Be Prepared for Your Career After Graduation – It’s Worth the Energy

(Thank you to our Valued Partner, Integrys – for authoring this month’s blog)

Transitioning from the college scene to the professional job market may not be as far off in the distant future as you might think, and it has the potential to cause quite a few pitfalls for the unprepared student – both for the short-term and the long-term. One common example experienced by far too many college graduates is that they don’t necessarily possess a high level of hands-on experience in their field of study – resulting in a fragile resume that doesn’t help much in landing a job offer. Conundrums like this one stem from the well known circular-reasoning of “You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job”. So which one comes first – the job or the experience?

One answer to this question comes to many students in the form of an internship or an apprenticeship. Regardless of your field of study, there are many job opportunities available to students who are still enrolled in college-level education, and can be accessed through a host of websites and job and internship fairs. Using your UW Campus ID number, you can access the Phoenix Recruitment On-Line (PRO) resource, which serves as a connection between employers and students. Other resources include Green Bay Current from the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, LinkedIn, and the numerous Job fairs that are hosted in the Phoenix rooms on UW-Green Bay campus.

Finding the channel that suits you the best, and using it tap into the vast pool of opportunities in the greater Green Bay area, and to get in contact with employers who are actively looking for interns is a great first step towards building up your resume and obtaining real-life experience in your area of study – which is exactly what employers look for when you’re searching for a position to begin your career after graduation. Never think that it’s too early to begin bolstering your greatest investment (your education) with an applicable internship. The more experience that you have under your belt at the time of your graduation will serve to rocket you into your career. Don’t get caught in the doldrums after you graduate – begin your quest for an internship today!

The Lost Art of Thank You During the Job Search

A frequent comment today from employers focuses around the simple “thank you” from job seekers during the search process and especially following an interview.  Unfortunately it appears that the job seekers who actually send a thank you letter following a job interview are in the minority.  Many years ago, you set yourself apart from the candidate pool when you failed to send a thank you letter.  Today – you are singled out in a positive way when a candidate sends a follow-up thank you letter in the job search.  This is a basic, simple action and often seen as common courtesy – sending a letter or note of thanks to the employer for evaluating your candidacy and allowing you to interview and meet their employees.  It is best to send a targeted thank you letter which focuses on the job and opportunity.  In the letter it is ideal as a candidate to reference a discussion or part of the interview.  This demonstrates your interest and level of connection during the experience. In the thank you letter, take the time to emphasize and point out your skill set and qualifications.  Finally be sure to reiterate your interest in the opportunity.  This thank you letter can be sent by email – which is the more commonly acceptable format today.  However it can be sent via US mail.  Our staff recommends candidates send a professional letter and avoid the personal, handwritten thank you note.  See this article for additional information about the importance of thank you letters here:  http://www.careerrush.com/careerrushblog/1113/why-a-thank-you-letter-after-interview-is-so-important/

A new twist on the “thank you” letter concept is for candidates to send a thank you for a “No” received during a job search.  Once again, this simple act can keep communication going and allow for a long term connection with the organization.  You never know when another opportunity with the organization might open again.  Sometimes candidates hired do not work out for the employer.  A recent online article details why saying thank you for a “No” can be a big benefit to a candidate during the job search.  See the details here:  http://designresumes.com/2013/01/why-to-say-thank-you-for-the-no-when-you-dont-get-the-job/?goback=%2Egde_44583_member_205138013

Staff in Career Services can help you in developing a solid, effective thank you letter.  The most important thing to remember in the job or internship search is to send a thank you letter following an interview.  Take every opportunity you can to keep your candidacy at the forefront for the employer.  Examples and more information are available on our website:  http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/skills/professional-letters-guide.asp#post.

Welcome Back! Are YOU ready for Fall?

Throughout the summer, Career Services has been busy preparing for the upcoming fall semester. As summer break winds down, an increasing number of employers have been in touch with us as they look for part-time, full-time and internship candidates. If you’re seeking a position, you certainly don’t want to miss out on these opportunities! Here are a few things you can do now to prepare for the fall recruiting season:

Got a plan? First things first. Before you start your job or internship search, do you know where you’re headed? Perhaps you recently declared your major and have ideas about possible careers, but haven’t really explored your options. By having a goal or general direction in mind, it will help you develop a more effective resume and target your job or internship search. Visit with a staff member in Career Services if you need help narrowing down your options or developing a plan.

