Tag Archives: college

Make Small Talk, Expand Your Network!

One of our biggest events every fall is So You Think You Can Network.  This gives current students an opportunity to network with professionals and recent alumni. It is a chance for students to practice dressing professionally, use their elevator speech, and establish connections both in and out of their anticipated field. While the majority of our students walk away from the event feeling more confident about themselves, it is usually a huge source of stress before the event kicks off.  One of the most common questions we get beforehand is simply “how do I network?” Students don’t realize that they network all the time with their friends, family, community members, and faculty, simply by communicating with them on a professional level.

Our friends at the Culture and Manners Institute (http://www.cultureandmanners.com/) recently shared a wonderful anecdote about what networking means, and how important conversational skills are while job searching.

“The Etiquette Tip of the Week is a little late this week, as I am just returning from a trip to Japan.  On the way home, on an airplane between Baltimore and Chicago, I sat next to a gentleman in commercial real estate. I asked him what he looked for in job candidates right out of college.’ The main thing I want to know,’ he said, ‘is can they carry on a conversation?’  This is important he explained, because they have to be able to communicate with clients. He said he looks for eye contact, whether they researched the company, if they showed an interest in the company by asking him questions and if they can do all of this without checking or answering their cell phone. Practice your conversation skills.  Strike up a conversation with people around you while you are waiting in line, riding an elevator, waiting for a train or bus, or flying on an airplane. Dive into business networking events offered by your local chamber of commerce or your college alumni organization. Being a good conversationalist is simple: ask questions of the other person.  My conversation with the gentleman on the airplane began with some small talk about air travel.  He said he travels a great deal for work.  So I asked, ‘What do you do for a living?’ Some people will be very easy to talk to, while others will be like talking to a brick wall.  Don’t be discouraged, because it is good experience and part of your process.  The other benefit is you meet some interesting people and sometimes make a good business connection.”

We urge you to take advantage of any opportunity you can to improve your communication skills and feel more confident in your ability to network.  Force yourself to go for an afternoon without even checking your cell phone.  Take time to ask your professors questions during office hours or after class. When you visit a friend’s house, ask their parents about their work and what advice they have for upcoming graduates.  These small gestures will go a long way in helping you present yourself better while networking!


Starting the Debate of Graduate School

This semester, our office is doing many new things and carrying out a few new events. We’re very excited that on September 30 we will have Dr. Donald Martin, author of “Road Map for Graduate Study,” here to talk with our students about graduate school and the many decisions that come with it. Throughout the year we will post relevant articles about graduate and professional school considerations, and today is just a general overview courtesy of our friends at Petersons. Petersons is renowned for their undergraduate and graduate school rankings, and many students don’t realize they also post articles regarding factors to consider, application tips, and financial resources. In their article “The Graduate School Decision: Basic Considerations,” they touch on a few of the things a student should take into account when determining if graduate school is the right choice.

According to Petersons, there are eight points to think over while making your decision:
1. Why do you want to go to graduate school? What are your professional goals, and how does graduate school tie in with your success?
2. What do you want to study and where? Are you studying an aspect of your undergraduate degree much more in depth? Or are you trying something new? Do you want to complete your degree in a classroom, or online?
3. Are you willing to be a student in a graduate program? In undergrad, a student is traditionally with fellow students their own age, and with a few things in common. In graduate school, age ranges are across the board, with various life experiences to share.
4. What are the benefits of graduate school? Will you advance in your field? Will you be eligible for higher positions?
5. How far will you need to take your graduate school education? Is a Masters something that is just nice to have in your field, but not required? Or will you eventually need to get a doctorate?
6. Are you ready for competitiveness in graduate school? The application process is very selective, because typically graduate programs are much smaller than undergraduate programs. Even once you are in, you will be required to work harder and do more to get better grades.
7. What will be your workload and lifestyle in graduate school? With this heavier course load, you have to decide if you will be working full time, part time, serving as a graduate assistant on campus, or not working at all. Will you be able to see your family and friends as much?
8. What are the costs of graduate school? What scholarships and awards are available? Will the school accept federal loans? What will your work status be like?

