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Let’s start off where he did, taking a look at the things that employers might look at rather than GPA:
Heiduschke went on to point out that all of these skills are taught through language classes at OSU, whether they are taken to be a Baccalaureate Core requirement, a minor, or if you are a fully-fledged language major, you will pick up all of these skills in language classes. It just goes to show that language can be a key in our education even if it is not the focal point of our studies.
But, if employers are so interested in all of these before our GPA, why should we even care? Well, the fact of the matter is that all of these points will reflect on your GPA and so if you have a good one, you should flaunt it. But that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck if your grade point is sub-par, you will just have to work hard to get that foot in the door. Remember that it is your job to make yourself look good on your resume, so if you are lacking in one of these ten categories, it’s not the end of the world— just highlight the other categories and be confident in portraying what will make you unique to employers.
We spend a lot of time trying to develop skills that we lack in, but at the end of the day: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” We don’t get jobs by telling an employer which skills and attributes we don’t have, or what we are working on. We get the job by showing them just how good we are at what we do best.
~Thank you to Sebastian Heiduschke for inspiring this topic, and providing a large amount of input for the post.~
by Richard Thomas, Career Assistant
Take your career to new heights, know your strengths, and be known for being amazing at something!
Branding is all about the promise you give to your customer. It tells people what they can expect from you. But in a personal branding point of view; your brand should be what people think of you when you leave the room.
So here is your assignment. First ask 15-30 people that are friends, family, and people who you may have just met within the past few weeks, what are 3-5 words that describe you (The GOOD AND THE BAD). By getting a diverse group of people you will have diverse results and see the changes in responses from someone who knows you more than 10 years to someone who knows you you less than 2 weeks.
Next compile all your responses, draw together conclusions, and find word families. When I did mine I was surprised to see that many people used words like outspoken, honest, or opinionated. It made me wonder is that the lasting impression I want to have on people when I leave the room is that I am opinionated; Is that something I want to change about myself? After some critical thought I decided that I am outspoken and I should own it. I am honest when others aren’t but my goal should always be for the common good. I mean HONESTLY, I am probably always the person who will stop a stranger and say that their shirt is inside-out or that they have spinach in their teeth.
After I made some conclusions I developed my personal brand which is exuberant, ambitious, entrepreneur, outspoken, and connected. I will use these words as my guiding force for my interaction with people and over my social media.
Take it to the next level by putting these branding words on your own business cards and using these words to sell yourself into a career.This a perfect opportunity to show people that you care about yourself and you are always looking for ways of self-improvement. I think most employers would agree that they rather hire the person that is always looking for ways to improve rather than the stay at home nobody.
posted by Zack Sperow, Career Assistant
Summer break is definitely one of the things I’ll miss the most when I graduate. It’s three glorious months of relaxation and sunshine. That being said, it’s also the perfect time to get things done before school starts up again and you’re really busy and stressed out again. Here are some ideas of ways to keep busy this summer, separate from doing summer classes or working.
1. Update your resume so that next time you need it you won’t have to do nearly as much work! Career Services will be open all summer for career counseling appointments, so make an appointment to come in for resume and cover letter help!
2. Look into professional memberships relevant to your career. Buying memberships while you’re still a student is often significantly cheaper and a great resume builder. You can also get access to a lot of great resources, including job listings that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access.
3. Go to a music festival or concert. So, this actually isn’t career development related. But honestly, when is a better time to do this than over the summer! There are a ton of festivals and concerts happening over the summer, taking advantage of the hordes of college students with time to spare. Treat yourself and enjoy being young and carefree.
4. Get letters of recommendation if you foresee yourself needing them soon. Whether you’re applying for graduate school in the next year or trying to get a scholarship, summer is a good time to contact professors for letters of recommendation. They’re also most likely a bit less busy than during the normal school year, so it’s advantageous on both ends.
5. Learn a new skill or pursue new knowledge. Whether it’s relevant to your career or not, summer is a great time to learn new skills, read books, and catch up on TEDtalks. You could try learning a language, an instrument, a computer program, a programming language…the possibilities are endless. Maybe you’ve always wanted to do photography on the side – go for it!
