Does College Prepare You for the Job Market?

Everyone knows that a Bachelor’s degree has pretty much become a prerequisite in the job market.  But did you know that employers are starting to feel like recent graduates are unprepared when it comes to hiring?  According to an article by Karin Fischer published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, employers find candidates with bachelor’s degrees to be under-qualified and ill-prepared.  Many of these employers are blaming colleges for the lack of preparedness, with over 30% ranking them as “fair or poor.”  But why is this?  What are we doing wrong?  And what can we do to fix it?

Fischer states that the breakdown between the goals college degree and the expectations of employers differ in regards to marketability.  She believes that colleges seek to prepare graduates on a broad scale, giving them a wide variety of knowledge and skills, whereas employers want candidates with specialized skills and specific knowledge.  Employers want a college grad to be trained and ready to begin working from day one. 

According to the survey in the article, as well as a survey of employers in the 2013 NACE Job Outlook, the most important (and lacking) skill for recent college grads is the ability to effectively communicate verbally.  Employers are looking for candidates that can speak their mind and give intelligent responses to questions and problems.  These skills are often overlooked, but can be very important in a job setting, as you will most likely be working with a group of people from time to time.  David E. Boyes is quoted in the Chronicle article as having said, “It’s not a matter of technical skill, but of knowing how to think.”  Developing critical thinking skills will allow you to make decisions and express yourself in an effective way. 

Here at UW-Green Bay we offer a wide range of critical thinking course as part of our interdisciplinary approach to education.  Consider taking Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication (Comm-166) and Communication Problems (Comm-200) to develop and hone these marketable skills.  There are also numerous leadership opportunities in student organizations, including Student Government Association, Sigma Tau Delta, and other major related clubs.  Search the UWGB webpage for a list of all orgs offered on campus.  If you want to further develop on-the-job skills, try an internship.  The Career Services office can assist you in searching and applying for internships.  Check out the PRO website to browse local internship options.

The jobs market it always changing; there’s not changing that.  But how we adapt to it is entirely up to us.  Knowing which skills and assets are important to employers can help you better develop skills to meet these growing demands.  Stop by Career Services (SS 1600) to find out more about what you can do to prepare yourself for the jobs market and beyond.

Social Media in Your Job Search

As you set out into the crazy world of the job search, it can sometimes be overwhelming.  But did you know that you probably already use some helpful job search tools every day?  Believe it!  Lindsey Pollak, bestselling author of Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World, tells us about how social media can be an amazing tool when it comes to networking and building connections during a job search.

Known as the expert on the struggles “Generation Y” will face in the job search, Pollak wrote an article for the February 2013 issue of Job Choices magazine.  In the article she outlines 10 steps that everyone can take to improve their networking skills and make connections using the social media tools they already have. 

1.      Develop a Professional Presence.

2.      Fill Your Profile With Keywords.

3.      Use LinkedIn to Find Your Path.

4.      Get Personal.

5.      Be a Joiner (Of Groups and Online Communities

6.      Tweet.

7.      Blog.

8.      Share.

9.      Keep People Up to Date.

10.   Use Social Media to Ace Interviews.

These ten steps are a great outline for you to get started using social media as a job search tool.  But don’t forget, it is always important to make sure that your online presence is professional.  Do you really want a potential employer to see what you did last weekend?  Didn’t think so.  Pollack also reminds us that social media is only a tool in the job search, not the only aspect.  Make sure to explore all forms of job search techniques to ensure a well-rounded and thorough experience. 

To view the full article from Lindsey Pollak, visit

Feeling “Pin”-spired

If you have been paying attention to recent social media trends, you have probably heard of Pinterest.  And if you’re anything like me, you are probably obsessed!  This new craze is all about creating online “inspiration boards” by “pinning” pictures of things that interest you.  Clothes, Celebrities, Dream Weddings and Houses are just a few of the examples.  But did you know that Pinterest can be a useful tool in preparing you for a job search and the interview process as well?  Career Services has started our own boards and we want you to check them out!

               By visiting you can find useful information on all of your professional needs.  From interviewing to résumés, networking to etiquette, and even dressing professionally, the Career Services Pinterest boards have it all!  Plus you can link to the source website of the pin just by clicking on it.  This is a great way to see tips and tricks for your job search queries all in one place. 

               If you already have a Pinterest account, search and follow UW-Green Bay Career Services today to have our pins show up on your homepage.  If you don’t have an account you can still click the link above and view our boards.  Creating an account is quick and easy, too.  Sign up for this hot, new social media trend and you’ll never miss a thing!  Who knows, maybe you’ll become pin-spired, just like us!

