Develop Your Career Goals Holistically

Develop Your Career Goals Holistically – By Melanie Buford
Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)

Many undergraduate students start the career decision-making process by selecting a major based on the subjects they enjoyed in high school. For example, you may have chosen to major in engineering because you were “smart” in high school or strong in math and science, but you really don’t know much about the engineering field. And then, you wonder why you’re not more interested in the engineering coursework and field experiences.

The problem isn’t engineering. The problem is that you’ve formed career goals in isolation. You didn’t consider the environment you would be working in, the physical location of the organization you might work for, the skills you want to develop and build on, or the way you hope to grow a professional.

Dan Blank, a career coach who works primarily with creative professionals, offers the following advice in his webinar “Take Back Your Creative Life.”

“Career goals should not be formed in isolation. You must take into account all of your responsibilities (personal and professional), and be sure to account for your own well-being. This includes physical and mental health.” Blank encourages his clients to integrate their career and personal goals in order to set themselves up for success.

Career goals, increasingly, need to be formed holistically. Gone are the days when choosing a career was simply a matter of matching your best school subject to an industry. The market is volatile; new opportunities are being created and other avenues are becoming less viable. A law career isn’t the safe choice it once was, and the nonprofit world has expanded to include diverse organizations tackling new social issues. It’s more common that professionals will relocate to a new city for a job opportunity, and more workers than ever are changing jobs and moving to new sectors over the course of their careers.

Students are facing the so-called “paradox of choice.” Research has demonstrated that if you are presented with more opportunities, decision making becomes more difficult and satisfaction less likely.

When you step into a career development office today, you’re faced with a much broader set of options than you would have been 30 years ago. You could go to medical school in your hometown or spend two years in the Peace Corps and teach grade school students in Lithuania. You could go to graduate school for computer science or launch a start-up with friends based on ideas for a new app.

In order to make these decisions, you must consider not only what talents you have, but what kind of life you want to lead.

Here are a few questions you should consider during the career exploration process:
What skills do I have and want to develop?
What type of work environment might best fit my temperament?
What type of diversity do I hope to have in my work environment?
How is the industry I’m considering expected to evolve in the next few decades?
What city, state, or country might I want to live in?
What have my career goals been and how have they changed?
What role would I like technology to play in my career?
How important is stability to me and how willing am I to take risks?

Each of these questions will take time to answer as you develop more clarity in your identity and values. Attempting to build your life looking only through a narrow lens of career is bound to work against your happiness. Look into internship and co-op programs that allow you to get full-time work experience before graduation so you can test your interests in specific careers.

Melanie Buford is a writer and career counselor who has lived and worked on both American coasts and abroad. She is the program coordinator and an adjunct instructor at the University of Cincinnati. Melanie writes both fiction and non-fiction, and is in the process of developing a 70,000-word fictional novel.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Building a Strong LinkedIn Profile

View these tips to help you build a professional LinkedIn profile to capture the attention of potential employers! Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (www.naceweb.org)

  • Use keywords in your summary statement. Many employers search by keyword, so use keywords—technical terms and skills—from your field. Not sure what your best keywords are? Find profiles of people who hold the job you’d like to get and see which keywords they use.
  • Write short text. Describe your skills and abilities in short bursts of keyword-rich text. Use bullets to separate information.
  • List all your experience. LinkedIn, like other social media, helps you connect with former colleagues and networking contacts who may be able to help you find a job opportunity. It also gives an employer searching to fill a job a description of your expertise.
  • Ask for recommendations. Collect a recommendation or two from someone at each of the organizations where you’ve worked. Don’t forget to get recommendations for internships you’ve completed.
  • Refresh your news. Update your status about major projects you’ve completed, books you’re reading, and professional successes you’ve had, at least once a week. This lets your professional contacts know what you are doing and serves as a sign of activity for potential employers.

Researching Employers

(By Alicia Bervine, Anne Orange, and Jennifer Whetstone-Jackson. Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.)

