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,


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.