Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Owning My Career

                It seems like just yesterday I was a freshman pursuing a degree in marine biology with no idea of what I wanted to do after graduating, or how I was going to do it. I am now a senior who will be completing a degree in marketing with a minor in public speaking in May of 2015. I have three internships under my belt, great connections in my career field, knowledge about my industry, and a solid idea of what I would like to do after graduating and how I will be able to attain my goals. A lot has changed in the past four years, and looking back I am happy to have been able to take control of my career. By utilizing the many career services resources here at the University of Tampa, I now understand how important it is to get a head start on looking into your future goals and the steps that are needed to achieve them.  

To start, it helps to have an idea of what kind of industry you would like to pursue. Again, I initially started my college career as a marine biology student but I soon realized that I was not happy doing that. I dreaded going to all of my classes and taking the time out of my day to study the material. After making the switch to marketing, my classes are now something that I look forward to, and I thoroughly enjoying learning more about the industry. After finding a broad idea of what is the best fit for you, you can then cater your goals to something more specific within your industry.  

After deciding that marketing was the perfect route for me, I started talking to people within the industry (professionals, professors, friends, and family) gathering advice about the steps that I should take in order to succeed in my field. I have found that there is one thing that is common to succeeding in any field that you pursue: experience. Join clubs that relate to your industry, if you are a biology major look into joining tri-beta, if you are a math major join the math club. This campus is full of opportunity, but you must be the one who is looking for it: you probably won’t receive a personal invitation to become a part of a student organization. Another word of advice is to earn a leadership position in the organization that you have become involved in. Show that you are dedicated and prove that you can take on the responsibility – it will be worth it when you are applying to jobs in the future.

Another way of gaining experience is by interning. As many know, the process to receiving an internship has become more and more competitive over the years. You are never too young to intern, even if it’s just a couple of hours a week. When you gain experience while you are young, even if it is at a smaller, unheard of company, it will open the doors to many other, bigger opportunities because you will have the prior experience that every big name company seems to be looking for these days.

By getting involved and by gaining experience you will have been given the opportunity to network without even realizing it. By maintaining these relationships that you have created with people who you have worked with, or participated in the same organization with, you will realize that these are the people who will be able to help you within your field and if needed be, lead you in the right path.

With these couple of steps, you will be headed on the right path to owning your own career. It will give you the confidence that you need to step into an interview and portray to an employer that you are the perfect fit for what the company is looking for. Your college years can be some of the most valuable years of your life if you utilize them in a way that is fit for your career. There are some things that I wish I did differently as a first year student, but I realized that it is never too late to get started, although the sooner you realize it, the better!
Victoria Williams
Marketing Intern, Office of Career Services
The University of Tampa

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Get ready for that job or internship. Here are some ways to help yourself with a career plan:

*Job Shadow – Make some calls to see if you can arrange a job shadowing experience.  Job shadowing is a great way to gain knowledge and insight into a specific career field.

*Informational Interview – Conducting an informational interview has proven to be very successful in gathering information about a particular career field and also expands your network.  Check out our sample questions and how to go about finding opportunities.

*Network – When you attend social gatherings, have an elevator pitch.  Create a two minute summary about yourself so that if someone asks you if you are looking for an internship or what you plan to do with your life after graduation, you can give a summary of your career goals and interests.  There are many possible networking connections through family and friends.

*Internship/Job Search - Take some time to look at HIRE-UT to check out possible internships and jobs for next semester.  Look at the dates for career and internship fairs and make a note of them in your calendar.  Now is the time to plan some effective networking strategy.

*Resume/Cover Letter – If you don’t have a resume prepared, create one!  The Office of Career Services has some excellent resources available on the Job Search Toolbox portion of our website.  Spend some time writing your resume and then come to our office for a resume review.  We have employer walk-in hours on Monday between 2-4 pm; and Career Services staff walk-in hours Monday through Friday from 2-4 pm.

Make the effort to invest time in your career planning!

Marsha Sherman
Assistant Director of Career Exploration
The University of Tampa

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Choosing an Internship: Being Open to Opportunities

Degrees are great, but practical skills are what will land you your dream job down the road. You’ve heard it once, twice, and you’re about to hear it again, “You need to complete an internship prior to graduation.” Although the task of finding an internship may appear to be daunting at first, I can assure you that the process is easier than it looks – it’s all about being open minded and adhering to an objective.
First, what are you looking to gain from the experience?
Ask yourself what you wish to walk away from the experience with, whether it is knowledge of particular skill sets, expanding your social network, or getting a better feel of an industry. From here, make a list of what you are looking for in an internship; duration, time period, area of interest, location i.e. Internships are great – they’re getting you in a hands-on learning environment that future employers will look at when considering you for employment.
Second, be humble in your search endeavors – no opportunity is beneath you.
Bill Gates didn’t start out his career as the chief executive of Microsoft. Admittedly, I attended the Internship Fair last fall with high expectations; I was looking for my dream marketing job in the form of an internship and was under the impression that I shouldn’t settle for anything less. After having spoken to various affiliates pertaining to my major, I stumbled upon an opportunity that wasn’t the “cookie-cutter” opportunity I had been looking for. In fact, it was a start-up company in the area of real estate. However, I took the opportunity nonetheless. Why? Experience. Although the internship did not directly pertain to my major, I gained valuable skill sets and contacts that I was able to utilize on my resume for future endeavors. Come spring time, I landed a chance to work with a merchandising company that is outsourced by the Yankees during their 2014 spring training season. That then led me to my current home in the Office of Career Services. The experience taught me that behind every door, there is a bigger one waiting to be opened – you just have to be patient.
*Attend the Fall 2014 Internship Fair Wednesday, October 1st from 1-3:30p.m. in Fletcher Lounge, Plant Hall. For a list of companies log into your HIRE-UT account now:



Eliza K. Majka

Marketing Intern, Office of Career Services

The University of Tampa

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A New Academic Year. A fresh start to a more professional YOU!

Welcome to all new students and welcome back to those returning! This academic year will be the best yet. In order to ensure that the internship or job of your dreams is right around the corner you should follow these top 5 tips to manage your professional image both in-person and online.

1.       Your Professional Career Starts TODAY

a.       Take on the challenge of a new academic year through the lens of the professional that you are becoming. Every person you interact with is a potential mentor, reference, future colleague and networking contact. Arrive to class on-time, take the time to get to know your professors (they are the experts in their fields!) and consider ways to enhance your  professionalism.

2.       Guard your personal reputation!

a.       Make sure that you know and OWN what is being said about you. What do classmates, professors and/or supervisors think about you? If you don’t know, now is the time to ask!

3.       Google yourself!

a.       What comes up when you google yourself? If an employer searches for your name, what do they find? OWN your image online. Create a professional blog, perhaps a dream career journey. Social media can be a very positive way to interact with the professional world around you. Make sure you DO NOT post inappropriate photos or posts. They could change the course of achieving that dream job.

4.       Dress for the job you want!

a.       We all know you do not have to wear a professional suit to make an impression in everyday life. On the contrary, those students who dress in business casual (no flip flops, short shorts, tank tops, etc.) have the opportunity to stand out amongst their peers and show respect to the faculty teaching these courses. Also, make sure you review the professional dress blog prior to the upcoming Professional Job Fair on October 22.

5.       Become a LEADER!

a.       Challenge yourself to take on an active role in a student club or organization. Employers are interested in those students that not only excel in the classroom but also in the community around them. Leader stands out on a resume!

Take control of your career. Only YOU can dictate your future and it starts TODAY!

Jessie Bush
Assistant Director
Career Coaching & Professional Development