How to prepare for a networking event:

As an introvert myself, I find that preparing is the key to being successful at these types of events. The initial idea of going to a crowded place, where the goal is to have some conversations with strangers, does not sound like my cup of tea. In my younger years, I had many similar experiences that were not beneficial for me and only resulted in a few very awkward conversations and free pens.  However, it is a valuable use of time if one is prepared. Bintroverty researching companies and people that are coming, preparing casual conversation topics, and preparing questions, you can have a successful experience at the event. Introverts feel most comfortable in situations in which they feel knowledgeable about the topic of conversation. If you have questions prepared and know a little about the companies and people you want to talk to you, it is going to make the conversations flow a lot easier. You will be empowered to initiate a conversation and feel knowledgeable enough to contribute to it. Introverts often feel that if they are going to say something, it should be something valuable. Having a basis of knowledge about the company and what they are working on will provide you with valuable things to say. However, don’t hesitate to talk about topics that you think the employer probably already knows about. Just because they know it, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to know that you are aware of it as well. The goal is to demonstrate your knowledge to them.

Making connections:

Now comes the hard part. Taking a deep breath and actually going to the event. Put it in your calendar and give yourself a deadline for researching companies and people that will be there, so that you will have no excuse not to go. It is too easy to “forget” to prepare for it. Don’t take the easy way out. Hold yourself accountable and make sure you get there. You could even ask a friend to go with you.

Once you walk in the door and wander around for a bit, you might feel the urge to quietly slink out the door, to breath in the sweet relief of solitude. Don’t give in! Do what you came to do and talk to some people. You might want to make a goal ahead of time. For example: I will have at least two successful conversations before I go.

Unfortunately, it might take you more than two conversations to meet this goal. Humans are unpredictable creatures and as much as you would like your conversations to go as you had planned, they don’t always. Some people might be more willing to chat with you than others. Sometimes certain people are very popular and you might have a hard time finding an opportunity to chat with them. You might encounter a fellow introvert who might not always give you enough information to initiate further conversation. But be sure and use the questions and knowledge you prepared. Even introverts can have great conversations about a topic that they are knowledgeable about, but they might need prodding more than others. If an employer has a very popular table, you might want to wait and come back later. If that is not an option for you, try to make yourself heard and visible.

How do you start a conversation?

For most extraverts, this is a very natural process. But introverts can have a difficult time initiating conversations. You of course are prepared with your lists of questions and interests, but social norms dictate that you don’t jump right into these. Here are some simple steps for making conversations:

  1. Say “hello”, introduce yourself, and smile. I also would recommend adding something along the lines of “how is it going?” Sometimes people at professional events don’t get asked questions about themselves and it really makes them feel like you care about them and not just a potential job.
  2. Identify a topic of conversation that can apply to most people. For example: Think about what day of the week it is. If it is on Monday, you could say something along the lines of “I can’t believe it is Monday already, the weekends just fly by.” If nothing else, this shows that you are capable of small talk.
  3. Remember that body language is also important, so try to have upright, confident posture. Also, a common trait among introverts is to look around as you speak. Try to limit this. It can appear as if you are disinterested in the conversation. I often role my eyes while I am thinking about what I am saying, but this can come off as nonchalance.

Once you have successfully had some chit chat, you can move into your comfort zone- the reason you are talking to them. Try to confidently articulate the conversation topics you researched ahead of time. When you have exhausted your conversation capabilities, end with attaining some contact information from the person you talked to. “Do you have a business card in case I think of any more questions?”  I recommend bringing your own business card or resume to hand out as well.

Congratulations! You did it! That wasn’t so bad, right? Once you have met your conversation goal for the event, you may swiftly make an exit. However, you are not done. Don’t let the connections you made go to waste. File the business cards you received with notes to remind you about who they were. For example: Jo Shmoe with Apple Computers- Brown hair, green polka-dot tie, and we talked about internships in HR. Shortly after the event, send Jo Shmoe an e-mail thanking him for chatting with you and inviting him to talk again in the future. Be sure and remind him who you were with some specifics about the conversation you had. Ask Jo Shmoe if he would mind connecting with you on LinkedIn (if you don’t have a LinkedIn, get one). Once Jo Shmoe e-mails you back and says “of course”, you are assured of the beginning of a new relationship that may be useful in the future. But, don’t let your relationship die! Stay in touch and in the near future invite him to coffee for an informational interview.

