Ever have the thought of, “Ah, I am so busy that I don’t have the time to job search before I graduate, what should I do”? Don’t worry you’re not alone. We are all busy with school and finding the time to job search in between classes isn’t an easy task, but trust me it isn’t impossible either.

No need to worry, there are some ways to get organized and motivated when it comes to finding a job during the process of graduating. Continue reading

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 About.com 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. http://nonprofit.about.com/od/nonprofitwork/tp/gettingjob.htm

Posted by Leah Anderson, Career Services Assistant

So you have probably learned about LinkedIn or at least know that it exists…but how do you really use it effectively in your job search? Kaitlin Madden from CareerBuilder recently wrote an excellent article about this topic and we thought we would feature it on our blog so all you OSU students and alums can get more use out of LinkedIn. So here it is…

Used right, LinkedIn can be a job seeker’s golden ticket.

Savvy job hunters can use the site to gain all kinds of advantages: information on the types of people a company hires, the name of the hiring manager for a particular job (and if they’re really lucky, an email address) and even the ultimate “in,” a personal connection at a company of interest.

But for every job seeker who expertly navigates the online networking scene, there are plenty of others who fumble their way through it, often over- or underestimating the role the site should play in their searches.

“LinkedIn is a valuable tool, but sometimes when people search for a job they can confuse activity with productivity,” says Tony Beshara, president of Dallas-based placement firm Babich and Associates, and author of “Unbeatable Résumés,” for which he surveyed more than 2,000 people about their LinkedIn use. “No matter what activity you’re doing, whether it’s writing your résumé or browsing profiles on LinkedIn, if that activity isn’t actually getting you an interview, it’s not as productive as something that would get you an interview.” Continue reading

It’s less than a week away; are you ready? Whether you’re attending the fair to scope out potential future employers or to truly start the job hunt process, we hope you’re well on your way to getting prepared. Your resume should already be in tip-top shape. Your 30 to 60 second infomercial should be polished and practiced. You should have your goals clear in your mind, the employers you want to talk to mapped out, and your professional attire chosen.

But what should you do after the fair? Sit by the phone, pining for a call? Check your email every 20 minutes to see if they’ve contacted you? Visit the headquarters of the company in person to speak to the president directly, asking why they haven’t called or emailed you since the fair, angry and screaming?

Okay, maybe you can tell that these aren’t quite the right moves for following up with employers. They don’t give a very favorable impression. But following up after an event like a Career Fair in a professional way can be a manageable task if you do a little bit of planning.

First of all, while you are at the fair or very soon after, take notes on the back of employers’ business cards that you undoubtedly collected about the individual you spoke with, the conversation you had, and your initial impressions. (You can also do this in a notebook, but make sure you attach the correct business card to the correct page in your notes so that you don’t lose the contact information!) Next, use this information to write up professional and targeted thank you letters to the employers you have any interest in speaking with further. Use a detail from your conversation with the employer in your note to jog their memory. Something like, “Thank you for speaking with me at the Career Fair at Oregon State University. Our conversation about how a company mission statement can set a tone in a workplace really got me thinking,” will help an employer place you. And get those letters out quickly! Many people don’t send thank you letters, and it can make a huge difference between an employer remembering you and not being able to recall you out of the sea of students and alumni they spoke with. You can also call the employer 2 weeks after sending those letters to confirm that they received your note and to express your continued interest in interviewing with the company.

Finally, patience is a virtue when it comes to the fair. You made connections and increased your network by attending, but those connections may not pay off right away. You never know when that network will help you in the future. If you make a meaningful connection at the Career Fair, by taking notes and following up afterward, those relationships can eventually give you opportunities and open doors. Good luck!!

Posted by Jessica Baron, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Summer Interns - there's me in the middle!

I had no idea what to expect from either of the internships I took on last summer. The only thing I knew for sure was that they would look great on my resume –so I was on board. At the time I really wasn’t very sure as to what kind of career I wanted to go into upon graduation –only that I wanted it to somehow relate to my two majors: Applied Visual Arts and Merchandising Management. After applying to about ten different internship programs, I was lucky enough to be offered three.

At first I was tempted to accept all of them and juggle my schedule as I went. Fortunately I saw reason and decided to accept only two of them. I accepted an illustrator position at a patterning company for spring term, and a merchandising position at a prominent retail chain for the summer.

