Category Archives: Uncategorized

Why Wawa (or Weis, or Walmart) Matters

“I don’t have any direct experience, I only make food at Wawa.”

“I’m just a cashier at Walmart, I don’t really do anything.”

“Weis is Weis. It’s not impressive, you know?”

Sound familiar? Many times, when meeting with a student, they get self-conscious or frustrated because they feel like they have nothing to offer an employer. But you know what, you have  A LOT to offer an employer! You just need to frame it in a different perspective.

When you make food at Wawa, you are preparing items to order in a timely manner. So you’re able to follow directions and work quickly.

When you are a cashier at Walmart, you need to be a responsible person and make sure your drawer is balanced. You also need to stay calm and professional when there’s a huge rush of customers.

When you work any role in a grocery store, you need to have a solid knowledge of where products are in the store, plus be able to give clear directions on how to find said products. All while providing friendly customer service.

All of these skills are important in the workplace, right? As you write your resume, don’t focus on your job title. Focus on the skills you gained from the experience, and how useful those skills will be to an employer fortunate enough to have you work for them!

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Success Doesn’t Depend on Talent

Welcome back! It’s hard to believe we’re starting the spring semester already. It seems like just last week it was a hot August move-in day!  I’m sure many students learned some things from the fall semester- and not in terms of academic topic knowledge! It seems everyone comes back at the beginning of a new semester ready to make themselves better. Which is great! But sometimes, that leads to high expectations, and in turn, feeling deflated when things don’t turn out as planned. It’s important to keep your definition of success in mind. What kind of success do you want? What can you do to help yourself reach your goals?

Joseph Anthony, a contributor for Business Insider, wrote a thought-provoking article called “7 Traits of Successful People That Require No Talent At All.” To help you determine what you can do to help yourself accomplish your goals for the semester (and beyond), here are some things you can do just by being you, instead of relying solely on practice or repetition!

  1. Give your best. Focus on giving 100% and resisting distractions.
  2. Choose to be positive. Accept that there will be challenges, and be ready to adapt.
  3. Be willing to learn. Ask for help or guidance! No one enjoys seeing another person struggle, and you can learn from anyone’s experience.
  4. Take action. Once you set your goal, follow through on your plan. Don’t let your passion- and aspirations- fade away!

These are only four of the seven great suggestions that Anthony points out.  Read them all here, and see what else you can do to make this semester truly the best semester ever! What other tips can you offer to help others be successful?

5 Ways to Make the Job Search Easier When You’re An Introvert

Job searching is difficult for just about everyone. Introverts – those who gain energy from themselves rather than from those around them – struggle particularly with the high-interactions aspects of the job search, such as the interview. Glassdoor writer Amma Marfo created an excellent resource to help introverts find their strength and succeed throughout the job search. Here are her recommendations:

  1. Develop thoughtful application materials. Use your internal energy to create the perfect portfolio, or write a compelling cover letter.
  2. Find a way to make phone interviews professional, yet comforting. Dress professionally, and answer questions with the STAR method. But, while on the phone, make sure you’re in an environment that makes you happy, such as using a favorite mug for water.
  3. Know everything up front. Ask what the interview will entail, how long it will go, and who you will meet with so you can be prepared and feel more confident.
  4. Find a way to re-energize yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling drained after a long interview with many people- ask for a moment to use the rest room or stop for water so you can collect yourself.
  5. Make sure you understand their culture. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you, so ask questions about the workspace and how employees interact.

Marfo gives a lot of wonderful quick tips throughout her article, which will absolutely help introverts be their best selves during the interview process. You can read everything here.

What other ideas do you, our readers, have to share in order to make the job search easier?

Federal Resume Tips

The Federal Government hosts a myriad of opportunities for civilians, veterans, and even undergraduate students. These jobs cross all agencies and industries, and can typically be found through usajobs.gov. Although they are great options, there is one caveat- they require a federal resume!