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:

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:

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:

Professional Communication

               What is professional communication?  Do you know?  In an article on, professional communication is described as the “oral, written, and visual discipline within a work place context…”  But what does this topic really encompass?  It is undoubtedly a set of expectations to be followed when you are applying for jobs, and even after you start your career.  Here we will address some of the most pressing issues and clearly outline employers expectations when it comes to professional communication.  

               As you may know, Career Services frequently partners with area employers to hold on-campus interviews.  This is an excellent opportunity for students to interview without having to make travel plans.  Students can meet face-to-face with employers.  One of the biggest taboos in the interview process is unprofessional communication.  Cell phones can become very disruptive during interviews.  Never answer texts or phone calls while you are in an interview.  It seems like common sense, but believe it or not, it does happen. suggests turning your phone OFF completely before you head into an interview.  This is the best way to ensure that you will not be interrupted by or even tempted to check your phone.  The employer that wrote the article on talked about a woman who answered a personal call in the middle of her interview, and talked for 10 minutes!  This gives the interviewer the impression that the interview is not important to you, and therefore will not be interested in making you a priority for hire.  Take their advice and leave your phone off.  It is even a good idea to turn off your phone before you get into the building.  If you walk in talking on your phone, you don’t appear attentive and people in the building may get a bad first impression of you.  Just turn it off!

               Another recent employer told Career Services that six job candidates in one day failed to show up for their scheduled interview without so much as a phone call or email to the employer letting them know they could no longer make it.  This sends a big red flag to a potential employer, and will prevent them from granting you a make-up interview.  Always remember to write down the date and time of your interview on a calendar or a self-planner and double check the time and place.  If you are unable to make it to your interview, let the interviewer know as soon as possible.  A quick phone call is the best approach, but an email is also appropriate if written professionally.

               This brings us to the next professional communication topic:  electronic correspondence.  The number one rule in professional emailing is to always use correct English grammar: Never, ever, ever use texting slang or emoticons like lol, thanx, cya, b4, :), :( , etc.  This makes you appear extremely unprofessional, not to mention childish.  It is also recommended that you avoid using ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.  This is commonly conceived as “shouting” and may be misinterpreted by the receiver.  If you are emailing to cancel an appointment with a potential employer, be clear and honest.  If you are no longer interested in the position, thank them for their interest in you and inform them that you have decided to look elsewhere.  If you wish to cancel and reschedule, say so.  Ask the interviewer if there are any available times that you could meet, and give suggestions on times that may work for you.  If you express interest and a willingness to be flexible, an employer may be more likely to give you a second shot.

               It is important to remember that in a professional setting, there are certain expectations that must be met.  Using your cell phone, not showing up to meetings, and sloppy emailing techniques are all ways to show a potential employer that you may not be 100% committed to the interview, therefore they won’t be 100% committed to you either.  Practice your professional communication skills and follow these simple tips and you’ll be on your way to making a good impression.  Also check out the Career Services website to get more tips on interviewing and find out more about other on-campus interviews.

Get LinkedIn to Success!

          Have you ever wished you hadn’t been tagged in an unflattering photo on Facebook?  Ever posted something that you later regretted?  Now imagine if your potential employer saw your Facebook profile or Twitter feed.  Do you think they would still hire you?  Like it or not, employers are using social media as a tool in the interview process.  There are things you can do to help yourself, though.

               First, it may sound silly, but Google yourself.  This is the best way to see what kind of information is out there about you.  This will show you exactly what a potential employer might see if they search you.  Next you should carefully comb through your uploads and posts, deleting anything that may be offensive or derogatory.  Changing your profile settings to private is also highly recommended.  Another tip that is sometimes overlooked is your email address.  We can all remember when we were younger and thought it was cool to have a silly email address, but when applying for a job, it can be embarrassing.  Make sure your email is professional and appropriate.  For a full list of social networking tips check out this link.

               In addition to monitoring your social media use, it is also a good idea to utilize the networking site LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is an online network that connects over 175 million members in 200 countries around the world.  Their goal is to create a professional social media site that would allow job seekers to connect with potential employers and companies.  You can create and customize your profile with your educational background, specific skills set, resume, and so much more.  This is a great way to present yourself in a professional manner and make connections with potential employers.  Go to and get started creating your own profile.  Career Services is also planning 2 informative programs on the LinkedIn process.  Attend these seminars on October 23 or November 12th from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM in the 1965 Room of the University Union.

          Contact Career Services for more information on LinkedIn and the wonders it can do for you and your job search!

Fall Job and Internship Fair 2012

As students get back into the swing of things with classes, Career Services is busy getting ready for the Fall Job and Internship Fair.  This is a great event in which to meet area employers to discuss full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities.

