Jessica Baron in one of her many roles. Currently, Jessica is a Graduate Assistant in Career Services.

My name is Jessica, and I’m a career changer.

What is a career changer? Well, I’d like to think that it’s someone who is continually searching and learning, about herself and about the world in which she lives. I’d also like to think that it’s someone whose experiences and interests are multiple and varied. But it’s also someone who wants to do everything. And can’t. So, we career changers hop from experience to experience, from job to job, searching for the thing that will fulfill all the aspects of our values, personalities, wants, and needs.

I started off wanting to be an actor. When I graduated from college in 2000, I moved to New York City to pursue this dream. Acting is a logical choice in some ways for someone who wants to do everything. With each role, the actor gets the opportunity to inhabit someone else’s life, even if it’s just for a short moment. I’ve played pioneer women and secretaries, battered wives and English country girls. For the duration of the show, I could feel what that person’s life would have been like, how their backgrounds and histories and present circumstances converged to create who they are in this moment of the play.

But acting sometimes doesn’t provide a steady paycheck. When I first moved to New York City, I needed to make some real money to pay my bills. First, I found a waitressing job at a restaurant in Soho. Soho is a neighborhood on the South end of the island of Manhattan. I lived in Queens. The trip from my work to home took about an hour by subway, and the restaurant was a late night place, so I often found myself waiting for the subway to go home from work at 4 am. I would walk down the stairs to the empty platform and wait for 30 minutes for a train to arrive, watching the gaping hole of the subway tunnel in anticipation, falling asleep standing up. I wasn’t making much money for the amount of time I spent there. Sometimes less than $100 in tips for 10 hours of work. And I was so tired during the day that I didn’t go to many auditions. I had to keep reminding myself that I was living in New York to be an actor, not a server. One of the other servers I worked with at this Soho restaurant was a writer, trying to write a novel during the day and make enough money to pay his expenses by serving fancy pink drinks to already drunk ladies in thigh high boots at night. He was having a hard time of it, just like me, but he kept plodding along. I didn’t last very long there, maybe a month.

When I left this unnamed restaurant, I signed up with an office temp agency, and within weeks, I got a job doing reception at a technology firm near Radio City Music Hall. Remember that this was 2000, and jobs felt plentiful, at least in New York. Many people moved from job to job easily, and I felt like I could pick and choose. I had a degree, and I learned things quickly. The world of work looks a bit different now that we’ve moved into a new era of economic downturn and uncertainty. Now, a degree is no guarantee since there are often hundreds of qualified applicants for each job. We have to be good self-promoters, with a strong resume, a well-written and specific cover letter, and a polished interview style. As I’ve moved from career to career, I’ve needed to become more adept at navigating the job market as times change and the working world shrinks. But that didn’t stop me from my career changer tendencies, hopping from job to job or from field to field. Look for my story to continue twice a month with more “Confessions of a Career Changer”.

Jessica Baron is currently a Graduate Assistant in Career Services at OSU and a full time student in the College Student Services Administration Program. Before making her way to Oregon State, Jessica worked as an actor, waiter, online tutor, receptionist, college composition instructor, creative writer, gas station attendant, nonprofit program director, writing workshop leader, high school drama coach, Hallmark card straightener, substitute teacher, real estate office manager, and SAT tutor, not necessarily in that order. Her “Confessions of a Career Changer” will focus on her wavy career path and the challenges and joys of wanting to do everything.

Welcome back!

Well, fall term has arrived which means the campus is busier (nearly 25,000 students!), the leaves are changing, there is a crisp breeze in the air, days are getting shorter, and it’s time to visit Career Services! No matter what year you are in school, Career Services can assist you in many ways. How you may ask?

One of the first things to come to mind is to get your resume reviewed so you have one that makes you stand-out from the crowd. You might not think you need a resume at the moment, but believe me, an updated resume is something you should always have on hand, ready to go. It’s smart to have your resume ready in case you meet someone who works for that company you have always dreamed about working for. Or you meet someone who may have an internship for you, but they want you to send them your resume NOW. No problem, you have it on file in your email because you just visited Career Services and now you have a stellar resume that you are proud of.

