Our first tip this year for students thinking about their future careers and/or graduate school is to visit the new and improved Human Development website. The revised site includes updated information on both careers and on graduate school. We hope you find it helpful.
You are also lucky enough with this issue to get not just one, but two great tips! You’ll notice that the Human Development website stresses the importance of gaining skills (e.g., business, communication, a second language, cultural competence) and experience (e.g., part-time jobs, volunteer work, RA/TA, involvement in leadership activities) to make yourself marketable. What does that mean? Get involved, and get involved early! In case you are not sure where to begin, here are a few sample options that have crossed our editorial desk recently.
Volunteer work: One great way to find volunteer opportunities in the area is to visit the website for the Volunteer Center of Brown County. Just “Volunteer Now” and you can actually enter your interests and use a searchable database to find some great local options.
Multicultural competence: Thinking about enhancing your cultural competencies? One great option is the annual Ally Conference on October 20th. Registration is free and open now. You get a free t-shirt and dinner at the event, but space is limited, so don’t delay. More events for the semester are listed in the Human Mosaic, and the Mauthe Center also sponsors such events, such as October 18th’s Native American social and a series in November designed to increase awareness about Islam.
Leadership, communication, and group skills: One great way to potentially enhance your communication, leadership, and group work skills is through involvement in student organizations. This is particularly true if you are very active in the organization or take on a leadership role. There’s something for everyone on campus. Check it out! There are also new organizations beginning all the time. For example, one new club on campus this semester is the Sign Language Club [Contact Ashley Letourneau (Letoak04@Uwgb.edu) if you want to learn more about this one.]
Looking forward to a summer filled with relaxation and fun? We certainly hope so. However, we hope you’ll also take some time to use your summer wisely and make yourself a more competitive candidate for jobs and/or for graduate school. Some potential ideas we have shared before but we believe are worth repeating include:
- Obtain some relevant applied experience (job, volunteer) to increase career and grad school marketability.
- Conduct an informational interview or job shadow a professional in a career of interest to you.
- Read all the great career, internship, and graduate school information on the HUD & PSYCH websites and then do additional research on career and graduate school options.
- Review your Degree Progress Report. Note the requirements you need to fulfill and make a plan for your remaining time at UWGB. Consider whether there are classes you wish to re-take or if there are skill areas you want to build before you leave. You should also check the report for accuracy every semester!
- Make a list of other great opportunities (RAs, TAs, Internships) you want to take advantage of while at UWGB and make plans for when you will apply for/complete them.
- Research graduate programs and make a list of schools to which you want to apply. Research them to find out as much as you possibly can about them, their competitiveness, and their “fit” with your background, interests, and goals. Find out what you will need to do to apply (e.g., Do you need to take the GRE? MAT? No placement test at all? How many letters of recommendation will you need? From whom?)
- Graduating next year? Study for the GRE if you need to take it! (Really, you CAN and SHOULD study for it.)
- Read some great books!!!! One of the best ways to improve your writing and critical thinking skills (not to mention your Verbal GRE scores) is to read and build your knowledge base and vocabulary.
- Take summer classes. These can be fabulous intensive learning experiences. They can also help move up your graduation date. Be careful, though, not to take on too much (e.g., we don’t recommend taking two summer courses in the same session). Also make sure you do not plan vacations or other time away during these courses. If you miss a day of a summer class, it’s like missing a full week of the regular semester.
Have fun, and come back rested and ready for an amazing 2012-13 academic year!
Are you looking to increase your chances of success in the job market? Make sure to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities provided by our fabulous Career Services’ office. To view their schedule of events for this semester, which includes sessions on interviewing and resumes, as well as the can’t-miss Spring Job and Internship Fair (coming March 7), connect to the blog that they run out of their office. Yes, they also have a blog, and we encourage you to check it out, but don’t forget, we thought of it first – and we have pink flamingos on ours.
Career Services has a wonderful line-up of offerings for Fall 2011. Check out their full event schedule, which includes everything from the Job and Internship Fair to resume and interviewing workshops, a session on finding jobs with the federal government, and much more! You can find details on their on-line calendar of events.