Develop or update your resume. If you created a resume last year, review it carefully. Does the same information apply? Does your objective accurately reflect your search? Have you added your summer employment or internship to your resume? It might be time to delete older information (such as high school involvement) and include relevant courses or projects you’ve completed. We have guides and resources on our website to help you develop or update your resume. Remember, our staff can review your resume to help you effectively market yourself to employers.

PRO – Phoenix Recruitment Online. Be sure to upload your resume into PRO. Not only is it required to participate in on-campus interviews, but it also allows employers to find you if they conduct a resume search in the system. You will also want to update your profile in PRO – check your contact information, major, anticipated graduation date. Set up a search agent – this tool in PRO will notify you be email when new openings are posted in the system. Instructions for uploading resumes, searching for jobs and setting up a search agent are located in the Resource Library in PRO. (TIP: Look at the tabs on the left side of the screen – click on “Resource Library” – and find the “PRO User Information” folder.)

Attire. This might sound simple (and it is), but do you have appropriate attire if you’d be invited for an interview… let’s say… tomorrow? Sometimes students are caught off-guard, receiving an interview offer sooner than they had anticipated. Avoid the last-minute scramble and make a great first impression. Check your wardrobe to see if you have at least one interview appropriate outfit. We have tips to “Dress for Success” on our website at http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/skills/dress-for-success.asp

Know (and utilize) your resources. Career Services has a comprehensive website and hosts various workshops and programs throughout the semester. We also coordinate visits for employers who hold information tables on campus, conduct interviews, and attend our job & internship fairs. And don’t forget – our staff members are a valuable resource, whether you’re exploring your options, developing your professional skills, or making connections with employers. You can view the our workshops and programs at http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/skills/calendar.asp and our a complete calendar of programs, employer visits, and campus interviews is available in the “Career Events” section of the PRO system.

On behalf of the staff in Career Services, best wishes for a great start to the Fall 2012 semester. Please connect with us as you have questions!

Make the Most of Your Summer

Many of us view summer as a chance to take some time off from classes or work - some well deserved R&R.  Others may use summer as an opportunity to take summer classes or participate in a summer internship.  May and August graduates may be hitting the pavement, attempting to land their first full-time position.  Other recent graduates, might think that “no one is hiring right now” and have decided to take the summer off from their job search.  Well, according to an article “Tips for Summer Job Search Success” (http://insightnews.com/business/9055-10-tips-for-summer-job-search-success) many companies actually anticipate conducting summer hirings.  Ford R. Myers who is a career coach and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring” says, “Summer is no time for job seekers to be trading in their business suits for swimsuits or their briefcases for beach bags. Summer is the perfect time for career advancement.”  

Myers provides tips that can be helpful not only for job seekers, but also for current college students. Below are some of the suggestions he provides, along with tips from a UW-Green Bay Career Services perspective:

  • Create and control your internet image. Take a look at your LinkedIn profile.  Is your content current?  Does it have a professional appearance?  Have you connected with professional groups or associations that might be beneficial for your desired career field?  Never underestimate the power of networking.
  • Invest in Career Coaching.  As a UW-Green Bay student or recent alumnus, you have access to “Career Coaches” through the professional staff in Career Services.  We can help you develop a job search plan based upon your goals and interests.  If you’ve been struggling during interviews, perhaps a practice interview would be beneficial for you.  You might be in the early stages of your search and need help getting started, or simply need confirmation that you’re on the right track.
  • Perform an internal career audit. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the day-to-day details of balancing work, classes and our personal lives. At times it can be helpful to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Where are you going?  What do you want to do?  What will help me get from “here” to “there?”  Career Services can help you assess if you are on the right path.
  • Update your career “tool kit.”  When was the last time you updated your resume? Have you recently connected with your references?  Now is the time to revisit your resume to make sure it is up-to-date.  Career Services can review your resume (as well as cover letters) to make certain you are putting your best foot forward for your job or internship search.
  • Gain experience.  Employers want candidates who have experience related to their field.  One way to do that is through volunteering, especially if internships aren’t available at this point in time.  Volunteer experiences can also be a building block to help you decide upon a career path.  Connect with your county’s Volunteer Center to see what opportunities might be available in your areas of interest. 