What are other points you feel are important to consider as you decide whether to pursue graduate school? Going to graduate school is a big step professionally, and it is not a decision to be taken lightly. However, almost every student I have talked to that opted to attend graduate school has truly enjoyed their graduate school experience, felt it was worthwhile, and gained a lot of knowledge from their courses!

You can read the full article from Peterson’s here: http://www.petersons.com/graduate-schools/graduate-school-basic-considerations.aspx

Do something… TODAY!

Do something today

There’s something special about the first week of a semester.  It’s a chance to make new friends, create a new routine, and determine new goals.  My challenge to everyone is to make the above quote a new personal (and professional!) goal.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  Maybe it’s connecting with someone on LinkedIn.  Maybe it’s reading an article that relates to your chosen career.  Maybe it’s volunteering in the community.  Maybe it’s staying after class to ask a professor a question.  You never know when all of those things will come back to be a benefit to you- and if you know they’ll be beneficial, why not do them?  Make this semester one that makes Future You proud!

A Lasting Last Impression

I know we often stress the importance of sending a thank you note after the interview, and I think it’s information that is always worth repeating.  Everyone knows that more often than not, your resume and cover letter are your first impression with an employer.  In turn, your thank you note after an interview is potentially your last impression- so shouldn’t it be a good one? Education Week makes some great points about how to make sure your thank you notes leave your last impression as a positive one!



The Cherry On Top: A Thank You Note

Whenever I know a student I’m working with has an interview coming up, I try to email them at least one of two prime times: right before their interview to boost their confidence, or right after their interview to see how it went.  Many students will take the time to tell me “oh, it went great! They gave me a tour, I felt good about my answers, etc.” Almost inevitably, there’s a follow up question.  “When do I send them a thank you note? What do I say?” To answer the first question, I say NOW.  Send them an email while you’re still fresh in their minds.  If you know you still have some time before they make a decision, take the time to send an addition thank you by snail mail.  It’ll make you stand out, and truly shows your appreciation.  For the second question, a lot of that depends on each individual interview and what you discussed.  I’d also like to highlight our friends at the Cultures and Manners Institute (http://www.cultureandmanners.com), because their email tip last week was especially timely! Check out what they have to say about what to include in a thank you note:


Etiquette is about being attentive to the people around us.  Whether writing a follow up thank you letter for an interview or a client meeting, personalize it.  Include details of what you talked about in the meeting. It’s a mistake to write a generic thank you that looks like it could have been cut and pasted with different names and companies: “Thank you for telling me more about the position at (fill in the organization).  I feel like my skills would make me a valuable member of your team.”

 Make the person feel like you are talking to him/her and not just anyone:

“I was inspired by your story about how you started out in manufacturing…”
“You are interested in a greater online presence for your athletic clothing line, and I have proven experience in growing several student organizations through social media.”
“Attached is the online advertising information we talked about.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me.”

“I enjoyed meeting you and Manny Products, your Vice President of Consumer Research.”
“I will follow up with you on the week of June 8th.  Congratulations on your first grandchild and enjoy your time off.”

The most valuable part of personalizing a business letter?  It says to the person, “I was listening.”


Taking the time to highlight a specific moment within the interview will go a long way, and shows you were truly engaged in the interview! Who wouldn’t enjoy reading a thank you note like that?

Congratulations Graduates!

Congratulations Graduates!

As we prepare to hold our Commencement ceremony this Sunday, we wanted to share these wonderful words from Tom Brokaw:

You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.

We wish all of our graduates only the best, and we’re excited to see how YOU chance the world!

“Optimism is th…

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller

Today is Reading Day on our campus- an opportunity for students to focus solely on preparing for finals.  The library will be packed, the dorms will be quiet, and the lines for coffee will be long. We want to wish our students the best as they take on their final exams, papers, and presentations! You’re going to do amazing, just study hard and believe in yourself!

For some students (ahem, seniors!) this will be their last Reading Day.  We will miss this class; they have been great to work with and have big plans and wonderful lives ahead of them! CONGRATULATIONS to our Seniors as they get ready to turn those tassles!