What plans do you have for the summer? We’d love to know!
posted by Deirdre Newton, Career Assistant
Whether you are just starting college, getting close to graduation, or a recent graduate, there are some things you should know about this so-called “real world”. Many people will tell you that your college years are the best years of your life. For some people, this may be true, but to be honest it is just a very distinct phase in your life. Personally, when I was in college, all I wanted to do was get out. But then once the novelty of my last free summer wore off, I just wanted back inside. In truth, there are both pros and cons to having a full-time “grown-up” job. Either way you want to look at it, you can’t stay a student forever.
Pro: Depending on what kind of work you are doing, generally your weekends are finally what they were intended to be. A time to rest, catch up on some household chores, and best of all…have fun! There is no longer that nagging sensation that you should be doing homework or the guilt that comes with procrastination. When I first graduated, I spend most of my weekends hiking, shopping, and decorating.
Con: You no longer have extended vacations three times a year. In spite of the wonder of free weekends, there is a downside. The days of month long winter vacations, three month long summer vacations, and Spring Break are long gone. Now you are subject to whatever system is in place for vacation time. When you are first-starting out, it is unlikely that you will have any. That means your winter holiday celebration turns into a three day weekend, rushing to visit family and then rushing to come back.
Pro: You earn a decent wage! No longer do you have to live tiny pay-check to tiny pay-check. Or, in some people’s case, credit card bill to credit card bill while racking up student loans. You can actually afford things like new shoes when your old ones wear out, as opposed to duck taping them together. Don’t get me wrong, you might not be making a huge salary when you graduate, but at least you will probably be making enough to not feel guilty about treating yourself every now and then.
Con: Your amount of bills rise. Suddenly you are expected to own professional clothing and a reliable car to get you to and from work. In addition, bills that perhaps your parents were willing to cover during your college years, are suddenly now your responsibility. This means health insurance, car insurance, cell phone bill, cable, etc.
Pro: Being an adult means people take you seriously. There is not anyone micro-managing your every move. When you say you are sick, people believe you. When you want to use your vacation time, no one questions it. If you are five minutes late, people assume that you have a good excuse.
Con: People expect you to act like an adult. This means that you really do have to have a legitimate reason to miss work. You can’t take extra vacation time. People rely on you to get things done on time. Sometimes this might mean working weekends or late nights. And finally, you cannot do things other than work, at work (candycrush, facebook, etc.).
Overall, being an adult can be pretty awesome. But there are some adjustments that you have to make when transitioning out of college. Not being able to be with your family over winter holidays can be a real bummer. But your boss is not like a professor. If you miss work, you could be fired for breaking your contract and consequently face unemployment. Thus, it is best to start thinking about how you can prepare for these reality checks as soon as possible.
As week 10 draws near (cue melodramatic music), the library gets dangerously close to reaching capacity, our eating habits shift from an occasional veggie to eating taco bell for dinner at 1 AM every night, Dixon becomes nonexistent along with sleep and our stress levels reach heights that parallel Simba’s when the stampede of wildebeests come careening for him. Before the all night cramming commences I thought it would be wise to revisit the idea of taking a study break to de-stress. In no way am I debunking the importance of a study break, because lets be real, you are some sort of superhuman if you have the ability to study for 8 hours straight without taking a breather. What I’m suggesting is that we rethink what is done during this precious time we set aside to reset our psyches.
More often than not study breaks consist of scrolling down our Instagram feed for “five minutes” which translates into going your celeb crush’s Instagram pics while we envision ourselves as their spouse for the next hour. Now, this may be a study break you’re perfectly OK with and every once in a while the occasional imagination of what it would be like to be Mrs. Efron is necessary. That being said, I’ve realized recently is that there are far better ways to spend a study break that may allow us to de- stress while we also take a break from finals studying. For instance, we all have a gazillion things on our weekly to-do lists, in which case very rarely do all of the tasks on our lists all get done. I bet you can guess where this is going. So, if you’re studying at home and can no longer rehearse the circulation of blood through the chambers of the heart, or whatever it may be, instead of giving in to the black hole we call Facebook, or better yet, Pintrest, try knocking out a quick task on your to-do list. Some ideas may include…
These are just a few ideas, but I think you get my drift. In the end doing tasks that require little to no brainpower instead of lifelessly feeding into Facebook is a win-win for you. Your brain gets a break from cramming while you free up some time in the future by doing a task or two you would have had to do later. And honestly, it feels better. It feels better to transform your jungle of a yard overgrown with dandelions (into something that resembles an actual yard) than it does to browse your Facebook timeline to find out that your friends in California are already on summer break… It feels better to know that you have dinners prepped for finals week than it does to tweet “sleep is for the weak.” In addition, when you take a study break in the wee hours of the night, getting up and doing something will most likely have a greater affect in waking you up and recharging your battery than sitting and staring at a computer screen would.
