Ohio University Office of Career Services


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.

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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



Elevator Speech- A 30 Second Interview by heatherpittman

The Career Fair is quickly approaching and you have probably been told to prepare.  You have perfected your résumé, researched the companies you will target, and know the types of positions that will match your skills.  How do you make sure you get the most out of the Career Fair and set yourself apart from the competition?  Creating a great “elevator speech”

An elevator speech is a clear, concise commercial about yourself.  It communicates to employers who you are, what you are looking for, and how you can benefit their company.  Generally, an elevator speech is about 30 seconds, or the time it takes you to ride from the top to the bottom of a building in an elevator.   By having an elevator speech prepared, you are ready to share this information with anyone at any time.

At the fair you can use your speech to introduce yourself to employers , ensuring you share the appropriate information.  Practice rehearsing your speech with a friend or in front of the mirror.  Practice saying it out loud so that it sounds natural.  Get comfortable with what you have to say so that you are not nervous and can breeze through it when the time comes.

You may want to include your name, year in school, major skills and career goals.  Only include personal information if it is relevant to the work for which you are applying.  Here is an example to get you started on developing your own elevator speech.

Examples:

Hi, my name is Megan Hutchenson.  I am currently a senior studying Digital Media.  I have had several internships where I worked on program applications and animation with a project team.  I enjoy creating second life animation and video games.  I see that the position listed with your organization would be a perfect fit for someone with my skills.  I would love to hear more about the type of project teams in your organization.

Good afternoon, My name is Cindy Rankin.  I am a junior Environmental Biology major.  I am looking for a position that will allow me to strengthen my research and analytical skills.  During my time at Ohio University, I have begun strengthening these skills through my involvement with a local environmental council on conservation strategies for water quality and local sustainability efforts.  I read that your organization is involved in sustainability projects.  Can you tell me how someone with my experiences might fit into your organization?

Heather Pittman, Interim Assistant Director



Dealing with Failure on the Job Search by heatherpittman
August 12, 2010, 4:59 pm
Filed under: From the Staff, Job Search | Tags: ,

Being turned down for a job is never easy. In the current economy, it is not only important to know how to write a good cover letter and excel during interviews, but also how to deal with rejection after applying for jobs.  Rejection is never painless, but there are some ways to deal with it so it does not overpower you or disrupt your job search.

Don’t Take It Personally: There are multiple reasons why you were not selected for a position.  The company may not fully understand your degree (ex: difference between computer science and IT).  It is also not just about your qualifications but about a match between you and the company.  Not being selected does not mean you do not have excellent talents and attributes.

Learn From Being Rejected: When you receive a letter saying you were not a good fit for a company or that they have already filled the position—take it as an opportunity to learn.  Why were you not a good fit? Were you missing a requirement?  How can you improve yourself and gain theses skills?  If the position was already filled—are there other opportunities with the organization?

Focus on Your Strengths: It’s easy to blame yourself and focus on your imperfections when dealing with job rejection. Focus on what you’re really good at, and what you’re passionate about. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect.  Keep a log of your successes-however small.  When things are not going so well, pull out your book of successes and remember that big successes are just the product of adding small successes together. 

Keep Multiple Things Going: Nothing is worse than only having one résumé out there and finding out that company is not interested.  Have multiple applications going so that something good will be more likely to offset the bad.

Know You Are Not Alone: Seek out a support system.  Having the support and shared knowledge can be very helpful.  Others can offer you contacts, job leads, friendship, and advice along the way.  Just having someone to support you can make the search less lonely.

Heather Pittman, Interim Assistant Director

For more information check out these articles:

How to Deal With Job Rejection

Why Wasn’t I Hired? Dealing With Rejection

So You Didn’t Get the Job…It’s Not Over!