Posted by Linsey Stripling, Career Services Assistant


If utilized, informational interviewing is one of the most valuable sources of occupational information. An Informational Interview is an informal conversation with someone working in your area of interest who will give you information and advice based on the questions you ask.


  • Get first hand, relevant information about the realities of working within a particular field, industry or position.
  • Find out about career paths that you might not have know existed
  • Get tips about how to prepare for and enter a given career
  • Improve your communication skills and confidence when it comes to speaking with professionals
  • Initiate a professional relationship and expand your network of contacts in your career field of interest
  • Learn how professionals have balanced work and their other life priorities

Six Steps for Informational Interviewing

1) Research Career Fields

  • Do initial research on the career field or specific employer you are interested in

2) Identify people to interview

  • Pursue your own contacts then branch out to organizations within your interest area

3) Prepare for the interview

  • Develop as short (15-30 second) overview of yourself, including your reasons for contacting this person, as a way to introduce yourself and define the context of the meeting

4) Initiate contact

  • Contact the person by phone, mention how you got their name and what it is exactly that you are looking for from them

5) Conduct the informational interview

  • Be prepared, dress appropriately, arrive on time and be ready to direct the interview

6) Follow up

  • Send a thank you not within 1-2 days to express your appreciations for the time and information they provided you.

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:  Holly Pierce, OSU Alum and former Career Services Career Assistant

The following post was contributed by OSU alum, Holly Pierce, who took us very seriously when we told her the key to finding a job was networking.  Holly’s story is a great lesson for anyone looking for a job right now!

As a brand new college grad, I am excited to say… I am not only employed, but more proudly, working for my top-choice company, at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide in Portland, Oregon.

Today marks six weeks in my new position. So far, I have met 200+ people between the Portland and Seattle WE offices. However, just over a month ago that was not so true. To be exact, I knew no one.

All I knew for certain was that I wanted to work in the communications industry and more specifically, I wanted to work for Waggener Edstrom. So, instead of applying for job after job via: the World Wide Web, I decided to try something a little different. I worked my network. I called every professional I knew in Portland with hopes that somebody, somewhere, knew someone that would direct me towards a career with Waggener Edstrom.

To my complete surprise, the number of people willing to help me with my quest was astonishing. As it turned out, I found over a dozen people, in all different industries across the Northwest, who knew someone that worked here at WE. Thank goodness. I quickly began the next stage of my aspirant plan.

I will admit— I had some initial concern that I’d potentially present an overbearing image to the WE-HR department, so I choose one person in particular to help initiate my request. Needless to say it worked like a charm.

Within eight hours I had my first telephone interview which advanced me to the next round. Several days later, I had a second phone interview which almost immediately was followed by an on-site interview with my current manager. After traveling to the WE office and meeting the members of the OR-Ops team, I was certain this was the place I wanted to be more than anything. I left my final interview feeling excited, energized and full of hope. Less than two days later I was offered a position, which I whole-heartedly accepted. Within two weeks I graduated from college, moved to Portland and started my very first day with the agency.

However, as a very recent victim of unemployment, I can sympathize quite well. So, my advice to those still left in the all-too-familiar ‘looking for a job’ club; whether you’re new college grad, or not…

Here it is….



During my time in college, I learned many valuable skills about career development but the most important thing I learned–the one that tops everything else—is the value of networking.

Believe me as I try to explain…times are certainly changing. Resumes, cover letters and portfolios, nowadays, can only get you so far in life. Blogging, Skype, I-chat, and the hundreds of social media sites are defining the new trend in our culture. In other words… networking.

Put yourself out there. Create an image and sell it to your ‘clients’. This new age idea presents us all with the challenge to think differently. It forces us, in every industry, to ask ourselves… ‘What can I do to make myself a more marketable candidate?’ Whether you connect on LinkedIn, start a blog, or record a YouTube video—the point is, it’s time to try something new.

I have been at Waggener Edstrom for 30 days for a total of 250 hours. I have learned the names of 200+ people across two floors of roughly 70,000 square feet. I have learned the details of our 16 worldwide offices, our innovative client portfolio and the crazy PR lingo that is actively used by Waggener employees each day.

So, the strategy? It’s no secret…

Get out there. Create a network. Find some possibility. Believe in opportunity. Work hard. Build relationships. Be interesting by being interested. Have patience and remember to stay positive—things will turn out right.

As for me… I still have a lot to learn. But so far, the transition from college to career has been pretty encouraging. I will continue to work hard, build my network and learn as much as I can from the world around me because I know I have a long career road ahead.

Posted by Tim Chen, OSU Student and Career Services Career Assistant

According to a national study by Grunwald Associates, 96% of Generation Y uses social media tools.  Currently, Generation Y outnumbers the Baby Boomer population.

With that said, more and more businesses are switching over to social networking as means of interacting with the growing youth population.  In an effort to draw attention from the youth while maintaining professionalism, LinkedIn was developed as a “professional” social network.

LinkedIn takes the traditional aspects of a job market and places it online for millions of users to interact.  The profile page looks similar to the “Info” page on a Facebook profile, but more business oriented.  For example, my LinkedIn profile immediately lists off my previous employers, the educational institutions I attended, the number of “connections” (friends) I have, and any websites that I choose to share (personal, company, etc…).  Outside, it provides additional details regarding my information (that I choose to share), and then it displays groups involved and my most recent activities.

To use LinkedIn for job hunting, there are several general tips that you may choose to follow, from the Guy Kawasaki Blog:

1)     Increase your visibility! This can be done by adding more connections and using keywords that best describe you.  Make sure you add connections outside of your current employer (such as high school friends, friends from groups/organizations) to draw more attention in search results.

2)     Improve search engine results. Aside from increasing your visibility, advertise your LinkedIn profile.  Attempt to create your public profile URL with your name in it so it’s easier for employers to exclusively find you.  Also, include your LinkedIn URL in your signatures if you ever post on blogs since it helps advertise yourself within the blog, and it increases the appearance of your name in search results.

3)     Perform “reverse,” company reference checks. Given correct information, LinkedIn allows for users to search for previous title holders of a position within a company.  This provides the user an opportunity to look at the resume of the interviewer and allows the user to see previous people who held the position.  This search comes in handy since it provides a better idea about the company and that specific department and/or position.

4)     Increase job search by skills! Rather than searching by people and/or employers, you can type in a skill and have a list of companies with positions seeking those specific skills.  For example, by searching “Java” under the Job search, many “Java Developer” positions show up.

5)     Research companies with LinkedIn! Rather than visiting the employer’s official website, LinkedIn has asked for companies to create a generic “profile” page for users to briefly review their information and testimonies from their employees.

Of course with all of those tips, there are a couple of things that you should be careful about.  These tips come from Dr. Rachna D. Jain’s “Five Things you should never do on a social network:”

1)     Do not leave negative feedback.  That comment and feedback will generally stick around for a while.

2)     Do not lie, and be honest.  Companies look for integrity in their employers and their potentials.

3)     Do not spam!  Spam is NOT a push marketing strategy.  Most people hate spam and would prefer not to hear about promotional material.

4)     Do not gossip!  It’s immature and makes you look very unprofessional and takes away any classy image you might have.

5)     Do not oversell yourself.  Arrogance is accepted to an extent.  If you say you can do something, companies will expect that you can follow through.

With that said, start making your LinkedIn profile today!  Be sure to join the Oregon State LinkedIn group after you signup.

Sources: BNET, Guy Kawasaki Blog

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.

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 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.