Thursday, November 13, 2014

The moment we've been waiting for.....!!! CDC Blogger: Megan Moffit

 Recently I’ve been interviewing with a company that is offering a great job for me.  I started with a phone interview, then an interview with the woman that would be my boss, and finally a group interview with her whole team.  I’ve researched the company and practiced my interview skills and I felt very good about the interviews.  Finally, the call came that I’ve been working for since May.  I got the job offer!  

It was perfect; a good starting job, a great company, and fantastic co-workers!  Now comes the meeting where I decide whether I want to take the offer or not.  Here are some things I’m considering before I agree to the position: are the pay and benefits reasonable? 

Being a college graduate and coming from all part-time jobs, just about any offer sounds reasonable to me but a wise friend reminded me to make sure the offer really is fair and don’t be afraid to talk it over with your parents or someone you trust before you agree.  

Another thing I’m considering before I say yes is “is this really what I want to do?” 
Again, being a college graduate it’s easy to say yes to the first job offer you receive but that’s not always the best idea.  You have to find a balance between doing something you want to do and not finding a job and living with your parents for years.  

Is this job my dream job?  No, not exactly but my dream job requires some experience first and this job is something that I can do with my major and will be happy while doing it.  So, by my next blog, I might just be an employed (soon-to-be) college graduate!         

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CDC Student Blogger, Megan: Preparing for an Interview

There are so many tips and tricks out there to help prepare you for an interview.  We’ve all heard it: show up early, dress professionally, have questions prepared beforehand, and so much more.   But, what about during the interview?  It kind of is the most important part!  Here are 3 tips to remember during your interview:

1.      Be yourself, well, be your professional self. 
In an interview, no matter what the job, they are going to ask questions about your personality.  This is your time to show them who you really are.  Think of your best characteristics and then think of ways that they apply to the job you want and tell the interviewer about that. 

2.     Have an elevator speech prepared.
An elevator speech is a 30-60 second speech prepared to answer the question “tell me about yourself”.  This is essential to have prepared BEFORE your interview.  You do not want to show up to your interview and answer “um, well, I’m a Communication major, um, I’m graduating soon, um, yeah, and that’s about it.”   My favorite advice about this topic is to separate the speech into three different parts: your past, your present, and your future.  When asked to tell about yourself, talk a little bit about your past (where you grew up, your family, your schooling, etc), then talk more about your present (what you’re currently doing), and end where you want to be in the future (when you’re graduating, what kind of job you want, other big plans you have, etc.).  When you combine these three sections, your elevator speech will fall together seamlessly.

3.       Nonverbals are essential
What you say in an interview can be just as important as how you say it.  Nonverbals do not go unnoticed during an interview.  A good interviewer will notice everything you do including if you’re leaning in, your facial expressions, are your arms crossed, and so much more.  It is important to make sure that the interviewer knows that you are interested and involved in the conversation.  Lean in, smile, nod, keep your arms uncrossed, and show them with your nonverbal communication that you deserve the job.

Remembering these 3 tips will not guarantee you a perfect interview but they will certainly help!  For more tips on how to prepare for an interview, go to the Career Development Center.  They have amazing people ready to help prepare you for a great inte

Thursday, October 9, 2014

CDC Student Blogger, Megan: Online Career Searching Game Plan

Looking for a job online can be a very time consuming and tedious task.  It can also be very intimidating if you’re not sure what to do.  There are many different sites to use and each one posts thousands of jobs.  I’m going to share my personal game plan for online career searching.   I like to use the sites LinkedIn, Indeed, Simply Hired, and WIU’s site Leatherneck Link. 

On each site, I have emails sent to me whenever a job comes up that fits what I am looking for.  When I see a job that looks interesting, I read through the description and decide whether I should apply or not.  If I do apply, I make sure that the cover letter and resume I send in is personalized to fit the description.  I look for the keywords that are included in the job description and make sure those are highlighted on my resume and cover letter.  Some examples of this could be good communication skills, experience in sales, leadership experience, works well on a team, etc.  