As you consider your course options for Fall 2011, think about your future career. What skills (e.g., foreign language, writing, public speaking) might enhance your marketability? What classes will specific graduate programs hope to see on your transcript (e.g., school psychology programs may be looking for Tests and Measurements)? Careful selection of classes can pay off in the future, which is a great reason to consult with your advisor as you consider your options for fall.
Attention freshmen through seniors:
It’s never too early or too late to take advantage of this great opportunity! Our good friends at Career Services will be hosting the Spring Job and Internship Fair on February 23, from 9:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. in the Phoenix Rooms. All students are welcome and could potentially benefit from attending. You can learn more (Who should attend, and why? Which employers will be there? What should you wear? What should you bring?) on Career Services’ helpful website. If you’re not sure you have a resume ready to share with potential internships or employers, you can also learn more about resumes here. You can even visit during convenient drop-in hours or make a specific appointment to have your resume reviewed by a Career Services professional. Learn more by checking out this webpage.
We are looking forward to celebrating with our December graduates in just a few short weeks. May grads – you’ll be next! It may seem like a long way off, but for those of you who will be headed into the workforce after graduation, it is never too early to begin the job search process. You need to update that resume, draft some cover letters and letters of inquiry, polish up your interviewing skills, and begin thinking about where you will be posting your resume and looking for job openings. You also have one semester still in front of you to build some additional experiences and skills (e.g., start that volunteer position, pick up a new part-time job, take a class particularly relevant to your career goals). A great place to start with thinking through all of this is the Career Services website. Learn more about resumes, cover letters, interviews, and the job search process itself, and while you’re there, check out PRO and the positions currently listed there.
Finding a great job can be about who, as well as what, you know. Learning how to “network,” or interact effectively with professionals, is a critical skill to master, and our friends at Career Services have a wonderful event planned for November 3rd to help you. Diane Roundy, who is the Director of Business Development at Schenck, will give a presentation (“Effectively Working the Room: The Top 10 Habits of Turning Introductions into Leads”), and then students will have the opportunity to practice networking skills in a safe environment with a local group of young professionals. You do need to RSVP by October 27th to attend this great event, as they need to have a sense of attendance numbers in advance. Click here to learn more, and be sure to RSVP in PRO!
Welcome to our new feature where we share with you a small piece of information designed to help you in some area of your academic career. It won’t always be pleasant, and you won’t always like it, but we promise that our little facts are designed to help.
So, without further ado, Did you know… that most students applying to graduate school or doing a thorough job search report that the time commitment is equivalent to taking a 3-credit class? That means that you need to plan on having some significant extra time for that sort of thing during your last couple of semesters.
Both Human Development and Psychology are liberal arts degrees, much like History, English, or Political Science; these are programs that are intended to equip you with a broad range of critical thinking, communication, and analytical skills that may be helpful in a diverse range of careers. They are different from degrees in professional programs, such as Accounting, Education, or Social Work, which are degrees designed to prepare you for a specific career path. Those with liberal arts majors may go on to pursue a number of different job options. In 2009 alone, some of our alums took their first jobs as personal bankers, psychometrists, community relations specialists, after school program coordinators, store managers, line therapists, and pre-school teachers. That does not mean, however, that your Human Development or Psychology major automatically prepares you for all of these jobs. In fact, the great news about a liberal arts degree is that it gives you options. The burden that comes with that, though, is that you must select specific classes and gain other relevant experience (e.g., jobs, volunteer work, internships) that makes you marketable for the jobs you might wish to pursue. For example, a student who eventually wants to work in human resources would likely also minor or double-major in Business and would be sure to take classes like Organizational and Personnel Psychology. He or she would also want to gain employment experience in the business world and/or to obtain a human resources internship. On the other hand, a student who hoped to pursue a career in social services would probably take relevant classes like Counseling Across the Lifespan and obtain part-time work at a local human services agency, such as a homeless shelter. Either student might also decide to increase his or her marketability with a minor in another language, such as Spanish and by pursuing electives (e.g., teaching assistantship) and co-curricular activities (officer in a student organization, Student Ambassador) that demonstrate leadership and strong interpersonal and communication skills. To get a better sense of the types of careers students pursue with their bachelor’s degrees in Human Development and Psychology, check out the annual survey Career Services conducts of our new graduates and click on a year under “Survey Results by Major”. Remember that Career Services can also help you as you consider how best to make yourself marketable for specific careers. Your academic advisor can also assist you with relevant course selection.
