Ohio University Office of Career Services


A Review of 2010-2011 & What It Taught Me by Christy R

A Review of 2010-2011
and What It Taught Me

As the end of the school year is upon us, I wanted to take this last opportunity to share some of my experiences from the past year and to say thank you to all my co-workers here at the Office of Career Services and to all of our blog followers out there. This has been an incredibly rewarding year interning with the Office of Career Services. I’ve gained a number of invaluable skills here at this office and I would like to share some of these experiences in hopes that they will help my fellow classmates and graduates.

  1. I learned to set specific goals for myself.
    I would have to say this is the most important thing I learned all year, and I cannot believe how much it has improved my ability to perform well on the job! I learned that discussing my responsibilities with my supervisor and setting specific (very specific!) action lists for myself helped me achieve my goals and provided me with a concrete way of assessing my performance both personally and with my employer. While I have always considered myself to be an organized person, the ability to use my organizational skills effectively within the existing structure of a specific office was something I had not yet learned.
  1. I learned that it’s ok to ask for help.
    There is a difference between simple irresponsibility and willingness to recognize that you have too much on your hands and need some assistance. Every office has tasks that simply must be accomplished. I learned that it is better to ask for help when I find myself swamped with work, rather than leaving vital tasks undone. In certain situations I had to admit to myself that I could not do it all. My job responsibility was not simply to DO, but also to organize and collaborate with co-workers to make sure a task was completed even if I could not do it myself.
  1. I learned how many skills go into building a successful career.
    I’ll admit this one is probably an obvious advantage of working for the Office of Career Services! Observing the counseling, training, resources, and advice concentrated all in one office was an invaluable experience. Students, you have amazing services available to you, and I cannot possibly encourage you enough to take advantage of them! Simply by working here I learned about such things as proper business attire, dining etiquette, networking, résumé writing, interaction with employers, and so much more.

As I close, I want to say thank you to everyone who has followed this blog. I hope you have found it informative and helpful. Please stay connected to read our summer articles and to welcome our 2011-2012 social media intern as he takes over in the fall!

Lastly, I would like to say thank you to all of my co-workers at Career Services for a truly rewarding and memorable experience. I could not have asked for a better group of people to work with. I wish you all the best!

Christy Robe

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Staff Feature: Ali Woodworth, Graduate Assistant by Christy R

Staff Feature:
Ali Woodworth,
Graduate Assistant

In the Office of Career Services Office at Ohio University we emphasize to students that Career Exploration is a process that an individual may go through several times in their lives. While I have only graduated from college two years ago, I exemplify this idea as I have already made one career change.

As an undergraduate I attended Ohio State University.  I went to school with very clear goals about the things I wanted to accomplish and the career I wanted after graduation. Through a senior shadow program at my high school I found and shadowed a woman who would later become my mentor, in corporate marketing communications. Due to this experience I went to Ohio State University the following year, with very clear goals and a definite career choice in mind.  During my time at Ohio State, I enjoyed my classes but found that my internships helped me to gain a better perspective of what exactly a job in this field entailed. I loved the creative aspects of these internships, but found myself going home at the end of the day feeling unfulfilled. Was I making a difference? After reflecting on what I valued in a career, I realized that I wanted a career that would allow me to interact in a meaningful way, helping others and making a difference in their lives.

Inspiration to pursue a Master’s Degree in College Student Personnel at Ohio University was prompted by my own undergraduate academic adviser. Every quarter we met, discussing different classes and how they aligned with my interests and overall goals. She helped me to plan out every quarter efficiently, ultimately enabling me to graduate in four years. In my adviser, I felt I had found an ally, someone who was genuinely interested in helping me to achieve the goals I had set and introducing the countless resources available to me at Ohio State. My adviser truly impacted my college career in such a positive way, making a large university feel not so large after all. My senior year at Ohio State, as I shared my revelation that marketing communications wasn’t right for me, she suggested I look into getting my master’s degree in higher education. After getting to know me over the years, she believed that my personality, goals and values would be a perfect fit with counseling and advising positions at a college or university.

After researching different career paths and graduate programs, I felt as though a light bulb went off. This was the perfect career for me! As my first year of grad school at OU is coming to an end I am now positive that I’ve chosen the right career for me. In addition to my work in the Career Services Office, I’ve had the opportunity to see many other facets of student affairs, from working with Turning Points Student at the Allen Student Help Center, to Academic Advising in the Patton College of Education.