Researching employers is perhaps the single-most important activity you will undertake in your job search. The information you uncover can help you:

  • Discover organizations that are a good match for you,
  • Identify the organization’s goals and needs,
  • Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your skills and experiences that match the employer’s needs,
  • Know what questions to ask employers,
  • Demonstrate your interest in and enthusiasm for the organization,
  • Answer interview questions with confidence, and
  • Make an informed employment decision.

Unfortunately, many students overlook the importance of research when undertaking a job search or looking for an internship. In fact, it’s common for employers to complain that potential job candidates haven’t “done their homework,” and instead come into the interview with little or no knowledge about the organization. These candidates flounder, asking questions that could be easily answered by a cursory look at the company website or literature. Needless to say, they make a poor impression, because employers often assume lack of research means lack of interest.

Where should you begin?

Start by developing a list of organizations in which you might be interested—companies that have the types of jobs or do the type of work that interests you. These could be organizations that visit your campus for career fairs, information sessions, and interviews, or they might be companies you have identified on your own as potential employers. An added bonus: You may discover lesser-known organizations that might be a match for your skills and interests. (Having a problem with this step? Talk with a career counselor in your campus career center for direction.)

Research companies to obtain information in each of the following categories:

  • Organizational overview: age, size, financial outlook, growth, and structure
  • Trends/issues in the industry
  • Mission, philosophy, objectives
  • Public or private or foreign-owned
  • Location of plants, offices, stores, subsidiaries
  • Products and/or services
  • Names of key executives
  • Competitors
  • Sales, assets, earnings
  • Growth history and current growth activity
  • Current challenges
  • Major achievements and activity, issues, news
  • Career paths, training, benefits
  • Company culture

For specific industries or sectors, see:

  • ThomasNet.com, for brief information about manufacturers in 67,000 categories in the United States and Canada.
  • GuideStar.org, for brief information on more than 1.8 million U.S. nonprofit organizations.
  • Idealist.org, for information on 71,000+ nonprofit organizations worldwide.
  • USA.gov, for a list of federal agencies (click on “Find Government Agencies” on the home page).
  • USChamber.com, for a list of employer members (click on Chambers and then “Chamber Directory”).

Don’t forget the resources available in your campus career center: Check your career center for information about employers that recruit at your school. Finally, this list of resources is a starting point; never underestimate the power of a search engine. Simply “Google” the name of the organization you are interested in and see what information and news is returned!

Other Research Resources

Start with the organization’s website.
Well-constructed and comprehensive sites will have abundant information, and for the sites that are not as comprehensive, it is still important to learn what is there. This is what the organization deems most important for you to know.

Look at university libraries’ research databases.
These will have information not available elsewhere for free, including financials, industries, market news, trade data, and more. Choose the business databases for information for the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Some of the most relevant databases are Hoovers.com, Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Directory, Thomson One, Business Source Premier, IBISWorld, and Mergent Online.

Check your public library.
Public libraries have online research tools available free with a library card. In the business category, you may find ReferenceUSA, with information for more than 20 million U.S. companies, including nonprofit organizations. Speak to a reference librarian for additional options to research organizations.

Look at social networking sites, including LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has become a leading source of inside information about organizations.

  • On LinkedIn, find companies of interest and once found, click on the “Follow” tab to receive updates posted by the company.
  • Join groups related to any career interest appealing to you.
  • Contribute to discussions and connect with other members.
  • Use the advanced search to find alumni working in companies in which you are interested.

Try the Employer Locator on Careeronestop.
Go to www.acinet.org; in the site search window, search for “Employer Locator.” This is a U.S. government database of nearly 12 million U.S. employers with brief information about each. It’s a good resource for finding employers in a specific industry in a particular geographical location.

Look for small, independent companies in the local newspaper.

NOTE FROM UW-GREEN BAY CAREER SERVICES: Here is a link to a list of employers who will be attending UW-Green Bay’s Job & Internship Fair on Wednesday, March 4.  2015-SJIF-Vault-Profiles (Will open as a PDF)

Alicia Bervine is Program Manager, College of Arts & Sciences; Anne Orange is Career Librarian; and Jennifer Whetstone-Jackson is Program Manager, College of Engineering & Computing, at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Vault’s Top Internships for 2015!

