Grad School: To Go or Not to Go

Should you go on to graduate school? Is it the right move for you at this point in your career? Give your decision careful consideration, weighing all the factors, including:

Your career path

What do you truly want to do? What excites you more than anything? If it’s a profession you absolutely, positively must pursue, and it requires advanced education, then you’re probably an excellent candidate for further education.

“You go to graduate school to become an expert in a certain area or to be a professional in certain industries, like law, medicine, or engineering,” explains Cindy Parnell, director of career services at Arizona State University.

Investment of time, money, and energy

Graduate students find out very quickly that their days of frat parties, general education courses, and hanging out with friends are over—graduate school is, well, about school.

Are you ready to commit?

Also consider your post-undergraduate life plans. Are marriage and family in your immediate future? Graduate school can put a huge financial strain on a young couple already facing student loan debt, not to mention the burden of the time you’ll be spending studying. Be sure you—and your family—are ready for the added responsibility of a few more years of schooling.

Your marketability to an employer

Not every profession requires an advanced degree, so do some research on potential career opportunities before committing to more education.

“Students run the risk of thinking today that grad school might be the answer. Depending on the program, you want to have the fieldwork experience as well as grad school. If you go on to grad school without having any fieldwork experience, you run the risk of being over-educated [and under-experienced],” says Shayne Bernstein, associate director, career development services, at Hunter College.

Opportunities within the field

If you do plan to work before going back for that advanced degree, will more education help you move up the ranks at your company? Have you landed a job in your undergraduate area of study, and now you’re thinking you want to enhance what you’ve learned, or pursue a totally new field? Depending on your professional career path, advanced education may help you reach your career goals.

Your motivation

Can’t think of what else to do next? Don’t think of graduate school as a way to hide from the job search. You face wasting a lot of resources.

Bernstein suggests giving careful consideration to your decision to pursue graduate school.

“Don’t go if you’re not passionate about something,” she stresses. “Don’t go for the sake of going to graduate school. Go because you’re passionate and you want to develop your skill set in a certain area.”

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

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.

Professional Communication

               What is professional communication?  Do you know?  In an article on hubpages.com, 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.  Wikihow.com 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 wikihow.com 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.

Welcome Back!

It’s that time of year again! Summer has come to a close and UWGB classes are back in session. Here at Career Services we are getting ready for another amazing year. We have some great events in store that will help put you on a fast track to professional success. Check out Creating a Resume 101, Linked-In, Interviewing Basics, Mock Interview Day, and, of course, the Fall Job and Internship Fair all coming this September. Look for posters around campus and announcements on the Career Services PRO, Facebook, and Twitter pages for more information.

Career Services would also like to remind you that our staff is available for one-on-one appointments to discuss resumes, cover letters, and to answer any other career planning questions you might have. Stop by the office in Student Services 1600 or call 465-2163 to make an appointment.

New this year, students are encouraged to sign up for Phoenix Phanatics, a campus program to earn points towards great rewards. Points can be earned by liking, tagging or tweeting UWGB Facebook and Twitter pages, so be sure to check out the Career Services on Facebook and Twitter. Check out the link at http://phoenixphanatics.socialfanrewards.com/ for more information. There are some great prizes to win including a 42” LCD TV, First Day Class Registration, $400 Phoenix Bookstore credit, PassPoints, and much more. Click the link to sign up and get started earning your points, and don’t forget to like and follow UWGB Career Services! Start earning your points today!!!

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)

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!

Still Undecided?

               Choosing a major is one of the most important decisions of your college experience.  It can also be one of the most difficult and stressful decisions you will make.  But did you know it doesn’t have to be?  UWGB offers so many resources to help you make the right decision for you with as little pressure as possible.  One of the most interesting options is the Career Planning course that is offered every semester.

               Human Development 225 is a rewarding class that offers students the opportunity to explore major and career options through self-evaluation.  A description of the course as described by the syllabus reads: 

This course is designed to help you develop a broad, interdisciplinary perspective on career development, as reflected by the definition presented in the text book: “the total constellation of economic, sociological, psychological, educational, physical, and chance factors that combine to shape one’s career.”  The class sessions and assignments will provide the knowledge and resources necessary for conducting self-assessment, researching occupational and educational options, and establishing goals for career/life planning.

