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

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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.

    experience

    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!

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.

Saving Face on Facebook (and Other Social Media Sites)

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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.

The Lowdown on LinkedIn

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By Marcie Waters

LinkedIn can initially be a bit baffling. You may have heard it described as the “professional Facebook” but are unsure exactly what “professional” entails. It is important to remember that LinkedIn’s purpose is to connect employers with potential employees, so you should only include attributes and experiences that you would want an employer to see. Additionally, LinkedIn is a social networking site, meaning just like Facebook or Twitter, it is most effective at connecting you with others when you are actively social, posting statuses and contributing to group discussions. If you’re still not sure how to get started, here are a few essential tips:

  1. Add a high-quality photo. It does not have to be professionally taken, but make sure it is appropriate and is of only you. It should be clear and not over-edited (with filters, color distortion, etc.). Make sure you are dressed appropriately in the photo and look put-together.
  2. Get a custom URL. On your profile, under your photo, is a URL that directs to your LinkedIn profile. Click on it to customize the link with your first and last name to make your profile more easily searchable for employers.
  3. Fill in your profile completely. LinkedIn provides sections on your profile, like Education, Experience, and Skills & Endorsements. Fill as many sections out as completely as you can to reach “All-Star” status. LinkedIn will actually monitor your profile completeness with a circular meter on the right-hand side of the screen, so you know how well you’re doing. Having a complete profile increases your search ranking with employers, so it is extremely important.
UW-Madison Letters & Science Career Services LinkedIn Group

UW-Madison Letters & Science Career Services LinkedIn Group

Once you have your profile together, the best way to utilize LinkedIn is by joining groups and following employers related to the industries you are interested in. You can get started by joining the UW-Madison Letters & Science Career Services group. Once you join a group, you can like and comment on posts and discussions, creating a network! It is also helpful to gain “connections” to increase your visibility. Connect with past employers, teachers, and friends. No matter what industry they are in, they could be a mutual connection to someone in your desired industry.

Business Insider reported that in 2011, 10.2 million people found their current jobs through LinkedIn. By utilizing the above tips, you could be one of those people too!