Written by Frank Siano from Vault.com

Did you know that 40 percent of all full-time hires in the U.S. are sourced through internship programs? This means that, for those looking to work for the most desired and admired employers in the country, internships are no longer a luxury but a necessity. That is why the Career Services at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is providing all students with free access to these trusted rankings!

Vault administered its Internship Experience Survey earlier this year to approximately 5,800 interns at 100 different internship programs. As part of the survey, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, respondents were asked to rate their internship experiences in five areas: quality of life, compensation and benefits, interview process, career development, and full-time employment prospects. These ratings were averaged to determine an overall score for each program and develop a Top Ranking.

internship-image

Step 1: Login to your college/universities Vault Access Link.

Step 2: If you are an existing user, please enter your log in credentials under the “Please Log In” section. If you forgot your password or don’t know if you are a current user, click on the “Forgot Password?” link and follow the steps to resetting your account. If this is your first time to Vault, click on the “Create My Vault Account” link to register.

Step 3: Customize your account! We urge you to create a profile to the best of your capability to get viewed by top employers & recruiters, tailor your content, and apply for jobs and more.

Step 4: Get Started Now! Don’t delay, access Vault today. Check with your Career Center / Library for information on best using Vault. Feel free to search additional information such as our Vault Tutorial Video within our Support Center. Happy searching!

Vault

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!

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.

What I Did During My Summer Vacation

Grades have been submitted, Memorial Day has come and gone… it’s true, summer is officially here. Perhaps you’re still in recovery mode. Maybe you’re just starting to think about what you’ll do over the next few months. Many students may not realize “How Summer Can Change Your Future.” 

In The Wall Street Journal article written by Brett Arends, he addresses research that was conducted by Economic professors from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, the University of Pennsylvania and Auburn University.  I encourage you to read the article, as it gives a glimpse of what employers consider when reviewing candidates. To sum it up, what gave fictitious candidates the edge?  Their academic major?  Their GPA?  Nope. It was their summer internship. Noted in the article – “Candidates whose resumes could point to pregraduation work experience in the industry they were applying for were 14% more likely to get an interview. An English major with a middling GPA and a summer internship in a bank was more likely to get a job interview at a bank than an outstanding finance major who spent the summer touring Europe.” 

If you haven’t quite planned out your summer, it doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. While many employers may have already hired their summer interns, there may be circumstances that have created last-minute openings – or – an employer may be seeking a part-time or summer/seasonal employee that would allow a student to gain experience in an industry or position of interest. Use the various resources available to you through Career Services. Log into your Phoenix Recruitment On-Line (PRO) account to search for positions. Career Services is open throughout the summer; you can call to make an appointment to have a staff member review your resume and/or cover letter or discuss your internship/job search strategy or go through a practice interview. Our website with links to various resources and information is available 24/7. Even if you aren’t able to secure an internship for summer, you may find opportunities for the fall.

Taking action today can help you later as you prepare to enter the competitive job search process.

Advice from the Alumni

Written by Tina Norman, Human Resources Manager at GENCO

Congratulations on your impending graduation! As you think about your college career coming to an end and beginning the next chapter of your life with a “real job”, who better to get some advice from than UWGB Alumni?

As a large employer in Green Bay, I had the opportunity to sit down with nine of our UWGB Alumni to get their thoughts on some common questions college students may have as they enter the next chapter.

When should a college student begin looking for full-time employment?
Don’t wait too long! At a minimum, begin researching the companies that interest you during the summer before your graduating year. As the fall semester arrives, begin to narrow your search. By the end of that semester, we recommend sending your resume to prospective employers or networking through alumni connections that you found in your search the prior summer.

How do I begin a career search?
Begin your search with companies that are natural fits to your field of study. Pay attention to the location and job market within that geographical area. We cannot stress enough the importance of networking and LinkedIn makes it easier than ever. If you know someone who works/interns at the company you have interest in, ask for their feedback. If you have an opportunity yourself to intern there, take advantage of this as early as you can within your college career.

