Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Positive Perspective on the Career Search

by Ivana Petrovic, Career Assistant

Job search getting you down?!  Don’t let that happen with this list of tips and reminders to help keep your head up and your eye on the prize:
  • Utilize resources - They are everywhere! (CSC, books, blogs, magazines, LinkedIn, etc.)  Use our website and links for help: www.ashland.edu/career .  Come into the office for mock interviews, appointments to discuss questions/concerns, presentations, and resume/cover letter critiques and reviews.
  • Do not be afraid to use your relatives/contacts- That's one reason they are there and they may need your assistance one day, too!
  • Be creative - Creativity and innovation is appreciated in the business world - flaunt it if you've got it! In an interview, talk about approaches you have taken that have differed from others in various situations.  Looking at this tip from another perspective, you can also think outside the box in your actual job search, itself!  Maybe you can design a position that has not before existed.
  • Outward appearance - professional dress, pleasant demeanor (again, stay positive), up-to-date resume and cover letter critiqued and revised before presentation over and over again!
  • Know yourself - Discover your needs and aspirations, then go for them; this may take an internship or a couple of volunteer/job experiences, but eventually figuring out who you are and being able to present that to an employer is a key aspect to getting the dream job!  The first step to the resume writing process is even appropriately labeled “Self-Assessment”.
  • Get involved with possible networking and skill building (transferable skills can apply to various industries)!  Example: Cashiering at a grocery store allowed you to learn money management for the Foodservice Internship position you are applying for with AU Auxiliary Services.
  • Look everywhere - Put the word out that you are looking, and be open-minded. It may take a couple of weeks, but you'll eventually get something you like!

If you’re looking for a job and have not yet found what you are searching for, just remember that the possibilities are endless and you never know what you might find with a little action on your part!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Introduce Yourself at the Career Fair

One of the biggest challenges you might face as an attendee at a Career Fair is how to get started with a conversation with a recruiter. We would encourage all Career Fair attendees to develop a self-introduction that effectively summarizes you and why you are talking to that recruiter.

Preparing this introduction begins long before visiting the recruiter's table. Start by researching the companies you want to talk to before you get to the career fair. By the time you arrive, you should know some basic things, such as what industry the company is in, what products or services it provides, and a little bit about the mission, values, or culture of the company. If the company has shared positions which it is seeking to fill at that time, read up on those positions and be familiar with the qualifications.

From there, craft a brief introduction which connects your background to the organization's needs. You should present yourself in a way that illustrates how you will fit within that company.

Here are a few items that could be included which would help you toward that end:

  • Name
  • Education: Major & Graduation Date
  • Positions/field of interest
  • Skills or strengths related to career goals or the job/internship
  • Why you are interested in this company
Here is a sample self introduction that might help illustrate these examples:

Hi, my name is Tuffy Eagle, and I am a senior English major with a minor in Communication. I wanted to speak to you today about the Financial Representative position available with your company. I believe that the excellent written and oral communication skills I have developed through my coursework will help me present information in a way potential clients can understand. Also, my previous internship with XYZ Financial provided me with knowledge of financial services and how they work. I really respect the values of integrity and compassion that your organization holds as its key values, so I believe that I would be a good fit for the mission.

It would be a good idea to start with an outline, then practice saying your introduction out loud before you arrive. Aim for about 30 seconds of content. Ideally, the recruiter you speak with will follow up with a question asking for more information about something you've mentioned. You might also continue the conversation by beginning to ask questions about what your career might be like working for the company.

If you are a first-year student attending for informational purposes, it might be a great idea to finish your introduction by saying something like, "While I'm only a first-year student, I am interested in pursing a career with your company when I am ready to graduate. What would you look for in terms of skills or experience for an entry-level hire in this position?" You can get some great suggestions for things to do or learn during your time at AU by asking questions such as that.

You can get more pre-fair tips by reviewing the slides that were presented at the Career Fair Preparation Workshop earlier this semester.

The 2013 Ashland University Spring Career Fair will take place from 1PM to 3PM on Wednesday, February 20th in the Upper Level of the John C. Myers Convocation Center. While advance registration has ended, Ashland University students and alumni may register at the door if they would like to attend. For more information, please visit the event description on our website or examine the AU Career Fair Guidebook for more information on the companies attending and a selection of open positions at their companies.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

What are Professional Summaries and Summary Statements?

by Ivana Petrovic, Career Assistant
Personal Summaries and Summary Statements have become increasingly popular in the world of resumes.  This portion of the resume is a short and simple list descriptive of your “soft” skills, and what you are looking for from the job or internship world.  The section is a similar derivative of and slightly more detailed than a one-sentence objective.
Basically, a Personal Summary/Summary Statement is written as a list of phrases with periods at the end to give the impression of a mini “intro” paragraph of yourself at the beginning of your resume.  This provides a platform in which an individual can get creative in showing off the skills he or she possesses that are asked for in a job description or mentioned as job duties. Utilization of the section can be optimized by phrases that explain that you have served a certain position that allowed you to gain the skills you are said to have.
Here is an example of a personal statement:
“Driven biology major with a minor in chemistry with an interest in microbiological research of bacteria.  Assisted professors of Biology department in four bacterial studies throughout undergraduate studies.  Proven dedication to accuracy, teamwork in research, and evidence-based practice for the medical world.  Knowledge of microscopy techniques and biological data programs.  Looking for a position at Biology Research Laboratories to continue research education and perform research studies.”