Career Tip of the Month: Begin Networking!

Obtaining the job of your dreams does not begin with the job search just before graduation. It begins now with course selection, extracurricular activities, skill-building, and part-time employment. It also begins with networking – making connections in the community, meeting potential future employers, and practicing professional communication skills. Not sure when or how to begin with networking? Plan to attend Career Services’ “Networking Nights”! Networking Nights are regular opportunities to connect with professionals from diverse career areas. You can find out more about the program at: http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/NetworkingNights.htm. Upcoming dates (and attending organizations) are listed below. Several of them are businesses, but keep in mind that many of our Psychology and Human Development students take entry-level positions in businesses as their first jobs. Please also note that local human service agencies will be on campus one evening next semester. 

October 20 – M&I Bank
November 3 – Nsight/Cellcom
November 17 – Sherwin Williams
February 9 – Schenck Business Solutions
February 23 – Area human service organizations
March 9 – Associated Bank
March 30 – LaForce
April 13 – BayLake Bank
April 27 – Virchow Krause

Graduate School Tip of the Month: Earning a Great Letter of Recommendation

“Can you write me a strong letter of recommendation?” This question is being heard frequently in the halls of MAC right now as students begin to request letters of support for their graduate school applications. What may surprise students, however, is that the answer to that question is largely dependent on them. What steps can you take to increase your chances of a earning a great letter from your professor? Read on!

Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors:

  • Maximize your effort and performance in your classes. Grades matter, and so do specific skills. Faculty members will be asked to rate your critical thinking skills, writing skills, oral communication skills, and so on.

  • Don’t count on grades alone. If you earn “As” across a faculty member’s classes, but he/she has never had an extended conversation with you or heard you express an opinion in class, the resulting letter may be relatively short and generic.

  • Participate in individualized instruction experiences. Professors will have more specific and detailed comments to make about your performance and potential if they have worked with you in a research or teaching assistantship, independent study, internship, or honors project.

  • Be aware of your classroom demeanor and what you communicate in your interactions with students and professors. Letter writers are often asked to fill out forms that rate such things as students’ maturity, initiative, interpersonal skills, ability to deal with stress, responsibility, time management, and emotional stability. Asking questions, being a leader in group work, submitting work on time, and attending department events communicate one set of messages. Texting during class, chronic lateness, repeated requests for extensions, and having difficulty negotiating relationships with group members communicate another.

Students Currently Applying to Graduate School:

  • Think about how you make the letter of recommendation request. Ask in person, and genuinely ask. Do not simply assume a professor will write a letter for you.

  • Give your potential recommender plenty of notice. Writing letters takes a great deal of time and effort, and you are not the only student asking for a letter. You should have all materials ready for the faculty member one month in advance, and you should think about the timing of your request. If you have an application due date of January 1st, December 1st may not be enough notice. Think about all of the things going on in December (end of classes, finals, commencement) – and how far in advance the letter would likely need to be mailed to arrive by January 1st (giving the professor far less than a month).

  • Be organized. Think about what you communicate if you do not provide the requested supporting materials to your professor, or if you have to make several return trips to the person’s office with bits and pieces of information. Then think about what you communicate by delivering a well-organized packet of information with neatly completed documents, addressed envelopes, and so on. This interaction is likely the last one you have with the faculty member before he/she writes the letter – make that most recent impression a favorable one!

  • Be careful when completing on-line applications that ask for a list of recommenders. More and more schools are using web-based letter of recommendation sites where faculty directly upload their letters, and once students enter the recommender’s name, an automated email request is sent to that individual. You do not want your faculty member receiving an email request for a letter before you have even asked if he/she would be willing to write for you.

  • Thank your letter writers, and let them know what happens. Professors want to know what happens in your graduate school search, so let them know where you are accepted and what school you decide to attend.

To learn more about letters of recommendation and the process of requesting one, refer to the Human Development website (http://www.uwgb.edu/humdev/careers/recommendation.asp).

Pink Flamingos in the News: A PF Legal Team Investigation

In our never-ending quest to bring you all news flamingo-related, our cracker-jack lead investigative reporter recently used her world-class journalism skills to do a Google news search for “flamingos.” What did she find? A group in Ohio is dressing up plastic flamingos – just like we do here at UW-Green Bay – just like the flamingos that have provided the inspiration for our beloved newsletter! (see story and photos at http://www.wtol.com/Global/story.asp?S=9151101) Sure, they’re using the flamingos to raise money and awareness for breast cancer, a great charitable cause, and we’re using ours for…well…our own amusement. Nevertheless, although most people would read the heart-warming story and be inspired, we here at the PF began to wonder who else might have this fantastic idea. Might people try to steal our thunder or challenge our unique place in the world? Worse yet, what if they make flamingos that are cuter than ours??? The answer came to us immediately: establish flamingo-relevant humor, flamingo-related journalism, plastic flamingos, and even real flamingos as our intellectual property. We consulted with the team of attorneys we have on retainer, and they had bad news. In their so-called “legal opinion,” we have no case because the blog isn’t our property, and there isn’t anything remotely intellectual about it. Undeterred, we are considering sending cease and desist orders to all those who owe their fame and fortune to us for clearly being the first to bring attention to pink flamingos through our internationally-recognized blog. You know – Taco Flamingo, the San Diego Zoo, the Audubon Society, and even the state of Florida. We’ll let you know what the lawyers have to say about that one.

Seriously, though, can you believe someone else had the idea of dressing up plastic flamingos? Maybe you’re going to have to stop making those jokes about how strange your faculty members are.

P/HD Club Teams up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Congratulations to the Psychology and Human Development Club for their impressive commitment to community service.  Not only did they raise over $1000 for NAMI by putting together a team for NAMIWalks (see the P/HD NAMIWalks team photo below), they also launched a campaign for Mental Illness Awareness Week, including having five speakers on campus to talk about their experiences with mental illness.  Great job P/HD Club and keep up the good work!

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