These steps will ensure that your time at the event was not wasted. You now have contacts that might be able to help you get a job someday. By showing interest in them, you are demonstrating your good qualities. There is no need to let intimidating situations deter you from having the career that you want. Everyone has unique qualities and passions to contribute, but you have to make sure that others are aware of those qualities. Networking is a key component of the world of work, so start building those skills now.


Posted by Rebecca Schaffeld, Career Services Graduate Assistant

So, what are your plans for this short week away from school? Are you going to be sunning and sailing, reading a book on a beach somewhere? Or do you have a trip planned to Vegas or LA or NYC for some fun? Or will you be working at your job and preparing for next term? Maybe you’re going to keep it low key by spending your days relaxing at home. Well, some OSU students are going to have a pretty incredible experience this coming week doing an alternative to all of that: Alternative Spring Break.

Instead of spending the week with the usual spring break activities, three teams of 12 to 20 OSU students are going to spend their spring breaks serving others in several Pacific Northwest communities. The participants on the first trip go to Yakima, Washington to learn about the city and the local Native American Reservation, Yakama Nation, and help nonprofit organizations there serve residents. The participants in the second alternative spring break experience this year are headed to San Francisco to work with the local homeless population. Finally, the students on third trip are staying close to home to restore vital ecosystems near Newport, Oregon. The trips cost $120 to $350 for a week of lodging and most meals as well as all programming and transportation, pretty minimal.

Why would someone devote their spring break to learning about Native American culture in Washington, helping the homeless in California, or cleaning up the beaches in Oregon, you may ask? Well, for one thing, Alternative Spring Break is a great way to engage in a meaningful service experience while having fun and traveling. It’s a way to make a difference. Participants will challenge themselves and form lasting friendships. And as a bonus beyond the inherent value of the experience, Alternative Spring Break is a way to gain leadership experience that can go straight on to a resume in a compressed amount of time. In a week, with some preparation before and debrief time after, students will gain knowledge, insight, and leadership skills that an employer would be excited to hear about in an interview.

So, next year, ask your advisor about going on an Alternative Spring Break trip or apply directly through the Center for Civic Engagement, You’ll get more out of the experience than you ever thought possible.

Since I do not have much experience with the nonprofit side of careers, when I volunteered to write this blog post I truly had no idea where to begin. But after doing some extensive research (approximately ten minutes conducting Google searches) I discovered that not only are these jobs interesting and attainable, but they can also be incredibly worthwhile.

Joanne Fritz, a freelance writer for wrote a delightful article on the subject entitled How to Find Your Dream Nonprofit Job. She breaks the process down into seven easy steps, which I have helpfully further condensed into the following three:

  1. Choose a cause you are passionate about. You will be much more attractive to companies who share your values, commitment and enthusiasm for a particular movement. Another perk to narrowing this down is a higher likelihood for job satisfaction (once you nail that interview of course). The more committed you are to the cause, the more you will enjoy helping achieve the organization’s goals.
  2. Research nonprofit organizations that support the movement/cause you are interested. A fantastic place to start would be the companies that are attending our upcoming Nonprofit & Volunteering Expo. You will not only be able to talk to these people face-to-face, but these organizations are interested in OSU Beavers. This means you already have an edge over the competition!
  3. Volunteer! While this is always a great resume booster, it is particularly important when trying to impress those nonprofits. The majority of their people power is generated through willing and committed volunteers. One of Fritz’s particularly brilliant pieces of advice was the option of creating your own internship. Though this may sound intimidating, this can easily be accomplished through contacting nonprofit organizations and offering your time/talents.  Even though you will probably not be paid, this will be a HUGE resume-builder and offer incredible insight into your favorite nonprofit.