The Job and Internship Fair will be held Wednesday, September 26 from 9:30 AM to 1:00 PM.  Be sure to prepare for the Fair by updating and printing copies of your resume.  Make an appointment with a Career Services professional if you would like help making sure your resume will stand out to employers.  It is also important to dress appropriately for the Job and Internship Fair.  SKIP THE JEANS!  A pair of neatly ironed dress pants and a button-down shirt with a tie for gentlemen, and a pants suit or knee-length skirt and blouse for ladies is always a safe bet.  Remember conservative business attire will help you appear professional and hirable.  This is the first time you will be meeting with a potential employer and first impressions are key.  For more information on appropriate Job and Internship Fair attire, visit the Career Services webpage and click “Dress for Success.”

There are also several other ways to prepare for the Fall Job and Internship Fair.  The Career Services webpage offers videos and articles from Career Spots that explain anything from making a great first impression to tips on how to successfully pitch yourself to a potential employer and more.  Be sure to check these out!

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:

Spring Job & Internship Fair

It’s that time of year again!  The Spring Job and Internship Fair is right around the corner on Wednesday, March 7, 2012.  You may be wondering, “What is the best way to prepare for it?”  Well, there are a few simple things you should do to make sure you are absolutely ready for the Job and Internship Fair. 

First of all, you are going to want to make sure your resume is updated.  A good resume is paramount to the job search.  It is the first glance that an employer will get of your background and credentials, so you want it to be neat and tidy.  You want to make sure you include your most recent employer and possibly take out any information that may be irrelevant.  For help with your resume you can find helpful information on the Career Services website, or you can always schedule an appointment with a Career Services professional.  They can guide you step by step; making sure everything is in order and giving you useful suggestions on how you can improve the professional appearance of your resume.  Once you have your resume in tip-top shape, you should print off several copies to hand out to the employers you speak to at the Job Fair.

The second thing you should do is to make sure you have appropriate professional attire.  It is important to remember that the Job Fair is just like a job interview: you want to make the best first impression possible.   Here are a few of the basic tips on professional attire.

For guys…

  • Wear nice dress pants that are clean and pressed with a buttoned up shirt and tie.
  • Choose a solid-color button down shirt that is wrinkle-proof.
  • If you can’t afford a suit, purchase a single-breasted, black, two-button blazer that will go with several of your dress pants.
  • Black leather laced shoes are another “must have” that can be worn with a variety of outfits.

And for ladies…

  • If you don’t own a suit, you could wear a skirt (knee length or below) with a sweater set or nice blouse.
  • Avoid heels unless you need the height and are comfortable wearing (and walking!) in them. Remember – closed-toed shoes.
  • Ideally, blouses should not reveal any cleavage or undergarments (bra straps, etc.).

It is important for everyone to remember that as a general rule, jeans are a no!  If you are having trouble figuring out what to wear, always err on the side of caution and go for being over-dressed.  Also, be sparing with make-up, perfumes, and colognes.  More information can be found on the UW-Green Bay Career Services’ website.

Once you have your resume finalized and your outfit picked out, the last thing you should do is do your homework!  Research the companies that will be at the Job and Internship Fair and get to know a little bit about the ones you would like to speak with.  It is a great way to make a good impression and you will be more relaxed knowing you will have something to talk about with the employers.  The company representatives will also be impressed that you took the time and effort; just another way to stand out in the crowd!  A full list of the employers attending can be found on the PRO website – and if you log into PRO, you can view all of the information submitted by the employers, including informatino about their organization and the types of positions which they are hiring.  There are 66 employers signed up to attend so you will have many diverse options.

So don’t forget to mark your calendars for March 7th, 2012.  Get your resumes ready, get out your pants suits and sports coats, and brush up on your interview skills.  The Spring Job and Internship Fair 2012 is almost here!

2011 Job & Internship Fair

In case you didn’t see the countless posters and Facebook and Twitter posts, the Fall Job & Internship Fair was held at UWGB last week on September 28th.  Now, being a first-year student, I really didn’t know what it was all about.  The professionals in the Career Services office were tangibly excited, but the students on the other hand, were terrified.  The idea of walking into a room full of potential employers was almost as scary as meeting up with a band of monsters.  But if there is one thing I learned from watching Scooby Doo it’s that there is always a person behind that mask.  So I set out for the Job & Internship Fair with one goal in mind: to solve the mystery of the Job Fair Scare!

