Fall Job & Internship Fair

It’s that time of year again! The Fall Job and Internship Fair is right around the corner on Wednesday October 1, 2014. Career and job fairs provide candidates with an excellent opportunity to meet employers from a variety of industries and receive first-hand information about the organization and available full-time and internship positions. These fairs allow employers the opportunity to view a large number of potential candidates and promote their organization, which aids in the pre-screening process and gaining familiarity with students at the fair.

So, how do you ensure that you get noticed and land that perfect internship or job? Here are a few simple things that will ensure success:

Update your resume:

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 copies to hand out to the employers you speak to at the Job Fair.

Dress for success:

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.

Men:

  • 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.

Women:

  • 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 jeans and flip-flops are a huge “no” in an employer’s eyes. 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 under “Dress for Success.”

Research:

Once you have finalized your resume and selected your outfit, the final thing you need to complete is your homework! Research the companies that will be at the Job and Internship Fair – learn more about the organizations and the positions that they are offering. This will help you determine who you want to visit with that day. 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 Career Services’ website – and if you log into PRO, you can view all of the information submitted by the employers, including information about their organization and the types of positions which they are hiring.

With a little preparation and initiative, you can make a great impression at the Fair. The staff in Career Services hope to see you this coming Wednesday, October 1st!

Top 10 Career Strategies for Freshmen and Sophomores

By Bob Orndorff. Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

You control your career destiny! Just going to class and picking up your diploma after four years doesn’t cut it. You need to become active on and off campus.

Becoming marketable to employers or graduate schools is a four-year job. Here are the top 10 things you can do during college to make yourself marketable at job-search time. In fact, if you do all 10 of these, you’ll be unstoppable:

  1. Keep your grades up—Employers and graduate schools want candidates with good grades. That will probably never change. Doing well academically not only proves that you have a good knowledge base, but indicates a strong work ethic—a trait that employers value.
  2. Identify your interests, skills, values, and personal characteristics—The first step to clarifying your career goals is to go through a process of self-assessment. Visit your career center and take advantage of the self-assessment instruments it has to offer.
  3. Actively explore career options—You owe it to yourself to find a career that enriches your life, not one that brings you down. Actively exploring careers means talking with professionals in occupations of interest and observing professionals on the job. Your career center probably has alumni and other volunteers who are willing to talk to you about their careers. Also, attend any career expos, career fairs, and career speaker panels that are offered.
  4. Become active in extracurricular activities and clubs—Active involvement in activities and clubs on campus is highly valued by employers and graduate schools. Joining a club is fine, but becoming active within that club is what matters most. Become a leader, hold an office, or coordinate an event. You will develop your skills in leadership and teamwork—skills that recruiters covet!
  5. Get involved in community service—It’s important that you begin to understand and appreciate the importance of giving back to your community, and that you live in a larger community than your college or hometown. Typically, students look at community service as a chore. After they’ve served, however, it’s usually one of the most rewarding experiences they’ve had! Recruiters love to see that you’ve volunteered to help in your community.
  6. Develop your computer skills—Take advantage of the computer courses and workshops your college offers. You can also learn a lot by just experimenting with different software packages on your own. Finally, you should learn how to develop your own web page or web-based portfolio. There are many web-design software tools that make it real easy to develop your own web page! Contact your college’s information technology office to see how to get started.
  7. Develop your writing skills—Over and over, company and graduate school recruiters complain about the lack of writing skills among college graduates. Don’t avoid classes that are writing intensive. Work at developing your writing skills. If there is a writing center on campus, have them take a look at your papers from time to time. Remember, the first impression you give to recruiters is typically your cover letter or personal statement.
  8. Complete at least one internship in your chosen career field—More and more, internships are the springboards to employment and getting into graduate programs. Many recruiters say that when they need to fill entry-level jobs, they will only hire previous interns. In addition to making yourself more marketable, internships also are a great way to explore careers and determine whether or not certain careers are for you. When you work for a company as an intern for three to four months, you get a really good feel for whether the field (and company) is one in which you want to work day in and day out!
  9. Gain an appreciation of diversity through study abroad, foreign languages, and courses—We are now, more than ever, working within a global work force. For you to be successful at work and in your life, you must stretch yourself, and learn about people and cultures different than yours. Take advantage of the wonderful study-abroad opportunities and the courses relating to diversity. This is your time to travel! Most people find it harder to take time to travel as they begin their careers and start families.
  10. Use your career center all four years—Your college career center can help you throughout your entire college career. Here is just a sampling of what your career center can help you do:
    • Choose your major and career direction,
    • Explore career options,
    • Obtain an internship,
    • Write a resume and cover letter,
    • Develop your interviewing skills,
    • Identify your skills, interests, and values,
    • Develop a job-search or graduate school plan,
    • Connect you with prospective employers (career fairs, on-campus recruiting, and more), and
    • Connect you with alumni mentors.

