge of the situation was.

Example: For the internship competition each team was asked to create a comprehensive media plan for BP Fuel Rewards Program, which culminated in a group presentation in front of agency leaders.

Action:

This is the most important component of the S.T.A.R. method. The action piece of the method is where you describe what you actually did in the scenario.

Example: My group did substantial secondary research to fully understand the situation at hand. We then worked together to create an insightful media plan based on our research. Our presentation was well rehearsed, and adequately reflected the work we put into it.

Result:

This is the conclusion of the S.T.A.R. method. Now you need to tell them the “so what.” What happened as a result of your actions? The result section is where you prove to the recruiter that you made the right “action.”

Example: As a result of our hard work and detail-oriented plan, my team won the intern competition. Our prize was the opportunity to present to MindShare’s North American CEO.

 

The S.T.A.R. method is a great way to handle any interview question; it keeps your answers clear, concise, and organized. It also helps you from rambling on and on.

Have you ever used the STAR method?

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!*