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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Adaptability: Why it counts in today’s workplace by Christy R

Adaptability: Why it counts
in today’s workplace

Among the skills that employers are looking for in a potential employee, adaptability is ranked the highest along with communication, interpersonal skills and a strong work ethic. Every company looks for a candidate who fits within the existing work environment and is able to anticipate, respond to and manage change on a day-to-day basis.

Each organization has its own workplace culture that is strategically important for the company’s success. When hiring, companies consider not only a candidate’s experience and skills, but also how that potential employee will mesh with the company culture.

Cultural fit can mean many things: for example, it could be a candidate’s willingness and readiness to adopt the company’s values. It can also mean that a candidate’s work style matches the company’s expectations.  One question asked during interviews and aimed to discover the level of a candidate’s adaptability is: “Will you follow the set values and encourage similar behavior in your subordinates?” Other times a candidate is asked to describe the culture of their last employer or the type of culture they prefer.

Adaptability can often be a deal-breaker in the job search process. Even if a candidate makes a good impression due to their experience and skills, they will not be hired if they demonstrate a lack of willingness to adapt to the new environment and to get out of their comfort zone. In fact, a company will many times choose a candidate who lacks experience, but nevertheless fits perfectly into the company culture. A candidate can be trained to have the needed skills, the company says, but adaptability is something an employee must bring with them to the job.

Why are companies so concerned about getting the perfect fit? Employees who fit into the company culture tend to be more successful and productive than those hired simply because they fit the job description. Some studies indicate that almost half of an employee’s success in the first 18 months of being hired results from fitting well into the company environment.

When applying for a management position, adaptability becomes even more crucial. Managers affect subordinates and their attitudes towards the corporate culture.  The higher the position for which a candidate is applying, the more the hiring committee will be looking for a nearly perfect fit with the company culture. Making the mistake of hiring someone who reflects the wrong company image can cost the company reputation dearly.

So how does this affect you? When applying for a position, pay attention to the company regulations. Figure out for yourself if that company’s environment is something you can easily fit into. If you don’t find it suitable for yourself, then don’t go into the interview telling them you like the company culture and can be flexible. Finding yourself in an environment that does not suit your personality can compromise your chances of success. Instead, take the time to find an organization that fits you and enhances your natural skills.

Questions about your job search? Come to the Office of Career Services walk-in hours to meet with a career counselor.

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

References
Integrity HR
The Most Important Job Skills a Job Candidate Should Have




Interview Bloopers & How to Avoid Them by Christy R

Interview Bloopers & How to Avoid Them

The ability to write a great résumé or cover letter may help you land an interview, but that’s not all it takes to get the job. An outstanding résumé can get you in to meet with your potential employer but once you’re sitting across from them in the interview you will have to start over in order to prove that you are the best candidate.

Most interview bloopers occur because of the lack of practice and preparation. Of course even if you are well prepared, the interview may not go perfectly–we all make mistakes. However, the following mistakes can easily be avoided by developing strong interviewing skills and preparing properly for the interview.

Weak communication skills.
Non-verbal communication plays a crucial role throughout the interview. A poor handshake may weaken your chances of getting hired from the very beginning. Also remember to make eye contact, avoid fidgeting and looking at your watch. Be aware of your body language–it may not be obvious to you but the interviewer will easily notice it.

Poor verbal communication skills will almost certainly decrease your chances of getting hired. Giving a long, rambling answer to a simple question demonstrates an inability to concentrate and process relevant information. Avoid using any slang–stay professional no matter what. Listening skills are also vital: don’t spend so much time thinking about your answer that you’re not paying attention to the question.

Failing to research the company.
Be prepared to demonstrate an awareness of the company and the position for which you are applying. It’s going to be obvious that you did not do your research if you ask the interviewer to tell you more about the position or what the company does. Read the job description. Check out the company website. Know the organization. On the other hand, don’t go overboard with your knowledge. When you know something about the company, wait for the right moment to share it. Do not interrupt the interviewer to tell them you already know the information. Wait until they have finished and then add a comment to what they just shared.

