The Career Services Guide to Thanksgiving Break

By Devlin Brush

During the semester it can be hard to find time to think about your career path. Once you’re done with class, it’s time for student org meetings, homework, work, and exercise. And once you’re done with all that… Well, often it’s time for bed. When things slow down for Thanksgiving Break, it can be nice to take the time to relax and unwind before hitting the books again hard for final exam season. However, it can also be an invaluable time to start the cogs turning in your career process while your other obligations are on hold for the weekend. From networking to improving your “look”, here’s a few ways that you can get ahead this Thanksgiving break:  Continue reading

More than Just a Resume: How to Use LinkedIn as a Portfolio

By Marcie Waters

If you’re unfamiliar with LinkedIn, an easy way to think of it is as an online resume. However, it is much more than just a resume, as LinkedIn allows you to link to webpages and upload files to be displayed on your profile. This is an often underutilized but very advantageous tool that allows you to upgrade your LinkedIn profile from a simple resume to a comprehensive portfolio. Here are a few examples of how you can enhance your profile with visuals:

  1. Link to a portfolio. – If you have a lot of work to showcase, it could be easiest to link to a previously existing portfolio website. A great way to do this is to feature your portfolio site in your profile summary. Go to the edit profile option on LinkedIn. When you hover your mouse over the “Summary” section, two small boxes will appear in the top right hand corner. Click on the one that shows a square with a plus. Copy and paste the link to your site here and click continue. An option to add a title and description will appear. Fill these out so viewers of your profile understand what the link is.

    Adding link

    Click this icon to add a link to your summary section.

  2. Feature a piece of writing. – If you do a lot of writing or are particularly knowledgeable on a subject, one way to highlight this is by creating a post about it. On the LinkedIn home page, you will see an option on the top right of the center column to publish a post. By clicking on that, you will be brought to a post editor. Here you can upload an image to go along with your post, add a title, write or paste in content, and add tags to make your post easier to find. Once it has been published on LinkedIn, the post will also show up on your profile under the “Posts” section. Here you can also view stats to see how many people have viewed or interacted with your post.

    publish a post

    Click here to publish a post to your LinkedIn feed and profile.

  3. Upload a document or design. – If you have a completed project that you want to highlight as part of a particular job that you held, you could add an image or .pdf file of it to your “Experience” section. This could be an image of an ad or logo you designed, a .pdf of a project proposal you wrote, or a data report that you compiled. Adding these files is similar to adding a link to your profile. After clicking on the box icon, instead of pasting in a link, click upload a file, and select the file from your computer. You can then add the file to a particular position by selecting that position from the drop down menu. Click continue to edit the title and description. Make sure to add a specific title, so that someone viewing your profile will be able to easily understand what they’re clicking on and why it is relevant to the position you’re listing it under.


    Here is an example of using images to highlight projects and skills used in a certain job.

  4. Get creative with what you upload. – The examples above are just a few easy things you can do to showcase your skills in a visual way. LinkedIn allows a variety of different file types to be uploaded and linked to on your profile. Have you created an instructional video or given a speech? Upload a video of it. Have you put together an important presentation? Include a SlideShare of it on your profile. Adding visuals to your LinkedIn profile helps you to stand out. Just make sure that anything you are including is of high quality and will add to your value as a potential employee. Now, get to updating your LinkedIn profile and impressing employers!

How Much Are You Worth?: Negotiating Salary

By Marcie Waters

In a recent article, The Atlantic reported that 62 percent of recent college graduates did not negotiate for a higher salary, although 84 percent of employers said they had room to increase their original salary offer. Why do so few recent grads attempt to negotiate for a higher salary? Are we worried we may offend the employer by asking for more? Or jeopardize our chances of getting the job? Or are we so used to unpaid internships that any salary sounds acceptable? Likely the biggest reason is that negotiating can be tough, and many recent grads don’t know how to go about it. Negotiating your salary or other benefits is an important part of landing the right job. The graph below shows how negotiating for a $5,000 salary increase could result in a salary that is over $8,000 higher after working for five years. The Atlantic also stated that employers overall were not offended by a salary negotiation; many even expected it or interpreted it as a marker of the applicant’s confidence.