Another reason to visit Career Services is to meet with a career counselor. Maybe you aren’t sure about your major or you don’t know what kinds of careers are available for someone with your major. Or, you need help figuring out what area to study. Does the job search process make you feel anxious or overwhelmed; we can help you with that, too. Seriously, we can. There are many resources available and sometimes it is just talking to a counselor to figure out what they are.

Do you have an interview coming up? That means you need to PRACTICE!!! We offer two ways you can do this – meet with a career advisor and do a mock interview and/or utilize InterviewStream, an online program that allows you to answer questions remotely (all you need is a webcam).

Trying to find a job or internship on or off campus? Then check out our online database system, Beaver JobNet. Learn about local, national, and international jobs/internships that are specifically posted because they want Beavers!

Fall Career Fairs are coming up soon…in 30 days to be exact (October 26 – University Wide, October 27 – Engineering)! Meet employers that are recruiting OSU students, find out about job and internship opportunities, and connect with others. There are many workshops offered beforehand to help you prepare for the Career Fair. Learn more by checking out our website and keep a look out for our 30 day countdown, including tips of the day to get your ready for the fair.

As for our website, we just launched a new site that has a look similar to the OSU homepage. We hope you find it informative and easy to navigate as well as enjoyable to look at.

Hope all you Beavers have a fantastic first week of school and welcome to fall term!

Posted by Jen Busick, Career Advisor & Outreach Coordinator

We are huge advocates of informational interviewing in Career Services so we thought we would re-post a popular article written a couple of years ago. Maybe it will get you interested in doing an informational interview in the future:

Have you ever found yourself wondering, I know there are jobs out there that may be perfect that I’ve never heard of.  How do I find them? Most people ask this at one time or another.  There are many ways to research occupations, but one of the most effective is:  Informational Interviewing.

What is “informational interviewing”, you ask?  An informational interview is an interview that you initiate with someone in a field that interests you.  You ask the questions, because the purpose is to obtain information.  This is one of the best sources for gathering information about what’s happening in an occupation or an industry, because you’re talking to people actually working in the field.  You get to interact with someone and have a dialogue—something you can’t do with a computer screen. Informational Interviews allow you to:

  • explore careers and clarify your career goal
  • discover employment opportunities that are not advertised
  • expand your professional network
  • build confidence for your job interviews
  • access the most up-to-date career information
  • identify your professional strengths and weaknesses

Informational interviews can teach you about those mysterious job descriptions you’ve never heard of, and give you insider information about your field of interest.  And best of all, they can teach you what kinds of experiences you’ll need to give yourself a leg-up in the job market during these tough economic times!

To conduct an informational interview, follow these steps:  1) Identify the occupation or industry you wish to learn about, 2) Identify People to Interview 3) Prepare for the interview, 4) Arrange the Interview, 5) Follow Up.

More questions?  Come to the Career Center and meet with one of our career counselors.

Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

Need a Job, but don’t know how? Applying for an internship, but resume is not updated?! You’re in the right place! We here, at Career Services offer career counseling with our professionally trained counselors who can help you navigate a dream career. We offer drop-in hours for resumes/cover letters help Monday-Thursday from 1-4PM, all year round! That’s right; we’re even open during the summer hours! If you have difficulty with Beaver JobNet when looking for jobs, or have questions related to your job application, you’ve come to the right place!

Our website offers a variety of useful tips and documents that are career related. Whether you are interested in interviewing tips, upcoming career fairs, or guidance on career making, we have it all at

We are located in room B008 of Kerr Administration. Come see us, we have more services waiting for you!

Check us out and be a fan of our facebook page for daily updates of job and internship postings.

See you soon!

So, you’re graduating! You only have weeks, 19 days to be exact, until you are done with school. How exciting! Have you thought about where you are headed after OSU? No? It’s never too late to get started with the job search process.