Remember, you control your career destiny. Don’t wait until your senior year to start realizing your goals. Your career train is on the move. Jump on board now so you can reach your destination!

 

The 30 Largest Employers in Brown County

Released this month (July 2014) was the list of 30 largest private employers in the Greater Green Bay area.  This report, which is compiled by Advance, the economic development program of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce lists Humana in the number one spot with 3,167 employees, followed by Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin (2,690 employees) and Schneider (2,580 employees).

The great news for students and graduates of UW-Green Bay is that each employer on the list has some type of connection to UW-Green Bay!  A large majority have listed jobs or internships with Career Services, attended our Job & Internship Fairs,  and/or provided support for programs whether it was volunteering to conduct mock interviews with our students, or speaking at workshops or in classrooms.  Four (4) of the employers have been recipients of Career Services’ Recruitment Partner of the Year award –  WPS (Integrys, 2007), Schreiber (2011), Humana (2012), and Schneider (2013).

See the complete list of 30 Largest Private Employers in the Green Bay Area here.

Climb to Your Career in Four Years

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Where will you be in four years? Will you be ready to join the work force?

Maybe you have your future planned: You know what you want to be after graduation and you have an idea of how to get there. Or, maybe you aren’t even sure what you want to major in—never mind know what kind of career you want to have after college.

No matter if you’re decided or unsure—if you’re planning to graduate in four years and find your place in the work force, take steps now to reach your goals. It’s never too early (or too late) to start. But—the earlier you start, the easier it will be to prepare!

First, develop the habit of stopping by the career services office on a regular basis. Check in a few times during your freshman year, more often during your sophomore year, frequently during your junior year, and weekly during your senior year.

Here’s a timeline to guide your progress:

Every fall

  • Make an appointment to talk with a career services counselor.
  • Check your career center’s website for a calendar of dates and times of career development and job-search workshops and seminars, career and job fairs, and company information sessions.
  • Update your resume and have it critiqued and proofread.
  • Join professional associations and become an active member to build a network of colleagues in your field. Find a student version of your professional association and take leadership roles.
  • Subscribe to and read professional journals in your chosen field.

Freshman year

Asking questions, exploring your options (up to 30 hours)

  • Schedule an appointment at the career services center to familiarize yourself with the services and resources available.
  • Take interest and career inventory tests at the career services office.
  • Start a career information file or notebook that will include records of your career development and job-search activities for the next four years.
  • Identify at least four skills employers want and plan how you will acquire these skills before graduation. Visit your career center for information on the skills.
  • Scan the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which is filled with information on hundreds of occupations. Check out career-search books in the career center library.
  • Familiarize yourself with your university’s career center home page—a good source of tips and articles to help with your job search.
  • Take a resume writing class and explore other career planning workshops. Write your first resume.
  • Attend on-campus career and job fairs to gather information on potential careers and employers.
  • Explore your interests, abilities, and skills through required academics.
  • Talk to faculty, alumni, advisers, and career counselors about possible majors and careers.
  • Join university organizations that will offer you leadership roles in the future.
  • Collect information on cooperative education programs, internships, and summer jobs available through the career services office.
  • Consider volunteer positions to help build your resume.

