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,


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

CDC Student Blogger, Stephanie Ackermann: Networking Works!

There has been a lot going on with my job search these past two weeks. I have been applying to jobs online like crazy and making sure to follow up with each one. I have heard many rejections, which is all part of the process, but instead of being down about the denial I decided to take a different approach. Since I am new to this job searching thing, I am now emailing each company back with a message thanking them and asking why I was not selected. This took some courage at first but I got a lot of good feedback from the companies and even some advice that will help me as I move forward. Don’t be afraid to ask why they didn’t choose you! I have been told my resume looks great but I just didn’t have the experience they were looking for in most of the replies. This made me feel very comfortable with my resume instead of thinking I need to change it since I didn’t get a position I applied for.

Another big step I took was reaching out to a fellow friend on campus, since this is where I would love to work, and asking her if there was someone she knew I could talk to about working here or even around the area. So what did I do? I met with a total stranger for coffee! That’s right, I didn’t even know her but I wanted her advice since I am place bound. The coffee meeting went great and I have a new outlook on what I need to be doing to prepare myself if I want to stay working at the university or even some colleges around the area. You should take this step, too! Reach out and don’t be afraid, it has definitely expanded my network!

The final main thing I will touch on that I have been working on is staying active in my college organizations. I know right now classes are getting busy but this is the time to shine and stay on top of things. Expanding my network is something I am definitely focusing on right now since this is prime time for job applications. I want to be sure I have an “in” for everywhere I am applying to and even just some advice from those people. Get involved! Communication Student Society meets with the Career Development Center every few weeks about various topics and this has definitely helped me in my job search journey!

Until next time,


Thursday, February 19, 2015

CDC Student Blogger: Stephanie Ackermann, Job Search Update!

Hi all! Stephanie here again coming to you with some updates on my current job search. Did you all go to the career fair CDC put on for us on February 3rd? If not, you totally missed out! There were so many companies recruiting and this is the time to get ahead of the game. Although I went and spoke to some representatives, there wasn’t really anything for me besides commission based entry level sales positions. That is something I know I am not interested in, but the career fair still gave me so many opportunities! For instance, I was able to practice my professional talk with some people, make contacts that could help me find what I want, and even just practicing my professional handshake (I hate that, ew!). So the career fair can do so much for you in job searching but it can also enhance your professional skills in other ways, as well.

Something I have done since my last post is set up an appointment with the HR department right here on campus. Since I know I would love to stay on campus after I graduate, I went ahead and took the initiative to fill out their application and send in my resume. On Monday, I met with an HR representative and we discussed the Civil Service testing you have to go through to work here on campus. So, again I wanted to get ahead of those other students graduating in May so I am taking 5 tests next Monday for positions I already qualify for or will qualify for come graduation.

It is so important to try and find a job you will enjoy if not love, but right out of college you have to be mindful that you are starting from the bottom and sometimes just getting your foot in the door is what it takes. 

With that being said, I am taking tests for all kinds of job opportunities right here on campus. I know that I will have an advantage if I start now and even have to get a job that isn’t my dream job until one either opens up in the future or I qualify for that position that I am hoping for.

I hope your job search is going well and you are starting to look now instead of putting it off! You can never start too early!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Meet Stephanie Ackermann, CDC Student Blogger for Spring 2015

Hello! My name is Stephanie Ackermann and I am very excited to be the blogger for the Career Development Center this semester. I hope my blog posts help you in your job search as I take you through my semester of job hunting. A little bit about myself, I am a Communication major with a Human Resources minor. My aspirations after college include finding a full time job in an HR department but I am open to all kinds of opportunities. My major is so broad I feel I can bring a variety of attributes to an organization and I hope to find my perfect fit. I absolutely love working on campus and have dreamed about staying here after I graduate…we will see!

Due to being so busy with working one or two jobs through college, I haven’t had much time to get involved. However, I have become a member of Communication Student Society. CSS is a free organization for all Communication majors and minors. I got involved with CSS my junior year and immediately was elected onto the executive board. This was great because it was a way to test my skills, add to my resume, and have fun! Now I am serving as president of this organization and I love being a part of a wonderful group. Something else I have done to prepare my resume and skills for after college is becoming a Thirty-One consultant. If you are unfamiliar with this company, check them out! It’s a direct selling company so I am able to devote my time as I see needed. Now on my resume I not only have sales and customer service but also owning my own business, managing inventory and financial budgeting all because of this awesome opportunity I tried out! I absolutely love this job and I am thankful it has allowed me to take my jobs down to just this one, provide fundraisers for anyone on campus, create relationships with team members and customers, and get some cute free bags out of the deal!

Now there is one more main thing I have done to improve my resume to potential employers, get an internship! Now I know some people don’t have the time or even the finances to be able to take an unpaid internship but thanks to my Thirty One business, I am able to do mine this semester. I have a marketing internship with the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs which is located on the fifth floor of Stipes. Right now I do a few little things around the office but recently I was delegated the task of creating a newsletter. I am very excited about this and I love working at the university so this internship is perfect. I’m hoping this will turn into something for after graduation, but only time will tell!

I decided to do this blog because it is a great way to reach other students who might be going through the same struggles of finding a job for after graduation. I’m hoping my blogs will help, inspire, or even just get you thinking about your career aspirations after college. 

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!