Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

booksAre you a liberal arts major?  Do you take joy in the beauty of a classic novel, love a good historical drama, or perk up at the thought of your Abnormal Psychology class?  If so, you’ve probably heard the following question at least once (if not 100) times…

So what are you going to do with a major in ______? (Insert major)

Now, if you’re anything like many of liberal arts students who make their way to Career Services, you haven’t quite figured out the answer to that question.  (And that’s entirely okay, by the way.)  There are very legit reasons for this.  Perhaps you’re multitalented and can therefore envision yourself in multiple work settings.  Perhaps you’re simply not sure what the options are for someone with your degree.  Perhaps you’ve been told that all you can do with an English major is teach.  Well, I have good news…

A Liberal Arts major is one of the most flexible, adaptable, well-rounded degrees you can earn.

It’s true.  Liberal Arts majors are masters of communication, analytical reasoning, identifying patterns and themes, brainstorming ideas, and solving interpersonal problems.  These are the skills you gain from completing a group presentation on Shakespearean sonnets.  And they also just happen to be useful in the world of business.

Business expert (and former English major) Susan de la Vergne states:  “[Businesses] need leaders who understand where people ‘are coming from,’ who can communicate vision and direction, who demonstrate adaptability and political awareness.  They want leaders who are willing to slog through difficulty and navigate ethical complexity.”  And she says businesses should look no further than a Humanities Department, or a College of Liberal Arts.

So, you might be thinking “Great, perhaps I am employable…now how do I convince others?”  Here’s the thing:  YOU need to believe it, in order to make EMPLOYERS believe it. That’s right—you need to perceive and tout your liberal arts degree for everything it is (challenging, useful, transferable), instead of doubting it for everything it’s not (engineering). 

Are you ready to branch out?  To look beyond the classroom for ways to use those transferable skills you’ve honed in your European History classes?  Here’s how you can a) convince yourself of all those transferable skills, and then b) articulate those skills to potential employers:

1. Visit Career Services: We’ll help you revise and craft your resumes and cover letters to better communicate the ways you can contribute to today’s world of business (or non-profit organizations).  Make an appointment with a career counselor by calling 541-737-0529.

2. Gain Experience:
If you can build your repertoire of work and/or professional experiences (volunteer opportunities, internships, etc), you’ll begin to see first-hand how you might utilize your liberal arts degree in a work environment.

3.  Check out the resources: The following blogs have excellent information for liberal arts students…
The Liberal Arts Advantage—For Business (For example, see this post on crafting your “elevator pitch” to a potential employer.)
For English Majors

4.  Know Yourself: Spend some time getting to know your unique strengths.  You never know when the professional opportunity you’ve been seeking will arise.  Be ready.

CareerFairTableTentver4Hey there you job and internship-seekers.  Be sure you’ve marked your calendars for the upcoming Career Fairs–February 16th (all majors) and 17th (engineering) over at CH2M Hill Alumni Center.  Events kick off THIS WEEK with workshops at Career Services.

Schedule of Events (Click to get to our website; then click the large career fair icon on the front page.)

Employers Attending Fairs

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

He practices.  And so should you!
He practices. And so should you!

Anxiety and excitement are common human experiences.  Often they go hand in hand.  Whether it’s preparing for a date or for a big game, there’s a desire to impress and/or live up to one’s potential. Interviews work in much the same manner. Typically, if a student is preparing for an interview, it means that their initial contact with the employer, grad panel, or supervisor (via networking, cover letter, resume, etc) has succeeded in sparking an interest in what else they may have to offer.  Therefore, being able to communicate your skills, abilities, and experiences in a professional and timely manner is important for winning over potential managers.  Unfortunately, this is not as easy as it sounds.  Still, many students believe they can walk into an interview and “wow” any employer, just by being their normal “fabulous” selves. Well, news flash! Unless you are Bill Gates (and you don’t need a job), the chances of anyone “wowing” an employer without preparation is pretty slim, especially in today’s competitive job market.  As the old but true cliché goes: you play like you practice.  So come down and practice!