We have a tendency to procrastinate in ways that are essentially dead ends and instead we could be using that same time to procrastinate in ways that are beneficial to other areas of our lives. Imagine that, there is such a thing as positive procrastination, so long as it doesn’t end up fully distracting you from your studying altogether. As a rule of thumb, your study break should take no longer than an hour max. That being said, these things may seem mundane, but one of the biggest struggles college students have is managing their time which is arguably one of, if not, the biggest contributor to stress. There is so much on our plates, one too many things we’re trying to juggle, but if we simply change the way we “waste time” by habitually taking study breaks that incorporate brainless tasks, I think it’s possible to be less stressed and more satisfied people as a result. So here’s to cleaner rooms, shiny cars, library snacks and clean socks (for once)! Let’s show week 10 what we’re made of!
posted by Adriana Aguilar
Step 1: Write a list of possible recommenders – generally those requesting only want 2-3 letters of recommendation. However having a list of at least 5 will provide you with alternatives, especially if you know you are going to need tailored letters of recommendation in the future.
Step 2: Rank your best choices – list the possible recommenders that would be most helpful to not-so-helpful, based on the position you are applying for.
Step 3: Know all the details – write a note-to-self of when the letter of recommendation is due and what you wish to be included. It is important to give the writer at least a month’s in advance notice of when you want the letter to be due. Also, before contacting the recommenders create a portfolio that includes 1) your resume 2) examples of work that you have done 3) a summary of yourself and 4) information on the position you are applying for. The recommender will be appreciative and more willing to write you a letter if you do this!
Step 4: Contact your top recommenders – politely ask if he/she would be willing to write you a letter of recommendation. If they are unsure or cannot make the commitment, use an alternative recommender.
Step 5: Follow through – send out your portfolio to your references and remind them of the due date. If you know your reference will be mailing your letter for you, make sure you provide them with a pre-addressed and pre-stamped envelope as a polite courtesy.
Step 6: Thank them – thank your reference personally and present them with a small gift for helping you achieve your potential job. Also, keep them updated on your successes, whether that is at your job or outside of the workforce. You will create a good image of yourself and also strengthen your network!
Sample Email Asking for a Letter of Recommendation:
Sample Request for Letter of Recommendation for a Job:
Sample Request for Letter of Recommendation for Grad School:
Website used – http://www.wikihow.com/Ask-for-a-Recommendation-Letter
posted by Whitney Cordes, Career Assistant
It’s Moms Weekend at Oregon State University! Here come the moms!
In honor of all moms and this weekend of festivities, I’ve compiled a list of ten phrases that are class
ic Mom Wisdoms (I use the term loosely), along with how actually listening to them may be beneficial for you in your education and career. If you disagree, let me know. And add your own—what did Mom (or Dad, or Other Parent) say to you?
“Stand up straight.”
This one time, I was in middle school. For YEARS. At least three years. And I hated middle school, but not for the reasons you’d think. I loved school and had friends and played sports and all of those theoretically healthy things. However, middle school was when my brain suddenly decided that every time I was in a conversation with someone who wasn’t a close friend, or when I had to talk in front of a class, it was a good moment to send all the blood in my body RUSHING to my face. It sometimes took an hour to recover my original pallor from the rush. And it sucked. Because I felt and believed, in those conversations, that I was confident and smart and had opinions. My face, though, said loudly “I’m super embarrassed!!! And maybe even incompetent! Or lying!”
The point is, non-verbal communication is exceedingly important, especially when your non-verbals don’t match what you’re saying. Some body language is not in our control, but a lot of it is. Stand up straight and connect the confidence of your body to the confidence of your words.
“Life’s not fair.”
