Graduated Without a Job?: What to Do Next

Graduation

By Marcie Waters

So, you’ve graduated college and are now faced with the seemingly daunting task of finding your first full-time job. By this point, you are sick of hearing, “Do you have a job yet?” and “What’s your plan?” You are just hoping something falls into place before the lease on your college apartment ends in August. If this sounds familiar, you should first know that you are not alone. The good news, however, is that there are some steps you can take to ensure you are not unemployed for long:

  1. Prepare Your Elevator Pitch – While it’s tempting to avoid answering questions like, “What kind of job do you want?”, use this as an opportunity to make connections. Every person you talk to has the potential to help you or know someone who could be a great connection. That’s why it is important to have a quick elevator pitch prepared. Tell the person (1) what you’ve done so far, (2) what you would like to do in the future, and (3) why you chose that area to focus on.
  2. Network – You may have heard that finding a job is really all about whom you know, and that is not entirely untrue. You can network in many different ways; consider these:
    1. Asking for help – This is the simplest form of networking, and you shouldn’t be afraid to do it. Just asking someone for help with your job search can go a long way. A great way to do this is, at the end of your elevator pitch, to ask, “Do you know anyone who might be able to help me get into this industry?” You could be surprised to find they have a great connection!
    2. Social Media – Nowadays, social media is really where the job search is at. Utilize LinkedIn and Twitter to reach out to professionals in your desired industry. You can also use these sites to look for job postings.
    3. Informational InterviewsInformational interviews are a great way to obtain knowledge about an industry or position you are interested in, which can make it easier to successfully apply and interview for a job. They are also great ways to meet people in your desired industry and get advice. Ask the professional how they got their current job. Maybe their story will help you determine what your path should be.
  3. Gain Experience – If you feel you haven’t found your dream job yet because you don’t have the right kind of experience, you can try to gain more experience before applying. Volunteering, part-time jobs, and internships are all ways you can gain a little more experience that may give you the edge in the job market. Keep in mind that to obtain your dream job you may have to work your way up the company ladder. Consider taking a job in a lower position in the company you want to work for; many companies prefer to hire from within, and you could have a better chance of ending up in your dream job.

Follow these tips to get your job search moving. If you are still unsure about what you should be doing to secure that full-time job, make an appointment with a career advisor for some more advice tailored to your situation.

6 Career Lessons from Harry Potter

harrypotter

By Marcie Waters

From Harry Potter, one can undoubtedly learn many life lessons (“Wit beyond measure is a man’s greatest treasure.”), but did you ever realize the great career advice J.K. Rowling indirectly provides in her magical series? Through Ron, Harry, and Hermione’s seven years at Hogwarts, they pick up skills and practices that are crucial when looking for and starting a new job. Consider these tips:

harrypotter11. Get experience before committing to a career path.
Harry definitely got a lot of experience fighting the dark arts before deciding to become an auror. You can gain experience in an industry by interning, volunteering, or joining a student org or professional organization. Conducting an informational interview with a professional in the industry you’re interested in can also help you to gain an idea of what the field is like. It’s beneficial to have a grasp on an industry, so you can be sure you will like the industry you’re in before accepting a full time job in it.

harrypotter22. Networking. Networking. Networking.
Harry gained many connections throughout his time at Hogwarts by getting to know his professors and fellow students. He even attended networking events, like Professor Slughorn’s “Slug Club” dinners of outstanding students. Anyone can be a potential networking connection, but you can get started by reaching out to professors, alumni, and supervisors. Attend LSCS events like the career fairs, mock interviews, and employer panels to meet professionals. You can also utilize LinkedIn and Twitter to network online with professionals.

harrypotter33. Work hard.
Hard work does not go unnoticed. Take it from Hermione, who worked hard at Hogwarts; she was recognized by her peers and superiors many times for being the “brightest witch of her age”. Supervisors and professors will be more likely to give you a recommendation if they see you working hard. By working hard, you are also likely to get more done and could have more completed projects in your portfolio.

harrypotter44. Do not be afraid to fail, but learn from it.
When Ron was learning charms, he failed to correctly execute the “Wingardium leviosa” spell. He learned from his errors though, and was able to successfully use the spell to rescue Hermione from the troll in the girl’s bathroom. Failure is inevitable, but as long as you keep an open mind and learn from the mistakes that you make, you can improve your skills. These situations are not only great learning experiences, but also make for great examples to talk about in future job interviews to show how you problem solve and overcome challenges.

