Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Students are Looking for in an Employer- Do you agree?

Recently, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shared responses from the 2012 Student Survey of what new graduates seek in their employers.   The results have been summarized into 4 key areas below.
  •  Students want to hear directly from the company and its reps via on campus programs.   Common ways this is accomplished at UT are through Open Houses, Job Fairs, Workshops and Student Organization Meetings.
  • Reinforcing this branding messages through multiple resources is often the key.  These trusted contacts could be fellow students, Career Services reps, family members and faculty.
  • Have a great intern program as an introduction to the company.   Key focus should be given to conducting PAID internships and internships that have project level work.  Must be meaningful experience.
  • Benefits packages are becoming increasingly important as students enter the world of work.

 Do you agree with these key focus areas?   Are there other things you look for in a company when seeking a job or internship?   Comments are open, share your thoughts!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Spring Registration

It’s time to pre-register for Spring semester classes and you are still exploring majors.  What classes should I take?  What courses would be a good fit for my tentative major?  These are just a few of the questions that might be going through your head as registration time nears.  The Office of Career Services can help you narrow down your major choices and along with your adviser  assist you in identifying classes that will be helpful in making your decision.
As mentioned in a previous post, we have many useful resources on our Career and Major Exploration page that will help you look at your options.   First year students will begin registration on November 12,  and the Office of Career Services is hosting a “Looking for a Major” workshop on Wednesday, October 31 at 5:00 pm in RIVC 102.  Please join me as we talk about registration, how to navigate the catalog and find the major requirements, and discuss your concerns about choosing the major and career that is just right for you!  After the workshop, I will be available to answer individual questions and also schedule follow-up appointments to discuss your career/major options.  I hope to see you at the workshop!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Introducing Yourself to Success

Your heart races and palms begin to sweat as you’re overcome with an adrenaline rush coated with embarrassment and stupidity. You awkwardly ask the person you’ve met previously how they’re doing, and hope they can’t tell you failed to uphold one of the most basic business etiquette principles: you forgot their name. The conversation is forced as you struggle to come up with the name and how you’ve met luck.

There are methods that can be used to save yourself, but the biggest priority should be making sure it doesn’t happen again. The importance of remembering someone’s name when you meet him or her can be critical, especially in today’s increasingly competitive world of business. Remembering a name allows you to come across as a more professional and reliable individual; not to mention, nearly everyone likes hearing the sound of his or her name.

Half the time, as we’re meeting someone for the first time, we stress about giving a firm handshake or worry about what to say next, only concerned with introducing ourselves. I confidently go for the handshake, reminding myself of what to say next. “Hi, I’m PK,” I say proudly. Then we tend to think about how firm of a handshake it was, whether or not we gave off a great first impression, or even criticize their handshake (your hand may be throbbing from an aggressive shake or you laugh to yourself because of how dainty it felt). At this point, the other person has already introduced his or herself and you just smile politely, now beating yourself up inside because you completely missed their name. 

Listen, relax, and just like shampooing your hair, repeat! Repeat the person’s name. This could be in your head, but make sure to say it once more aloud and in a less menacing voice than Anna Faris. Maybe ask how it is spelled or if there is any cultural history behind it. Even attach the person’s name to an image. Attaching memory cues to the name is going to help with memorization since our mind learns through images, actions, and emotions, as opposed to verbal cues.

If you find yourself struggling, don’t panic. You can still pull out your bag of tricks to redeem yourself. Try introducing a third party whose name you DO know. Hopefully, the mystery person will reintroduce him or herself, saving you from an awkward encounter. If it is someone you met at a networking event or less than two times, reintroduce yourself and recognize the previous encounter. “Hi, I’m PK. I believe we met before.” Chances are they’re facing the same dilemma as you and will greatly appreciate the easy out you just provided. Another approach is to just skip the introduction all together and ask them how they are doing. They may sense you forgot their name, but will not be able to prove it unless they directly ask. Just remember, NEVER commit to a name unless you’re positive; otherwise, congratulations, you just took part in the epitome of an awkward situation.