But, you may ask, what IS a federal resume? Why do I need a completely different resume than the standard one I use for any old job?  The good news is you don’t have to completely recreate the wheel.  You can typically add more detail and formatting to your current resume, and it will be ready to go for a federal position.  Keep in mind that, like you would for any position, you will need to tailor your federal resume for anything you apply for.

When developing your federal resume, you will need to include more details than you would in a traditional resume. Not only will you need your title and start/end dates, you will also need to include the number of hours worked, the name of your supervisor, and whether or not it is ok to contact them. Within your education section, you will need to note relevant courses and the number of semester hours you have completed. You may also want to add in more detail regarding community service. Because it is asking for additional information, you may go onto an additional page.  Moreover, you will need to include the position title, job announcement number, and grade level- all of which is found on the job announcement.

There are many resources available online to help you create your federal resume. For additional tips, we recommend using the USAJOBS Help Center and Go Government.

More Than Money

When you’re getting ready to accept a job offer, keep this in mind: it’s ok to negotiate. Seriously. Even when it’s your first job after graduation. Employers expect you to negotiate. In an article for Inc., James Altucher shares 11 mistakes people make when negotiating their salary. Keep these in mind as you prepare to accept employment offers! Below are a couple of key points:

  1. Have a big list.  Don’t limit yourself to just your annual salary. Is there an opportunity to work from home twice a week? Could you get a bonus? Will they compensate moving expenses? Think of all of the things that would make a job valuable, and not just the bottom line on your paycheck.
  2. Do your homework.  Use online resources to calculate the average salary for that position in your geographic area. Consider how much someone would charge for your position if they were a freelancer or consultant. What value do you provide the company? You can also use a site like Glassdoor to see what salaries are typical for your position or for the company.
  3. Give yourself time to consider.  When you are offered a position, you do not have to accept it right then and there. Ask for 24 hours to step back and consider everything. Sleep on it. Are there other opportunities you are in the process for? What are the pros and cons?

Altucher makes many other great points, and offers great tips that will help you not only for job one, but every job after that.  You can read all 11 mistakes here: http://www.inc.com/quora/11-mistakes-people-always-make-when-they-negotiate-their-salaries.html

From Relaxed Ahhh to Stressed Ahhh

Spring break is wonderful.  You get to leave campus and do something different. Some students travel. Some students see their family. Some students procrastinate on homework as much as possible. It’s a chance to take a deep breath, relax, and go “ahhhh.” But spring break inevitably ends too quickly, and the relaxed vibe turns to one of stress. It’s a tough transition! Kaitlyn Russell from The Muse has your back, though, with great tips to help transition back to the college grind.

Russell recommends coming back with a to-do list.  What are assignments and other obligations that MUST get done on your first day back to campus? Whether you use an app, or a planner, or an old-fashioned  Post-it note, have some key points down to keep you focused.

Then, turn on the music. This will help you tune out distractions, and playing upbeat music will help you stay positive as you cross things off your list.

Also, don’t forget to plan something fun for later in the day or week.  Maybe you’ll go out to dinner with your friends, or see a movie this weekend. This will give you something to look forward to as you charge through your classes, meetings, and homework.

Russell has three other great tips that will help you not only here in school, but also in the workplace. Read her entire article here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-ways-to-survive-your-first-day-back-at-the-office-after-an-amazing-vacation

Making the Most of a Mentor

Do you remember your favorite teacher? Or professor? How about your favorite cashier at a store? The best server you have ever had at a restaurant? Who inspired you to choose the major or career that you did? Our lives are filled with people who influence us, and our role models are great options to consider for mentors.

Dr. Becky Faber contributed her article on Finding a Mentor to the Career Corner of Education Week.  Although her perspective comes from teaching, her points are certainly valid across the job market. Mentors are an incredible resource, particularly when it comes to learning about the industry and preparing for the job search. First and foremost, a mentor can share their own insight and experience from their time in the field. They have a strong network, and not only could they alert you to potential job openings, they can help you delve into your research as you prepare for an interview.  A mentor can also share what potential interview questions may be that would be specific to your particular job. When you are drafting your resume, a mentor can be another set of eyes and make suggestions on changes and additions you can make. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you admire to be your mentor. You may just help them learn something new, too!

