Friday, September 25, 2015

Matt Pierz, Ready to Resume!

Well, at this point, I can happily say that my resume is, for all intents and purposes, ready to send out into the world. 

A big step for me to be sure, but it is just the start, and a start is better than sitting around hoping a job is going to fall into my lap. I can tell that this semester is going to have a lot of schoolwork that will pull my attention from the job search, but that is all the more reason to take as much time as I need to stay on track. To be honest, this is a particular point in the semester/the job search process is kind of a dead zone.

What I mean is this is, in a way, a kind of calm before the storm… If the storm is midterms and then graduation not too far after that. All the same, I just have to keep moving steadily along for the next… however many weeks are left in the semester.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

CDC Student Blogger, Matt Pierz - Resume Update

Well, I can definitely tell that school is back in session now.

 Right out of the gate, the homework and extra hours in the studio are eating up a lot of time, and I mean a LOT of time. It wouldn’t seem to help matters to look at the fact that we are only a few weeks in to the semester, buuuuut I’m sure the work load will balance itself out in time. I also noticed that the job search process stalled for a brief period, and to be honest, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to work in the time to keep that proverbial train moving. Luckily, however, I found that it is much easier to maintain that forward momentum with smaller easier to manage “pushes” once or twice a week than to put it off until you feel so overwhelmed by the feeling that your behind on preparing to enter the real world that your classwork suffers and you actually end up causing your work in both areas (school and preparing for work after school) to decline.

 I had another meeting to go over and work on my resume. Going into the first meeting I had felt confident in what I had, but after quite a few suggestions were made I admit that I got a bit discouraged. I mean so much work out of the gate? This doesn’t bode well for the future blah blah blah. I made another appointment thinking that I was going to have to spend the whole time taking notes on how to fix my resume, turns out that was not the case. I was helped through step by step so even I could follow it, getting more work done on my resume in half an hour than I did the previous 4 days, now there are just a few more tweaks to make and then it is on to the next step….I don’t know what that is, but I do know that I have people there to help me. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Say "Hello" to Matt Pierz, CDC Student Blogger for Fall 2015

This is all much harder than I anticipated. I admittedly have been in college a while, but graduation at the end of this semester starts to look less like an idea and more like a concrete reality. I find myself having to not only take a serious look at the world outside of college, but also I have to consider my place in it after graduation. I know where I want to move to, that much I have figured out, and while I thought it was difficult to gather the necessary information to find a place to live and so on I never really gave finding a job any serious thought, I guess I just assumed one would fall into my lap upon my arrival.

 Sadly, that is not the case and now I’m starting to realize just how easy by comparison all the “work” I did researching where I wanted to go really was not as hard as I believed it to be. You know, I’ll be the first to admit that I am a bit of an idealist, I think that there is a job out there that is not only waiting to hire me, but also one that fits all the criteria that I have in my head of what the perfect job for me is. On the other hand though I am a realist; as a realist I know that that job may not exist or the position is filled or even that I ( gasp ) may be in competition with others for that job. Whether or not that “dream job” exists is a moot point though. GETTING the first job, that’s the starting point and if I was going to even make it that far I was going to have to put forth some (actually quite a lot) of effort.

I had started my job search on my own, just me and my trusty pal Google, looking at companies that again, in my idealistic mind, would have the perfect job for me just sitting there in the careers section of their websites, and of course these are only the companies I could think of, and I ran out of places to look pretty quick. Then I thought about looking at those job listing sites that you used to see ads for on TV, and that had me feeling even more discouraged; no matter how general I seemed to make my searches all that came up were jobs that were either nothing close to what I was looking for or a job that required more years of experience in various fields than I had spent living on this planet. I had stared to get tired of looking, and as much as I had wanted to ask my friends and family for help, and I did initially, all that I seemed to get out of them were fortune cookie style non-answers like “just keep at it and you will find what you’re looking for” and other such advice-isms. 

I was also told that at the end of the day that this was experience that I need to get to prepare me for life after college, and as much as I wanted to treat this as the kind of advice-isms that I had already mentioned I had to admit that they were right, even though I wished it wasn’t the case. I realized that I was going to have to do this on my own but that didn’t mean I could have someone point me in the right direction, and then immediately after that thought I realized that I was going to have to rework my resume a bit (turned out to be A LOT more than a bit but that’s neither here nor there). I had known the Career Center existed, I just never felt I had the need to go there, at least until now that is, and so I decided to make an appointment to have my resume looked over. Turns out as I said it needed a lot of work, but at least I’m on the right track, and once that’s taken care of I can really buckle down with confidence to find that job.

