At Stevenson University, there are many ways to get engaged and connected. Take advantage of the learning opportunities and resources that are available to you. Our Office of Career Services provides individualized guidance, support, and recommendations to help prepare you for a successful future. Make an appointment to create or revise a resume, learn the importance of networking, figure out how to ace job interviews, and manage any job offers without becoming overwhelmed during the process. We encourage you to absorb all the knowledge you can to build skills for professional and personal development.
Explore Your Passion
The first way to get started is simply to schedule an appointment with one of our Career and Industry Specialists. No matter where you are in the process of deciding upon a career path or navigating your job search, we will work with you to accomplish your goals.
- Figure out what motivates you. By exploring your motivated strengths, interests, and values, you can begin to craft career pathways that might be a great fit to utilize your potential and increase satisfaction and success. We have a variety of career assessments to assist with this exploration process.
- Check the Career ArchitectureSM Timeline to monitor where you are in the process.
- Explore Stevenson Career Pathways for various majors on the Career Services Portal. Here is an example of Digital Marketing.
There are so many ways to test out your interests and build skills throughout your four years of college.
- Internships are critical for developing additional skills, expanding your network, and defining your professional brand. It is recommended that you engage in several internship experiences, although one is a minimum for your resume. Keep track of your accomplishments and learning throughout each of your internship experiences. Employers expect to see this when you are applying for full-time jobs.
- Explore service-learning classes where you can engage with the community while studying in an area of academic interest.
- Participate in clubs, organizations, and student leadership opportunities. These are effective ways to build additional skills and experiences. Employers want to see your involvement and engagement.
Get Prepared for the Job Search
The job search is a multi-step process that incorporates numerous tools and techniques. It takes time, intention, and a good attitude. For more detailed information, check out the Office of Career Services Portal Page.
What is Professional Branding?
Your professional brand is more than what differentiates you from the crowd. Your professional brand is crafted and created by focusing upon what motivates you, what you excel at, and how you solve problems or make things happen. While the most obvious place to use the professional brand is when you are networking, it is actually a part of who you are when interacting with anyone. It is part of your electronic presence and therefore a part of your reputation.
Think about these questions and answer them to help craft your own professional brand.
1. What motivates or energizes you? What are your dependable or motivated strengths?
Think about the good experiences you have had and examine them for patterns of strength. What are the strengths that show up repeatedly that you have enjoyed using? Pay attention to these and consider how these strengths can be incorporated into your brand.
2. What interests you, what do you pay attention to, and what are you fascinated by?
Next consider how you can identify industries that match your interests. How can you use your motivated strengths in an industry of interest to help contribute to their mission?
3. What do you care about and value?
This is important to your professional brand. Values are a foundation for proper alignment and the right 'fit' with a company’s mission.
4. What are your key attributes that you are most proud of?
Are you hardworking, persistent, innovative, intelligent? You fill in the blanks. How do you want people to understand the attributes you can bring to the table?
5. What kinds of problems can you solve that differentiate you from others?
Think this through: Honing in on your motivated strengths, attributes, interests, and values is the first part of crafting your brand. Defining how you can pull that information together to solve problems is the next step to creating that distinction from others.
Your professional brand can be demonstrated through your resume, online presence and social media, networking conversations, interviews, and everyday work habits.
The resumes you create will change over time. A high school resume is different from an internship resume in college and that resume is different from an alumni resume used for a full-time job opportunity upon graduation. As you progress in your career, the document will continue to change to reflect your experiences, brand, and career aspirations.
There are certain elements that should be included:
Personal Identifying Information: name, address, phone number and email
Objective or Summary Statement:
- If an objective is used, it needs to specifically state the position in which you are interested in working.
- If a Summary Statement is used, it should reflect key components of your professional brand as it relates to the position announcement.
Education: name of educational institution and its city and state, degree, major, date of graduation, minors/concentration, GPS if above 3.0. An internship resume may include a section that lists a few select courses that are relevant to the position of interest.
Experience: name of organization, city and state of location, position title, dates of employment. This is followed by accomplishment statements of what you contributed on the job, internship, volunteer site, research site, or practicum. Craft these statements using strong action words that demonstrate what you did and any related outcomes.
Activities: clubs and students organizations, professional associations, sports, leadership positions
Computer Skills: list hardware/software/programs in which you are competent
Networking & Interviews
Why it is important?
- The old saying of “It’s who you know” still holds true today. People prefer to hire who they know or who have come by way of recommendation. It lessens the guesswork of the unknown entity.
- We live in a world of connections and to get things accomplished, we need to rely on our networks. It is part of being a social human being.
- Most good jobs may not even be advertised but only found through networks.
- We all need good communication skills and have to be able to demonstrate our professional brand in a way that encourages other people to want to learn more about us.
- Networks provide further referrals which continues to build your contacts.