Sophomore year

Researching options/testing paths (up to 60 hours)

  • Schedule an appointment with a career services counselor to bring yourself up-to-date on what’s needed in your career file.
  • Update your resume (with your summer activities) and have it critiqued in the career services office.
  • Begin a cooperative education program or consider internship, summer, and school-break job opportunities that relate to your interests.
  • Read at least one book on career planning recommended by career services staff.
  • Explore at least three career options available to you through your major.
  • Take a cover-letter writing workshop.
  • Review your progress in learning four (or more) skills employers look for in new hires.
  • Research various occupations in the Occupational Outlook Handbook  and materials in the career center library.
  • Attend on-campus career and job fairs and employer information sessions relating to your interests.
  • Identify organizations and associations in your interest areas for shadowing opportunities and informational interviews.
  • Join at least one professional or honorary organization related to your major to make contact with people in the professional world.
  • Work toward one leadership position in a university club or activity.
  • Begin to collect recommendations from previous and current employers.
  • Put together an interview outfit.

Junior Year

Making decisions/plotting directions (up to 100 hours)

  • Schedule an appointment with a career services counselor to have your updated resume critiqued.
  • Narrow your career interests.
  • Review your participation in a co-op program or explore internship opportunities with a career services professional.
  • Participate in interviewing, cover-letter writing, and other job-search workshops.
  • Practice your skills at mock interviews.
  • Review your progress in learning four (or more) skills employers look for in new hires.
  • Attend on-campus career and job fairs and employer information sessions that relate to your interests.
  • Take leadership positions in clubs and organizations.
  • Consider graduate school and get information on graduate entrance examinations.
  • Ask former employers and professors to serve as references or to write recommendations to future employers.
  • Complete at least five informational interviews in careers you want to explore.
  • Shadow several professionals in your field.
  • Research potential employers in the career library and talk to recent graduates in your major about the job market and potential employers.
  • Start your professional wardrobe.

Senior year

Searching, interviewing, accepting, success!

  • Update your resume and visit the career services office to have it critiqued.
  • Get your copy of the career center’s calendar and register for on-campus interviews. Also schedule off-campus interviews.
  • Develop an employer prospect list with contact names and addresses from organizations you are interested in pursuing.
  • Gather information on realistic salary expectations. Your career services office will be able to help.
  • Attend local association meetings to meet potential employers.
  • Draft a cover letter that can be adapted for a variety of employers and have it critiqued.
  • Participate in interviewing workshops and practice interviews.
  • Read two or more professional or trade publications from your major and career field on a regular basis.
  • If you are planning to go to graduate school, take graduate school entrance exams and complete applications.
  • Follow up on all applications and keep a record of the status of each.
  • Go on second interviews. Evaluate job offers and accept one.
  • Report all job offers and your acceptance to the career services office.

 

 

 

 

Forget What You “Know”

(Written by Tonia Gibeault, Director – Human Resources for ACUITY, A Mutual Insurance Company)

Life is about choices. For example, one can choose to “know,” or one can choose to know. While attending college in pursuit of a degree in business management, I knew I would eventually establish a career in a business or corporate setting. I also “knew” I would never work for an insurance company, nor in the sales or marketing fields. Ironically, however, my first “real job” out of college was as a marketing analyst for my current employer—an industry-leading and award-winning insurance company—over 13 years ago.

I have spent the last decade of my career in ACUITY’s human resources department. During this time, I have had the pleasure of interacting with a myriad of students, many who “know” and a few who know. For the few who know, this attribute is a distinct competitive advantage when talking to employers about job opportunities. So, how do you gain this advantage?

#1 – Forget what you “know” by keeping an open mind. If you’re a math major, do you “know” you must become a math teacher or work with numbers all day, or do you know that some of ACUITY’s brightest and most talented software developers earned their degrees in mathematics? If you’re an accounting or finance major, do you know you have transferrable skills conducive to a successful career in underwriting? If you’re a history major, do you know you can come very close to rewriting history for many victims as a claims adjuster, positively impacting their lives forever?

I estimate that 95%—likely more—of the employees hired at ACUITY never envisioned working in the insurance industry, simply because they didn’t know about the variety of dynamic and rewarding opportunities. Keep an open mind and know there are incredible opportunities outside the commonly known career paths in your field of study.