We have written in previous issues about the “dos” and “donts” of references and recommendations, such as making sure to ask people before including their name as a reference on a job application or resume. This time, we’d like to provide some information about common questions we are asked to address in telephone references or letters of recommendation, as well as the ways we might assess those things in students. Think coming to class late doesn’t matter? Read on!
- How long have you known this person and in what context? The first thing employers and grad schools want to know is how well you know the person you are recommending. They will use that to decide how seriously they can take the recommendation. Worked with the student in two classes? Okay – maybe you know something about him or her. Worked with the student in two classes and as a research supervisor? Excellent – tell us more! On the other hand, if the faculty member has only worked with you in one class and that was some time ago, the employer or grad school may not take that reference letter as seriously – and the faculty member may be reluctant to provide one because he/she just doesn’t know you well enough.
- How responsible is this person? Employers want to know if you will be a responsible employee. How can we address this issue? We have to think about ways you have shown responsibility as a student. Have you submitted assignments on time, or have you asked for extensions? Have you arrived to class on time, or are you chronically late? Are you attentive and engaged in class, or are you passing notes, texting, or sleeping? Are you proactive about your learning (e.g., seeking feedback on drafts of assignments, clearly proofreading assignments and submitting neat and complete final products, asking good questions)?
- How would you rate this individual’s interpersonal skills? Leadership skills? Particularly if your professor has only worked with you in a traditional classroom, he or she might not have a lot to say about this issue. What he or she has observed is how you interact with your instructor and with your classmates in that setting. That means that your participation in class is important. In addition, your group work skills are something we observe and may then comment upon. Did your group work well together? Did group members complain about you? Did you complain about them? Did you seem to take a leadership role? How active were you during in-class group work? These things do matter.
- How does this person deal with stress or deadlines? Nobody likes stress, and deadlines aren’t usually high on people’s list of favorites, either. That said, employers need you to be able to work with both effectively, and they want to know you have those skills. Again, professors will likely remember if you have had to ask for extensions, or if you have typically turned in assignments late – or if you have come running into class with your paper at the last moment asking for a stapler and holding a document printed out in green ink (because that darn black cartridge is out of ink again!). They will also remember if you have dealt with things that are often challenging – such as getting feedback that a paper or test could have been better and then working hard to do better the next time. Life happens. It happens to us, too, and it’s not that you can’t make mistakes or have bad days, but remember that you will likely benefit from providing an overall impression of someone who cares about their work, who completes work on time, who does so cheerfully, and who submits work that is complete, neat, and professional. That’s what your employers will expect.
- How would you assess this person’s writing skills? Public speaking skills? Speaking of papers, they are the major way that we can assess your writing skills, and employers frequently rate communication skills (written and oral) as among the most important qualities they seek in job candidates. Keep in mind that the content of your papers matters, but so does the way you write, as does whether you are able to follow instructions. Your oral presentation skills also matter, whether they are demonstrated through formal class presentations or via general class participation.
This information isn’t intended to scare you or give you the impression that we are always judging you – we aren’t. And, again, we all have bad days. However, it is important to think about the impression you give to your peers and to your professors not only with your grades, but with how you approach your work and your role as a student. We are trying to help to prepare you for the world of work, not only through the content of classes, but also by setting expectations and creating learning activities (e.g., group work, presentations, papers) that require the same skills you will need on the job.
One of the most important events you may attend this semester is the Spring Job & Internship Fair (Wednesday, March 3, 2010 from 9:30-1:00 in the Phoenix Rooms). Sponsored by our good friends at Career Services, it is not only for graduating seniors. All students who are actively looking for a job, who might be looking for an internship, or who want to begin networking for the job they will need in the future are welcome to attend. Career Services has provided excellent information on their website (http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/2010_SJIF.htm) about what all students (Freshmen-Seniors) might look for at this event, as well as strategies for how to get noticed, and more! Make sure that you dress for a professional setting and bring your resume. Don’t have a resume? Learn more about how to create a great one at: http://www.uwgb.edu/careers/Creating_Resume.htm.