Upon graduating next year I hope to find a position either in academic advising or career counseling. Both positions would give me the opportunity to interact with students, guiding them through their college careers and helping them to navigate the challenges that arise along the way.  It is my goal to show students all of the tools, opportunities, and options available to help them to succeed both in their academic careers, and for the rest of their lives.

To make a career counseling appointment with Ali or to talk to her about her career search experience, call or stop by the Office of Career Services.



Be Smart. Be Civil. Be Safe. BE EMPLOYED! by erinnunn

Be Smart.
Be Civil.
Be Safe.
BE EMPLOYED!

Though spring weather has not quite arrived, Spring Quarter in Athens sure has. With the first fest weekend now behind us and many more upcoming, it’s important to think about partying smart. The new campaign launched this quarter encourages students to do just that— Be Smart. Be Civil. Be Safe— reminding students that inappropriate party behavior stays on every social media and internet site.

We talk a lot to students about creating a professional online presence, such as getting connected on LinkedIn and keeping status updates and tweets professional. So if statistics about last year’s fest arrests and suspensions don’t get you to think twice about partying smart, civil, and safely, consider how it will affect your job and internship prospects in an already tight market. An employer will think twice about hiring a student whose first link on a Google search is an article discussing their pending court case due to rioting, a picture dancing around a couch fire, or a quote about partying strong since 8 am.

Be Smart. Be Civil. Be Safe. It just makes a whole lot more sense.

—Written by Erin Nunn, Office of Career Services Interim Assistant Director



Up Your Act in the Workplace, Part 2: Listening Skills by Christy R

Up Your Act in the Workplace, Part 2: LISTENING SKILLS


Developing good listening habits now is crucial to your career plans. The ability to listen well will benefit you no matter what type of job you intend to have. It will improve communication between you and the people you work with, making your working relationship more efficient and effective.

Poor listening skills can affect your performance on the job and create major mix-ups that you could have avoided just by taking the time to listen carefully. Take a moment now to evaluate yourself. Are you a good listener? Are there ways in which you can improve your listening skills? The following characteristics might indicate that you have some work to do:

  • You often interrupt or finish another speaker’s sentence.
  • You can remember what you said in a recent conversation, but you can repeat or paraphrase hardly any of what the other person said.
  • You find yourself “zoning out” when another person is talking.
  • You find yourself concentrating more on the speaker’s quirky accent than on what they are saying.
  • You fidget or shuffle things around while someone is speaking, indicating that you don’t have time to listen right now.

If any or all of these apply to you, it might be a good idea to focus on developing your listening skills with a few of these tips:

1. Don’t interrupt.
One suggested way of breaking this habit is to apologize immediately and ask the speaker to continue what they were saying. After a couple of apologies, you’ll find yourself thinking twice before you jump in again.

2. Keep your mouth closed.
Even if the speaker pauses to think before they finish their sentence, resist the urge to fill in the silence. If you are constantly waiting for the chance to jump in, you aren’t really focusing on what the other person is saying, and therefore you’ll miss crucial information being discussed.

3. Maintain eye contact.
Be alert and lean forward while looking the speaker in the eyes. By doing this, you’re not only conveying interest which helps the speaker communicate better, but you’re also positioning yourself to avoid distractions (such as that bird flying around right outside the window, or incoming emails/text messages).

4. Repeat ideas and ask clarifying questions.
While someone is talking, concentrate on being able to paraphrase the idea and repeat it aloud. This helps you process the information and store it in your memory, and it ensures that you and the speaker understand each other.

Whether you currently hold a job or are still in school, start developing good listening habits now. A conscious effort to improve these skills will prove invaluable in the long run.

For more information on developing good listening skills, visit SalesVantage.com, CareerJournal.com, or CareerPlanning.about.com.

(Illustration credit to Kristy Pargeter).



Up Your Act in the Workplace: Time Management Skills by Christy R

Up Your Act In the Workplace:
TIME MANAGEMENT SKILLS

Time management skills are often a major contributor to the success of new employees in any office setting. While professors may be lenient in their grading of a student’s paper that just-so-happened to be turned in three days late, employers are exponentially less patient with deadlines—especially in the workplace.

There are multiple reasons for why effective time management skills are crucial for any worker out in the field. First of all, time is a resource that cannot be stored, or reused. Once it is gone, it cannot be retrieved, so if up against a tight deadline due to procrastination, the chances of producing poor quality work are extremely high—eventually diminishing your reputation within the company.