Sometimes, I hate that this is true. However, it can be to your advantage to believe this: if life isn’t fair, that it will sometimes be unfair in your favor. If you’re not looking for ways to “screen yourself out” of opportunities that may otherwise seem out of reach (you know the thoughts: “I’m not good enough for this” “I can’t do this” “Everyone else is better qualified”), you may grasp a lucky chance rather than let it slip away. So perhaps this can be your mantra: Life’s not fair, and I’m so glad!
“Money doesn’t grow on trees.”
Uggh, yes. Thanks, Mom. I’m aware that it doesn’t grow on trees. However, I am going to behave as though it does, by spending my unsubsidized loan money as if it’s regular money, and using credit cards for new shoes (again), and forgetting, for years at a time, to actually use my savings account . . .
Get comfortable living within your means and thinking about your future self realistically and you’ll end up far better off in your options for education, career, and lifestyle flexibility. Need some help talking education finances on campus? Connect with these fine folks.
”Clean your room!”
Organized people experience less stress and are more productive. Or, so I’ve heard. (Shout out to my mom for trying to get me to clean my room for somewhere around 18 years. A little tip from someone who knows: if you resist cleaning your room until you’re 30, your mom might just come in and do it for you around the holidays!)
But in all seriousness: organization and being able to utilize a structured and simple system to keep track of your goals, obligations, tasks and activities is essential to being effective in any job—whether you are delivering pizza or running an international corporation. Starting with getting your clothes off the floor at home is good practice.
“I’m going to count to three: one . . . . two . . . three . . .”
In this case the decision-making process is usually deciding between two choices you don’t really want to do as a kid: clear your dishes or lose a privilege, for example. However, it’s still a choice and needs you to make a decision. Decision-making is one of the top skills employers look for in potential employees. Being able to understand information and draw reasonable conclusions in a timely manner will allow efficiency in your work as well as inspire confidence in your clients and employer. It’s also an important skill in relationships, sports, crises, providing leadership, grocery shopping, being a good traveler . . . .
“Always wear clean underwear in case you get into a car accident.”
No. Always wear clean underwear. Period. You don’t need reasons for why.
“So, if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?”
Risk-taking is important. So is planning ahead and assessing your strategy without going along another person’s path without thinking. I hear this in my office all the time: “What should I do with this degree? Should I take Job A or Job B? What is everyone else doing with this degree?”. I think these are useful questions. I also think that they are completely missing the point of being a person. As soon as “should” is added to a statement or question, it implies that there is a proper way of doing something. As if the people who’ve already gone that direction have created a “one direction”. If jumping off the bridge means you land in a (safe) world full of interests and activities and people that are awesome for you, then, by all means, jump! If not, it’s time to reassess and trust that that particular bridge may not be the one for you.
“You will always be MY baby.”
A lot of our choices in life are driven by core values and needs that were developed very early on in life. Being mindful of those and it will be difficult to take opportunities that aren’t a good fit for you. Need some help defining your values? Look here.
Also, this is important because of the unconditional positive regard (translation: love) that babies tend to get from moms. That love is an important rock for you as an adult and professional because you won’t get validation, recognition and encouragement for simply being an appropriate human being from many people around you. Hang on to t
hat mom love in times of doubt and feedback drought.
“Because I said so.”
Sometimes you have to play the game and follow directions, whether you agree with the reasoning or not. I truly believe that those who become the most successful, in however you define success, are not only hard-working and committed to their goals, but who are open to following and leading. Get away from being defined with words like “entitled” and “lazy” by meeting expectations without complaint. Show up, keep your eyes and ears open, and do what you’re told. The ability to do all three will help you build relationships and a positive reputation with whomever you work for and with.
“Were you raised in a barn?!”
Oh my goodness, I hope you were, or near one, like on a farm. Because then you’ll know all of the most important things about surviving in the work you do:
1. If you open it, close it.
2. If you don’t know how to operate it, find someone who does or leave it alone.
3. If it smells, don’t step in it.
4. If it’s broken, fix it.
5. If you make a mess, clean it up.
6. If you use it, take care of it.
7. Get up early. Go to bed early.
8. Some things are out of your control.
9. With every season comes change. Get used to it and learn how to adapt.
10. Get your hands dirty. Let someone else do the sitting around.
Want to know what’s going on at Moms Weekend? Check here
Want to know what’s going on with your mom? Give her a call.
posted by Malia Arenth, Career Counselor
There we all are, browsing through job postings, looking for that little nugget of gold that will match ME specifically, a place that I will be happy and valued. There it is, a job title that is exactly what I want to do, and so I click on it. It’s a startup company… great. Less pay, and more responsibility than in a bigger corporation, no guarantee of a job five years from now? Eek! Next.