In the illustrator position I worked closely with the designer to create visually accurate and compelling drawings of her clothing. I was surprised by how difficult it was sometimes. Communicating specific visual ideas can become very complex –and I learned a lot about myself during the process. Looking back, I’d say the most important thing I took away from that experience was that I do not want to be an illustrator. I didn’t like trying to create someone else’s vision –particularly when she didn’t like what I had sketched. This was actually an incredibly valuable thing to learn about myself, as this really helped narrow down what kind of career paths I would enjoy in the future.

To say the merchandising position was educational would be the understatement of the year. Having never worked in retail before, I had never been exposed to the retail culture –let alone the environment of salesmen working on commission. I was immersed in this very competitive field for three months, learning valuable customer service and managerial skills along the way. It was very interesting to work in such close proximity with such an individualistic group of people. There was this undercurrent of self-promotion and strategic thinking that I had never connected with retail sales before.

I would definitely say that this was one of the most important professional experiences I’ve had to date. From this one internship I learned: specific companies I do not want to work for, what qualities I need (and don’t need) in a manager, that sales is too cut-throat for me to enjoy it, and that I should look for careers involving the buying, merchandising, and trend forecasting aspects of retail –rather than those on the sales floor.

Overall I can’t emphasize enough how much you can learn about yourself and your future career field through completing a few internships. Not only do they look great on your resume –but they introduce you to the real-life workplace in a way that classes could never do.

Posted by Leah Anderson, Career Services Assistant

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

Many people have been asking us about setting up a profile on LinkedIn. We posted information about LinkedIn last November and we thought we would re-post it in order to answer that very familiar question: What is LinkedIn and how do I set up an account?

The job and internship search can be tough at times, especially in a slower economy. The process can feel like a full-time job with so many different areas of focus, including self awareness, what kind of job you want, resumes, cover letters, networking, applications, interviews and more! There are many tools and resources available and one of the most useful resources is LinkedIn, the leading “social networking” site for professionals. LinkedIn is different from Facebook or Twitter in that it is focused on networking yourself as a professional and you can use it to connect with other professionals. It is also easy to use and a great way to begin your job search! Let’s find out more…

Who Uses LinkedIn?

  • Over 60 million professionals
  • Roughly 1 new sign-up per second
  • Over 150 industries
  • Executives from every Fortune 500 firm
  • 2.1 million students
  • 37,000 college and university alumni groups

Why Use LinkedIn?

  • Build a professional online presence – if you fill out your profile 100% and someone tries to Google your name, usually your LinkedIn profile will be at the top of the list. This is a great way to build brand recognition and it’s reassuring to know that the first thing others see is your professional side.
  • Connect in a meaningful way with alumni and other “warm” contacts – there are over 63,000 OSU alums on LinkedIn! They are a great resource in finding a job and/or connecting you with someone else.
  • Research companies and career paths – LinkedIn allows you to research specific companies or find jobs using a keyword search. For example, if you are interested in working in the music industry, you can type the word “music” under keyword and find all the people on LinkedIn that have a job that involves music. You may just find that there are a variety of jobs in this field that you never even heard of before! This is a fantastic tool for those that are exploring career options!
  • Explore opportunities with organizations that don’t recruit on campus – there may be some companies or organizations that you would like to work for but do not recruit at OSU. LinkedIn allows you to find out about companies from all over the world!
  • Learn professional networking etiquette – LinkedIn provides a variety of opportunities to network and gives examples of how to set up a professional profile and how to network using LinkedIn.

How to Get Started?

Hopefully this information has convinced you to set up a LinkedIn profile or if you already have one, to become more active on the site. It is easy to create a profile and get connected to other professionals Check out http://learn.linkedin.com/students/step-1/ for a quick video about getting started and get LinkedIn today!

If you have any questions about using LinkedIn or other ways to use social media and networking to get a job, contact Career Services at 737-4085…we are happy to help!

Resource: http://www.linkedin.com

Posted by Jen Busick, Career Advisor & Outreach Coordinator

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

It’s Week 7 of Spring Term – whether it is classes, vacations, volunteer hours or work, I hope everyone has plans for summer! If you have the opportunity to complete an internship over the summer you might want to read on.

To optimize internship experience we need to show our interest by doing research on the company, being prepared and following some tips:

·  Set Personal Goals. You will find that some internships are very structured, but others are not, so spending some time before you start the internship setting goals that you want to accomplish can be a step for organization. Make sure your goals are realistic and attainable in your internship.

It may be deciding on what area within marketing that you want to specialize, or learning new skills, or building your network. Whatever your goals, you will feel a greater sense of accomplishment once you achieve them.