Career Services offers mock interviews which can focus on a variety of student goals.  Whether you’re interviewing for grad school, an internship, or your dream job, we’ll work with you one-on-one to make sure you don’t sell yourself short.  Mock interviews can last from 20 minutes to an hour and typically involve common questions asked by employers, such as “Tell me about yourself”, “What is your greatest strength/weakness?”, “Do you feel your grades accurately represent your abilities? Why or Why Not?”, and numerous others. We also provide various help sheets that give quick tips for different interview types and/or settings.  In addition, we provide a list of common questions to ask employers as well as tips for follow-up interviews and thank you notes. So don’t be shy. Come on by and make an appointment to ensure your interview success.  541-737-4085

Posted by Rachel Erickson, Career Services Career Assistant and OSU Undergraduate

People interviewingFor many people, interviews can be a stressful experience.  We would all love to walk into an interview, ace it, and leave the room feeling sure we’d landed the job.  But the truth is that you must prepare, because perfect interviews do not just happen.  You may have all the qualifications and experiences the company wants, but that is not enough.  An interviewer will be critiquing you on more than what you say.

Here are a few helpful Do’s and Don’ts of Interviewing:

  • Do dress the part for the job
  • Do research the company and the position you are interviewing for
  • Do a practice run with a friend or make an appointment for a MOCK interview at Career Services
  • Do make eye contact
  • Don’t rely on your application or resume to sell you
  • Don’t act like you would take any job
  • Don’t say anything negative about former supervisors or employers
  • Don’t answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no”

For more information on these suggestions and more Do’s and Don’ts visit

Remember, you are interviewing the company just like they are interviewing you.  Go into the interview prepared with questions you would like to know about the company.  For example “How would you describe your company’s culture” or “What do you enjoy the most about working for this company?” will give you an idea of what it is like to work for that company.

NonprofitExpoPosted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

Are you looking for opportunities to gain professional experience and contribute to the mission of a non-profit organization?  Then there’s good news for you!  The annual Non-Profit and Volunteer Expo is coming up later this month, on January 28th.  This year’s event is co-sponsored by Career Services and OSU’s Community Service Center.

So…why attend the Non-Profit and Volunteer Expo?  A few reasons…

  • You need professional experience!  You may not realize it, but volunteer work is a wonderful way to gain valuable working experience.  There will be MANY organizations present for you to begin talking to!
  • You want to make a difference.  Non-profits offer fabulous opportunities to satisfy that social justice advocate inside you, or your need to make the world a better place!
  • Networking.  Non-profits are also employers, folks…here’s your opportunity to begin the networking process for that internship or job you’ve been looking for.
  • Interested in a program like the Peace Corps, Americorps, or Teach for America?  We’ll have a panel of past participants to answer all your burning questions.

Stay tuned on our Non-Profit and Volunteer Expo Webpage for more details about the event, such as the organizations who will be attending, as well as the workshops and events being held throughout the day.

textbooks-main_FullPosted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

As a counselor over in Career Services, I talk with students almost every day who need to declare a major, or who want to change majors.  Generally speaking, students have a major or two in mind when they come to see me.  And often the first question out of their mouth is…What can I do with this major?  What jobs correspond with this major out in the real world?

It’s a legitimate question.  But it’s a tough one too, because it’s not uncommon for people to find satisfaction in a job that doesn’t seem directly related to their college major.  There are certainly exceptions, but Major does NOT always equal Career.

So where to begin?  If you’re considering a specific major, start by researching the course curriculum.  This may seem obvious, but people often skip this step.  And think about it–if you take a look at the course requirements and it looks hideous in your eyes, you’re not going to want to spend 4 years studying it.  Choose a major that you can see yourself studying…and perhaps even enjoying.  If you’re interested in your major, chances are you’ll find it easier and more fulfilling–leaving you extra time and energy to pursue the hands-on experiences or internships that will make you truly marketable by the time you graduate.

Obviously, this isn’t the only consideration when choosing a major.  But it’s a place to start.  Here’s a link to all the majors at Oregon State…click a few, and navigate your way through the department websites to find the undergraduate course curriculum for your chosen degree.  Does it look appealing?  Then you’re one step closer to choosing a major.

Posted by Bryon Burleigh, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Are you on track to graduate this spring?  Do you know what you’ll be doing afterward?  It’s not unusual to be in your final year of school, but have no ideas or prospects for life after graduation.  Many people simply turn to graduate school as a means of further delaying their foray into the “real world.”  This might be a viable strategy for some, but if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life then graduate school might not be the best choice for you.  There are many graduate school application guides available out there with differing information and advice, but nearly all of them include the following questions you should ask yourself:graduate_school

  • Should I go to graduate school?  Why or why not?
  • What are my goals and interests?
  • What degree do I need for my career path?
  • Do I have the motivation to stick it out for another 2+ years?

