Social Media in Your Job Search

As promised, here is my recap of the Using Social Media in Your Job Search presentation that took place on campus this afternoon in the University Union. The program, hosted speaker Nancy Thompson, a UWGB alum and partner at Signature Search, here in Green Bay.

We use social media in our personal lives. We build, maintain and rekindle friendships on sites such as Facebook and Myspace, but have you ever thought of using social media to build professional relationships?

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site that is based around developing those kind of professional “connections” as they call them. The network, launched in 2003, has 90 million users in over 200 countries.

Nancy began the program with a brief introduction of herself, we attendees, as well as the topic at hand, the LinkedIn network. Nancy, with a strong business background, has been working in the recruitment industry for over 15 years. She mentioned that she has seen first hand the benefits of using LinkedIn when searching for employment, and that she was excited to share this information with us. As attendees, we varied greatly. Many of the students in attendance were there to fulfill extra credit assignments, some were returning students and others soon-to-be grads. There were also a handful of faculty members that attended, which proves Nancy’s second point about how relevant professional networking and social media are to the college campus and society in general.

After introductions, Nancy walked us through the LinkedIn system. At first LinkedIn reminded me of Facebook. After logging in, there was a “Newsfeed” homepage that displayed the latest updates from your “connections”, or in the Facebook world, friends. Many of Nancy’s connections posted things resembling status’ and a large portion of them had linked their Twitter accounts to their LinkedIn, which were automatically displayed. LinkedIn also allows you to set up a profile, much like the ones on Facebook, but without all the nonsense “Wallposts” and pictures. Your LinkedIn profile is basically a less intense version of your resume with sections such as, ‘Current Title’, ‘Past Titles, Jobs’, ‘Education’, ‘Recommendation’ , and others similar. There is also a section to post an ‘About Me’ summary.

Groups are a huge part to LinkedIn. There are groups for everything imaginable, yet professional-related. The groups are used to network with others with shared interests and skills, as well as allow you to build connections through other connections–kind of like that “6 Degrees” theory. One group that Nancy recommends to students and young adults is the Young Professionals Network. This network is hosted by the local Chamber of Commerce as well as others around the state. “It is a great networking tool for young adults and new college grads,” said Ms. Thompson.

Contacts or connections rather, are truly what makes this network such a unique resource. They represent a huge part of networking and allow you to share information and learn about jobs from the professionals working in those jobs. “Networking is not about what you know, it’s who you know,” stated a fellow attendee. It is true. Networking is about making connections between people. If you meet 5 people, and each of those 5 people, meet 5 people, your connections have just tripled.

Using LinkedIn in your job search is a valuable tool, but also is a huge factor in the “Social Media Era” that our society has entered. To find more information about LinkedIn and its benefits visit our website: www.uwgb.edu/careers, give us a call at 920-465-2361, or try it for yourself, LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com. Start making professional connections for YOUR future.

WELCOME BACK!

Greetings from Career Services! It’s hard to believe it is already the start of spring semester—time is flying by. I hope that you all had a happy holiday and a great break! With the new year upon us and new classes already in session, it’s time to start crackin’ down and get back into those “study habits”. 

We, here at Career Services just want to remind you that as your schedules and lives begin to pick up, our offices are open to help YOU succeed in all aspects of your career and job search. If you’ve got questions about your major, we can help you. If you are struggling to find internship or job placements, we have tools for you. If you need some advice regarding interviews, resume building, or anything else related, our career counselors are here to guide you. Visit our website for more information: http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/. Stop into our offices SS 1600, we’re open 7:45AM – 4:30PM Monday – Friday. Call us at (920)465-2163 and schedule your appointment today!

