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



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




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



Tips for the Job-Seeker by Christy R

Tips for the Job Seeker

Is it time to leave college behind and transition into the real world? Are you bored with your current job and want to change careers? Read on, job search advice is coming your way! There are many ways to go about finding a job that is perfect for you.

Explore your options
First, you need to decide which factors are important to you when seeking a job. Think about the field you would like to work in, hours you want to work, the environment that’s right for you, and whether the job is in line with your values. Decide if you are willing to relocate for the job, and if it is important to you whether you can move up in the company.

Get an Internship
If you find a profession that you are interested in, you may decide to explore what it would be like to work in the field. Consider trying an internship to acquire experience in your area of interest. This is a great way to determine whether a certain career path is right for you. Additionally, an internship is an outstanding résumé booster that will show employers that you have some related experience.

Do Your Research
Once you decide on an occupation that suits you, you’re ready to begin your journey toward finding a specific place of employment. This is when the real hunt begins.

To start, you may want to use online resources to research and find openings for the types of jobs you’re looking for. Look on our Job Search Resources page on the Career Services website to identify job posting websites in specific fields that may interest you. There you can find an assortment of postings by field or type, including seasonal/summer, teaching abroad, multicultural, nonprofit, and green jobs.

Ohio University students may also take advantage of Bobcat CareerLink to view postings online for jobs targeted specifically to OU students and alumni.

Networking
Don’t stop at perusing through job postings online, though. Take your job search one step further by networking. Both face-to-face and social media networking are effective job search strategies. Consider trying out Bobcat Mentor Network, which can put you in contact with alumni from Ohio University that are willing to help you decide which career path is best for you. Some can even help you find an internship or a job.

You can also use social media such as LinkedIn to connect with professionals in your network and beyond. Reaching out to people you already know can help you connect with others in the field or recommend other job search strategies to you.

Career Fairs are also a great way to network. You can meet individuals in the company you wish to work for, or get a feel for the types of organizations you wish to look into further.

Contact the employer
Once you decide which organization sounds like a good match, you need to contact the employer to find out if there are job openings and whether you can interview for a position. Find an email address or a phone number and contact the individual in charge of hiring. Mention that you’re interested in the company and that you would like to schedule an interview if they have an opening.

Prepare for the interview
If you land the interview, make sure your résumé is up to date and tailored toward the specific job you are applying for. Then, you should find references that can attest for your work ethic and motivation. References should be professional and can include professors, advisors, supervisors, or anyone that can comment on your potential for the new job. Once you’ve got your résumé in hand and your references ready, you need to prepare for your interview. Develop an elevator pitch, which is a brief overview about yourself regarding your background, education, relevant experiences, and why you want to work for their specific company. Also make sure to do your research on the company and prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview.

Ace the Interview
Show up a few minutes early to your interview and be professional and courteous to all individuals you meet on the way into the interview. Remember to BREATHE! You’ve done your preparation, and now it’s time to show them why you would be a good fit with their organization.

Be proactive about your job search. It can be a full-time job trying to find a full-time job, so start your search now!

For further information regarding our career resources, visit the Career Services website, or schedule an appointment to meet with one of our Career Advisors.

—Contributed by Kelli Swackhamer, Office of Career Services Practicum Student



Internships: Path to your profession by Christy R

Internships: Path To Your Profession

Are you a college student looking to spend your summer with an organization in your career field? A recent graduate looking to gain experience in your field before entering the job market? Thinking about a career change and want to test the waters before you make the leap?

Securing an internship is an excellent way to introduce yourself to a career in your area of interest. You can find out what the job environment is like before jumping head-on into a full-time position. You can use the opportunity to meet new people, network, and use the experience to boost your résumé for a future job.

So, how do you go about snagging an internship?

Start your search early
Don’t wait! If you are looking for a summer internship, now is the time to begin your search. Start thinking about the field you would like to work in, and do your research to find the types of companies or organizations that are willing to take interns. Websites such as indeed.com, simplyhired.com, idealist.org, and internships.com are great resources to help you find a place that fits your needs.

Consider your options
Figure out what type of internship would work the best for you by narrowing down your options. Is it important for you to have a paid position? With regard to location, can you go anywhere or do you need to stick close to home? Will you get college credit? What kind of time commitment will it require? These are all important to think about when you begin your search.

Network
One of the best ways to find a job or internship is by connecting with professionals in the field. Don’t be afraid to reach out to talk with a professional about your area of interest. They may be hiring interns or could direct you to someone else that is. Attending career fairs is a great way to network and get your name out there as well. Try using the Bobcat Mentor Network to find Ohio University alumni in your profession. These individuals are willing to talk with young Bobcats, give career-related advice and answer any questions you may have about the field.