If you think that graduate school might be something you are interested in, it’s time to start asking yourself these questions.  Many graduate application deadlines for the 2010 fall entry class are fast approaching, often occurring in early winter, and many applications require you to solicit letters of recommendation, take the GRE/GMAT/etc, as well as write an introspective personal statement.  These are not things you want to think about when you’re trying to study for your finals!

For more information on whether you should go to graduate school, check out the following links, or come to Career Services and meet with one of our career counselors.

Posted by Galina Romantsova, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Career Fair is located at the CH2MHill Alumni Center
Career Fair is located at the CH2MHill Alumni Center

This to-do list can help you with your preparation:

Mark your calendars! OSU wide Career Fair is on Tuesday, October 20th, 11am – 4pm. Engineering Career Fair is on Wednesday, October 21st, 11am – 4pm.

Go to Beaver JobNet and find out what companies are coming to the Career Fair.

Research the top companies that interest you. Spend time researching, so you’re aware of what each company does, and so you can ask great questions at the fair.

Get your resume ready. Go to Career Services and get help with your resume. Bring lots of resumes to the fair — at least two for each company for which you have an interest. If you have multiple interests or job objectives, make sure you bring enough of each version of your resume.

Prepare your one-minute “infomercial” to be ready to tell about yourself (education, professional experience, professional goals, the reason you are interested in this company, the key benefits that you can offer the organization).

Get ready for an interview. Sign up for a mock interview at Career Services. Prepare answers to interview questions just as you would do for any employment interview. Make sure you also have some questions ready to ask the interviewer.

Create your Game Plan. You need to determine an order of interviewing. Some experts suggest meeting with your top choices first thing in the morning, interviewing with your other choices in the middle of the day, and returning to your top choices at the end of the day to thank them again for their time. But remember to stay flexible as your top choices may be the top choices of many, creating long lines that you may wish to avoid.

Choose the right attire. Know what the expected attire of your profession is and dress accordingly. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

angelo cammarata

Posted by Ali Casqueiro, Career Services Intern

Angelo Cammarata is about to have his last call at the West View, Pennsylvania bar, Cammarata’s Café. That’s because at 95 years old, Cammarata is finally retiring. Tending bar from the end of prohibition in 1933, Cammarata is calling it quits after 70 years of doing a job that he loves. As a member of Jim Beam’s Bartender Hall of Fame and Guinness World Records longest-serving bartender, Cammarata’s career has been one filled with friendship, family, and fun. Cammarata states, “”This is a good bar. All my customers here are family. We call them our family, our friends. We know them all. And they’re all good.”

Wouldn’t it be great to work for 70 years loving everything about your job? Waking up in the morning and being nothing but excited to work? How neat would it be to feel that your job isn’t a job, but a way of life? For Cammarata and others, careers like this do exist. The thrill of loving what you do and doing what you love is all part of the job search process. Inspiring stories like Angelo Cammarata’s puts into perspective how critical the job search process it. Yes, it might be long and sometimes discouraging, but finding that needle in the haystack, the diamond in the rough, and hitting the jackpot on the ultimate job—well then, it’s all worth it.

Let Career Services support you in your pursuit for your ideal career. Come check out all we have to offer you, and together, let’s help you one day become Guinness World Records happiest employee!

Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor and Career Development CoordinatorBack2SchoolClock

Hello to all you Beavers out there.  It’s the first day of school!  Maybe you’re excited to be back in Corvallis–seeing friends, starting new classes, and meeting new people.  Or maybe you’re already missing those lazy summer afternoons.  No matter which is true for you, Career Services wants to wish you a sincere “Welcome Back”, and we hope you’ll come see us soon.  We have an exciting year planned, and we hope you’ll join us for our annual events, as well as some new ways to connect with employers, alumni, and opportunities.  Don’t miss the following…

Career Fairs: The All-Majors Fair is on October 20th, and the Engineering Fair is October 21st.  Dress spiffy, dust off that resume, and come meet some wonderful employers.  Check out the lineup by visiting BeaverJobNet.

Speed Mock Interviewing: Every heard of Speed Dating?  Well, now’s your chance to do the professional version while brushing up on those interviewing and networking skills.  The event will take place on Monday, October 19th.  Contact Career Services for more info (737-4085)!

Career Exploration Group: Feeling lost when it comes to your direction in life?  Want to connect with other students in a small group format?  Our fall career exploration group begins on October 28th.  Contact Anne Lapour at Career Services for details (737-4085).  Space is limited!