The next time you’re introducing yourself try and truly relax, listen to what they have to say, and repeat their name. This could make or break any possible job opportunities, reflect poorly or positively on your professionalism, and worst or best of all, generate that inner sense of disappointment or achievement in yourself.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Job Fair Follow-up

Our fall semester Professional Job Fair was last week, and the question that many students are probably asking themselves is, “Now what?!”  If you’re a few semesters away from graduation and you attended the fair just to get a sense of what to expect, now is the time to prepare for next semester’s Internship Fair and/or Career Expo.  If you are graduating this year, you should doing your company research and preparing for interviews.  Whichever situation is yours, get your professional wardrobe ready—See last week’s blog for tips for success!  The number one complaint we heard from employers after the job fair was that many students weren't professionally dressed.  You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one!

Get your “elevator speech” ready for introductions either at a career fair or during the interview where the most common question you may be asked is, “Tell me about yourself.”  Research the companies that you are interested in, either before attending a career fair or in preparation for applying for a job or internship.  The second most popular question an interviewer will ask you (in some form or another), is “What do you know about my company or organization?”  If you can’t shine here, the interview is going downhill fast.  Our website has a whole section devoted to interviewing under the Job Search Toolbox tab.  There is even a link to Optimal Resume where you can practice your interview skills online, use a webcam to capture your responses, view your performance, and share it with others for a critique.

If you met a few people at the job fair that you would like to follow up with, send them an email thanking them for attending the job fair and reiterating your interest in their company or organization.  Include something personal that might make them remember you, something that you talked about at the fair.  Include another copy of your resume or perhaps a revised copy that is more targeted to a specific job, and ask for either an informational interview to learn more about the company or a formal interview for a potential job. 

Now what?  NOW is the time to follow up!  Good luck!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dress for Success: Career Fair Attire

The Professional Job Fair is only a few days away! Appropriate attire is a key ingredient to effectively navigating a career fair – after all, this is often an employer’s first impression of you! To help you prepare, we’ve compiled some tips on how to dress for success.

When attending a career fair, business professional attire is suggested.

Business professional attire for women:

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  • Business suit in dark colors such as black, navy, or gray. If wearing a skirt suit be sure that the skirt is knee level or slightly above – no short skirts! Also, be sure to wear a tailored blouse underneath. Avoid low-cut tops.
  • Closed-toe leather pumps with low to medium heels.
  • Jewelry – generally, a good rule-of-thumb is no more than three pieces of jewelry (e.g., earrings, watch, and ring). Jewelry should be understated and appropriate for the workplace.
  • In addition, make sure your make-up and nail polish is neutral and professional. 

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Business professional attire for men:

  • Business suit in dark colors such as black, navy, or gray. 
  • Long-sleeved starched oxford cloth shirt in white or light blue.
  • Conservative necktie in color and pattern.
  • Dress shoes – make sure your shoes are polished and well-maintained (i.e., no holes!).
  • Over-the-calf dark socks.

Additional tips to remember:
  • A friendly smile and eye contact will make you stand out!;
  • Bring a briefcase or portfolio (no backpack);
  • Well-groomed hairstyle - avoid unusual styles & colors;
  • Wear minimal cologne or perfume;
  • No visible body piercing or body art;
  • Bring breath mints; use one before greeting recruiter. Do not chew gum!  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Career Services Resource Spotlight: American City Business Journals (online)

The University of Tampa offers students online access to The Tampa Bay Business Journal, including the popular “Book of Lists” resource that is published each year.  To access The Tampa Bay Business Journal – or any of the 39 other American City Business Journals titles – simply log on to the UT library databases and select “American City Business Journals” from the database list. Business journals contain a wealth of information related to a particular metropolitan area and provide comprehensive coverage of the latest business news. With numerous metropolitan areas (e.g., Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix, Sacramento, South Florida, Washington, etc.) to choose from, this online resource is an ideal choice for job-seekers who are targeting their job search in certain locations. 