With the New Year and the idea of many students and upcoming grads beginning new job searches, I thought it would be interesting to pull up statistics and predictions of 2011’s job market. To my surprise many of the news sources I pulled up, said 2011 is a good year for college students to be in the market for a job. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, college student and graduate hiring is expected to climb in 2011. Employers anticipate a 13.5 percent increase in college graduate hiring, 40 percent of employers hiring levels will remain the same, however nearly half of all participants in the Job Outlook 2011 Preview Survey expected some rise in hiring. This is GREAT news for us here in college. As I dug further into this survey, I found that 32.5 percent of the respondents were employers from the Midwest, while 27.9 in the Northeast, and 13.7 in the West. This is also GREAT news for us here in the Midwest. I’d say with the New Year upon us, a new semester at hand, and a positive outlook, we’re in for a pretty swell 2011. Not to mention our office has multiple events and seminars to get you at the top of your game. Check them out here! Keep working hard, keep striving, and stay determined—success will find you. Stay up-to-date with Career Services and all of our great services, events, information, and opportunity to maximize your efforts. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. We are here to help YOU! Best wishes from Career Services.

What’s YOUR Professional Rating?

How professional are YOU on the job? Raise a hand if you have ever answered a cell phone call, responded to a text message, or even spent time surfing the net for your next online purchase or Facebook status while at work—be honest here. Hands raised—we have probably all done this at one time or another, but is that level of professionalism what we’d want our bosses to see? ? Probably not. Still, according to a study done by researches at the Center for Professional Excellence (CPE) at York College of Pennsylvania, students and young employees continually fail to make the cut professionally. Nearly 38.2 percent of respondents said that less than half of new graduates exhibited professionalism in the workplace—a percentage practically unchanged in comparison with the results of the same survey in 2009. Of the traits that students fail to display in the workplace, internet etiquette, accepting personal responsibility and being open to constructivecriticism are among the highest ranked traits missing from recent graduates. “New employees are lacking the professional qualities that are deemed to be important. The largest gap exists for accepting personal responsibility and for decisions and actions and being open to criticism.”Interestingly, students also perceive this gap between importance and prevalence when rating the same qualities. However, they tend to feel they demonstrate more professionalism than employers actually experience,” says David Polk, whose company was commissioned by the CPE to complete the survey.

The CPE survey also finds that, again much like last year, new employees are continually more concerned with the opportunity for advancement than they should be—meaning that new workers want to touch the stars before climbing the mountain, so to speak.  Nearly half of those surveyed stated that the “sense of entitlement” in young employees is to blame for instant gratification and the decline in professional ism in the workplace. Some respondents even stated that students and young employees want mid-career treatment in their entry level positions; worse yet others said that the newer job seekers lack a quality work ethic.

 “Some of these problems in the workplace are the same things we are seeing in the classroom,” said Polk. “Students and employees alike are text messaging, surfing the Internet, and responding to cell phone calls at inappropriate times. It appears that for many the need to be in constant contact with friends and family has become an addiction. The addicted no longer see it as rude to be obsessively responding to calls or text messages.”

So does this mean all hope is lost for our young job seekers? Not at all. In response to last years survey results, York College in Pennsylvania created a series of seminars and educational classes for students and recent graduates, teaching the art of professionalism in the workplace. The results were outstanding, student respondents voted three to one that such programs offered by colleges were extremely valuable tools.

Now that you’ve got the facts, those of us with our hands raised, know we’re not alone, but clearly it’s time for change. And if you’re reading this wondering if your college campus offers such valuable programs and classes—you’re in luck! The University of Wisconsin—Green Bay and Career Services offer a variety of workshops, seminars, webinars, and classes throughout the academic year! Keep an eye on our events page for more information, so you can blow your next employer out of the water with your outstanding professional skills! :)

Facebook–Causing Trouble Online?