Dressing inappropriately.
When in doubt, err on the side of too formal. It is unlikely that there will be a good reason to show up for the interview casually dressed. Every company has its own dress policy, and it is a good practice to dress one level above what is acceptable for company.

Being late or too early.
Never be late. Develop a habit of being on time. It’s also important not to turn up too early because it creates the impression of having too much time on your hands and being desperate for the job. Five to ten minutes early is a good rule of thumb.

Being negative.
It’s important to have the right attitude during an interview. Never complain about your current job and stay enthusiastic throughout the interview. Be careful to treat everyone you meet with courtesy, including the receptionist. Many companies watch to see how you treat their staff. It gives them an indication of how well you might fit in to the company.

Asking inappropriate questions.
At the end of the interview always take the opportunity to ask questions. By paying attention during the interview, you will ensure that you don’t ask about something that was already discussed. Take some time before the interview to think about the position, what it involves and what kind of information you need to know to learn more about it. Have several questions prepared before you go into the interview. Avoid asking questions about salary and benefits during the initial interview. These are only appropriate once you have been offered the job.

Failing to follow up.
Be persistent. Send an email and thank you note after the interview, thanking the interviewer for their time. By following up and letting the employer know that you are still interested, you will increase your chances of getting a job.

Remember, preparation and practice are key. The Office of Career Services provides you with assistance when preparing for an interview. You can find general information about interviews on our website.

The Mock Interview Program can also help you sharpen your interviewing skills. Visit our website for more information.

Make sure to check out our On Demand Presentations for additional information on Behavioral Interviews or Phone Interviews.

Get ready and the best of luck on your interview!

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

References
Quintessential Careers
The Time of India
Career Alley



Dressing the Part: What Your Work Wardrobe Says About You by Christy R

Dressing the Part: What Your
Work Wardrobe Says About You

Dressing properly for work assures credibility and helps to develop a professional relationship with colleagues and clients. Today many companies have adopted business casual attire and let go of some of the more conservative ways of dressing. Problems arise because the concept of business casual is not clearly defined and depends on the company’s dress policy and its corporate culture. Since few companies adopt clear written guidelines regarding business casual attire it is really important to learn the company culture and understand the expectations.

In the traditional business environment, for example, the existing culture expects you to stick to the classical business suit. It is crucial to establish reliability and a good reputation when you work in professions such as banking, finance or accounting. Choose a simple pattern or dark colors and try to change your professional business attire a single item at a time. Think of your dress as something that speaks for you and the way you do business. If the environment you work in is physically demanding, the internal culture there allows you to go with comfortable and easy-to-clean attire, but make sure that your clothes look smart and fit well. When interviewing with a company whose dress code or corporate culture you are not really familiar with, a business professional, traditional suit will be the perfect choice. Once you get hired and learn what the expectations and internal rules are you can adjust your style accordingly.

While it is important to know and understand your specific company’s environment, there are some basic rules that work for any situation or work environment.

Don’t get too casual. The fact that your company has a business casual dress code does not mean that you can get away with inappropriate outfits. Remember where you are and that you represent the company you work for. People won’t take you seriously if you can’t take the time to dress appropriately for the situation. Do a simple “Friday night” test: if you would pick a specific item to wear out to a weekend party, it probably doesn’t belong in the office.

Be professional in your choice of clothing. A short skirt is not a good choice for women to wear in the office environment. Short socks that expose legs are taboo for men. Avoid using bright colors in your outfit; it does not usually look professional. An option here would be adding an accessory that is an unusual color and goes along with the rest of the attire; however, that should be as far as it goes.  The foundational rule for wearing jewelry in a business environment is not to overdo it.

Summer Business Dress. Remember not to abandon your regular business attire when it gets warm outside. Sleeveless tops are very tempting in the summer time, but are usually not appropriate for a business situation. If you do happen to wear one, be sure that you have a jacket to put on when the situation requires. Women can try putting up their hair to stay cool and look sophisticated at the same time.