A second reason why time management skills are important in the work place is because many employers evaluate employees on their efficiency. If a worker is unable to produce high-quality results in an efficient time period, their work will appear less valuable to a company, which might eventually lead to job termination. By utilizing time effectively, employees will come across as being determined, resourceful, and greatly beneficial to any company.

Finally, time management skills are an integral component to careers because prioritizing workload is extremely important in any workplace. If an employee has strong time management skills, is able to budget their time effectively, AND is able to put the correct value on the completion of different tasks, their significance within an office will significantly increase—and so will their potential for future career advancement.

Making a first impression in a new workplace is crucial. While students are often able to be relaxed with their time commitments, entry-level employees are held to higher standards. By understanding the importance of time as a resource, utilizing effective time efficiency, and prioritizing any workload successfully, it is inevitable that any new employee will have an immediate jumpstart into a successful career.

For more information on time management in the workplace, check out Career Success for Newbies.

—Contributed by Katy Taylor, Office of Career Services Special Events Coordinator



LinkedIn: Make the Most of Your Connections by Christy R

LinkedIn: Make the Most of Your Connections

If you are looking to connect with other professionals, job search, or learn more about companies you are interested in, LinkedIn is a great place for you to achieve all of these tasks, all while creating a professional presence for yourself in the social media world. LinkedIn is an online networking site that is a growing trend in the professional world.

LinkedIn serves as a means to connect professionals by focusing on your career and experiences. Given the fact that the majority of jobs available are made known to individuals through networking, LinkedIn can be a very strong tool for you to take advantage of. With LinkedIn you are able to make connections with others you have worked with in the past.  You never know how you may be connected to someone who has the right job opportunity for you. This professional social networking site provides you with an opportunity to highlight your experiences, receive recommendations from past employers, and connect you to professionals in your field.

In order to begin building your professional LinkedIn profile, here are some quick and simple ways to get started and help your profile stand out.

  • Craft an informative profile headline
  • Display an appropriate photo
  • Show off your education
  • Develop a professional summary statement
  • Fill your “specialties” section with keywords
  • Update your status weekly
  • Show your connectedness with LinkedIn group badges
  • Collect diverse recommendations
  • Claim your unique LinkedIn URL
  • Share your work

For more information on all the features of LinkedIn and tips for creating your profile visit the Career Services Handout Library. Here you will find resources on how to build your professional profile, tips for networking, as well as videos to help you get started. Career Services is also hosting a Get Connected with LinkedIn Workshop on November 8th in Baker 503 at 5:00 PM that will share all this information as well.

—Bethany Powell, Career Services Practicum Student



Prepare For Success: What you can do beforehand to make the most of your career fair experience by Christy R

Business men and womenWhen planning to attend a career or job fair, a little preparation is necessary to maximize your experience and give you the best results. You’re already taking the time to go to the fair, so you might as well go the full mile and make it worth your effort by following these simple steps.

1. Identify and Research the Prospective Employers.
Obtain the list of organizations attending the fair and identify the prospective employers that most interest you by clicking on the Fall Career & Internship Fair link on the homepage of Bobcat CareerLink. Keep an open mind when making this list. Don’t discount employers based on industry. You don’t necessarily need to be a business major to work for a large business company or a retail merchandising major to work for a department store. Instead, see what kinds of jobs each company has available, and what types of majors they are recruiting.

Once you’ve made your list of 5-10 employers you want to meet at the fair, do some research on each one of them. Visit their websites. Run internet searches. Be sure to familiarize yourselves with key products/services as well as the organizational structure, culture and values of the company.

2. Rehearse your elevator speech.
Prepare a 20-30 second introduction to use with employers. Have a clear focus on why you are here and what kind of job you are looking for. Tell them why you are interested in their company and how your specific skill set will benefit their company. (For examples of a concise elevator speech, see earlier post: Elevator Speech: A 30-second Interview).

3. Prepare résumés.
Have multiple copies of your résumé printed out and ready to go. It’s also helpful to have them organized neatly in a folder or portfolio. Show them that you can be an organized employee.

4. Choose proper career fair attire.
This is a must. For most career fairs professional attire is required, consisting of a clean-cut, well-fitting, conservative look, with darker colors such as navy, black, and slate. Dressing unprofessionally is one of the most common errors made by job candidates. If the outfit you’re considering is something you would wear to a party or a night on the town, it is most likely not appropriate professional attire. It is always safer to err on the side of dressing too conservatively. Also remember to give your shoes a little polish, and don’t overdo on jewelry or perfume/cologne.