When I have customized my application I send it in and hope for the best!  This is my personal game plan and it may not work for everyone but it has gotten me two phone interviews, two in-person interviews, and I am currently going back for a second interview in a couple weeks.  Each job searcher is different but I found that these online sites were a good place to start. 

It can take a lot of time and effort but if you end up finding your dream job then it will certainly be worth it!  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

CDC Blogger, Megan Moffit: The importance of networking!

According to a report from ABC News, 80% of today’s jobs are landed through networking.  80 percent!  We’ve all heard this a thousand times: networking is important.  I’ve heard so many lectures on it, I start rolling my eyes when it’s mentioned but the truth is, it is pretty important.  I’ve had four part-time jobs since I turned 16 and all of them came from my networks.  This fact makes me pretty nervous considering I plan on moving to a new place after graduation where I probably won’t know anyone!  This is where networking will become super important. 

 I’ve decided to get creative and think beyond just friends and family.  I’ve reached out to friend of friends, old friends I haven’t seen in years, and extended family.  These connections give me the advantage of hearing about available positions early and even having someone put a good word in for me.  If you haven’t started building your network yet, now is the time to start.  Talk to family, friends, professors, class mates, and co-workers, anyone you can think of.  Everyone in your network will also have their own network and with that many connections, there’s no way you can fail!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Meet Megan Moffit, our NEW Student Blogger this Semester!

Meg’s Declassified Career Survival Guide

“Life is a journey, with problems to solve, lessons to learn, but most of all, experiences to enjoy” Ritu Ghatourey

As cheesy as it sounds, searching for my first “big-girl” job has been one of the most exciting journeys I’ve ever been on.  I’ve realized that it’s going to be thrilling and stressful but also (hopefully) rewarding.  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Megan and I am a Communication major at WIU.  I will be graduating this December so this is a crucial time for me in my journey to finding my dream job.  I want to share my experiences about my job search so people in the same position as me (or soon to be) can see what it is really like and maybe even learn from my mistakes and accomplishments.

Think of me as Ned from the classic Nickelodeon show “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide”.  I’ll be going through every part of the job search and telling you all about it.  The best part is, all you have to do is read!

When I first came to Western, I started as a double major in Agriculture Business and Communication.  My goal was to work for Ag companies in their Communication departments.  I later realized that I didn’t want to limit myself to only Ag companies and therefore changed my major to just Communication and added a minor in Marketing.  Changing my major actually allowed me to graduate earlier than I had planned which is the opposite of what usually happens!  When I found out I would be graduating in December 2014 instead of May 2015 I realized I lost an entire semester of looking for a career!  My stress level went through the roof!  But after I calmed down, I realized I still have plenty of time but I should probably get started.  Experts say to start your career search six to nine months before your graduation date so that’s exactly what I did. 

Follow along in my next blog to find out how my career search is going and what tips and tricks I have to offer! 


Thursday, August 14, 2014

"No" equals five "Yes" answers---by Ashley Jefferson, WIU Alum

Ashley Jefferson

If you tell me “No”, point me in the direction of someone who can tell me “Yes”. This was a line that stuck with me the most while using the career office at Western Illinois University as a resource in my job hunt. I worked closely with the staff to do mock interviews to prepare me for what was to come.

 In comparison to a mock interview I did with a professional global company outside of WIU, the team in the career office tailored my mock interview towards the jobs I would be seeking in my field. They followed up with detailed feedback of what I could do and an email that I still use as a tool of reference a year later. If you want to be influential during your interview process with a company, ask them their thoughts during the interview on how they think you did? What are areas they feel you could work on just by first impression? If they were to tell you "No", then ask for them to provide you with a list of 5 names that are leads to a yes.

 Reality is… the first job you interview for, you may not get. Be encouraged, the initial “no” if you play your cards right, is a lead to 5 more potential “yes” answers. The staff within the department brought that idea to life! My first interview, I didn’t by any means ask them to provide me with names to other companies that could possibly say yes. However, that also put more work on me. I thought to myself, If the company is willing to tell you “No”, they should be willing to tell you what would make you a better candidate.