Facebook—a term that college students use countless times daily—used as a noun for a social networking site and a meeting place, “I’ll see ya on Facebook.” Other times Facebook is a verb, “I Facebooked her yesterday, and in some cases Facebook is simply the thing we turn to for all aspects of our life. Whether it be for work, play, chatting, or “creeping”, Facebook has become a crucial part of our day-to-day lives as college students. Most of us look to update our statuses with the latest gossip, complaint, or success story. Most of us look forward to Monday mornings when our Facebook Friends upload documents of the weekend prior, and for most of us we participate without a second thought. Facebook has become a societal norm, but have you ever thought about who else might be viewing those statuses or viewing those photos of your wild weekend? And for most of us, that answer is no.

We post for our friends, our family, and for our self-expression. Not often do we think that what we post could have negative repercussions. As I spoke with students here at UW-Green Bay, I found that most students don’t think about what they put on their Facebook profiles. “It’s a personal profile,” one student stated, which is true, however once posted on the World Wide Web, rarely is anything left “personal”. The internet offers little protection in the realm of security. The technology available has only made this much more real.

One out of the ten students I spoke with said that they regularly think about what they post online and regularly censor their posts to avoid negative associations. Many students stated that they’ve thought about it often, but it hasn’t changed what they post online, and a mere few students stated that they have adjusted their profile’s privacy settings to help deter unwanted viewers. However, for the most part students and young adults believe that Facebook is a personal entity, almost a form of online scrapbook and journal that documents our lives and allows us to keep in touch with those who are important to us. “Facebook is some people’s best friend to which they tell everything, others choose to keep Facebook in the friend-zone, but without giving away too much,” one sophomore student so cleverly put it. How much does your Facebook know about you??

What do employers think about Facebook? What about professors? To answer these questions, I turned to the web; according to a study done by CareerBuilder, 45 percent of employers social networking sites as screening tools when selecting applicants for hire. Many of these employers admitted to disregarding applicants due to the information collected online, but just as many employers lobbied that social networking sites have helped some applicants get the job. They recommend “cleaning-up” your social media profile before starting the application process. They commend creativity, well-roundedness, and evidence of skills as traits that will benefit your application. Another report published in BusinessWeek attempts to weigh the ethical rights of employers to make hiring and firing decisions based on online content. One argument in favor of these employer rights is the fact that a public profile is, well, public, and that anything posted to that profile is fair game. Furthermore, the fact that Facebook, as well as many other social networking sites, allows you to privatize your profile, limiting access to everyone but those you want to see the information. Many argue that not taking the time to limit your profile access constitutes the right of employers to view your content. On the flip side of things, arguments against employers logging in and viewing online networking sites state that online content is not ethical to be used in a professional setting. Those traits that may be apparent online, most often have nothing to do with the user’s professional skills. This content could be misinterpreted and/or completely invalid all together.

No matter which side of the argument you stand, beware of the potential dangers online. Keep Facebook at a distance when it comes to your personal life, and take advantage of the privacy settings that are offered. Protect yourself and your friends as precaution, not to mention, take one less worry and hassle out of applying for that job.

Still Undecided?? Let Career Services Help You Choose the Perfect Major!

November is here, and that means Spring Registration is just around the corner.  This is the time that students frantically search for classes to fill their class schedules. Often times this task is daunting enough for students, but without an academic plan or goals, this can be an extremely dreadful event for many students. If you’re reading this thinking, “I’m one of those students”, keep reading. I’ve got some great tips and tools for making this year’s registration as smooth as possible.

 Choosing an academic path and major is sometimes a difficult thing to do, but that’s what our excellent counselors at Career Services are here for! They can help you recognize your interests and skills through an assortment of career planning and interest assessments. They can give you their best advice, and ultimately help you choose the best path for you. They are here to help YOU! Making an appointment is easy. Call us at (920)-465-2163, and our wonderful office staff will help schedule you an appointment that works right into your schedule!

 There is also a Career Planning course that is offered every fall and spring semester. The assignments of this course focus entirely on self-assessment by learning and applying different career planning theories, and exploring the career options available to you. This course gives you an in-depth look into your personal goals and interests, which will eventually help you, choose the best major-match for you. Look for Human Development 225 if you’re interested in signing up for this course. You can also visit the Career Services Webpage for more information.