#2 – Forget what you “know” by doing your research. Many students have their hearts set on one position with one or two companies because they “know” these as their only options. When an acquaintance informed me about the marketing analyst position, I immediately dismissed the opportunity because I “knew” I didn’t want to be employed in sales or marketing (nor did I want to work for an insurance company, as you may recall). Thankfully, enough information was shared with me to spark an interest. At this juncture, I transitioned from “knowing” I would never work in the insurance industry to knowing it was a possibility. Extensive research on ACUITY and speaking with someone already in the position solidified my interest. I knew this was a great opportunity to leave my job and begin a career.

Your Career Services team hosts several events throughout the year—including widely-attended career fairs—to broaden the informational and job opportunities available to you. Use these convenient events to educate yourself. Research positions and companies. Know which are best for you.

The return on investment from keeping an open mind and conducting research is substantial. Forget what you “know,” and learn what you need to know.

To learn about ACUITY’s entry-level job opportunities, visit https://www.acuity.com/acuityweb/careers/mainpage.xhtml

Building Relevant Work Experience

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Getting the Most From Your Internship Experience

Learning, confirming, impressing, and positioning. When you take an internship, these should be four of your goals.

Of course you want to learn as much as you can about your employer and its culture, and about the industry in which it operates. You’re looking to confirm that both the employer and the industry are good matches for you.

But you also want to impress managers and leaders to position yourself for an offer of full-time employment from the organization once you graduate.

“If you get a ‘high-quality’ internship that gives you the chance to apply what you are studying in school, it will give you the opportunity to confirm that your major is really the right direction for the start of your career,” explains Steve Canale, General Electric’s (GE) manager of global recruiting and staffing services. “An internship is a great testing ground to make sure that you are on the right path.”

Most companies hire the majority of their full-time college graduates from their pool of interns and co-ops. Canale says that 70 percent of GE’s full-time hires have interned with the company. What can you do to get the most out of your internship experience? First, you need to know what employers look for in their interns that makes them candidates for full-time positions.

First and foremost, employers see potential in you, says Julie Cunningham, president of The Cunningham Group. Potential, Cunningham explains, is indicated by your:

  • Ability to learn quickly (not just the job tasks, but the informal rules of the organization)
  • Perseverance when confronted with obstacles
  • Ability to work independently and finish tasks
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Technical skills related to the job

 

“Lastly,” she continues, “don’t underestimate how much social poise and good manners count.”

Burke Walls, Intel’s intern program manager, agrees, adding that a positive attitude during your internship is a key indicator of on-the-job success.

“Many times, students come into an internship ready for their dream job,” Walls says.

“However, in some cases, that dream job may be several steps away from the original internship. Even if this is the situation you’re in, you need to perform at a high level. Managers want to see you take care of your assignments, understand your deliverables, and use your skills and the resources available to you to get the job done. Be humble and appreciate the work others have done to make you successful.”

In this competitive job market, it’s important to keep in mind that the overarching goal of an internship is to get a full-time job offer, Canale says. “Realize that, like school, you are in a competitive environment and that your actions, attitude, and deliverables are being ‘graded,’ ” he adds. “With this in mind, look for ways to differentiate yourself.”

To make your mark, take advantage of the opportunities your employer makes available to you, says Shannon Atkison, Vanguard’s intern program manager. An example is speaking or presenting in front of senior leaders.

“Treat this like a final exam and prepare as much as you can,” Atkison says. “And be creative with your projects. Every project has the opportunity to turn into something robust and value-added given the right amount of time and creativity you put into it. These opportunities are like auditions and represent an incredible chance for you to set yourself apart.”

Incorporating these strategies will help you meet your internship goals in pursuit of the ultimate prize: a full-time job offer.

 

Welcome Back, Students!

It’s our first day of the 2014 Spring semester. Although it’s difficult to think of “Spring” when we’re currently in a deep freeze, Career Services wants to light a fire to help you get excited about the coming semester. We have a great line up of programs to help you - whether you’re starting to consider applying for an internship, or are preparing for your last semester and finalizing your post-graduate plans. Here is a sampling of what’s to come over the next few months:

LinkedIn – The Basics to Get Started
Wed., Feb. 19  |  11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.  |  1965 Room, Union
Learn about this social media networking tool and how it can help you professionally begin your career.  Topics include LinkedIn groups, endorsements, recommendations and how to connect with alumni.

