Friday, February 5, 2016

Meet Ian Clark : WIU Alum--Advice for Future Graduates

Advice for Future Graduates in the Job Market

The job market today is a tough one, and it will only keep getting tougher over time.  Even though the economy is picking up and there are lots of jobs in the marketplace, it isn’t as easy as you would think to find the “dream job” that you may want straight out of college.  However, getting your dream job may not be the best thing. 
               
I was recently looking for a job in the jungle of businesses that is Chicago.  I am about to start a job as a recruiter.  All of this is relevant and timely information, and all the things I had to do and remember as I was in your position.  The advice below should help, whether you are looking for a job in a small town, a big city like Chicago, or another country.    

Tips
Be Flexible In What You Want To Do- We would all love to walk into a job as the CEO, head of accounting, principal of a school, or police chief.  Fact is, there is a 99.99% chance that is not going to happen straight out of college.  You are going to have to earn you rank and work your way up the ladder.  So even if you think that a job is too simple or maybe “below your level”, you should still give it high consideration.  You have to remember that you haven’t proven anything to this company and until you do, they aren’t going to give you a chance at a better role.  So, take the job, prove yourself to the company, and you’ll get noticed and move up quickly.  After all, any job is better than no job at all, right?

Don’t Get Frustrated- This is easy to say, now that I have a job.  You may think that it is upsetting applying to 10 to 20 places a day and not hearing back immediately.  Sadly though, a lot of times, this is how the working world works.  They post jobs and want to wait to get a good candidate pool.  You may hear back within a few days, and you may not.  It is important to remember to not get frustrated and never give up.  You may also interview someplace, write your thank you note, and think you did a great job.  Then you will wait, and wait, and despite good practices, they won’t contact you to tell you that you didn’t get the job.  This can be frustrating as well, but keep going, and you will succeed. 

Use Social Media, Especially LinkedIn- LinkedIn is a great tool for social networking/job hunting.  You should sign up and don’t be afraid to network through all of the connections you have.  Most first jobs out of college are via someone you, your parents, or a friend knows.  LinkedIn is a great and professional way to keep all of these contacts together, in a simple and organized format, and doesn’t have the negative stigma that something like Facebook does. 

Always Write A Follow-Up/Thank You Email- This is one of the biggest tips that is as old as time.  You always want to write a thank you email to the person that interviews you, usually within 24-hours of the interview.  This doesn’t have to be a long email. Just saying thank you and mentioning one of two key points that you brought up in the interview, so that the person really remembers what a great candidate you are. 

No matter what you do, you always have to learn and grow.  It is important to again remember, you may not get your dream job straight out of college, but that’s okay.  As long as you work and keep going, it will happen, and success will be that much sweeter. 


If you have any questions, need advice or want to connect, you are more than welcome to add me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/ian-clark-15383556

#100daysofcareers 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Meet Ashley Johnson, WIU Alum and Recruiter attending the WIU Career Fair on February 2nd

Name: Ashley Johnson   Company: Dot Foods

Current Job Title: HR Staffing & Recruiting Coordinator

Q:  What did you study at WIU and what year did you graduate?
I graduated with a BSW (Major: Social Work) and a minor in Psychology. I graduated in May 2013.


Q:  How did you choose your major?
At first I was going to major in Elementary Education. However, I decided that I didn’t necessarily want to teach and a BSW allowed me more flexibility with future careers. I also enjoy working with people and making a difference and felt that social work would enable me to do that.

Q:  What student activities, work experiences, or volunteer experiences did you participate in while a student at WIU?
I was involved in the Phi Alpha Honor Society (Kappa Sigma Chapter), Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, Centennial Honors College, was a Class Marshal at the Graduation Commencement, and was a Departmental Scholar for the Social Work Department at WIU.

Outside of school activities, I was also involved in the Havana Rotary International Club, the Mason District Hospital Auxiliary Club, and a member of the Havana Women of Today organization. In addition to those organizations, I did some volunteer work with the Pregnancy Resource Center in Rushville, the Schuyler County Mental Health Center, and Snyder’s Vaughn Haven Nursing Home in Rushville.