 Take control of your job search. Remember, you’re competing with thousands of other students from an array of Universities. What statement are you going to make? If someone tells you “No”; be bold enough to ask why, bold enough to request leads to other companies, and bold enough to accept the constructive criticism and say thank you for it. The career office prepared me for more than just an interview, the staff equipped me on how to play defense with the current job market. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Meet Christine Nguyen, CDC Graduate Assistant!

When I started searching for summer internships just a few months ago, I remember telling myself that New York was one of the last places that I would want to go… but here I am, a few months later, totally loving my time in Ithaca. Before I came to here, I definitely had images in my mind about what this city would be like. Growing up in a small town and never having been to the Northeast, I thought what (I believe) most people think when they think of New York: big city, large crowds, tall buildings… and traffic. But I was lucky to find that Ithaca didn’t fit that mold… at least not perfectly. It’s a city, but not too big. There are people, but it doesn’t feel crowded. And I haven’t ran into any terrible traffic since I first got here two months ago.

Outside of my internship, I try my best to take advantage of all of the different and wonderful things this city has to offer. For the first time ever, I went canoeing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding on the lake. For as much as I love being in and around the water, I’m surprised that I’ve neglected to do any of these things in the past! I’ll also throw in there that I got sunburned for the second time in my life which, for me, is a sure sign of a good time outdoors. I’ve hiked many trails to catch the views of different waterfalls and I’ve wandered down many paths to find hidden gorges. I’ve eaten at more restaurants that I can count on both hands and I’ve truly discovered the excitement of a good brunch. I’ve also discovered the excitement of walking vs. driving, and the excitement of finding new things along the way that I probably would’ve missed by being in a car. Through all of this, one of the things I’ve really learned the importance of is the age-old adage: life is what you make it. 

For me, New York is very far away from home – it’s far away from family, from friends, from school, and all of the things and people I know and love. I find myself getting homesick quite often, but I also find that I don’t have to feed into that homesickness and that I don’t have to let it jade my experience with the things and people that I can get to know and learn to love here. It’s all about keeping an open mind, and making the experience a positive one for yourself. No matter how much I want to be home sometimes, the reality is that I’m here…and for as long as I’ve been here, keeping an open mind has really helped me to make the most of my time. I’ve not only been able to have enjoy really great experiences (getting sunburned… maybe not one of them), but I’ve also been able to make some really great friends and create some really great memories that I’ll take home with me when I leave.

I’ll admit that I cheated a little in the department of making new friends because my internship is set up in such a way that I get to interact with my co-interns on a daily basis. We all live on the same campus, within walking distance from one another, and the work that we do basically requires that we are in constant communication. But what our work doesn’t require is that we eat three meals a day together, or that we run up the “infamous Cornell slope” together, or that we take long walks around campus together on nights when we’re “on-call” and aren’t allowed to get off-campus… It doesn’t require that we have picnics together at the park, or have bubble tea together 4 out of the 7 days of the week, and it doesn’t require that we decompress and debrief about all our toughest moments on the job with one another every chance we get. But we do. And it’s being open, and being inviting, to all of these things that have really made my experience here in Ithaca, and at Cornell, what it’s been.

I consider myself to be in introvert at heart, so naturally it’s hard for me to put myself out there, to talk to new people, to try new things; often times, I find it very draining and I would much rather spend time on my own. I admit that, coming into this internship, the idea of working very closely with a team of 6 other people seemed a little overwhelming. Just as I had images in my mind about what Ithaca would be like, I had images in my mind about what working in this group dynamic would be like, and I will admit that there were just as many negative expectations as there were positive ones. But just as this city took me by surprise, so did the nature and culture of my work. And as soon as I started to realize that things are not always what I expect or anticipate, I also started to also realize that having expectations can sometimes be limiting. As humans it’s natural for us to have expectations, but something I’m taking away from this summer is that it’s important for us to be aware of those them, and to not let them get in the way of new and exciting experiences.