harrypotter55. Teach yourself.
When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were dissatisfied with how little they were learning in Defense Against the Dark Arts, they formed Dumbledore’s Army to teach themselves and others how to fight the dark arts. If you are in a situation where you feel like you don’t know as much as you should, do some research. There are many online resources that can teach you about an industry, how to use software, or offer advice on strategies. Of course, don’t hesitate to ask coworkers and supervisors questions, but you can also impress them with knowledge you’ve acquired on your own.

harrypotter66. Meet with a career advisor.
Fifth-year Hogwarts students meet with a professor to discuss their career plans to prepare for their N.E.W.T.s. Harry met with Professor McGonagall to discuss his plans for becoming an auror. If you’re unsure how to make your dream career a reality, visit Career Services to discuss what the next steps should be in your career path. LSCS can also review resumes and cover letters, conduct mock interviews, and discuss job search strategies.

With these tips, you are now ready to face the Dark Lord (or at least your first job).

Not Your Parents’ Job Search: Using Twitter to Network

twittercloud

By Marcie Waters

The job search has definitely changed since our parents were looking for their first full-time jobs. One of the biggest differences is social media’s role in the job search process. Now sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are emerging as top networking tools.

Why Use Twitter?
Twitter allows you to easily connect with businesses and organizations that you’re interested in working for. It is an easy way to stay up-to-date on news, trends, and ideas in your desired industry. It’s a convenient way to network with professionals. Each tweet is capped at 140 characters, forcing you to stick to simple questions and answers; this can be less intimidating than other forms of networking. Twitter is an inherently public platform, so you don’t have to feel like you’re stalking a professional by asking them a question about their career. Its public nature also allows you to share content that tells other professionals about your interests and accomplishments.

Getting Started:
Make sure you have a professional Twitter profile photo. Follow the same guidelines as you would for LinkedIn: a headshot in professional dress with a neutral background. Before uploading the photo, name the file with your first and last name to make it more easily searchable. Make sure you have a Twitter handle that is appropriate for the professional world. Also set a location on your profile. If you have a personal website, include the link on your profile as well. If you don’t, include a link to your LinkedIn account (If you don’t have one of those, check out this blog post to get you started).

Write a Twitter bio that includes keywords about the industry/career you are looking for. You can also tag an account you are connected with, like a company you are currently interning for. Including a characteristic, hobby, or humorous phrase can make you more personable. So if Don Draper was writing a Twitter bio, he could say something like “Creative director at @McCannErickson advertising, former partner at @SCDP, spontaneous road trip taker”. His Twitter could now be included in search results for “creative director” and “advertising”, so think about how you would want employers to find you.

What to Tweet About:
It’s important to share valuable content, which includes news, how-to’s, and fun (appropriate) items. These tweets could include useful blog posts, videos, or services that you’ve found, and will help future employers get an idea of who you are as a person. You can also tweet links to an online portfolio or photos of your projects (Use a URL shortener to conserve characters and keep tweets readable). Use relevant hash tags to make them more searchable. Try to get on the radar of professionals in your industry by tweeting at them to ask for help or advice about professional matters.

You can also join in Twitter Chats, which are organized conversations on Twitter at a certain time around a specific topic. Participating in a Twitter chat in your industry will allow you to connect with others in your industry and gain information on related topics.

A final Twitter tool that you should take advantage of in your job search is the lists feature of Twitter. It allows you to group similar Twitter accounts together on a list that you can check separately from the rest of your followers. Make a list of companies you would like to work for or of accounts that tweet job openings. You can also subscribe to others’ lists if you don’t want to create your own.

The final, and maybe most important, tips to keep in mind while tweeting during your job search are: keep your account current and proofread every tweet. An account that hasn’t been active since 2012 looks lazy or like you have nothing to say. Tweeting with spelling and grammar errors makes you look careless. Keep these tips in mind and start networking like it’s the twenty-first century!

Taking the Narrow Way for Your Job Search

Successful-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.)

Saving Face on Facebook (and Other Social Media Sites)

social_media

By Leah Peterson

A couple of weeks ago the L&S Career Services staff got the chance to meet with the founder of Social Assurity, a business that promotes proactive social media use in a way that helps students or job seekers by creating a social media presence that embodies their own personality as well as showcases their skills that employers and colleges are looking for. Having the chance to hear and ask questions about online personal branding really opened my eyes to what I should be doing with my own online presence and made me realize that some things I originally thought about Twitter and Facebook are not always necessarily true.