How negotiating a higher salary pays off via The Atlantic.

So, how do you go about negotiating for a higher salary? When you are offered the job, first thank the employer, then ask for time to consider the offer (usually between 3 days and a week is acceptable). Also ask them if you can continue to call them if you think of any questions. Make sure to get as many details on the entire package as possible, like salary, days off, benefits, etc. Think about the offer, and if you decide to negotiate, use this flow chart as a guide. Remember to be polite and reasonable; an employer will likely not react well if you are being too aggressive or if they feel they’re being attacked.


Negotiating a Job Offer flow chart created by Marcie Waters and adapted from LSCS handouts.

With these tips, hopefully your salary negotiation will be successful. For more help on evaluating a job offer, check out the resources on our website.

How to Impress Employers With Your Study Abroad Experience


By Marcie Waters

More and more students are taking advantage of opportunities to study, intern, and volunteer abroad. These are often impactful and meaningful experiences that stay in their minds for a long time afterwards (over a year later, I’m still driving people crazy by telling them how great Seville is). What not every student realizes, however, is that a study abroad experience is a great asset to the job hunt. In an increasingly global business world, cultural competency is a necessary skill, and an experience like studying abroad provides many talking points to show off that skill and more. If you’re unsure whether you’ve gained cultural competency from your time abroad, consider that a person who has cultural competency values differences, is responsive to diversity, understands the importance of culture in interpersonal interactions, and promotes quality cross-cultural interactions.

If you’re not sure what other skills you many have gained from studying abroad, think about these:

  • Communication Skills: Did you learn/improve foreign language skills? Did you participate in group discussions with people from diverse backgrounds? Did you communicate with others in stressful or challenging situations?
  • Organizational Skills: Did you successfully juggle multiple demands? Did you have to prioritize? Did you better your time management skills?
  • Interpersonal Skills: Did your appreciation of diversity or cultural awareness increase? Are you now more open to differences, new ideas, and other perspectives? Did you learn to be sensitive to cultural customs and norms?
  • Intrapersonal Skills: Did you take initiative and risks? Did you have to learn to adapt quickly? Did you handle stressful situations? Did you gain self-confidence or independence?

Now that you know what skills you have gained from studying abroad, you may be wondering how you can utilize these during the job search. One way is to effectively include your experience on your resume. For this, you have three options. Pick which ones make the most sense for you.

  1. Include in the education section. You can note a specific skill or skills that you learned through the program, such as language acquisition.educationyellow
  2. Include in the experience section. This works especially well if you completed an internship or relevant volunteer experience. experienceyellow
  3. Include in activities section. Note any volunteer experience or special activities you participated in while abroad.activitiesyellow

Of course, you can also discuss your experience in an interview. Nearly every employer asks a behavior-based question during an interview, like “Tell me about a time you had to solve a problem on your own” or “When was the last time you took a significant risk and what were the results?”. Chances are you’ve got a study abroad scenario that would be a great example of solving a problem, taking a risk, or making a difficult decision. Just remember to focus on how the skills you gained from the situation are directly applicable to the particular job for which you are interviewing. Depending on the geographic reach of the company and position you’re applying for, mentioning your cultural competency will also be beneficial.

At the very least, a study abroad experience gives you an interesting topic to bring up in an interview if you can’t think of anything else to talk about, and you probably should talk about it!

Taking the Narrow Way for Your Job Search


By Michelle Schmid

As summer lurks behind the corner that is finals week, the pressure to find that job or internship for the upcoming months of sunny fun takes the stage. If you’re like me, you’re probably sifting through website after website looking for just the right job description, or at least the one job that is going to pay you more than minimum wage while still help you gain the skills you need for a successful future. You know it’s out there, hiding in the thicket of job postings. In my own job search, I’ve applied a few tactics that make my panicked google search extravaganza less of a fiasco and more effective:

Look at a Specific Field of Work. It can be easy to settle looking at any and every job as long as it is pays. You might know that you don’t want to work at the local McDonalds, which is ok, but a lot of times employers are looking for an employee who is enthusiastic about what he or she is doing. Therefore, if you are interested in working with children as your future career, look for an internship that involves working for a family. Or if you can’t find a job that is linked directly to your topmost interest, look through the job description to find points that interest you. For example, if you are looking for a job in health services, but you only are able to find a receptionist position, then link that work as a receptionist back to your passion for health careers. For example, you could spend the summer working at the front desk of a local clinic, or doing data entry for a healthcare organization. By eliminating a large variety of opportunities from your initial search, you will be able to search through job postings faster and will instead have more time to spend on crafting a quality resume.

