Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

See?  It works!
See? It works!

If you’ve ever attended a Career Services workshop on networking, job searching, or career fair success, you’ve probably heard us talk about your “elevator pitch”, or your “30-second infomercial”.  And you may have wondered…Is this something I really need to PRACTICE?  I know how to talk about myself!

Sure, of course you know about yourself.  But sometimes it becomes hard to talk about yourself purposefully.  You’ve only got one chance (and about a minute) to make a first impression during the job search, so you want to make sure you’re selecting your most marketable qualities…rather than wasting 10 of those seconds talking about your dog Fido.  (Even if Fido is super-cute.)  So…get to work crafting that pitch!  And click the link below for a great summary article on what you should include:

What is An Elevator Pitch and Why is It Important?

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.

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.

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

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.

dating-13452Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

I say it to students all the time.  Finding a job is kind of like….dating.  Think about it.  You’re trying to impress someone, but you don’t want to seem overbearing and arrogant.  You want to show someone that you know a little something about them….without seeming creepy.  You want to highlight the fact that you’re a match made in heaven.  Employer or love interest…it’s pretty similar.

Now, perhaps you’re reading this and thinking…”Great, I’m not so suave at the dating…there’s no hope of a job!”  But fear not!  Follow these simple guidelines, and you’ll come off like a pro in the job search.  But sorry, we can’t make any promises when it comes to your love life.

Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

green-leaf-largeUnless you’ve been hiding under a mossy Oregonian rock, you’ve probably heard the word “sustainability” any one of a hundred times over the past year.  We’re lucky to live in a state where sustainability efforts are cutting edge.  Passionate people are out there doing amazing work…do you want to join them?

“Green jobs” are certainly a positive career direction these days, but just because it’s a newer (and growing) field doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your homework.  Start by checking out this great website on Green Jobs.

Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

If you’re looking for a full-time job right now, you may have heard that applying to work for the federal government is a good option.  Absolutely…it’s really important to consider working in a diverse range of industries.  The more variety you can add to your job search, the better.  There’s just one problem…USAJOBS

The application.  It’s no secret–government applications can look a little different, and feel a little confusing.  This goes for Oregon jobs too.  But fear not–it just takes a little persistence and a lot of homework.  For instance, if you’re applying to a state job in Oregon, be sure and check out their webpage and click the link for “application tips”.

If you’re applying for a federal job, they have a similar resource for deciphering their application.  And if you have questions during the submission process, here are some helpful links.  And finally, check out these 15 tips for acing your federal government application.  Good luck!

Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

snowmanFor many Oregon State students, the winter break is just what the name suggests…a break. If you’re planning to spend your time off skiing, visiting friends, or working at your favorite coffee shop, then enjoy!  But for many of you, the break means something else—the job search.  Spring is coming, folks, and sorry to sound like a broken record, but the sooner the better when it comes to hunting down that post-graduation gig.  Yes, it’s overwhelming.  Yes, you’d rather not think about it.  But there are a few things you can do to really capitalize on your time away from tests and paper assignments.  A few ideas…

  1. Use your contacts back home to do at least one informational interview.
  2. Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing internet research:  research companies you’d like to work for, current industry trends in your field, and search engines like BeaverJobNet.
  3. Have some new people—some fresh eyes—look over your resume and cover letter.  You can never have too many people do this!
  4. Start making a list of the events you’re going to attend next term (e.g. Career Fairs, conferences or workshops, etc.)
  5. Take some deep breaths, and STAY POSITIVE!

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.