The Bottom Line. Every time you choose what to wear, think about the message that you want to send with your appearance. Keep in mind that you represent yourself and your organization. Carefully built credibility and reputation can be damaged very quickly by an inappropriate choice of clothing. By following some basic rules and learning the corporate culture of the company will guarantee you a professional look!

For more valuable information on professional dress, view our handout on Dressing Professionally in our Handout Library.

—Written by Anna Morlang, CareerCATS Coordinator for the Office of Career Services

Sources:
www.theworkbuzz.com
www.fashionforrealwomen.com
www.westsidetoastmasters.com



Career Resource Spotlight: Green Careers for Dummies by Christy R

Career Resource Spotlight:
Green Careers for Dummies

Are you a graduating senior who is interested in pursuing a job with a “green-minded” company? Have no fear, Career Services is here!

In effort to better suit all job-searching students, Career Services has recently started enhancing their literary collection. One acquisition for the collection is “Green Careers for Dummies”, written by Carol McClelland, PhD.

As stated throughout the book, this guide’s main focus is to assist job-seeking people in finding the right “green career” for them. The book provides great insight into various “green” industries, and discusses how to use the web to launch an effective job search—useful stuff! Additional topics discussed throughout the book include: discovering the green frontier, finding your green focus, and using the current green industries to inspire and motivate more sustainable corporate actions.

Interested in getting your hands on the book? Visit the Career Services office (located in Baker 533) anytime between 8 AM-5 PM, and start activating your “green career” today!

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



Job Search Techniques: Spring Quarter Weekly Webinar Series by Christy R

Job Search Techniques:
Spring Quarter Weekly Webinar Series

The Office of Career Services is excited to announce the start of a weekly webinar series on job search techniques. Six different career authors and experts will be sharing their expertise in a variety of areas, including social media, career strategy, and vital job search skills.

The schedule for the next 6 weeks:

Interviewing: April 13th— Scott Zimmerman & Carl Rakich
Twitter: April 20th—Susan Whitcomb
Listening: April 27th—Mark Goulston
Networking: May 4th—Devora Zack
Career Strategy: May 11th—Peter Weddle
Job Search: May 18th—Martin Yate

All webinars will be held on Wednesdays in Baker University Center, Room 503, from 3:00-4:30 pm.

Remember, what you don’t know about your careers will cost you interviews and jobs, so don’t miss this opportunity to improve your chances of getting hired! Attend one presentation or all.

If unable to attend a presentation, stop by the Office of Career Services to pick up the latest information on how organize your job search, plan your career, build a network, interview and use Twitter to get a job!



2011 Job Outlook: Good News for Class of 2011! by Christy R

2011 Job Outlook:
Good News for Class of 2011!

Based on information provided by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Job Outlook Fall 2011, employers are planning on hiring 13.5% more graduates in 2011 than they did in 2010. In addition to hiring more graduates, NACE has reported the hiring outlook for 2011 to be “good,” in contrast to last year’s rating of “fair.”

What do these statistics mean for you as a soon-to-be-graduate? They mean that you need to work on your GPA, and focus on your leadership skills when reaching out to employers in order to attain your true potential as a future employee. As discussed throughout NACE’s statistics, employers are working to cut many applications off if applicants GPAs do not fall above a 3.0. Additionally, to best present your credentials, be sure to successfully convey your strong communication skills, work ethic, teamwork, analytical skills, and overall initiative when pursuing any position with a company.

While the employment statistics for 2011 college graduates are high, proper attention needs to be paid to make sure you are able to put your best foot forward as a job applicant. By incorporating all discussed factors, your pathway to landing a career post-graduation will inevitably be secured, assisting in your overall growth as a future business leader.

—Contributed by Haley Drometer, Practicum Student for the Office of Career Services

The Office of Career Services is here to help you in your career pursuits and help you develop valuable careers skills. To make an appointment with a career counselor or to pick up copies of our handouts, stop by our office or visit our Handout Library online.