But why shouldn’t we all consider those startup companies? Don’t they have a lot to offer? Startups offer Culture, Opportunity, and Responsibility; whereas many of the corporate companies that might approach you will offer higher pay, benefits, and stability. Haven’t you ever wanted to be part of something big though? Something new that you can make your own? What if your startup takes off and their product is huge? Keep in mind, Facebook is only 10 years old right now, and there are still market niches that need to be claimed, so are the benefits of working at a startup worth taking a small gamble, and accepting a little less pay?
Let’s talk about culture. Working at a startup you will probably be in a small group of individuals that were all hired for a different set of skills that they possess. This means that every conversation that takes place in the office will be something that might not have ever occurred before… a new mixture of different people that are thrown together will unknown results, and you have a chance to shape that culture too. In such a small environment you can make jokes, and enjoy the company of everybody in the office, not just sit in a cubicle or tackle projects with the other new hires in your corporate position. Go out and start traditions with your quirky new coworkers! Not to mention the laid back atmosphere. Want to wear jeans to work? No problem. Do you want to cut that down to shorts and sandals in the summer? Sure! As long as you are getting your work done, there’s no reason you should have to worry about it in your startup job.
But even better than the culture is your opportunities and versatility that is offered by startups. You might find yourself being pulled into projects that you never expected to end up in. You can really show your stuff and take on as much responsibility as you want— volunteer to run your companies blog— show how you have a talent for designing websites or brochures. Take ownership of all those skills and talents that you have accumulated over the years, and the next thing you know you will be renown in your little community for what you can do. And as soon as the company starts to grow, you might end up in charge of some people, or a whole department, all because you were able to demonstrate your skills, and received those opportunities. To be realistic, you can’t find any opportunities like that in a big corporate company.
Even if the startup doesn’t work out, you have just earned yourself 6 months, or maybe a year worth of good experience to put down on your resume, and that made you that much more desirable and valuable to the next company that takes a look at you. You are still young, so take some adventure with you in your life.
by Richard Thomas, Career Assistant
Planning on attending the Spring Career Fair? Have you thought about what you are going to wear? If you are still wondering what to wear, look no further for your sound advice from a wise wardrobe sage. It is actually VERY important that you take some time to think about what to wear at the Career Fair. Although we have been told since childhood that one’s character is more important than one’s appearance, this is not an excuse to wear your everyday outfit to job search. In this competitive world, you need every advantage you can get. So as the saying goes “dress for success”; especially if you are actively seeking a job or internship. At the Career Fair you might meet someone who actually wants to interview you. Dressing appropriately demonstrates a serious commitment to landing a job. It shows that you took the time to do your homework and look nice. It also demonstrates that you are a professional, well-put together person, who knows how to dress appropriately. Dressing appropriately is not something that an employer wants to teach you. They expect you to know that already.
At this point, you might be asking yourself “But how do I know what is appropriate to wear?” First I shall give you my top five list of what NOT to wear.
Did I mention yoga pants? But in all seriousness, these rules will help you grow in your journey towards becoming a professional. Now, you might be wondering what you should wear. I am not going to spend a whole lot of time in this area because I am afraid that my suggestions will be misconstrued without proper examples. For example: If I say “skirts” you might interpret this as “mini-skirt”. In case you were wondering, that is not what I meant. So instead, I will leave you with this tip: Go to a professional place of business and look at what they are wearing, for example a bank. I know that there will be some silly bank teller that will break my rules, but you should be able to identify who is dressed correctly and who is not. The people who dress correctly will look competent, professional, and let’s face it, powerful. You might also look to a cool older sibling or friends who is in a professional position for advice. The best way to learn what to wear is to observe others who have experience.
What will you be wearing to Spring Career Fair?
How do you dress for success and stay true to your own style?
Let us know!
posted by Rebecca Schaffeld, Career Services Graduate Assistant