Matt is an art major at WIU and is graduating this December. Keep watch for more updates from Matt this semester as he searches for a job! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Final Blog from CDC Student Blogger: Stephanie Ackermann

Hello everyone!! I hope my journey through this semester has given you helpful insight to job searching or maybe just for what’s to come in your future. I wanted to take my last blog to tell you my top 3 learning experiences from this semester in case you find yourselves in similar situations one day.

Number 1: is taking a deep breath and let it out. I know it sounds silly but after applying for what seemed like hundreds of jobs, you need to just sit back and take that deep breath. Everything will work out how it’s supposed to, I promise! If one door closes there is a bigger, better, prettier door opening.

Number 2: Network, network, network! I know everyone, especially college professors, tell you this is important but I cannot stress it enough. Sometimes it’s just being introduced to someone through a mutual friend and having coffee with them that helps you see what you need to do or even helping to find that job you are looking for. Networking is by far the most important thing, so start now! Talk with your professors, join a group, if there’s a speaker you want to see then go early or stay later to introduce yourself because that will make a lasting impression, and get started on those Linkedin profiles!

Number 3: Use the Career Development Center! I know you must know about the office if you are reading this but…actually make an appointment and go in there! As you can see through my semester I used them for so many things. Linkedin profile advice, Leatherneck Link, resume checks, even using one of their quiet rooms for my phone interview. There is nothing they can’t help you with if it has to do with your career path! Even if you need help finding that career path, they are there to help. Best part (besides the people)…THEY ARE FREE! You pay for it every year in your tuition so you might as well use them!

I truly hope my blogs this semester have helped you in your career search. Whether it’s getting you started just thinking about how to look for jobs in a few years or it’s helped you land that job following graduation you were hoping for. I have enjoyed sharing my experiences with you all and I hope you have, too! 

Best of luck in everything!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Student Blogger, Stephanie Ackermann: Job Update!

Greetings from your fellow student blogger! I hope the semester is wrapping up nicely for all of you! If you are graduating next month, do you have a job lined up yet? If not..let me share my latest experience with you about why you should never let disappointment hold you back.

 As you all know from my last post, I was in the process of going through a series of interviews for a company I was VERY interested in. When it came down to the final interview, I had gone through five tests and three interviews for this position. I think I was hoping for it so much that I let that get to my head and I almost expected the offer. When I got the phone call that they went with the other candidate, I was devastated. Not just a little disappointment, I cried and pondered over it for days! In my mind, this job would have been so wonderful to travel to and from every day, the pay would have been perfect, and they offered the best benefits from any job I had applied to. So, in my mind it was the perfect job. However, I didn’t get it and I had to get over it.

Now the same day I got that phone call I didn’t get the job, I also interviewed for another position that interested me but the pay wasn’t as much. I, of course, went to the interview and believed to have done a great job but I was so clouded by distress I wasn’t entirely sure. This was a position at a community college only 15 minutes from our new house and as you all know from my first post way back in January, I LOVE working in a higher education setting. I decided not to even think about this interview because I didn’t want to put myself through so much disappointment again. They told me it would be over 3 weeks before I heard back anyway, so I might as well go on more interviews, right?!

To my surprise, last Friday I got the phone call from the community college, Carl Sandburg Community College in case you were all wondering, offering me the position. I was ECSTATIC! I was in shock since it had only been a week, not three, they must have really wanted me! A creepy note, I literally told myself that morning when getting ready for my day to let the disappointment of not getting the other job get me down anymore and a few hours later I was offered a position that is full of opportunity, growth, and exactly what I described to you all just a few months ago. As soon as I let go the distress I was feeling from that door closing, another door opened wide up and I was able to run through it! It felt amazing to throw those papers from the other interview away after I chatted with them and accepted. I felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders!