Why are students so intimidated when it comes to interviewing?  Is it the fear of answering a question wrong?  Of being ill-prepared?  These are the questions I asked myself as I began to investigate the topic.  The Career Services website had tons (literally, TONS!) of advice on what to wear, how to sell yourself, and so many other ways to be prepared for the Job Fair, but students were still nervous.  The nerves were even starting to get to me!  At 10:30 AM, I arrived at the Job Fair wearing my best business attire and a brave face (I thought it best to skip the bell-bottoms and ascot).  Not surprisingly, there were no cobwebs, no eerie fog, and NO masked ghouls anywhere.  It didn’t seem like this was going to be as eventful as anything Scooby and the gang encountered, but the mystery was still unfolding…

With my name tag on, I decided to begin my investigation with a little observation.  The Fair was already in full swing: smartly dressed students were everywhere (obviously they checked out Career Services’ “Dress for Success” tips!).  And as I watched the many tentative (and some bolder) students work up the courage to approach the company reps, I wondered, “What are they afraid of?”  “It’s so nerve-wracking,” one girl said.  “They just seem so intimidating.”  The employers at every single booth were standing, smiling, and practically begging to be approached.  Their tables held enticing goodies like candy, snacks, pencils, pens and other free stuff; anything they thought would lure in students.  It was obvious that they wanted to be engaged, but they were waiting for students to make the first move.  When a student approached, the interactions always started the same way: a firm handshake, the exchange of names and the four-word phrase that can make or break you in any job interview—“Tell me about yourself.”   Jinkies!   My first clue!  It was time to dig deeper. 

I wanted to get some insight from employers, so I approached a table for WS Packaging Group, Inc.  I spoke with a representative who told me what she thought the most important thing to do before an interview was.  “I feel that when we read resumes, applicants are not looking at the job description and the qualifications.” She felt it was extremely important to research the position and its requirements before you apply.  Don’t apply for a science-related position if you are an English major that hated your science classes.  A representative from the Wisconsin State Government expressed concern that students and graduates looking for jobs “think they can jump right into an advising position.” Students seem to be so confident in their abilities and eager to climb the career ladder that they forget they do have to start on the bottom rung.  She said they must remember that no matter how smart they are, going from graduation to management is simply not (or at least very rarely) going to happen.  When I asked employers about skills their company was looking for in a potential employee the responses were pretty much what you would expect: communication and writing skills, work ethic, leadership, and education among the most common.  I realize that many students may think that these skills are obvious.  They already know they must possess the vast majority if they even want to be considered for a job.  That’s when I knew I had found my second clue.

I stumbled upon my third clue in a much more subtle way.  There is no doubt that the company representatives are all very good at their jobs and that they know what they are doing, so it’s easy to see why students are intimidated at the thought of speaking to these employers.  But who would be surprised to know that the employers were just as nervous?  It’s true!  When I first approached a booth, I would introduce myself, telling them I was an intern with UWGB Career Services, and ask if they would mind answering a few questions.  Almost immediately, there was a change.  Their eyes widened a little, smiles faltered for just a split-second, and I knew right then that I had made a breakthrough.  I had definitely caught them off guard: most of the representatives came to the Job & Internship Fair to interview students, but in an ironic turn of events, they found themselves in the middle of an interview.  They answered my questions and were very helpful, but I could tell that it was quite unexpected.

At that point I had gathered enough information.  I couldn’t help feeling a little like Velma as I went through my list of clues, but I was definitely ready to solve the Job Fair Scare.  First of all, I wondered, why do employers ask such a broad question to start the interview?  Such openness makes some students very nervous.  They aren’t sure exactly what to say, but above all, they want to avoid rambling.  Employers do this because they want to know about you.  They generally look for the student to speak first at a job fair because their main objective is to get an idea of whether or not you would be right for their company.  The representative is never going to try to embarrass you or make you look stupid.  Just be confident and professional, but most of all, be you. 

Secondly, it is one thing to have the skills employers are looking for, but it is entirely another to actually know what to do with those skills.  A professor in one of my classes once said, “Interviewers are really thinking, ‘I know you have the skills.  So what?  How is it going to help my company?’”  I think this is a really important question that students should ask themselves as they prepare for a job fair or interview.  If you can tell employers a specific example of how you can help their company, it is a much more impressive answer and will definitely help you stand out.

Finally, the third, and I feel most important thing I learned at the Job and Internship Fair, is that everyone is nervous about being interviewed!  Even professionals that are very knowledgeable about their field and position are susceptible to the butterflies and stutters that come with this natural fear of speaking publically.  It’s important for you as a future job applicant to realize that it is natural to feel a bit on edge—everybody does!  No matter if you’re eighteen, twenty-two, or forty-three, the nerves get to us all.  This doesn’t mean we have to let it get the best of us, and miss important opportunities:  no, it just means that we can recognize the nervousness and easily learn to push it aside.

So, jinkies, that’s that!  Mystery solved.  There were no ghosts, goblins, or monsters running booths at the Job and Internship Fair; just normal professional people with the same emotions as students.  So now that all of your fears are put to rest, start your own job search today!  Go to to get started!