Now that you’re feeling motivated and ready to tackle that Nonprofit Expo, I’ll conclude with a helpful to-do list that’ll ensure you impress those visiting employers:

  • Polish up that resume! We, the career assistants, love fixing these bad boys up. Bring them to our drop in hours (1-4pm in the Career Services office in the basement of Kerr) so we can help you stand out (in a good way). If you’re more the independent type, remember to include a powerful objective that details what kind of organization you are interested in and why –as this will help you entice nonprofit employers to call you back for an interview.
  • Research the companies you are most interested in. You have no idea how much this will excite the recruiters at the expo. Just think of how depressed you would be if most of the students at your booth only came for the free pens. Trust me, prove you’re serious about their organization and they’ll be putty in your hands.
  • Prepare a 30-second introduction. Yes it sounds silly, but when you’re nervous and unsure of how to approach the employers you’ll be glad you did it anyway. Include (at the very least) your name, major, and what you are looking for in a nonprofit. It should closely align with the objective on your resume.
  • DRESS AND LOOK PROFESSIONAL! As I was in charge of reviewing the results of our last Career Fair survey –I honestly can tell you that over 200 students felt they were underdressed and therefore poorly represented to the recruiters at the last fair. Don’t let this be you! Studies have shown that about 60% of your first impression is going to be made based on your appearance. So nothing else, dress appropriately. What does this entail? For the Nonprofit Expo, business casual (khakis, button-up shirt or blouse, etc.) should be sufficient. Always error on the side of conservatively dressed when it comes to the job search.
  • Follow up with the recruiters you connected with. Remember to ask for the employer’s business card or the best way to contact them. This way you can follow up and send them a thank you note (which goes a long way toward creating that positive, lasting impression you’re going for).

Resource: Fritz, J. How to Find Your Dream Nonprofit Job.

Posted by Leah Anderson, Career Services Assistant

This Thursday is YOUR opportunity to make a difference!

If you are interested in interning with, volunteering for, or working in a non-profit organization make sure you’re in the MU BALLROOM THURSDAY JANUARY 20th from 1-4pm. This year’s Non Profit & Volunteering Expo has over 50 non-profit organizations that are looking for YOU to help them make a difference. So, shine your shoes, comb your hair, and touch up that resume for the 2011 Non Profit & Volunteering Expo taking place this THURSDAY!

2011 Non Profit & Volunteering Expo Attendees

-ABC House

-Albanian Alps Institute

-Albany Area Habitat for Humanity

-Albertina Kerr Centers

-American Red Cross

-AmeriCorps* Vista

-Benton County Sheriff’s Office

-Benton Habitat for Humanity

-Benton Soil and Water Conservation District

-Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis

-Campus Recycling

-CASA- Voices for Children

-College Hill High School

-Community Outreach Inc.

-Community Service Center

-Corvallis Environmental Center


-Engineers Without Boarders

-Friends of the Family Ministries

-Girl Scouts of Oregon and SW Washington

-Greater Albany Public Schools

-Greenbelt Land Trust, Inc

-Home Life Inc.

-Hospice Care of the Northwest

-Hostelling International USA, Oregon Council

-Institute for Applied Ecology

-Institute for Nonprofit Management at PSU

-International Degree & Education Abroad

-International Partnership for Service Learning and Leadership

-Jackson Street Youth Center

-Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest

-L’Arche Nehalem

-LBvision Volunteer Center

-Linn County General Services

-Mid- Willamette Family YMCA


-Oregon Child Development Coalition

-Oregon Department of Human Services

-Oregon Jamboree

-Peace Corps

-Presbyterian Preschool and Child Care Center

-SAIF Corporation

-Show Mercy International


-Susan G. Komen For the Cure

-Teach for America

-U.S. Department of State

-United States Coast Guard Auxiliary

-United Way of Benton & Lincoln Counties

-Valley Aids Information Network, Inc.

-Volunteer Services Department, Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center

-Volunteer with Kids

-Willamette University MBA for Business, Government, and Not-for-Profit Management

Posted by Linsey Stripling, Career Services Assistant

Posted by Bobbi Meyer, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Volunteering is a powerful act that benefits not only those being served, but those providing the service.  As you mold a career identity and prepare yourself for life after college, volunteering can play a key in role in your development.  This post will help you explore the world of volunteerism through a closer look at the benefits of volunteering, advice on choosing an appropriate opportunity, and suggestions for where to start.