Now, I’m not saying you can’t be disappointed. I just think I was way too hard on myself on why I didn’t get that job. Maybe it was how I answered the questions or they just didn’t like me. Or maybe the other candidate was friends with someone that works there or came from the director’s alma mater. You never know and I never will! What I did learn, and I hope you take away from my experience too, is that whatever you are meant to be doing, you will do! I now work only 15 miles from my new house (which is out in the middle of nowhere so this is pretty spectacular!) and I am doing something I never thought I would get a chance to do. Don’t settle! Find the career you have always wanted and GO FOR IT!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Hello, follow Leathernecks! I’m sure you are all wondering about what happened with all of those interviews, well I’m about to fill you all in! Last week, I had my second interview (first in- person interview) for a Human Resources Coordinator position at Deere Employees Credit Union. I am very interested in this position, so it was exciting for me! A few days later, I got a call back for another interview, which I did this morning! This was the final interview and the entire process contained 5 tests and 3 interviews..not the easiest process to go through! I should hear the end of the week about whether or not I got the job. However, no matter what, I sure did learn a lot! I was able to practice so many answers to interview questions. They didn’t ask me the usual “What is your strength/weakness” questions. Instead they were more interested in why I am interested in Human Resources, how I can help their organization since this wasn’t my major in college and I don’t have direct Human Resource Experience, why I want to work for them, etc. The hardest questions for me was the “Why do you want to work for us?” question. I didn’t exactly think about this one before so I had to take a couple seconds and think on my toes. That is something you are allowed to do! Tell them “That was a very good question” and then pause so you can actually think before you answer.
Waiting is now the hardest part, so I’m staying busy in the meantime with campus activities and school work! Also, I have an interview with Carl Sandburg College on Friday morning so that is something else to look forward to! Even though I really want this HR position, I can’t put all of my eggs in one basket and I encourage all of you to be aware not to do the same!
I think I mentioned to you all before about a couple job offers I did have already, but knew they weren’t the right fit for me. Are you wondering how I knew they weren’t the right fit? Well, I am someone that finds every job interesting, as many do because they want a paycheck after college! However, for me I had to really think about whether or not I could see myself doing that job every single day. I took three days to think about each job and every few hours I would change my mind…that’s ok! You can take your time and work it out with yourself or with your significant other if you need to. Once you decide, then what? Well, you have to politely call and thank them for the offer but decline. This was the hardest part of the whole process! I was finally offered a few positions but I had to say no. It was a learning experience and I still feel like I made a connection or two even by declining the offer. If you need help with how to deal with a decline, the Career Development Center is very helpful! Give them a call or even send me an email, I’ll be more than happy to help!
Until next time,


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Five Interviews in One Month! CDC Student Blogger, Stephanie Ackermann

Hello, WIU Peeps! I hope you all had a great Spring Break. I was busy, busy, busy with interviews! That’s right..I finally got some interviews and even some call backs from a few companies! Let me start from the beginning.

I was offered a position with Country Financial after speaking with them about opportunities. This interview was solely from networking! My internship supervisor knew someone that works for them and she trusted my supervisor’s opinion that I would be a great fit. It’s all about networking people! I was so thankful to be offered the job, but I decided it was just too far for me since I am in the process of purchasing a house. Then, I networked again! I went in to chat with a family friend about home owner’s insurance and left with another job offer. It is also for insurance, but I am able to choose the office I want and two of their offices are close to my new home. I am considering this opportunity but I told him I needed some time to think about it. Don’t be afraid to go home and think about it or discuss it with your significant other or even parents. Having someone you can trust to chat about these important decisions is very helpful.

The next interview I had was over break for a photography business. She needs someone to manage her office and it sounded like a lot of fun! She waited a few days before asking me some more detailed questions about the hours I would be able to work until I graduate so I think that sounds promising. However, she did discuss pay with me and I know I will be unable to take her opening if she offers it to me. Oh..and you’ll never guess how I got this interview, networking! There’s a lady I barely know but she has me on Facebook and told the potential employer I am very professional and she can tell I would be a great fit for the position. Again, it’s all about who you know!

I also had a phone interview over Spring Break. I utilized one of the quiet rooms at the Career Development Center, you just call and reserve one for FREE!, and it worked perfectly! They hit me with some touch questions, the second question being how much salary I am expecting. Be sure to prepare yourself for anything they might ask. It was nice to be able to have my notes, resume, and a sheet about their company and the HR position right in front of me. I will say, don’t drink pop while you are on the phone! I never drink anything with carbonation but the machine didn’t have any water so I had to go with it. Just be sure not to belch! 

Anyway, I followed up with a thank you email and then about four days later a phone call to say thank you again and ask her two more questions I had thought of. You always want to ask another question or two to show you are thinking about the job and that you are still interested. Turns out, when I called she was impressed and I have an in person interview this Friday!

If you are starting to get discouraged about not hearing back or maybe just getting rejection emails, don’t be! I was in that position and was getting very frustrated. However, you can see just how quickly things can change; I’ll have five interviews for March now! Keep your head up and start networking.

Until next time,