What I walked away with from this meeting are some important points that all college students and job seekers should know:

  1. Let your personality shine through online. Like or retweet pages that hold some interest to you. Post about things you enjoy doing. Make this online space a true insight into your character and remember to be authentic to yourself.
  2. Don’t overshare, especially if it’s complaining about work. Employers don’t want to see you whining about your coworkers and bosses and how much you hate your current job because you could do the same thing at their company. In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to not use your social media pages as personal diaries.
  3. There are numerous ways to become more noticeable on LinkedIn. Some of the ways you can get yourself to stand out is by putting keywords that describe you and what you aspire to be into your summary statement (so when employers search for these key terms, your page comes up). Join groups on LinkedIn to broaden your outreach to people with similar backgrounds and interests, and get those recommendations on your profile from classmates, coworkers, supervisors, and professors.
  4. Don’t erase your online presence, but rather build on top of it. So yeah, you can keep some of those drinking pictures (as long as every other picture isn’t of you with some sort of alcoholic beverage), but make sure to intersperse other appropriate, telling features about yourself throughout your page.
  5. Portfolios and resumes don’t have to be limited to original means. You can also take advantage of online sites or creative outlets like Instagram or Pinterest to showcase past projects you have done or your prior experiences.
  6. Networking can be done on sites besides LinkedIn. Social media sites like Twitter are actually becoming a big source for job seekers to reach out to the companies they’d like to work for by getting involved in online chats.
  7. Avoid a case of mistaken identity by making your pages easier to identify. While some cases can be cool (Googling my own name results in a motorcycle stuntwoman), others can be detrimental to the online image you’ve been trying so hard to preserve, like criminal records or inappropriate content. To help combat a mistaken identity, associate your name with more identifiable features, like tacking on “Wisconsin” or “Madison” or even something as simple as your middle initial to your name and page.

As a college student, you should be concerned about what sort of image you are putting out into the online world. Sure, some things you post may seem silly or irrelevant to what an employer may be looking for, but as long as it speaks about you—and that you’re proud of that image—don’t be afraid to put your own sort of brand onto what you post on social media sites. Jobs want to see your personality shine through on these platforms. Also keep these tips in mind when sprucing up your social media and have it be a source that displays yourself and work, rather than it being a reason for not getting offered that job.

Searching for Jobs and Internships on BuckyNet

BuckyNet Logo

By Leah Peterson

There comes a point in all college students’ lives where we find ourselves looking for jobs or internships, which can be a daunting process. Where do you even begin to start looking for a job that’s somehow related to your major and that you might want to do in the future? Luckily, the University of Wisconsin provides its students with access to the site BuckyNet, an online database that specifically connects employers and UW-Madison students to internships and full-time employment opportunities, on-campus interviews, and additional resources. In my own experience as a job seeker, BuckyNet has been helpful in connecting me with positions I am genuinely interested in that relate to both my major and career goals.

All you have to do to get started with your job search on BuckyNet is register at http://careers.ls.wisc.edu/buckynet–students.htm and you will get your account information emailed to you. To begin searching for a job or internship, hover over the “Jobs” tab and click on “BuckyNet Jobs.” This will take you to a list of job postings on BuckyNet that you can browse. To search for only internships, use the “Advanced Search” option located on the right of the screen to select “All Job Listings” under “Show Me” and “Internship” under “Position Type.” You will notice other fields that can help narrow your search. A broader search will obviously give you more options to explore, but if you know key factors for a job or internship you want, like the location or amount of travel you’re willing to do, it’s really helpful to clarify those in your search options from the start.

When you decide to apply for a job or internship posting, the company will specify the application process. In some cases, you will submit your resume through BuckyNet. In other cases, you will be directed to the company’s website and asked to apply through their employment pages. If you have questions about your application status after the follow-up timeframe, feel free to email the main contact whose information appears in the right column of the job/internship posting.

Your account also has the option of favoriting jobs and internships you wish to apply to later. To favorite a job, simply click on the star next to the job title in the job posting list. This will add the job to your favorites list, which you can easily access under the “My Favorites” tab under the “Job Postings” section. Any favorited jobs or internships will be saved there.

Having access to BuckyNet is extremely beneficial to UW-Madison students because we know these employers are specifically looking for students with a certain skillset and education within the College of Letters & Science. Take advantage of this free service to get you one step closer to finding your future job or internship!