The benefits of volunteering are many.  A sense of achievement and worth are but two valuable personal benefits.  From the lens of Career Services, there are also professional benefits of volunteering.  Participating in a volunteer experience:

  • assists you in learning and developing new skills.  Employers are looking to hire people who are adaptable and bring with them a myriad of transferable skills from past experiences.
  • allows you to explore career options.  Deciding on a job path that is right for you can be complicated.  Volunteering is a great way to try out many types of careers.
  • betters your interpersonal skills. Through volunteering, you’ll better understand people and their needs, you’ll learn how to work with and motivate others, and you may have the opportunity to learn how to deal with a difficult situation.
  • connects you with a network of people in your field. The people you meet while volunteering may become mentors, future references, or the link you need to find a future job.

Once you have made the decision to volunteer, it is important be intentional about the type of opportunity you seek.  You should first consider your goals, motivations, and values; think about how you would like the experience to better prepare you for your future ambitions.  You must also be realistic with yourself and the skills you currently have, seeking out an organization that matches your strengths and interests.  Next, you should decide on the amount of time you are able to give to the experience, including the number of hours each week and the duration of time you are hoping to spend (i.e. one month, one term, one year, etc.).  When thinking about time, also consider what days of the week work best and what times during those days.  Once you are ready to voice your interest to a volunteer coordinator, be honest about the type of experience you are hoping for, but also listen with an open mind.

Oregon State University houses an office to specifically aid students in finding the perfect volunteer opportunity.  The Community Service Center’s website offers links to volunteer opportunities, hosts events to recruit volunteers, and puts on special projects of their own.  There is also a Nonprofit & Volunteer Expo coming up on January 20th where a variety of nonprofits will be present and you can check out their volunteer opportunities. I encourage you to engage in a volunteer experience; you’ll soon find how powerful your work can be.

Posted by Hulali Kaapana, Career Services Career Assistant

The Career fair is right around the corner, happening on October 12, 2010.  Being prepared, organized and making sure to use time management wisely are key factors to success at the Career Fair. There are 3 areas of a Career fair; 1) Preparation 2) The actual fair 3) After the fair; follow-up.

1)     Preparation

  • Make sure you understand how the Career Fair is beneficial to you
  • Do research! Be educated about the companies you are interested in
  • Bring your resume. [Don’t forget drop in hours; Monday-Thursday 1-4pm]
  • Prepare a 1-minute introduction about yourself for employers
  • Questions, questions, questions. Don’t be afraid to ask!

2)     Day of the Career Fair

  • Dress the part, look PROFESSIONAL!
  • Eye contact, clear speaking and firm handshakes are good things to keep in mind
  • Be Confident in yourself and your resume
  • Try to refrain from large group greetings, be independent
  • Ask for a business card
  • Smile =)

3)     After the Career Fair

  • Send a “thank you” card

All these steps go hand in hand in preparing for a Career fair.  By preparing the steps shared above you will feel more comfortable and less nervous when the time comes to talk to the employers.  Don’t forget to have fun while talking to employers.  More detailed information can be found at Career Services website.

Posted by:  Rachel Erickson, OSU Senior and Career Services Career Assistant

The transition from college to a career allows us to expand.  Expand our skill sets, our knowledge, and for many of us, our closet.  The clothes many of us wear to classes do not fit the dress code at many of our future jobs.  When it comes time to interview for positions, or attend Career Fairs, it is important to make a good first impression.  Like it or not, much of the first impression comes from appearance.  Even if the position you are applying for is with an organization that dresses quite casually, it is necessary to dress up for your interview or networking opportunity if you want to make a good impression.  Investing in a conservative, solid colored suit is a wise decision.  Your appearance is more than just what you are wearing however.  Making sure your nails are trimmed and your hair is neatly groomed is also important.  For further information on appropriate interview attire for both men and women go to THIS WEBSITE.   You can also schedule a MOCK Interview with a counselor at Career Services and wear your interview attire to get a professional’s opinion.

Interested in learning about more about a fabulous professional development opportunity?  Interested in finding a rewarding and challenging experience when you graduate from OSU?  Interested in giving back to students and the community?  Interested in learning all this from the comfort of your own home?  You’re in luck! 