What can I do to learn about a company’s culture to ensure it’s where I want to work?
There are many ways to learn about a company’s culture to include researching them on the internet, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We recommend applying to multiple companies. Time is of the essence as graduation, believe it or not, it will come very quickly! If you get multiple interviews, great! Not only will this give you good practice and help you gain confidence in your interviewing skills, you may also have options to choose from in the end. Remember to also use your career resources at UWGB – they do a wonderful job at helping you be prepared.

As interviewers yourselves, what do you look for in a candidate during the interview?
First of all, the first impression is critical. Many interviewers will form an initial impression within the first few minutes of meeting you. It’s important to have a clean, professional personal appearance, eye contact, and a firm handshake to show confidence. When asked to “tell me about yourself”, be sure to have your thoughts organized. More importantly, remember to be specific, but brief. As you proceed with the interview, use specific examples to help the interviewer get to know you. At the end, be prepared with questions for the interviewers…you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you. For example, consider asking your interviewer about their experiences at the company – what do they like best? What does a typical day look like? What keeps them up at night? It’s always good to ask about key factor metrics for the role and seek to understand the company’s three-year strategy.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t comment on the resume. A resume should be well written with no spelling or grammar errors. As you highlight your education and work experience, be sure to keep in mind the job description of the position you are applying for. Highlight your experiences that compliment the skills your potential employer is looking for. For example, if you were interested in a position at GENCO, we are looking for people who are motivated, a self-starter, and able to balance multiple tasks. Don’t be afraid to list student groups and activities that you’ve participated in on your resume to “beef up” your work history.

When given a job offer, what should I consider as I make my decision to accept, counter, or decline?
Many people look at the salary, but there is so much more to a job offer. Our advice is to consider the entire compensation package which includes base salary, benefits, bonuses, culture, work/life balance, training, and career opportunities.

What final advice do you have for graduating students?
As you begin your job search, be open-minded. Take some time to reflect upon what is important to you. Rank the top 5 things that are most important to you such as location, commute, culture, pay, benefits, etc. As you begin your career, you will notice that you will spend a lot of time at work. It’s important to take the time up front to do your research to find the right company for you.

Good luck!

Are you showing up for the right interview?

Written by Abby Despins, Corporate Communication Manager at Schreiber Foods.

The day is finally here. You’ve spent months perfecting your resume, creating cover letters and following up with potential employers. And now you’ve gotten the most coveted call among all job seekers … the recruiter asking for an interview. Most students will jump for joy and then wait patiently until the day of the interview. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your job search. The hard work really starts now: preparing for the interview.

Before you hang up the phone with the recruiter, make sure you know what interview style the company uses. Some recruiters will offer up this information, others will not. Either way, don’t hang up without knowing what interview you’re showing up for.

Why? What many students don’t know is that there are several types of interviews. The company’s interview style will drastically change how you prepare. The most common include:

Structured and Patterned Interviews
Also called a repetitive interview, in structured interviews, potential employers ask every applicant the same questions to ensure that similar data is collected from all candidates.

Similarly, in patterned interviews, also called targeted interviews, interviewers ask each applicant questions that are targeting the same knowledge, skill or ability. Unlike structured interviews, questions can vary from applicant to applicant.

If you’re headed into a structured or patterned interview, ask the recruiter for some sample interview questions they may ask, or research potential questions online.

Behavioral Interviews
Behavioral interviews focus on identifying a specific situation and evaluating how the interviewee handled it. The theory here is that an interviewee’s past behavior will predict future behavior if they were to work for their company. Potential employers find these interviews valuable because they get to see the candidate thinking, solving and acting. They’ll ask you to tell them about situations you’ve handled in the past, such as:
• Give an example of how you set goals and achieve them.
• Give an example of how you worked on a team.
• Describe how you’ve handled a difficult situation.

In this method, you should use a STAR method to answer behavioral-based questions.
• S/T= Situation/Task: Paint a high level picture of what the situation looked like and then describe the context or background of the situation or task.
• A= Action: Describe what you did or did not do in that situation and how was it done. The majority of your answer should focus on your actions.
• R= Results: Describe what the end result of that situation was.

To prepare for behavioral interviews, think about some examples before the interview. How did you handle the situation? Who was involved? What was the outcome? Be prepared enough to give specific details about your experiences that demonstrate your knowledge, approach and personality.