To read all of Dr. Faber’s article, click here: http://blogs.edweek.org/topschooljobs/careers/2016/10/find_a_mentor.html

Six Super Things You Can Do to Make the Most of Your Spring Break

Spring break is right around the corner! I know I am dreaming of spending the week on a sunny beach somewhere, but unfortunately that won’t be the case- and I know for many students, that won’t be the case either.  Are you one of those students who will be stuck imagining a week of beach volleyball and sunny days? Well, here are six ways you can distract yourself, and step up your professional game in the process.

  1. Create or update your LinkedIn Profile. There are millions of people on LinkedIn, so chances are good there will be someone you know on there.  Who knows, maybe that someone can help you get a start in your field.
  2. Take part in an informational interview. Spend 20-30 minutes getting to know someone with a job that you find interesting. Learn more about how they got into that role, what they enjoy and dislike, and what other advice they can share with you.
  3. Better yet, shadow. Make a connection with someone in your field that you will be able to shadow for a half or full day. This will allow you to really get a better picture of what an “average day” is like in a job you are considering, plus you will be able to meet more people.
  4. Research graduate schools. Even if going for a Masters degree isn’t in the five year plan, it’s good to know what programs are out there. They can be a strong sign of what specialty areas employers are looking for.
  5. Spend some time helping a person or organization in need, even if it’s not related to your area of interest. It’s a solid resume builder and allows you to develop some great transferable skills. And speaking of resumes…
  6. Work on your resume! Or cover letter. Or interview skills. Take the time to put together your go-to interview outfit. Whatever it takes to come back to school ready to not only be amazing in class, but ready to take on the professional world!

What other suggestions do you have to make the most of your spring break? Let us know in the comments section!

Four Steps to a Solid First Impression

As we continue to power through Job Fair Season, it’s important to always remember the basics: make eye contact, smile, and have a firm handshake. There’s another aspect of the basics that you should never forget: your first impression! I’m sure you all have heard the expression before of “you only get one chance to make a good first impression,” and that is especially true during your job or internship search. This can be particularly nerve-wracking when you are going into a job fair or networking event, where you are vying with scores of other people to leave a good impression on an employer.  As part of the 4 Minute Read series, Fast Company shares four tips on how to make a memorable (in a good way!) first impression.

  1. Connect with the employer in a professional and personal manner. Your conversation doesn’t have to be strictly business. Allow the conversation to deviate if it means you can connect over a mutual interest- just make sure you go back to the original topic or interview question!
  2. Use numbers. I’m sure your professors have told you that statistics in research papers or presentations are a great way to grab the audiences’ attention.  Well, the same thing happens when you connect with an employer. Be sure to have an interesting statistic- whether it’s related to their company or the industry as a whole- to show you know your stuff.
  3. Share a fun fact. In the same vein as sharing a statistic, look for opportunities to share an interesting fact. Maybe it’s a life hack, or a cultural understanding, or a tip for their social media platform. Keep in mind this shouldn’t be totally out of the blue, but if it contributes to the conversation, feel free to share!
  4. Be word-conscious. Think about what you are saying to ensure you are concise, but still getting your point across in an effective way. Make sure they are words you won’t trip over or mispronounce.

Just as you practice your handshake and elevator speech, practice using these tips on an everyday basis so when the time comes to meet with an employer, you will really knock their socks off! To read more insight from Fast Company, click here: https://www.fastcompany.com/3066553/four-easy-ways-to-make-a-memorable-first-impression

Looking for a Job? Maybe I can Help!

On my spear time, I love to scroll the internet looking for jobs in fields that I am interested in. I mainly do this to see what jobs I come across that maybe I have never heard about. Two websites that I find myself consistently going back to are (1) internships.com and (2) indeed.com. You can type in one word or phrase in the search section and adjust additional options; such as: location, paid or unpaid, etc. Check out the sites and see if you like them as much as I do!

-D.T