Remember, Career Services is here to assist you with your career planning and job search process.  We offer appointments throughout the summer; call our office to schedule an appointment to get a jump on your job search or to plan for the upcoming fall semester.  (920.465.2163)

What Employers are Saying (and What You Should Know!)

Written by Linda Peacock-Landrum, Director of Career Services

A recent article appeared in Insight, a business publication for the New North region in Wisconsin.  Employers in the New North region were asked to comment on what recent college graduates needed to know in order to be successful making the transition from college to the professional work world.  According to the author, Amy Spreeman, many of the employers interviewed focused on soft skills.    In addition it is important for a candidate to be well-rounded with leadership experience and solid front-line business experience in customer service, food service, etc.  The article is worth a detailed read for any current college student, recent college graduate as well as recent high school graduate.  When employers speak and share a perspective, college students and college graduates should consider listening.  The complete article can be viewed here:

http://www.insightonbusiness.com/5309/higher-education-%e2%80%93-cream-of-the-crop-%e2%80%93-business-leaders-offer-wish-list-for-today%e2%80%99s-four-year-college-students/

New Look to Phoenix Recruitment Online/PRO – Check it Out!

It is coming…..Thursday, May 24, 2012 to a computer or smart phone near you!  Phoenix Recruitment Online/PRO is getting a facelift and upgrade!  What does this mean for you?

Nothing will change about your login.  It should be easier to use and more friendly to navigate.  The color scheme has changed, some icons have changed and there are LESS clicks to get where you want to go!  Also – there will be a mobile app for your SMART PHONE!  How cool is that?

These exciting new changes have been made in PRO to help make your experience looking for jobs and internships better than ever! The design has been upgraded to make your experience easier including these great options:

  • Streamlined and updated look
  • Easier layout to complete your account
  • Less clicks when job searching
  • The ability to open job listings in multiple tabs

Visit PRO now by clicking here:  https://www.myinterfase.com/uwgb/student/

Also new is a mobile app for your smart phone to allow you to access PRO on the go.  To access/create the mobile app you will need to follow these instructions:

  1. Go to www.myinterfase.com/uwgb/student on your smartphone
  2. Click the “Share” icon in your mobile browser
  3. Choose the “Add to Home Screen” option – this will create a shortcut to access this site on your smart phone home screen
  4. Give this shortcut a name and click “Add”

If you have any questions or have problems navigating the new PRO – please contact a staff member in Career Services:  careers@uwgb.edu or 920-465-2163.

Remember the new student view of PRO is set to release this Thursday – May 24!

Ten Common Job Search Errors

When job seekers receive a rejection from an employer – they often don’t receive feedback why they didn’t get the job or internship.  If you find that you are being rejected too often, maybe some corrections need to be made in one or more of the following areas:

 1.      Is your resume letting you down?
If your resume does not stand out, chances of an interview are slim. Make sure your resume is well-written. Seek help if needed.

2.      Are you networking?
Seek out people you know and if they are in your field – let them know you are looking!

3.      Are you using limited job sources to find openings?
Traditional sources are not enough – look online, use multiple job boards and consider social media too!

4.      Are your job search materials off-target?
Customize cover letters and resumes. Jobs seekers who don’t put forth effort in the search are labeled “too lazy to hire”.

5.      Are you treating unemployment as a form of vacation?
Treat your job search like a job, 40 hours/week searching!

6.      Are you well prepared for job interviews?
Do your research! Show your interest and explain how you can meet their needs. Know their services, products, etc.

7.      Are your interview techniques poor?
An interview is not a casual conversation. Practice your interview skills and be prepared for probing, behavioral based questions.

8.      Is your job search too restricted?
You might need to relocate, broaden your commuting range, work for a smaller employer, etc. Define what matters most to you to conduct the widest search possible.

9.      Do you criticize past employers during interviews?
If you spend your time criticizing former employers, you come across negative. Most will rule out hiring you.

10.  Is your appearance professional and strong?
How you dress and carry yourself says a lot about your self-confidence. Formal, professional dress is a must for interviews.