- You need networks all the time to acquire information, advice, and recommendations.
How to do it:
- Know what your goal is in the first place. Do you want an internship at an innovative start-up where you can use your technology skills? Do you want to get advice on what it’s like to have a career in design?
- Revisit your professional brand. Are you comfortable with how you are presenting yourself both off-line and online? Are you ready to talk about your distinctive interests, strengths, values, and problems you can solve?
- Make a list of people you know. You should be looking at family, friends, acquaintances, business contacts, professionals you do business with (hair stylists, doctors, vendors), and other community connections.
- Have a professional LinkedIn account. Before you start creating your account, you might want to check out their Help Center.
- Identify ten people and start connecting with them. Do your research on what they do ahead of time so you can ask some questions to open the conversation. Write the questions down and have them handy when you meet.
- Request a meeting of no longer than 30 minutes. State your purpose, but do not put them on the spot and ask for a job.
- Ask for advice and referrals. LISTEN to what they say. Follow up with referrals and make sure that you let your initial contacts know how things are going and any results.
- Have a system in place for tracking and monitoring your networking connections and follow up.
Employers believe the best predictor of future behavior is recent past behavior. For example, do you know someone who is always late to class? What’s the likelihood that she’ll be late to class tomorrow?
That’s the principle of “behavioral-based interviewing,” a common interviewing technique. Interviewers want to get a picture of how you have behaved recently in a situation because it will help them determine how you’ll behave in a similar situation on the job.
Prepare for the interview
Before going to an interview, look at the job description (if one is not available, use the job posting as a basis) and think about some of your most important milestones: projects, grades, presentations, and work experiences that make you proud. You’ll use these milestones as examples when answering questions. Use your best examples to concisely tell the story to the interviewer.
In addition, there are some standard attributes that many companies look for, including:
- Strong communicator
- Able to work in teams
- Demonstrates honesty and integrity
- Strong follow-through
Think through your activities and experiences and identify those that you can use to show you have these attributes.
During the interview
The interviewer says: "Tell me about a time when you were a part of a difficult team and what you did to get the team back on track." Include the following in your answer:
- Situation: Explain the situation in detail. Was it a class team? What was the project? What was difficult about the project?
- Action: What did YOU do to pull the team together? What specific action did you take? Don’t talk about what “we” did or “they” did. Talk about your role in the situation.
- Outcome: Discuss the outcome of the project or team. Did the team succeed? How did you know the team was successful?
- Learning: Sometimes you’ll be asked about a situation in which you weren’t successful. Talk specifically about what you learned, how you modified your behavior, and how you’ve incorporated this lesson into your routine.
Keep your answer focused on recent job-related experiences. Whenever possible, use examples from your internship, class work, professional association, or other degree-related experiences. Do not use personal or family examples, or examples from religious organizations.
Additional interview advice
- Make sure your response is clear and concise. Watch the interviewer’s body language. If he/she seem uninterested, wrap up your answer.
- If you can’t think of an answer, say so. Don’t try to bluff your way through because the interviewer will know it.
- The best candidates are able to speak to everything on their resume.
Use the Office of Career Services to practice sample questions and participate in mock interview sessions.
(Courtesy of the National Association of Colleges and Employers)
How to Manage Job Offers
The job search can be extremely exciting especially when you are interviewing at multiple organizations and researching what your options might be for the best fit. It can be exhilarating when you receive multiple job offers, but it can also be stressful. The stress comes from a fear of choosing the wrong offer or there may be concern that if one is accepted, a better one will come along soon after. One thing that candidates do not want to do is accept an offer and then renege on the original offer when a better one comes along. It will burn bridges and hurt your reputation.
Here are some tips for managing job offers:
- Pull together a list of your ideal qualities offered by an organization (for example: location, commute time, preferred salary based upon research, organizational mission, benefits, tuition reimbursement, opportunities for professional development, etc.). Do this before the offers start coming in so you are prepared to evaluate all information.
- Do your research on salaries ahead of time. There are several resources that you can utilize including www.salary.com, www.salaryexpert.com, and the NACE Salary Survey data.
- When you do receive an offer, the employer will typically provide the salary and benefits being offered although some companies may provide you with benefit information before making an offer.
- Thank the employer and express your enthusiasm. Do ask how much time you have to make the decision. The time allows for evaluating the offer and comparing that to the list you compiled, and perhaps other offers that you might have received.
- Most employers will give you a week to up to a month to make a decision.
- Do not accept an offer and renege on it if you change your mind or another offer comes up that you like better.
- Once you verbally accept an offer you should be given a written offer letter. You should confirm receipt of this and send your own acceptance letter or email confirming acceptance.
- If you decline an offer, you should send a letter thanking them for their time and consideration and let them know of your final decision.
- Let employers know of your decision regardless of whether you are accepting or declining.
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