Decide Where You Want to be. Another way you can cut through the listings is by looking at location. While it is good to be flexible when looking for opportunities, you may find that by limiting the jobs you apply for to positions located in the Midwest you will have fewer descriptions to read and tailor your resume for. This might sound negative: why would I want fewer opportunities? However, if you have five jobs you are really passionate about all in the area you want to be versus twenty jobs you are mostly indifferent about all over the country; it will be easier to find the right position for you. And if you are like me, you definitely have at least a small idea of where you want to be for the summer, whether that is in New York, Chicago, Madison, or home sweet home.

Set a Schedule for When You are Going to Apply. One of the most common mistakes of the job hunt is to only apply for one job. I do it all the time. As a result, this past week I have implemented a new plan: setting an application schedule. In other words, it is good to set aside time once a week for when you are going to apply for jobs and internships. Because it takes time to go out there and find the one that interests you, setting a goal for your job search timeline will help you to apply for more than one dream job all your hopes hang on. When you apply yourself to multiple jobs or internships in the same work field and location, you will find that pressure of getting the perfect summer job will decrease. Therefore, go out there and start looking! Once you find jobs you want to pursue, you can visit us at Letters and Science Career Services to get help with snagging that interview!

Remember that personal one-on-one networking is a great way to expand your network and learn about opportunities before they are even posted. Connect with family and friends and be sure to share your resume or linkedin profile (if you don’t have a linkedin account created, LS Career Services highly recommends it.)

Be a Good Intern Every Step of the Way

09-2014-interns-01By Marcie Waters

For many students, an internship is their first look into the career world. This can be exciting, but also a little nerve wracking, especially if you’re trying to get your foot in the door at a certain company or are hoping to score a great reference for future job applications. Having an internship experience on your resume is positive, as it demonstrates to potential employers that you take initiative in your career. However, having a successful internship experience in which you learned new skills, beefed up your portfolio, made networking connections, and received helpful feedback from supervisors is even better. Here are some tips that can help you be a fantastic intern, while getting the most out of your internship.

First Day Tips:
Arrive early and dress appropriately. While first impressions may not be everything, they are definitely important. Arriving early and looking nice will show that you are prepared and professional.
Be friendly and introduce yourself. Smile and introduce yourself to everyone you meet. Know your position and department title, so that you can tell them your specific place in the company. Everyone you’re working with has the potential to be an important networking connection.
Ask questions and be an active learner. If you don’t know or understand things about the company or the workplace, ask. It’s better to get simple questions answered now, so you’re not asking about things you should already know later on. Be an active learner by doing some research on your own. Google information about the company and its work to better understand the environment you’ll be working in.

During the Internship:
Be proactive. Try to avoid sitting idly; you’re not helping the company or learning anything by doing that. Ask for more projects or create one for yourself (Just make sure it is worthwhile).
Listen carefully and take notes. You can really learn a lot from supervisors and coworkers. Take notes, especially during meetings. This way, you can reference them to avoid asking silly questions later. They can also be useful when you are in a job interview and need to provide examples of your prior work experiences.
Follow texting and social media policies. It can be tempting to tweet about your cool new internship or Instagram a picture of your very own desk, but if a supervisor was to see something posted during work hours, it will make it look like you are not doing your job.

Final Days:
Send thank you notes. Thanking your supervisors for their help and guidance during your internship experience will leave a good impression of you in their minds.
Request feedback. Getting feedback from supervisors and collaborators can be a great way to discover your strengths and weaknesses. Not only does this allow you a catalyst for personal improvement, but you also have a starting point for answering future job interview questions.
Get contact info. Ask your supervisor for their contact info. They can be a great resource while navigating future career searches. Make sure to also ask your supervisor if they are willing to be a reference for you in the future.