If you are struggling with your job or internship search, be sure to use the various resources provided by Career Services!

The countdown to Fall 2011…are YOU ready?

The staff in Career Services are preparing for the start of the semester -four weeks and counting! Whether you are a freshman, transfer student or seasoned student who will be graduating in the next semester or two, a little pre-semester preparation can go a long ways.

UNDECIDED? NEED HELP DECIDING YOUR MAJOR or CAREER DIRECTION? We have resources to help you explore information about majors and careers. If you’re not sure where to start, call our office (920.465.2163) to set up a time to visit with one of our staff members who can direct you to the appropriate resources or recommend a career assessment if appropriate.

NEED A JOB/INTERNSHIP? USE PHOENIX RECRUITMENT ON-LINE (PRO)! Whether you are looking for an on- or off-campus job, an internship, or will be graduating and seeking a full-time position, all positions received by Career Services are listed in PRO. If you have specific questions about campus employment or work study awards, be sure to connect with Student Employment at 920.465.2556 or studentemployment@uwgb.edu. As a registered student at UW-Green Bay, you have an account in PRO. Check out the following link (http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/connections/pro-student-info.asp) to learn how to access the system and view the user’s guide. You can upload a resume into the system and set up a job search agent, which is a great way to receive notifications about openings in your specific areas of interest.

PREPARE OR UPDATE YOUR RESUME: On-Campus Interview schedules will open on September 6. For most of these schedules, employers will require a resume. If you are seeking an internship or full-time position, you’ll want to bring copies of your resume to the Fall Job & Internship Fair on Wednesday, September 28. We have links to resume writing information on our site and will have our first resume workshop on September 13. You can make an appointment to bring in a printed copy of your resume and our staff will review it for you and make recommendations.

GRADUATING? It’s not too early to develop your job search strategy. What kinds of jobs will you be seeking? Geographically where do you hope to find a job? Is your resume set to go? Have you talked with potential references? Given the challenges of today’s job market, having a solid job search plan is always a good move!

Whether you’re seeking more information about majors or careers, writing your first resume, considering graduate school or searching for a job or internship, check out our website or call our office at 920.465.2163 to set up an appointment to discuss your specific questions.

Class of 2010 Graduate Follow-Up Survey

Each year, Career Services conducts the Graduate Follow-Up Survey to determine the status of our graduates regarding employment, graduate study, or other endeavors. The data for the Class of 2010 (December 2009, May 2010 and August 2010 graduates) has been compiled and is available on our website at: http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/connections/graduate-follow-up-survey.asp   On this page you will be able to view an overview of the survey results, as well as reports by major.   With a 70% response rate for the survey, the Class of 2010 had a 96.4% placement rate.  “Placement rate” is the percent of alumni who reported working, attending graduate/professional school, or are active in the military.

With 2.8% of respondents reporting that they were still seeking employment, the Class of 2010 graduates fared better than the overall national and local averages (unemployment rates ranged from 6.0% to 9.7% between May 2010 and May 2011).   However, some challenges these alumni  faced included finding positions related to their major/desired career field and that it took more time to find a job. Some noted they accepted positions that were not directly related to major due to their geographic preferences (desired location), lack of available positions, or the salary and/or benefits by their employer.

The Marketing & Communication Office of UW-Green Bay provided a great summary of the statistics, available for viewing at http://blog.uwgb.edu/inside/index.php/log-news/news/06/30/survey-graduates/

E-MAIL: Things to consider before you hit “send”

How many e-mails do you send during a given day?  While e-mail can be a very convenient and time-saving tool, there are also pitfalls to this form of communication.  In her Wall Street Journal article “Email Etiquette at Work,” Nikita Garia provides advice about the use of email, especially within the work environment.  She covers basic things that we might take for granted, such as proper grammar and spelling, as well as tips to avoid the embarrassment of hitting “reply all” when you only intended one specific recipient to read your message. 

We may be tempted to be less formal when communicating with someone by e-mail; unfortunately this can leave a poor impression about us with the reader.  So, whether you are a current student or recent graduate, consider these guidelines when you are communicating by e-mail to faculty, staff, employers, customers or potential graduate programs.  View the complete article at:  http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2011/06/03/career-journal-email-etiquette-for-the-workplace/