Prep for Success – Employer Panel
Mon., Feb. 24  |  12:45 p.m. – 2 p.m.  |  Phoenix Room B, Union
A panel of employers will be available to answer questions about interviewing, job fair etiquette, the job search, and more. Take this opportunity to prepare yourself for the Job and Internship Fair, Mock Interview Day and Dine Like a Professional Etiquette Lunch.

Basics of Behavioral Interviewing
Tues., Feb. 25  |  12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  |  Phoenix Room B, Union
“Tell me about a time when you…” Behavior based interview questions are common within the job search process. Join our guest speaker, Stacy Butter from Schneider National as she takes our audience through ways to effectively manage behavior based interviews.

Mock Interview Day
Thurs., Feb. 27 from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  | Phoenix Rooms, Union
Nervous about interviewing?  A variety of professionals will conduct practice interviews with our students. During the session, the interviewer will ask typical interview questions for approximately 20 minutes, and provide you with feedback about your performance. Develop your interview skills in a no-risk setting.  Sign up required with a deadline of Thursday, February 20.

Dine Like a Professional Lunch
Mon., March 3 from 11:40 a.m. – 1:40 p.m.  |  Weidner Center
This is an opportunity for students to mingle with UW-Green Bay alumni and community members to develop new skills in a fun learning environment. Lyn Hulgan, owner and etiquette consultant at Essential Details, will take students through the basics of professional dining etiquette during a delicious meal. Registration is required, with a deadline of Friday, February 21. Space is limited, so register early!

Spring Job & Internship Fair
Wed., March 5 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  |  Phoenix Rooms, Union
Visit face-to-face with employers who are seeking candidates for full-time, internship and part-time positions. Dress professionally and bring your resume!  View the complete list of registered employers in PRO.

 

In addition to these events, we will be hosting our Creating a Resume 101Interviewing Basics and Applying to Graduate School workshops, as well as offering opportunities for students to have a professional photo taken for their LinkedIn profile.

For details about all of these events, registration instructions and more, check out our calendar of events by logging into PRO, or view our website at http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/skills/calendar.asp

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!

‘Major’ life decisions

Imagine your future in a couple of years. Where do you see yourself? What kind of job do you have? Are you happy in this job? As a college student it is inevitable that you will have to seriously start thinking about your future; it’s right around the corner! Most likely you are at UWGB to earn a degree that will prepare you for a career. But do you know about the many different career options that are offered? Or maybe you are undecided about a major. Have you looked at the list of majors offered at Green Bay and other schools? Sometimes it is difficult to know where to start, and when looking through so much information, it can be terribly confusing. Luckily, there are several tools and websites available that can offer assistance in you search.

If you are undeclared, chances are you may be feeling overwhelmed when you even think about choosing a major. It’s not uncommon, and there are many sites on the web that offer “major assessments.” One website I came across was mymajor.com. This site allows you to create an account using your email address, and then take a quiz to determine some possible major options. The program asks for you to rate the classes you took in high school and also asks you a few work related questions. The system then calculates your answers and formulates a list of five majors that fit your preferences. I was interested to see the accuracy of the MyMajor program, so I decided to take the quiz for myself. I am a vocal performance major and a musical theatre major, so I was definitely expecting a list of a few theatre and music related programs.  This was very true, because I was presented with 1. Theatre, 2. Dance, 3. Music teacher, 4. Special Needs teacher and 5. Public Communications. I concluded that online quizzes are a good starting point, but they are not always what you would expect. It’s important to take quizzes that are made by a reputable university or college prep site. This will help you avoid quizzes with no real logic to them. Take a few quizzes, but don’t freak out if the recommendations aren’t what you expected. Just keep an open mind and you may be surprised what you learn about yourself.