Teach for America is hosting several online events this spring to learn more about different aspects of their program. These are very low-key, and there’s no commitment, but these are great opportunities to become more aware of a way to work towards ending educational inequity in our country. If you’re interested in any of the events below, simply click on the link to RSVP, and you’ll get information to call into a conference line number when the event goes “live.” Please feel free to contact  Matea Bozja ( with any questions.


» Introduction to Teach For America: Learn about our mission and approach to closing the achievement gap and hear a firsthand account of what it’s like to be a corps member. 8 pm EST



» Pre-Med Webinar Featuring Medical School Deans: Hear a med school dean talk about the value of the Teach For America experience and how it will help you in your medical career. 4 pm EST



» Teach For America’s Graduate School Partnerships: You don’t have to choose between Teach For America and grad school! Learn about our 200+ deferral partnerships and hear alumni testimonials. 9 pm EST


Posted by Kelsey Johnson, OSU Senior and Career Services Career Assistant

sunny-beach-palmI know, I know, why are we entering a blog post about Career Services the week before spring break?! I mean, most of us, regardless of our lingering finals, have already checked out, and are dreaming of sun and sandy beaches.  Most of us are NOT thinking about jobs after graduation.  I mean, why would we? Graduation is a whole 12 weeks from now and based on our experience with procrastination, we should easily be able to land a job in 2 to 3 weeks, right?!

Unfortunately, most organizations have either hired already, or will hire, well before June 11th.  So this is just a friendly reminder to all those seniors, super-seniors and super-super-seniors, to start the job/internship search early. Obviously, the assumption here is that many of us know exactly what we want to do and where we want to go; but I understand this isn’t the case for many of us, myself included.  For all you seniors who may need some help with career direction or planning, it’s a good idea to come down to Career Services and schedule yourself a counseling appointment. Not only are these appointments free for students, but they are extremely helpful in reducing anxiety and focusing your career goals.  Just be forewarned that appointments fill up fast…so if you call a couple weeks before graduation, you might be left high and dry. (Of course, Career Services is open in the summer too, though.)

One other thing to start looking into as soon as you return from break is the Career Fair coming up on the 21st of April.  Many employers will be attending and looking to fill positions with qualified OSU candidates.  But again, the Fair is in week 4.  Preparing in advance is key!

Now don’t get all restless, just because I brought up graduation. Definitely have a blast over break and forget thinking about anything serious.  But if you’re like me and need to figure out plans for summer or beyond, make sure that you don’t wait until June 10th to start preparing!

Posted by Kelsey Johnson and Fernando Ramirez, Career Services Career Assistants

networking_professionalsAs many of you might know the Winter Career Fairs are coming up next Tuesday and Wednesday. Once you know what employers are coming to the fairs, how should you prepare to land the perfect job or internship?

Preparation is one of the most important things you can do to stand out to potential employers.  Researching the companies you are most interested in can help you convey your interest in the employer, as well as increase your confidence. Instead of feeling intimidated by hundreds of employers, you can feel confident approaching them. Something one might do to gain information is go to the employers website and browse around.  Questions to consider while online might be: What are the qualifications for applicants? What is something new and exciting about this company? What is their mission statement, and what are their goals? What kinds of projects are they involved in? Are there any new products? Where is their main office?  Utilizing their website is an easy and efficient way to acquire background knowledge of the organization.  This way when you attend the Career Fair, you aren’t asking employers, “So… what do you do?” Employers actually tell us that this is one of the least impressive and unflattering questions they get.

Another way to ease your nerves while approaching employers is to prepare a 30-second self-advertisement in advance. This 30-second advertisement should not only serve as a way to introduce yourself to the employer, but also illustrate why you would be a good fit for the position. Your 30-second ad should contain your name, major, year in school, opportunities you are seeking, relevant experience, highlight of skills and strength, and some knowledge of the company.  By knowing and practicing this information in advance, you can feel comfortable approaching employers and in turn they will appreciate your preparation. So, remember if you’re hoping to catch a recruiter’s attention at the Career Fair or any other occasion, be prepared. Also, don’t forget to have some fun with it!  Believe us, it pays off! For additional information on preparing for the Career Fair go to the link that follows and click on Career Fair Success Strategies.