Polish your résumé and create a cover letter
Once you find a place where you want to apply, make sure that your résumé is tailored to highlight your experiences as they will relate to the internship. Create a cover letter for each individual position, detailing your past relevant activities and what you hope to gain from the experience. Stop in Career Services during walk-in hours if you would like us to take a look at your résumé and cover letter.

Go after it!
Send an email or make a phone call to inquire about openings. Tell the organization a little bit about yourself, what special skills you possess, and why you would like to work with that particular company.  Ask for information regarding the position, what you will be doing, and when you can start. Don’t forget to follow up if they don’t give you an immediate response.

Benefits to obtaining an internship

  1. You will get to shadow and learn what a “day-in-the-life” is like for individuals in your career field.
  2. You will gain hands-on experience in the field.
  3. You will have an opportunity to network with professionals in your area of interest.
  4. The individuals you are working with will be able to provide you with letters of recommendation for future employment or graduate school.
  5. Some internships may be compensated.

Whether you are a college student seeking experience prior to starting a full-time job, or a professional looking to make a career change, try an internship! It’s possible that your performance in an internship might just land you a full-time job.

For other career-related assistance and information, visit our website.

—Contributed by Kelli Swackhamer, Practicum Student for the Office of Career Services



PwC’s Personal Brand Week by Christy R

PwC’s Personal Brand Week

Last year PwC hosted its first Personal Brand Week. This program provided students and recent grads with an overview of the importance of personal brand and steps you can take to develop your own personal brand.  During the week of February 7-11, PwC is holding Personal Brand Week 2.0, an opportunity to take an even deeper dive into personal brand.  As you know, landing a job today requires more than just good grades. You need to focus on and promote your individual strengths, stand out from your peers and tell a unique story. In short, you need a personal brand.

Each day during Personal Brand Week, PwC will focus on one of five elements they recommend you master in order to develop and refine your unique personal brand:

Day 1, Monday—Building Your Network

Day 2, Tuesday— You Are What You Write

Day 3, Wednesday— Your Online Image Makeover

Day 4, Thursday— Prepare for Career Fairs and Interviews

Day 5, Friday— Your Elevator Pitch – with the announcement of a special contest with a $5,000 prize!

You can access Personal Brand Week 2.0 starting on February 7 on PwC’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/PwCUSCareers or at pwc.com/us/personalbrandweek

PwC also invites you to participate in a Live Chat on Personal Branding at www.pwc.com/us/careercorner on Wednesday, February 9, from 12:00-1:00pm PT/3:00 – 4:00pm ET. This is your opportunity to ask your personal brand questions to PwC’s US Recruiting leader, Holly Paul!  We hope you take advantage of Personal Brand Week 2.0 and please be sure to share this with your friends of all majors!



Professionalism In the Workplace for New College Grads by Christy R

Professionalism in the Workplace for New College Grads


New college grads need to start putting workplace professionalism higher on their list of priorities as they seek jobs, employers say, according to a recent poll conducted by York College of Pennsylvania’s Center for Professional Excellence. The 2010 Professionalism in the Workplace Poll discovered eight specific areas in which employers have found new grads lacking:

  • Accepting personal responsibility for decisions and actions.
  • Being open to criticism.
  • Displaying a sense of ethics.
  • Being competent in verbal and written communication.
  • Taking initiative.
  • Projecting a professional image.
  • Thinking independently.
  • Demonstrating passion for their work.

The first two traits (accepting personal responsibility and being open to criticism) are the ones listed as needing the most improvement. Information Technology etiquette is another area in which employers are noticing less-than-desirable habits. The growing trend among students to surf the internet, text message, and respond to cell phone calls during class is translating into the work world in ways that employers find unprofessional.

Professionalism in the workplace is not limited to corporate jobs or specific professions (business, healthcare, law, etc.). In answer to the question, “Are all positions considered capable of exhibiting professionalism?” the majority of respondents indicated that they think of professionalism “as being related to the person rather than the position. Anyone in any position has the potential to exhibit professional traits and behavior.”

As you seek to project a professional image, keep in mind the following traits which were mentioned most often as characteristics of the professional employee:

  • Personal interaction skills (includes courtesy and respect).
  • Ability to communicate (includes listening skills).
  • Work ethic (includes being motivated and working on a task until complete).
  • Personal appearance.
  • Self-confidence and self-awareness.