               In the class you will also learn how to understand and apply career development theories, assess your own values, personality, and skill set, explore your academic options, and learn how to make informed career decisions.  The course is worth one credit, has two sections to choose from, and is open to everyone. 

               Register for the Human Development 225 this fall through your SIS account or visit Career Services in SS 1600 for more information!

Welcome Back

Welcome back to UW-Green Bay for spring semester.  Career Services is gearing up for a wide array of workshops and programs to assist you with your career goals and future plans.  Check out the list of programs and events below.  Start working on your resume if you want to attend the Spring Job and Internship Fair on March 7.  Career Services can help you with your search for employment upon graduation, applying to graduate and professional school, your search for an internship, choosing your major and a great deal more!  Connect with our office for help with YOUR future!

Listed below is our schedule for spring semester.

Creating a Resume 101
W – February 8, 2012 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm in the Wequiock Room of the Union
T – April 10, 2012 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm in the Wequiock Room of the Union

Interviewing Basics – Make a Great Impression
T – February 14, 2012 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm in the Wequiock Room of the Union
W – April 18, 2012 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm in the Wequiock Room of the Union

Get LinkedIn – Learn about this Social Network Tool for your Job Search
M – February 27, 2012 from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm in Phoenix B of the Union.
RSVP REQUIRED

Dine Like a Professional Etiquette Lunch
T – February 28, 2012 from 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm in Phoenix B of the Union.
ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Mock Interview Day
W – February 29, 2012 from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm in Phoenix B of the Union.
ADVANCED REGISTRATION REQUIRED

Insider Tips on the Job Search from Area Employers
M – March 5, 2012 from 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm in Phoenix B of the Union.
RSVP REQUIRED

Spring Job & Internship Fair
W – March 7, 2012 from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm in the Phoenix Rooms of the Union.
MORE DETAILS HERE

Sophomore Success Day
R – March 8, 2012 from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm in Student Services Suite 1600.  No appointment needed.
MORE DETAILS HERE

Value of a Personal Brand

In her book, Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand, Sherri Thomas discusses how she realized that she is the driver of her own career. Sherri took time off to learn about herself and goals that she wanted to achieve. She realized that if she was the driver of her own career, then she needed to represent herself that way. The only way she could do this was by creating her own personal brand.

When we think of almost any celebrity today, we come up with a vision of them and what they represent. Take Martha Stewart, for instance. She represents everyday luxury and attainable beauty because she shows her audience how to create beautiful things. As jobseekers, we need to create the same feeling in our potential employers.

What is your personal brand saying about you?
Consider what people think of you when they say your name. Then consider what YOU want people to think about you. If you represent the qualities you come up with and role model them accordingly, doors will open for you. Start out by asking “what are your values?” They can consist of core values, passions, personal traits, signature talents, and accomplishments.

What is your message?
Share your knowledge or expertise in specific technologies, tools, methodology, industry trends, product development, marketing, or business. Key into the results you obtained and the leadership experience gained; BUT, most importantly, BE PASSIONATE! Apply for jobs that you have a connection with – you’ll be much more likely to get the job offer. Take the time in your job interview to interview THEM and see if they are the right fit for you; otherwise you’ll polar bear right back to where you were.

Who’s in your network?
A network is a group of acquaintances and/or associates that you keep in contact with through regular communication for a mutual benefit. These people are usually referred to as your career influences.
There are four types of career influences:
1. Those who can hire you or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you.
2. Those who can champion you.
3. Those who can teach you something new.
4. Wish list.

Your Plan
Success happens when preparation meets opportunity. Now that you’ve prepared yourself and have a good idea of what you’re looking for, you can develop your resume. It is sometimes wise to invest in a professionally written resume, but more often you want to try to write it yourself. Learn about keywords, formats, and cover letters so you can customize your resume to fit the job to which you are applying.

Building a career that inspires you takes time, focus and commitment. You need to the take the time to complete these steps before expecting results. Benefits include more control over your career, more career opportunities, and most importantly, the ability to create a career that gives you meaning, purpose, and great personal satisfaction.