I also worked as a waitress at Deb & Di’s restaurant in Rushville from July 2010-May 2013. Since I paid for my own tuition throughout college, this helped me save some money to help pay some college expenses.

Q:  Did you complete an internship before you graduated?  What company did you intern for and what did you learn from that experience?
During my last semester at WIU, I interned at Mason District Hospital in Havana, IL with the Director of Social Services/Senior Behavior Health. I was involved in the hospital admissions as well as ensuring the patients could safely return home. We also assessed patients for any needs they had including therapy, home health, nursing home placement, etc. This was a great opportunity because it enabled me to work with a wide range of people from the patients to the nurses and the physicians. It also taught me the importance of getting as involved as I could and not being afraid to mess up because it was a learning experience.

Q:  How did you prepare yourself for finding a job after graduation? 
Fortunately, my internship helped me find my job and allowed me to make connections that improved my chances of receiving the job. In addition to networking in the community, I also made sure to stay on top of my grades & to get involved as much as possible. Employers like to see a student who is succeeding in school while balancing work and extracurricular activities.

Q:  What was job searching like for you? Did you have many interviews? How did you decide to choose which company you wanted to work for? 
I was fortunate in that my internship at Mason District Hospital helped me network with local businesses. As a result, I had a job lined up immediately following graduation at the local nursing home, Havana Health Care Center as the Community Relations Coordinator. I knew the administrator at the nursing home and because I had worked so closely with their facility during my internship, they were able to see my work ethic and already felt that I knew a lot of the staff and residents.

I had two sets of interviews for this job, and even had to go to Peoria to meet with the Director of Petersen Healthcare. Fortunately, my college courses helped me prepare for interviewing as well.
I decided to work for this company because I was already so involved in the community & its’ organizations that I already felt like I belonged to the area. I also wanted to work with the elderly and this enabled me to continue working with the hospital staff I had worked so closely with the past couple months during my internship. In addition, I looked into their pay, benefits, schedule, etc. and after weighing all of the options, I decided it would be a great first job out of college and provide me with valuable experience for my future.

Q:  What is one thing you learned at work that WIU did not prepare you for?
When I attended WIU, I was always so focused on my grades & GPA that sometimes I found myself participating in less extracurricular events because I would put too much emphasis on studying. While I’ll be the first to admit that good grades are important, now that I work in hiring, I see that grades aren’t everything and that it’s important to be well-rounded. If someone had straight A’s but never got involved in activities or organizations and never had a job, their teamwork and social skills may be questioned compared to a student who had good grades, was involved in student activities, and who held a job while in college. This isn’t always the rule of thumb as it varies by degree, position, etc. but was important for me to remember to get involved.

Q:  What advice do you have for current WIU students?

Enjoy your college years and the freedom you have but also realize those bills & student loans will follow you….everywhere. Also, you’ve probably heard it before and you’ll hear it again but network, network, network. It’s one of the most important things you can do not only in college, but in your career. Don’t burn any bridges and if your first job out of college isn’t what you had imagined or dreamed it would be, it’ll be okay. It’s still giving you experience, allowing you to make connections, and helping to pay off those student loans.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

He's Graduating! --- Matt's Farewell Blog Post



Well this is it, I am finally graduating, so this will be my last post for you guys. When I started writing for the Career Development Center I said that I would utilize all the resources available to me through the school, as well as all the spare time and external resources I could spare and I did. 

Ok you know what, I was planning on giving this big explanation of what is going on now for me and in the near future after graduation, but honestly I don’t think that is that important (even though I’m super pumped about it ‘cause it is awesome!). 

What I do think is important is… I guess the way to put it is, impart some lessons on you guys. When I graduate I will have been at WIU for six and a half years, and I have learned a lot in that time, both in and out of the classroom. I can tell you that I learned that partying all the time and not prioritizing school (which you are paying for) is not the best idea. I can also tell you that joining clubs and organizations isn’t just a great way to do new things and make new friends but also a great resume builder. There are all sorts of things that I can tell you (now), back when I needed these lessons I never would have listened and I ended up having to learn a lot of this stuff on my own. So take the advice, or don’t, either way it is up to you. 