First, you have to know yourself and what you have to offer as a professional. Take time to reflect on past experiences such as jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities that have allowed you to gain skills that are transferrable to the workplace. We have put together a WORKBOOK to help you get started on this important step in the job search process.

Once you have an idea of what you bring to the table, start putting it down on paper. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at our website, including the link to our CAREER GUIDE, there are great tips and formats that will get your creative wheels churning. After you have completed a resume draft, come down to Career Services to have one of our Career Assistants review it and give you feedback. We offer drop-in hours every week from 1-4pm Monday through Thursday.

Finally, once you have your resume complete, its time to start applying for jobs! Here are a few things to remember:

  • You should always tailor your resume to specific jobs. Employers can tell when generic resumes are submitted and they often get discarded immediately.
  • References: Always ask before submitting. Be sure to ask anyone you would like to list as a reference that they feel comfortable giving you a positive recommendation and keep them informed about what jobs you are applying for by providing them with the specific job description and a copy of your resume.
  • It’s all about who you know. 70 % of jobs are gained through networking! Talk to professors, mentors, and your parents or their friends to see if they know of any jobs that are available.

If you need more assistance with the job search process, you can also make an appointment with a career counselor/advisor at 541-737-4085. We can help you brainstorm some ideas, provide resources, and get you connected with others.

Congratulations to the Oregon State University Class of 2011! GOOD LUCK and GO BEAVS!!

Posted by Linsey Baker, Career Services Assistant

How much influence does social networking have on the job application process and your career?  What does your social media persona convey about you? In today’s competitive job market these are valid questions to think about. Okay, so you’ve applied for a perfect position with a dream company and got that coveted interview.  You supplied references with a resume, and expect the company will contact them; but be aware that another source of background information about you is now available to employers through social media.  This includes the interactive places where you connect with family, friends and associates such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  There are also places where you can “strut your stuff” with video-sharing on YouTube and blog pages.  However, whatever you choose to put out there is available for the public to see, including potential employers.

This recent phenomenon has become a valuable screening tool for employers, who in the past did not have this kind of access to personal information.  Statistics vary slightly, but generally they seem to agree that between 40% and 50% are now using social media information in some form, and the number is growing. You can make this work in your favor, or if you’re not careful, it can work against you.  According to a survey of 2,667 HR professionals compiled by, “eighteen percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them to hire the candidate.” However, up to 53% surveyed admitted they disqualified a candidate because of content!

One way to take advantage of social media is your presentation, and an obvious place to start is Facebook. Think of it as dressing professionally for an interview, only virtually.  It’s a great way to show your best side. Consider what your page, your wall, or your pictures might be saying to potential employers if they were to visit.  Are you presenting an appealing, professional persona? Also, your page is a great place to express additional professional interests and relevant experiences that you weren’t able to address on a resume or cover letter because of space restrictions.  A positive appearance will speak volumes to someone who is interested in hiring you.  And in today’s job market, a virtual professional look is as important as a first impression, and could give you a serious advantage over the competition.

If you think there may be images or conversations on your page that a potential employer might view as undesirable, consider making some changes, such as making the information private, but also take advantage of visibility that can effectively work in your favor. If you’re unsure about some of the elements ask a parent or advisor, or call us at Career Services.  If you are serious about your career goals and getting hired, this could make the difference in whether or not you get the job!

Posted by Barbara Harrelson, Career Services Receptionist

Does the thought of an 8:00 to 5:00 office job make you yawn?  Do you become restless thinking about performing routine tasks?  Perhaps you are in need of a unique job!  I recently stumbled upon the book Nice Job! The Guide to Cool, Odd, Risky, and Gruesome Ways to Make a Living. If you are determined to lead a less routine lifestyle, this book may be for you.  To peak your interest, I have included five of my favorite job positions for you to consider.