Situational Interviews
Similar to behavioral interviews, this method tries to predict future behavior. The Interviewer will ask questions to elicit stories and examples that demonstrate skill and qualification levels. What differentiates situational interviews from behavioral interviews is that in situational interviews the interviewer will ask hypothetical questions (i.e. how would you handle this situation), such as:
• You have a deadline approaching and fear you will be unable to meet it. What do you do?
• A co-worker frequently leaves early when the boss is not around, and asks you to cover for him. What would you do?
• How would you handle it if you believed strongly in a recommendation you made in a meeting, but most of your co-workers shot it down?

In the interview, take the opportunity to weave in past experiences as you answer situational questions.

At Schreiber, we use a combination of behavioral-based and structured interviews. This means that we ask all candidates the same questions and look for previous examples on how they handled a situation. We’ve seen great success with this interview style and we can tell who’s prepared to give us examples of successes and challenges they’ve encountered throughout their careers – whether they have 20 years of experience, or classroom experience.

For more information about interviews, I encourage you to visit the UW-Green Bay Career Services’ resources page on interviewing. And as you’re planning to land your next interview, take a look at the careers we offer at Schreiber and get a peek into the Schreiber culture by connecting with us on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Common Career Pitfalls to Avoid

Written by Robert Brookman, Talent Acquisition Department with Humana

Within our robust college recruiting program, we see a lot of mistakes and pitfalls that college students regularly fall into during their career search. These are things that may seem like common sense, but over the course of time become less of a priority. The strategy any student should take into a job search is to make sure first and foremost; they do not disqualify themselves because of a minor mistake. Often times in recruiting, the first cut of candidates is made because of minor mistakes such as grammar, spelling, formatting, etc. We want to put you as a job seeker, in the best place to succeed in your impending search. That’s why we have compiled the following list of common pitfalls to steer clear of.

1.  I can begin looking for a job after I pass my finals.

If you have taken this mind-set into your final semester, you are already behind. Many of your peers have been looking for, and may have locked up, internships or full-time positions for the coming months. Job seeking can be an extremely long-process especially when you have little experience. There are not many things in life that you wait until the last minute to start planning, especially something as important as a job search.  

Normally at Humana, we begin accepting internship applications and entry-level college programs roles in August of the year prior. But, each year we also get notes from students inquiring about positions the next spring and summer as well, when those positions have been long-filled. Make sure to start your search early.

2.  I want to work as a _____ for ____ company, living in ____, and making ____ .

This is one of our favorites. Sometimes students can get a very narrow focus (not always a bad thing), while other times the student can have no focus at all. The difference between the two would be someone who could fill in each blank of the above statement (narrow) and a person who does not know what they would like to be doing now, much less five years from now (broad). You have to find a balance between having too narrow a focus and too broad a focus. You want to have some idea of where you would like your career to go, but not so much that you limit your options too far.

Another piece of this is your expectations. Some students come in and want to get their foot in the door anyway they can. That’s great, and we love to see students like this. They want to work hard and get in the door because they know they can use their skills to stand-out and eventually move up once they have a solid foundation. On the other hand, we have students that come into interviews who have obviously over-valued themselves. It’s one thing to be confident in your abilities, but it is something completely different to come into an interview as a recent college graduate and look for a director-level role. This is not a hard and fast rule, but you should know what your true value is.

3.  I can do my entire job search online.

Untrue. In this digital age, it may seem as though this is the case, but remember, the name of the game in a job search is differentiation. How do you differentiate yourself by just using a word document you uploaded to a website (just like everyone else). There are so many opportunities to network person-to-person with employers. We at Humana are regularly on campuses across the country throughout the year, as well as other major nationwide events. Come see us, meet our people, and show us a face. This allows you times to articulate more than you can on a one-page resume and also can potentially give you a point of contact into the employer.

All that is not to say that you can’t connect with us online, or that you shouldn’t; far from it. We have a lot of resources online devoted to connecting with people just like you. Check out our Twitter account @Humana_Careers or our Facebook page Humana College Programs. If you have questions or comments for us, we love to hear them on our social pages.