 With these tools, you will have a path cleared away in no time! Our staff has made it their mission to do their very best to help all students, so take advantage, make an appointment today!

Step-by-Step: (PRO) Phoenix Recruitment Online

With the fall semester almost half complete, some of you may be thinking about what is next. Spring and summer jobs and internships might be on your brain, but you may not be sure where to find these jobs and internships—that’s when you can look to UWGB’s Phoenix Recruitment Online, otherwise known as the PRO system. You may be thinking, “What in the world is she talking about?”, and that is exactly what I plan to change. I’ve prepared a step-by-step guide to using the PRO system as well as some great advice from our career counselors and students like you who have found success through PRO. Let’s begin.

Step One: To begin this process you will need to login to PRO. Each student has an account created by the university which you can access through the Career Services homepage or through the UWGB Student homepage by clicking Phoenix Recruitment Online. The username  you will use will be: uwgb_the last 9 digits of your student ID. The password you will use will be: your birth date (MM/DD/YY).

Step Two: Once you have logged in, you will be staring at the PRO Home screen. You will be greeted by PRO’s friendly “Welcome” announcement, along with a list of directions to help you navigate the system. First you want to click on My Account–>My Profile. Under this tab, you will find your personal account and profile set up for you by the university. Here you are able to edit your personal information, demographic information, skills, and additional or miscellanious information. You can move easily between these sections by clicking on the tabs located at the top of the page. If you go back to My Account–>My Documents, you will be directed to a new page that again lists exactly how to navigate through uploading documents to PRO. Important documents to upload here are, your resume, cover letters, recommendations, and any other reference material that would be beneficial to a potential employer. You can upload these documents by clicking Upload File in each of the sections available. According to our Career Counselors here in the office, this section is probably the most important section of the PRO system. Linda Peacock-Landrum, Director or Career Services, stated, ” First and foremost, make sure that students have a resume uploaded into PRO and that it is viewable to employers…” Once you have uploaded a document, such as a resume, you should always be sure to go back into My Account–>My Profile to edit the “Employer Can See Resume” in the Additional Information section to YES.

Step Three: Now that you’re logged in, and up-to-date, you’re ready to begin your job search. At this point you will want to click the Jobs tab. You will then be directed to a search screen. From here, you have the option to search for jobs by: keyword, industry, position type, job ID (if known– but not likely) and  job function. The most common search and probably most productive way to search is by position type or job function. Through these choices you will most likely be exposed to the most job opportunities.

Step Four: Once you have found a job or internship that you might be interested in, you can use PRO to apply for the position. By clicking on the postion name, you will be directed to a “Job Profile” screen. By looking under the “Applications Instructions” you will find instructions for applying. Questions regarding how to apply or understanding how to apply are always welcome in the Career Services Office. You can reach us by email, phone or by stopping in to set up an appointment with one of our counselors for additional help.

Step Five: Patience. Patience. Patience. Many students have already found success through using the Phoenix Recruitment Online, and our hope is that you can too! By following these simple steps, you can take the hassle out of the job search. In a quote from Linda Peacock Landrum, she states, “I try to equate using PRO today like someone 15 years ago would utilize newspapers to search for employment. If you were looking for a job in Green Bay 15 years ago, it would be natural to use the Press-Gazette to look for a job–you would not ignore it. Therefore if you knew that employers wanted to post jobs and internships directly to UW-Green Bay students–why would you not use the resource designed to do just that??”

Applying for jobs is a tricky business, but with good instruction and help from UWGB’s PRO system, you’ll find yourself a “PRO” in no time ;)

Follow Up: 2010 Fall Job & Internship Fair

As a follow up to my previous blog, as well as another source to help students find career success, I decided to discover my inner Sherlock Holmes, and investigate what it really is that employers are looking for in students and future employees. My hope was to bridge the gap between student understanding and employer expectation. As I pondered ideas for my research, I thought, what better place to begin my research than the 2010 Fall Job & Internship Fair?? The fair was held last Wednesday September 29, 2010.