1.  Christmas Tree Farmer
A green thumb paired with a business savvy attitude makes for a successful Christmas tree farmer.  Today’s holiday trees sell for about $35 a tree.  Earning around $4,000 an acre, one could earn a comfortable living harvesting a 15 acre Christmas tree farm.  A successful farmer should be patient, have a background in marketing, and be knowledgeable of the land and farming procedures.  For more information, visit

2.  Product Name Developer
The best marketing strategy a company can have is to find a catchy name for its products.  In this position, you would be responsible for brainstorming and generating lists of names for the new products of companies.  While each name suggested only earns about $1.00 each, a full time namer employed for a high-level company could bring in a six-figure salary.  Knowledge of linguistics and languages is helpful, creativity is common, and working to meet deadlines is a must.  Flexible hours and working in any environment are enjoyed by employees of this title.

3.  The Real World & Road Rules Editor
MTV’s real life soap operas aren’t captured as they appear.  A skilled film editor works through hours of tape to determine the best segments to include in each 22 minute film episode.  A person in this position needs a great sense of drama and an understanding of human behavior.  An eye for juicy and interesting subject matter is a must with film and script experience being helpful.  A perk of the job: you always know what will be happening before the rest of the viewing audience!

4.  Ice Cream Flavor Developer
Perhaps my favorite job: tasting and evaluating lots and lots of ice cream.  Ice cream flavor developers begin at a starting salary of $25,000 a year with opportunities to grow to $50,000.  Candidates for this position have sensitive, evaluative taste buds, are creative, and have the ability to deal with media.  Developers are involved in quality control, product development, and the training of ice cream sales people.  However, four to five hours a day can be expected to be spent on the tasting of ice cream.

5.  Bicycle Messenger
Bicycle messengers serve in both big cities and small communities as quick deliverers of packages, letters, and time-sensitive documents.  They can expect to bring home $500 a week before taxes while putting on 20 to 60 miles of bike travel per day.  Agility, quick-wittedness, and a powerful survival instinct make up the best bicycle messengers.  Keeping fit while on the job is a welcomed perk of this adventurous position.

These unique opportunities are but five of many.  If you are interested in reading the full book, there is a copy available in the office of Career Services as well as the OSU Library.  You might also check out the following websites:

A unique job may be the perfect fit for you.  Be creative, be persistent, and be open to adventure!

Posted by Bobbi Meyer, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Preliminary results are in, college hiring is up 21%. “Employers expect to hire 21 percent more new college grads this year than they did last year, according to preliminary results of the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook Spring Update survey.

Back in August, employers projected a 13.5 percent increase in college hiring for the 2010-11 academic year. However, since that time, other NACE surveys have pointed to college hiring gaining momentum. For example, NACE’s hiring index, conducted monthly October through February, showed an increase in the percent of employers planning to hire more new college graduates. In addition, NACE’s monthly recruiting activity index pointed to increased activity on campus: In fact, the index hit an all-time high in February, foreshadowing a greater increase in hiring for the college Class of 2011 than originally anticipated.

This is great news for graduating students! For students looking to find a job in 2012 – fall college recruiting also looks positive. “It’s early, but signs are good for fall recruiting”, according to results of NACE’s Job Outlook 2011 Spring Update survey.

Nearly 29 percent of employers that responded report plans to increase their fall 2011 recruiting over last year, and 41 percent plan to recruit at the same level.

NACE will poll employers this summer to gather more-detailed hiring projections for the Class of 2012.

This is very motivating information! If you need assistance with the job search process be sure to visit Career Services. We can help you learn more about careers that fit your strengths, interests, and values; assist you with researching companies, writing a resume and cover letter, practice interviewing, and networking/connecting with people in your field of interest.

We are also offering a Senior Job Search Group that meets on Tuesdays (April 26, May 3, 10, 17) from 4-5:30pm in Milam 033. We just met yesterday and provided tips and resources for students to help learn more about themselves so they are more prepared to write their resume, interview, and find jobs that are a good fit. The next workshop is on May 3rd and will cover researching companies and careers. You don’t have to attend all workshops, come to those that interest you. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Jen Busick, Career Resource Specialist

Here at Career Services, not only do we offer professional one-on-one career counseling, resume/cover letter critiques, mock interviews, and career assessments, but we also house a new well-renovated, cozy space that serves as the Career Resource Library. The new Resource Library has been a great addition to the lobby of Career Services and it offers a variety or career-related resources that specifically help with career development, career decision-making, and career exploration.