If you have decided on a major, or even if you haven’t, and are looking to build or explore career options, then wiscareers.wisc.edu is a great tool to use. Create a username and password login to access thousands of career profiles including a general overview of the job description, salary, and educational path for each occupation. It also includes “Hot Occupations,” which are jobs expected to see job openings increase by at least 27% in the next 10 years. This is a great way to get a sense of what a job is all about and to compare different options. The descriptions are quite honest and include a section of both pros and cons about the occupation. If you aren’t sure where to start you occupation search, Wiscareers also offers several career, skill, and values assessments, and uses your responses to generate suggested occupations. You can then browse through the recommendations and also find out what Wisconsin colleges offer degree programs required for each occupation. Wiscareers can then link you to any college, university, or tech school in the United States.

Assessment tools on the internet are numerous, and sometimes pretty confusing. If you take a few and aren’t sure how to begin applying the responses, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with a Career Services professional. They can give you additional advice and steer you in the right direction when it comes to choosing a major and career planning. Office hours can be found on the Career Services website, by calling (920) 465-2163, or by stopping by SS 1600. We are always happy to help!

Choosing a Major

As a college student, one of the most common questions you are asked by family members, friends, and classmates is, “What’s your major?” If you have not yet declared your major, you may feel uncomfortable responding that you are undeclared and/or undecided. It sometimes seems as if most of your peers already know what they want to do, and that something is “wrong” with you if you have not yet decided on a major. Choosing a major is one of the most important decisions a student is faced with very early in a college career, and many students feel that they are not adequately informed or prepared to declare a major. It is the hope of the staff in Career Services that this guide will prove to be a starting point for you in selecting an academic discipline(s) in which to major while a student at UW-Green Bay.

Does My Academic Major Have to Relate to a Career Choice?
Consistently, the staff in Career Services hears students expressing the belief that major and career choice are the same thing. It is true that certain fields do require specific degrees or substantial course work in order to qualify for certification or licensing. These fields include, but are not limited to, professional programs such as Accounting, Education, Social Work, and Nursing. Without a degree in these fields, additional course work completed after graduation or special certificate programs can provide the credentials needed to qualify. However, there are numerous careers that may require a bachelor’s degree for entry into the field, but not a specific major. Most employers are concerned with the solid skill base that is gained through a college education. These transferable skills include oral and written communication skills, problem solving skills, critical thinking, organizational skills, and research and analytical skills. The ability to be trained and the ability to adapt to new environments are necessary skills to have for the work force of today and the future. Completing a college education enables you to develop and enhance these skill areas.

For some career fields, such as medicine, law, counseling, pharmacy, etc., graduate or professional school will be required after completing a bachelor’s degree. Students should be aware of the admission requirements for the programs they are interested in. Many will have prerequisite course work requirements, but most will not require a specific major. So, for example, medical schools will require a specific core of science courses, but you do not have to major in one of the sciences to qualify for admission. The same is true for many other graduate and professional school programs, though there are some exceptions to this, so it is important to research the requirements as early as possible.

Because most majors are not focused on a specific job or career field, some form of practical experience is very important for making a successful transition to the world of work. Internships allow you to build on the transferable skill base gained through your college education. You then receive focused training and practical experience where very specific content or task skills are developed. So an English major can use an internship to prepare for a career in banking, or a Psychology major can do an internship in the field of human resources. Internships are the primary way for students to gain the practical, related experience that many employers are seeking.

What Should I Consider When Selecting a Major?
Students get overly concerned about selecting the “right” major. The choice of an academic major is an individual and personal choice. As the person declaring the major, you will be accountable for learning the material, completing the papers, conducting the research and taking the exams. Therefore you, and you alone, should decide what you will major in while attending UW-Green Bay.

The best place to begin with your choice of major is to think about your own interests, values, abilities, and personality. Can you imagine dreading to go to class each semester because you are bored by the material or you have no real interest in the field? When you consider the amount of time you spend on concentrated study in this field in which you have majored, interests and a desire to learn the material become critically important. You also need to think about what your goal is in choosing a major. Do you want your major to prepare you for a specific career field? Do you want you major to help you develop a depth of knowledge and skills that you can apply in many different fields of work? Or will your major simply be a subject that you enjoy studying? Not everyone has the same purpose in choosing a major, so it is important to think about what you want to accomplish.