The day started great, at 9 am there were students standing outside ready and waiting, and by 10 am students were filtering in steadily, most dressed appropriately, most with resume in hand, and many looking like they were ready to rock, but there was a tension in the air, an awkwardness that filled the space and you could see it on their faces. Employers were standing at their booths, conversing quietly with one another. Students were standing in front of the door, frantically looking at their notes. I could tell the nerves were starting to kick in. I quietly wondered how the day would turn out and what I was going to learn.

I jumped right in and spoke with students who confirmed my observations—they were nervous. They were nervous about the initial contact and greeting with employers. Many students voiced concern of the “awkwardness” walking up to a potential employer, as well as the oddity of the situation as a whole: employers lined up ready and waiting to talk to you—or as many students feared, embarrass you. Students also expressed their concerns of not being prepared, forgetting what they had intended to say and stumbling over their words. As I watched further, by 10:30 students were actively participating in the job fair atmosphere. I observed extremely positive interaction, as well as some not-so-positive. It was time to get down and dirty, and uncover what it really was that employers wanted to see from students.

I began my interviews with Cherney Microbiological Services, LTD. In speaking with the representatives of this company I found that many of the qualities and requirements that they were in search of were the same as those previously mentioned in our blog. They wanted a student who was prepared and outgoing, who dressed appropriately, etc… but there were some things that caught my attention. “One of the most important things to us is that the student portrays dependability, because after all if we hire them, we want to have confidence in their ability to be depended on,” said one representative. Other traits that Cherney listed as desirable were a strong work ethic, ability to adapt to changes, and “spunk”. “Personality is key,” added another rep.

I continued to ask about what it was that students were doing wrong or quite possibly not understanding. The answers I received were interesting, yet a lot like what I had heard before. As one representative stated, “Come with questions. Do your research, and most of all be yourself and be confident. It’s all about how you sell yourself.”

As I moved from one employer to the next it became apparent that what I was finding was significant information. I was seeing first-hand the severity of the gap between student and employer. I spoke next with a representative from the YMCA. She told me specifically she was looking for a person with passion and a heart for the position they were seeking. She expressed that too often students apply for a “job” for the sake of having a job, but never stop to think whether or not they would actually care for the position. She stated “having presence” as something that was crucial when seeking employment. She also mentioned dressing for the position you are seeking as an important quality.

I continued to observe the trials of students roaming the job fair—some extremely successful, others still struggling. I decided to speak with one last employer. This time I went for the big dog: Integrys. Within minutes of introducing myself and starting my interview, I could tell that these guys were tough. They have intense requirements for their student employees, including a specific GPA and experience. They also have high expectations in regard to “presence” while speaking with them. They expect confidence and initiation from the student as well as good communication skills and maturity. Appropriate dress, resume, research, and questions for the employer were also things of importance to Integrys representatives. One rep told me, “It may be uncomfortable and you may not look cool, but who is going to look cool when they’ve got the job?” She continued to state, “If you want an interview, you need to come in with your game face on.”

I left the job fair thinking about what the last employer had said. I began to realize the gap between students and employers at job fairs and in the working-world in general could be bridged by one thing: initiative. If students take the time to do their research and be prepared, that’s initiative. When students take initiative, they become more confident in themselves and their preparedness. When a student is confident and prepared, employers take notice, and that’s exactly what anyone seeking employment wants. I learned through this experience that employers at the job fair aren’t scary people standing behind a table waiting to embarrass you; they want to help you—heck they even want to hire you, so take some initiative. Be confident and watch them take note of you! ;)

Top Five Ways to Mess-Up an Interview

With the 2010 Career Services’ Job & Internship Fair less than a week away, students might be wondering what  it is that makes a good interview?—what is that magic spark that sets you apart from other potential employees? As a student myself, I’ve heard it all before—be professional—dress nicely—be confident, but what does that really mean? So instead of repeating the vague statements we’ve all been told we should do, I’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes college students make during interviews to help ensure that you make the most of your job fair and interview experience! 