If you have  an interest in exploring the world via an internship abroad or volunteering in another country, we have information that helps you to explore many different types of career related work that you can do. Peace Corps is one of the programs that is supported by OSU Career Services and we have a Peace Corps Representative who specializes in helping students who have a passion in gaining an experience aboard. Peace Corps information can be found in our Resource Library along with information about Teach for America, the JET Programme, AmeriCorps, and the IE 3 Global Internship program. Come check it out!

We have many books and guides that allow you to do career exploration, occupational researching, and gain information about the job search process. There is a great series of books that is currently on our shelves published by VGM Career Horizon titled Great Jobs. These books are tailored specifically for an intended major, ranging from Art, Business, Engineering, Psychology, and everything in between.  These books focus on how you can:

  • Discover all your career options
  • Target your ideal career
  • Set a path to advance your career
  • Assess your strengths and interests
  • Explore unusual career paths
  • Set strategies for getting the job that you want.

If you are interested in careers that focus on environmental issues, we have Green Careers resources that can be beneficial for your success. Special career focuses such as Non-profit organization work, Social Services, and Entrepreneurship are all great resources that we offer for those that are interested in these career fields.

We have the Job Choices magazine series that allow you to focus on the job market of certain types of career fields. Its features tips on how to succeed in interviews , job search techniques, things that employers are looking for in an employee, resume and cover letters tips, along with the ins and outs of certain career pathways.

If you’re looking for a place where you can sit and relax on a comfy couch and read about your career of interest, our Career Resource Library is the right place for you!  Resources are updated  frequently, therefore you’ll get the latest news in the job market and information about your career of choice. These resources are super useful in terms of helping you gain confidence of obtaining the dream career that you’ve always wanted.

Posted by Phi Vu, Career Services Assistant

The Career Fair is a great place to talk to potential employers. You know you will have the opportunity to talk to many employers, but how exactly do you turn the Career Fair into a job? Below are some ways you can stand out!

  • Dress for Success- Appearance plays a big part in the way that potential employers sees you. Body language is 55% of what employers use to select who they want to work for them. When it comes to the Career Fair it is important that you are looking your best. You want to stand out from others who aren’t looking professional and make it easier for employers to lean towards you. For men, a suit would be ideal but slacks, a button up shirt and a tie also work. For women, a suit (pants or skirt are fine) are also ideal, but you can also pair pants with a professional-looking blouse, blazer or sweater and make sure to wear a comfortable yet classy shoe (either flat or pumps are appropriate).
  • Resumes and Cover Letters– Having a strong resume and cover letter gives you a chance to stand out after meeting employers at the Career Fair. Employers get stacks of resumes after Career Fairs and you want to make sure that yours stands out. Format is important but it is more important to tailor your experience to the company or organization you will be talking to.
  • Be Prepared– There are many ways you should prepare yourself for the Career Fair. Doing research about a company or organization that you are interested in is very important. It is not a good idea to approach an employer and ask them what they do. You want to be prepared to talk to them about why you are interested in their company or organization and the different ways that you can fill their needs. You also want to prepare your “30 second spiel,” which highlights your resume, skills, and interests and it is always good to ask questions.
  • Follow up – After talking to an employer, ask for his/her business card and make sure to follow up with an email thanking them for their time and that you look forward to talking to them again in the future. You could even set up an informational interview which could get you connected to even more people.

These are some ways that you can turn a Career Fair into a job. Don’t be afraid to think about it as you interviewing employers to see if they fit your needs. You want to make sure you go in with a game plan and confidence, once you do that you will be ahead of everyone else.

Posted by Silver Trujillo, Career Services Assistant