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 http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nace/JobChoices0812_Diversity/index.php#/27

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 http://pinterest.com/uwgbcareers/ 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!

Welcome Back from Career Services!

The spring semester is upon us once again and it’s time to get back into the swing of things.  In all the chaos, Career Services would like to remind students of the amazing programs that will also be happening this semester.  A wide variety of events are planned to help students with anything from writing a resume or cover letter to networking and professionalism. 

The events are as follows:

Feb. 6 – Creating a Resume 101

Feb. 12 – Interview Basics – Make a Great Impression

Feb. 12  – Speed Networking 101

  • Get the opportunity to speak with UWGB alumni about understanding fields, jobs, careers and the basics of professionalism!  Early registration is required.

Feb. 25 – Nuts & Bolts of Professionalism

  • Listen to successful recent alumni and young professionals offer their insights into what mistakes to avoid on your resume, how to use LinkedIn, why networking is important and much more.

Feb. 27 – Spring Job & Internship Fair

Feb. 28 – Don’t Be “That” Candidate – Employer Panel

  • Employer representatives will be available to share stories about what they have experienced screening and interviewing candidates so you can learn what NOT to do as a candidate in the job search. Registration is encouraged.

Mar. 4 – Dine Like a Professional Etiquette Lunch

Mar. 7 – Mock Interview Day

 You can find more information and register for events by signing into your PRO account. If you have additional questions, feel free to check out the Career Services webpage or visit us in Student Services 1600.  We look forward to seeing you!

The Lost Art of Thank You During the Job Search

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

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

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

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.

What is an internship?

What is an internship?  For some people, the answer can be pretty tricky: What kind of work will I be doing?  Do I get paid?  How do I apply?  Does my field of study even have internship opportunities?  Luckily, the folks in the Career Services office know a ton about internships and what it takes to get them, too!  We would be happy to help point you in the right direction, just give us a call to set up an appointment.

If you want to do a little internship research on your own, the perfect place to start is the Career Services website.  Here we have a great list of information about internships and why they are important in career development.  An internship will allow you to take an active role in the organization you are involved with.  This real-world experience will give you a competitive edge in the job market by giving you valuable references and a practiced skillset that employers are looking for. 

If you are looking to start applying for internships, make sure to check out Phoenix Recruitment Online.  PRO has a variety of internships that are updated daily.  It is also easy to use!  Once logged on, you can fill out your profile, tailoring your interests and field of study so PRO can better match you to internships.  PRO even allows you to upload your resume, because some internships give you the opportunity to apply online. 

Get the ball rolling on your internship experience today!  Check out the Career Services website to see a Career Spot video extolling the benefits of internships and to get some useful tips.  The experience you gain from an internship in your field of study will be invaluable.  It is the perfect opportunity to gain contacts for networking and hands-on job experience.  The right internship will help you find your passion and may even help solidify your career choice.  Whether you are just starting to look for internships or ready to apply, Career Services is the place to go with all of your questions.  Find us in Student Services 1600.

P.S.  Also mark your calendars for the Spring Job and Internship Fair, coming February 27, 2013.

Major Questions?

               This past week, I received an email telling me that there had been a hold put on my UWGB account and I would not be allowed to register for classes until I declared a major.  This usually happens by the time you reach 45 credit hours.  How could that be?  I had no idea that I was that far along with my studies and the thought of actually declaring a major is a little scary.  It’s a good thing I have a plan!  With the help of Career Services, you too can develop a plan of action for declaring your major (even if you don’t know what it might be yet). 

               If you are unsure about which major is right for you, it is definitely a great idea to check out the Majors Fair happening Thursday, October 18th in the Phoenix Rooms.  The Fair will be held from 11 AM to 1 PM and is a great opportunity to explore the majors offered at UWGB and meet people in these programs.   Professors and students from various departments will be in attendance to answer any and all questions you may have.  You can also check out the Career Services Facebook and Twitter pages for more information on the event.

               Declaring a major is one of the most important things you will do here at UWGB.  It sets you up for your future education and career goals.  But contrary to popular belief, your academic major and career choice are not one and the same.  It is true that major selection plays a role in career planning, but some career choices do not require a specific major.  Entry into these positions requires a bachelor’s degree, but focus on practical skills and experience.  This can include internships and other experience in the desired field.  To find out more information, attend the Majors Fair or make an appointment to speak with a Career Services professional.  They can help you assess your own skills and interests, as well as your career goals, to find a major that is a good fit for you.

               If you have already decided on a major but are not sure how to declare, go the Registrar’s website to fill out the necessary forms.  Some programs to require you to apply (including Business, Communication, Education, or Social Work), while others have pre-declaration form requirements (like Human Development and Psychology).  Be sure to check the specific requirements of your program of study.  Career Services would be happy to assist you in any way possible.

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 www.linkedin.com 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!