 1. Don’t Prepare. Don’t do your research. Don’t even know the name of the company you’re interviewing with.

“A candidate for an accounting position said she was a ‘people person’ not a ‘numbers person’”

This is a HUGE no-no.  Failing to prepare, even just skimming the company’s website or knowing its name and what their underlying purpose is, will end your search for employment. I promise. Simply clicking the “About Us” button on their website will give you enough information to sound intelligent. Secondly, employers want to know that you want to be employed. A potential employee that is unable to answer questions about the company screams lazy.  Now, what sane employer would hire a lazy person? Exactly, none. So do your homework.

 2. Poor Communication. Talking too much. Not talking enough.

Lacking the communication skills to speak to an employer is a huge turn off. If you can’t speak to them or if they can’t get you to stop …they’ll move on. Employment is about communication, and learning to communicate effectively to get the job done. It is so important to positively connect with the person who will potentially hire you. A firm hand shake, eye contact, and confidence are examples of this, but you also want to be polite, friendly, approachable, yet reserved. Remember they are interviewing you for a job, not your autobiography, but also remember that they want to know something about you. You’re going to have to talk. Let your own light shine through, but don’t blind them. Interview communication is all about balance. Be conscious of what you said, what you plan to say, and what your potential employer might want to say. Balance the conversation and communication will be a breeze.

 3. Don’t bring your Resume or Cover Letter—Who needs that anyway??

YOU DO! This is such an incredible mistake that so many students make. Don’t let this happen to you—bring extra an extra copy of your resume and cover letter to an interview, or in a job fair setting bring multiple copies of each.  Employers appreciate getting an “inside” look at the skills and knowledge of you, the person they are interviewing, before even meeting you, but also bringing a resume to an interview shows your preparedness and organization. It is always better to be over-prepared than not prepared enough. So print out a few extra, while you’re at it and get yourself one step closer to landing that interview!

 4. Wear the same thing you wore to the gym.

 “A candidate smelled his armpits on the way into the interview room”

…Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration but dressing inappropriately is the best way to offend your potential employer before you even open your mouth. First of all, your clothes should fit…loosely. Second, they should be conservative and for lack of a better word, boring. Your potential employer doesn’t care how fashionable you are or whether you have a six-pack. As you’re getting dressed remember you’re here to get a job, not make friends. Third, make sure that your attire is appropriate for the job setting.  For example you wouldn’t hire a lawyer that dressed like Flavor Flav, would you? Therefore, you should not expect an employer to hire you as an office representative in your gym clothes or pajamas. Think about what you’re going to wear. Wear what other people wear in the place that you’re applying. Do some research. Be boring—you’re selling your work ethic, not your outfit.

 5. Don’t say “Thank you”.

 I know that you’re nervous, but use your manners. Remember to say “Thank you” and smile. An interviewer is searching for clues about your personality and character as they speak with you. Let them know you are polite and respectful. However, manners come into play most importantly after the interview. Sending a “Thank you” note is an easy way to ensure that your employer remembers you long after the interview is over. It also lets the employer know how interested you are in the position. A simple hand-written note is best. Thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Express your interest in the position. Let them know you are looking forward to hearing from them. It’s easy and simple, and it costs less than .50 cents—I’d say that’s a reasonable fee for a successful interview.

Avoiding these mistakes will help make each and every one of your interview experiences a positive one.  Good luck to all students attending the Job & Internship Fair here at UWGB on Wednesday, September 29, 2010. If you have any questions regarding this information or the upcoming Job & Internship Fair please contact us at: 920-465-2163, by email at: careers@uwgb.edu, or find us on Facebook.