Career Services utilizes several different assessments, including WISCareers, the Strong Interest Inventory, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which can help you learn more about yourself and your options. No “test” or inventory can tell you what you should do, but these tools can be a good place to start for those who are undecided. Before taking an assessment, you should make an appointment with one of the staff members in Career Services to discuss which one would be most appropriate for you. And after taking an assessment, you meet with the career counselor again, to help you interpret the information. There is also a one-credit Career Planning course (Human Development 225) you can take, which is designed to provide you with the knowledge and resources necessary for career decision-making in college. The class sessions and assignments will help you to assess yourself, learn major career development theories, explore career and major options, gather information about the world of work, and establish short-term and long-term goals for career/life planning.

What if I Don’t Think I’m Ready to Declare my Major?

As mentioned earlier, the choice of an academic major is not an easy choice. However, many students believe that once they choose a major they are “locked” into that course of study. This is not true. You may change your major as many times as you would like. Declaring a major is never a final choice. A student merely repeats the process by completing a new declaration of major form. There are, however, a few precautions to consider about changing a major too frequently or declaring late in your college career.

The first precaution is that some departments may restrict enrollment in courses to majors only. Other courses may have prerequisites that must be taken before enrollment is possible. If you have not declared your major, there could be a limited number of courses open to you outside of the courses required in the general education program. Another precaution to consider if you declare or change your major late in your college career, is that your date of graduation may also change in order for you to complete the necessary graduation requirements for your new academic program.

This is not to say that you need to rush the decision and choose your major right now. But it is suggested that you do not delay your decision longer than necessary. You may find it easier to procrastinate because you are focused on completing general education requirements, but you need to realize that choosing a major is a decision you will need to make relatively soon – and no one else can make it for you.

Are There Benefits to Declaring My Major If I Am Hesitant?

There are some benefits to declaring a major even if you are not certain yet. When you declare a major, you are assigned an adviser in the department. This gives you an opportunity to get to know the department’s procedures and policies, gain first-hand information about which courses to take, and receive assistance and advice from an instructor familiar with the department and the curriculum. You will also know the recommended sequences in which to take courses, and how frequently they are offered.

Another benefit you receive as a declared major is access to student organizations, honor societies, scholarships and departmental activities. All of these things can help you network more effectively with faculty, alumni, and other students in the department, who can provide a wealth of information based on their experiences. In addition to the people you meet through these groups, you can connect with UW-Green Bay graduates in a variety of career fields by joining the UW-Green Bay Alumni group on LinkedIn. Create a LinkedIn account for free, and request to join the group.

Declaring a Major at UW-Green Bay

After you have made a decision about which major to declare, you must submit a completed Declaration of Degree Plan form, signed by the designated academic department representative, to the Registrar’s office. Students seeking admission to the majors in Accounting, Social Work, Communication, Education, Music, Nursing, Human Development, Psychology or Business Administration must meet special admission criteria to be accepted as a major. See department websites for specific information.

In order to meet the university requirement of an interdisciplinary academic program, students who declare a disciplinary major must also declare an interdisciplinary minor by the time they have 62 credit hours in progress. Students with an interdisciplinary major are not required to have a minor.

Majors and Minors
Interdisciplinary Majors, Minors and Areas of Emphasis:

http://www.uwgb.edu/catalog/undrgrad/interdisciplinary.htm

Disciplinary Majors, Minors and Areas of Emphasis:
http://www.uwgb.edu/catalog/undrgrad/disciplinary.htm

See a complete and current list of majors and minors in the UW-Green Bay Undergraduate Catalog and link to each department’s webpage.

You are responsible for planning your course of study and major with the assistance and consultation of your academic adviser. You should meet with your adviser each semester before registering for classes, and regularly check your degree progress through the Student Information System. Many majors also have specific areas of emphasis within the program. Be sure to consult the college catalog and the academic department to get specific information about program requirements, areas of emphasis, and course offerings.

Resources Available from Career Services
If you would like to learn more about major and career options, there are numerous resources available on the Career Services web site and in the resource library in Career Services office (SS 1600). For more information, or for assistance with choosing your major, you may make an appointment to meet with one of the professional staff members by calling the office, 920-465-2163.