Once you have selected a business journal, you have the option to view or download the current issue or previous issues. 

Business journals are a great way for job-seekers to:
·         Increase knowledge of certain industries and trends in a particular city;
·         Conduct company research;
·         Find networking opportunities;
·         Identify growing companies that are hiring;
·         Find job openings that may not be advertised on mainstream websites; and
·         Prepare for interviews.

One of the most popular resources is the “Book of Lists” which is published each year. In this special edition, Business Journals highlight their weekly industry and employer lists.

I hope you find this online resource helpful in your job search process!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Grad School- Writing a Personal Statement

It’s that time of the semester when many seniors begin to consider seriously the graduate school application process.  One of the most common elements of the application is the “statement of purpose” or “personal statement.” They can come in many styles and sizes, but the most common is very open-ended and asks the candidate to tell why he or she is interested in this particular degree or program and what its completion will mean to the candidate.  The most crucial word here is “personal.”   Not only must it be a well-crafted essay with no spelling or grammatical errors, but it must also convey to the reader(s) a sense of who you are and what makes you unique.   A quick Google search will give you lots of advice about writing a personal statement, and once you’ve written your first draft, the Saunders Writing Center on campus is a great place for a free critique.  The Office of Career Services offers an “Applying to Graduate or Professional School” workshop each semester—for fall semester, it will be Wednesday, October 10th at 5 p.m. in Riverside 102.  It’s a 45-minute overview of the application process with hints and websites to help you find the information you need.  One of the handouts, I always use is taken from Perfect Personal Statements by Mark Alan Stewart and gives the “Top 10 Rules to Write By” for your personal statement.

1)            DO strive for depth rather than breadth; narrow your focus to one or two themes, ideas or experiences.
2)            DO tell the reader what no other applicant will honestly be able to say.
3)            DO provide the reader with insight into what drives you—what makes you tick.
4)            DO be yourself rather than pretending to be the ideal applicant.
5)            DO get creative and imaginative, especially in your opening remarks.
6)            DO address the particular school’s unique features that attract you.
7)            DO focus on the affirmative in the personal statement itself; consider an addendum to explain deficiencies or blemishes.
8)            DO evaluate your experiences rather than merely recounting them.
9)            DO enlist others to proofread you essay for grammar, syntax, punctuation, word usage and style.
10)         DO use a highly-readable typeface with conventional spacing and margins.

Is graduate school right for me?
Where should I apply?
When should I apply?
How will I pay for grad school?
What tests do I have to take?

Come to our workshop on October 10th to help you find the answers to these and other questions you may have about applying to graduate or professional school!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Building Your Professional Network Using LinkedIn

If you have not yet taken advantage of all the features of LinkedIn, you may be wondering what the benefits are. While there are many benefits to LinkedIn, I want to highlight three distinct features: Contacts, Groups, and Companies.  LinkedIn offers you the ability to manage your online professional profile while connecting with colleagues, classmates, professors, community members, and employers. These Contacts are great resources for learning more about fields of study, industries, or job responsibilities. Many students utilize these connections when they want to conduct information interviews or learn more about certain industries or employers.

In addition to connecting with people, I highly recommend that students join Groups that are relevant to their career path or interests. To find appropriate groups, simply use the search feature to locate national, regional, and local groups of interest. Depending on how a group is structured, you may have to be granted acceptance before you can participate in the group. Be sure to read the description of the group before you select “join group” to ensure the purpose of the group aligns with your needs. Once you are a member of a group, you will have access to discussions, member information, jobs, and more!

The final feature I recommend to students is the Companies area. This is a great way to follow companies of interest. Locating specific companies is similar to finding groups – simply use the search feature in the companies section to see if an employer you are interested in has a LinkedIn page. To connect with a company, select “follow company.” Following companies ensures that you will receive their updates. Of course, one of best benefits to following companies is to learn about career opportunities.
For more tips and strategies on how to network on LinkedIn, click here.