But if you take my advice on anything let it be this. When it comes to entering the job market (or as I like to call it “being a grown up”) you are your best advocate. What I mean is no one can get you a job except you, and the work you put in, and a surprising amount of that work is being able to speak on your own behalf and letting your actions speak for you as well. Networking is the single greatest skill, I think, in this day and age when it comes to getting a job.

Anyway, I hope all of you enjoy college and have lots of great experiences, just don’t forget to plan for the future ok?

Alright everyone, guess that’s everything

Goodbye, and Good Luck


Matt

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Families and Friends CAN Help Your Job Search!


              
I hope everyone had a great break and came back to school with a horde of leftovers (I sure did). To be honest, I did not have a lot of time over break to do any job searching online between working on research papers, other projects, and helping in the kitchen, but I did manage to continue the job search in another way. Ok, here was my thought, I don’t take time away from my homework and get it done, and when I’m not working on it, I am networking with the people at the house (to clarify we have a LOT of people at our house during the holidays). They are there, so they know my family, and myself, and most of them are in businesses that span a variety of fields and know more people in even more job fields. So I ask them to make a phone call or two on my behalf to ask around to find out what is available and I have started hearing back from them recently and there actually a few prospects. They are even saying a few of them were positions that had opened up so recently that they didn’t even post them on job search websites yet, that can only help my chances, I think hahaha. I guess my advice from all this is that this job search process is something you have to always have in the back of your head and when you see an opportunity to get your name and face out there never hesitate to start taking to people to further your goals of getting that job that you deserve.

Till next time everyone

Matt


PS- There are only a few weeks left of school now, don’t slow down now, it’s the home stretch so don’t let the pressure get to you.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Post from CDC Student Blogger, Matt!


       
      It is that time of year isn’t it? I am sure all of you are also in the midst of projects and research papers coming due, I know I sure am. This time of year can be stressful and our focus tends to narrow to dealing with the immediate issues (like those projects and papers I mentioned for example) and that’s ok. Its not hard to spare five or ten minutes here and there to help prepare yourself for the future even when all these big assignments come due.

Of course by all means prioritize the homework hahaha, but using a few minutes a week (not even every day, relax) for searching for potential careers or writing cover letters and improving your resume. I know that right now my schoolwork is keeping me really busy but I still find time to do some job searching here and there. I mean, it is better to do a little consistently than nothing at all. All the same hope everyone is staying warm and getting their homework done.

Till next time,


Matt

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Matt Pierz, The End of the Semester Looms Near

Hello everyone,

I am still trying to wrap my head around how few weeks are left in this semester, but the research papers and other big assignments are a good indicator. This is indeed the time of year for the big papers, the research projects, ect ; so suffice to say that after I had finished my cover letter and sent my application to what amounts to a dream job for me, I am taking a week or so off of my job search process to make sure I am still keeping up with all my schoolwork. 

I mean what good are all the job applications in the world if they hinge on you having that degree at the end of the semester and you don’t get it. All the same, it seems to me that trying to maintain that balance of planning for school (to pass) and life after school can be a pretty daunting task, the only advice I can offer is not be afraid to take a step back and relax, for a day if need be (take a Saturday or something for yourself). Also, realize you are human, stress happens, never be afraid to ask for help if you need it not only from your friends/family, but also from all the services offered at WIU for both School (tutors) and life after school (Career Development Center) because that is what they are here for.


See you guys next time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

CDC Blogger, Matt Pierz, Applying for Jobs!

Hello again everyone,


Well we have now passed the halfway point of this semester and now graduation suddenly looks VERY close. Fortunately, all the preparation I have been doing up to this point is really coming through now. I am all set up on Linkedin, looking for (and finding) jobs that are not only interesting to me but in the area that I want to move to when I graduate, and my cover letters are nearly done for the applications to those jobs. 

I honestly don’t think I could have made it this far without the help of the people at the Career Development Center, now it is time for one last push then off into the real world I go, hopefully with a great job waiting for me when I get there.