I like this quote by Helen Keller because it’s quietly encouraging, and it fits everyone whether this is their first Reading Day or their last.  Stay positive, students.  Believe in yourself and your dreams!

Salad and Bread Crumbs and Etiquette, Oh My!

Every week, our good friends at the Culture and Manners Institute send us an email with an etiquette tip.  This week, it was especially appropriate since we’re launching our promotions for Bring Your Own Briefcase, an event for seniors to network, get tips on professional clothing, and take part in an etiquette dinner.  Lo and behold, the etiquette tip revolved around food falling off the plate at dinner!  Read their insight, below, to feel better prepared for your next meal with an employer or at a networking event. If you’d like more tips from the Culture and Manners Institute, check them out at http://www.cultureandmanners.com/


“When I give a dining tutorial, a frequent question is, “What if something falls off my plate?” This is usually asked during a salad course.  Because salads are tricky.  They are made up of items of wacky shapes and textures that don’t fit together like Legos.  Cherry tomatoes roll.  Croutons bounce.  Leaf lettuce flaps this way and that. Dressing just greases the skids. Of course, it’s piled high onto a tiny plate.

If a piece of lettuce lands on the table, leave it (no pun intended.)  When you are finished with your salad, put the leaf back on the plate before the plate is removed.

Do you ever feel self-conscious about bread crumbs left behind?  It’s probably because you are imagining everyone else at the table looking at your crumbs on the dark table cloth and thinking, “Did any of the bread make it into his/her mouth?”  Don’t sweat the bread crumbs. Into all our lives a few crumbs must fall.  In some fine dining venues, a wait person will come to your rescue by scooping up the crumbs with a magic wand called a crumber.”


Albright Seniors, don’t forget to pre-register for Bring Your Own Briefcase by April 20- the event is April 30th at 6pm in the South Lounge.

The Words You Need to Know

The Words You Need to Know

In light of Women’s History Month, our office teamed up with two other departments on campus to hold a panel discussion on leadership qualities in women. During our planning stages, our main focus was simple: how do we empower women to feel confident in the workplace? As this article from Women For Hire points out, women need to exude confidence right from the very beginning- their interview. More often than not, women struggle with the interview because they don’t want to seem pushy, or they don’t feel confident that they are the best candidate for the job. So, to help women feel more prepared, the article lists five statements everyone should make in order to feel more confident in themselves and in presenting their previous experiences. These phrases aren’t limited to just the interview, but they will help you answer questions by serving as a lead-off point. For example, when an employer asks “why should we hire you?” you can always start your answer with “I am an excellent candidate for your job because…” It gives a boost of confidence to use “excellent” instead of “good fit” because it’s more assertive and excellent is always better than good. The article also includes five phrases no one should ever use in an interview, particularly because the interview isn’t meant to bash a previous employer or negotiate salary. By having these phrases in mind, women and men alike can have an outstanding interview and feel more confident in their job search.

The Job Search Started in… Kindergarten?

The Job Search Started in… Kindergarten?

Everyone has seen those posters with little kids on it and it reads “Everything I ever needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten.”  Meant to be affirming and lighthearted, they do make you take a step back and get some perspective.  Although you may not realize it, many of those things you learned in kindergarten also apply to the job search- whether you’re looking for a summer job, an entry level position, or vying for a CEO position.  Careerealism does a wonderful job giving details about what you’ve learned and why they’re essential to keep in mind. What other things did you learn in kindergarten that are important to the job search today?

  1. Say “Please” and “Thank You” from the point you send a cover letter to the time you accept the job
  2. Don’t give up, even when the process seems overwhelming. Learning your letters and math seemed hard, but you had your teacher and other classmates to help you.  Now, as you job search, don’t forget your friends, family, and college services ready to be a support system
  3. Be Respectful to everyone, not just the interviewer
  4. Take a nap (or another form of mental health break) so the process doesn’t become boring or overwhelming
  5. Balance your day and give yourself some variety. Take time to work on your resume, polish your interview skills, and search for new connections on LinkedIn to give yourself a change of pace from just reading job postings online.