·  Have Regular Meetings with your Supervisor(s). You may get a supervisor who never schedules meetings with you or travels quite a bit, so you have to make sure to have regular meetings where you can share experiences and lessons learned — both good and bad — as well as give progress reports. Hint: While you want to keep your supervisor aware of your accomplishments, remember to also be a good listener and learn as much as you can during these meetings.

·  Tackle all Tasks with Enthusiasm and a Positive Attitude. In just about every company, the new hire/intern is going to have to “pay his or her dues.” You will undoubtedly be given some grunt/ tedious work to do, such as making photocopies, but the key is to complete all your work assignments with the same level of enthusiasm and professionalism.

I am learning in my practicum that I should consider working extra hours (beyond the required number for the internship) not only to show my work ethic but to also  take full benefit of the learning opportunity.

·  Avoid Negativity. The quickest way to ruin a good internship is being negative. So, avoid complaining, being rude, disrespecting coworkers, arriving late, leaving early, being closed-minded, missing deadlines, wearing improper attire, acting unprofessionally, appearing inflexible, and taking part in office politics.

Hint: A common mistake among interns and new hires is treating secretaries and clerks as being beneath them — avoid this behavior at all costs.

·  Never Reject a Chance to Learn More About the Company/Industry. Take every opportunity presented to you to attend company or industry meetings, conferences, and events; participate in training workshops; and read all company materials. Hint: Meetings may appear (and actually be) boring to you, but they can often offer a good chance to increase your knowledge, network, and build relationships.

·  Get as Much Exposure as Possible. Some of the best internships rotate you among departments and supervisors, but if yours doesn’t, don’t let that stop you from tackling new tasks, meeting people outside your department, and attending company social events. The more you are exposed to new ideas and new people, the more you’ll learn.

·  Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions. Always remember that an internship is a learning experience for you. While the employer expects to get a certain level of work from you, you are not expected to know everything. Seek advice and raise questions whenever you encounter something that is not familiar to you. Be open-minded about new ideas and procedures — remember that you don’t know everything and that your professors didn’t teach you everything.

·  Take Initiative. Employers love employees who dive into tackling tough problems and who think “outside the box” in finding solutions. Just make sure you work with your supervisor(s) so you don’t overstep your authority — and make sure you share successes with him/her.

Hint: There is a fine line between taking initiative and being perceived as a “know-it-all,” and for interns especially, it is best to err on the side of caution.

·  Find a Mentor. A mentor is someone at a higher level in the organization that looks out for you and makes sure you are learning what you need to know and accomplishing what you need to do. A mentor can also shield you from office politics and be a good sounding board for you to discuss ideas, ask questions, etc. Hint: Your supervisor could be your mentor, but it could also be another person within the organization.

·  Network, Network, Network. One of the key tools of job-hunting is utilizing your network to find your next career step, whether that is another internship or a job upon graduation. Build professional relationships with your supervisor(s) and other managers in the organization. These people are also a good source for getting other job-hunting advice and tips from their years of experience.

Hint: Even if you have a bad experience in an internship, never burn your bridges because you never know when it could come back and hurt you. Always leave on good terms.

·  Leave with Tangible Accomplishments. One of your goals with any internship is leaving it with some tangible results – both for your resume and your career portfolio. Maybe you developed a brochure, computerized an inventory system, organized a sales conference, met with clients, tracked industry trends, etc. Keeping a journal daily or weekly can help you see the progression or tasks you found joy completing. Plus you can refer to it in the future when you revise your resume to include your internship experience.

·  Enjoy Yourself. Most internships are great experiences, so make sure you have some fun while you’re working and learning. Don’t be so tense that you are perceived as something you’re not.

Career Services encourages you to use BeaverJobNet to find internships or jobs you are looking for to gain experience in you field of interest. If you do not find what you are looking for, definitely keep your mind open to trying different areas because there is a good chance those skills learned can translate over to your field. The important aspect is that you are putting yourself out there, exploring and developing professional skills.

Internships can be very rewarding and offer a glimpse into exciting fields. Others may also be filled with what you may see as monotonous and unexciting tasks. Stay focused on your goals and you’ll enjoy your experience while getting some on-the-job skills. You’ll never get rich off of an internship but ultimately the contacts you make will aid in your eventual career search.

Resources: Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D. http://www.quintcareers.com/internship_success.html

Posted by Marisol Cardoza, 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 CareerBuilder.com, “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