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Final Countdown: 75 Days Until Graduation

Untitled-1Please know you are not alone if you are dreading the next time someone asks you what your plans are for after graduation. While it may seem like everyone you know already has a job or graduate school lined up, I can assure you that is not the case, and there are seniors from Dolan to the beach freaking out about their futures. Now that you are confident it isn’t just you, the next step is to break up something as scary as a job search into smaller goals you can knock off in the next 75 days.

Repeat after me: You start when you start.

This may sound obvious but there is no sense in beating yourself up for not thinking about what you’re going to do after Fairfield earlier – it literally won’t do an ounce of good and will likely keep you from doing anything at all. What you need is a little forward momentum and then suddenly you’ll be the one giving tips to your friends about how to job search. So let’s talk about small things you can start doing RIGHT NOW that will help you feel like you’re making progress on the whole “being an adult” thing. By the way, I totally stole this mantra from Lindsey Pollak’s amazing book, “Getting From College to Career”. I know you have a lot of textbooks to read but I highly suggest you shell out $12 and set aside some time to read it.

1. Start doing some research about possible careers

If your main source of panic regarding the job search is, “I don’t even know what I want to do with my life! What kind of jobs are out there for people with my major?” then this is definitely where you want to begin. You will want to first think about your interests, skills, and personality and what type of entry-level positions would be a good fit for you. You should consider taking the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Strong Interest Inventory to get a clear sense of your personality type and interests.

If you’re more interested to know what jobs people typically get with your major then you should check out “What Can I Do With this Major?” You can also use the Alumni search function in LinkedIn to see where Fairfield alums with your major have gotten hired.

2.Research industries and companies.

Once you get a sense your interests your next step is finding particular industries and companies that interest you. You can start on our website and you can also use the Company profile pages on LinkedIn. One thing I love about those pages is there is a section called “People Also Viewed” which tends to give you the top 6 competitors for the company you are currently viewing. For the most part, you just found 6 other companies you should be considering applying to. See, this isn’t so hard!

3. Polish your resume and LinkedIn profile

Your resume is the cornerstone of your job search so you want to make sure that it is flawless and in the digital age we live in that goes for your LinkedIn profile as well. If you’re starting from scratch, I would suggest coming in to drop-in hours (Tues-Fri, 1:30-4pm) to meet with a Career Peer Adviser who has been extensively trained on resume development. Once you have a good foundation, make an appointment with a career counselor to make sure everything is perfect and to learn the ins and outs of LinkedIn.

4. Develop relationships with professionals. Informational interviews are your new best friend.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 70% of all jobs are found through networking. This is exactly why we suggest investing a significant amount of your job search to developing relationships with professionals in your industry and not simply submitting your resume to every job you find online. You can start connecting with the people you already know: family, friends, friend’s parents, professors, former teachers, etc. Remember, no one can help you unless they know what type of job you are looking for and why. Then you can move on to people you don’t know but have something in common with like Fairfield alumni. Finding alums on LinkedIn, connecting with them, and setting up informational interviews will certainly lead you to some great advice and potentially to some job opportunities. Don’t know how to find alums on LinkedIn? We’ll show you!

5. Create something.

Never in the history of humankind has it been easier to publish your own thoughts and have them be seen by millions of people in an instant. It’s called, wait for it, the internet. You live there already so why not contribute something? Start a blog. Too daunting? How about a Tumblr? Whatever you do, create something that showcases your personality, writing skills, etc. Extra brownie points for content that’s related to your future industry.

6. Either clean up your social media or put your privacy settings on Def Con 5.

If you have any interest in entering fields such as marketing, public relations, advertising, etc. then having an active social media presence is in your best interest. However, this presence needs to be a completely positive representation of who you are which means thinking twice before posting anything that might be considered inappropriate. According to a survey conducted by Reppler, 69% of employers rejected a candidate because of what they saw about them on a social networking site. Don’t let that be you.

If your future career has nothing to do with social media then you can certainly just try to make it impossible for strangers to see your posts, tweets, etc. Please note that even the highest privacy settings will not prevent an off-color comment from going viral so do not post anything you wouldn’t want to see on Gawker.com the next day. See here and here.

7. Come see us.

Now it is time for the shameless plug: for the love of everything good in this world, please pick up the phone and call 203-254-4081 to schedule an appointment with one of us in Career Planning. We chose our professions because we love helping students but we can’t help you if you avoid us like the plague. We look forward to meeting you!

Adapted from: http://blogs.seacoastonline.com/welcometoyour20s/2014/03/03/start-job-search-now-graduating/

 

Meredith Marquez

Meredith Tornabene, Associate Director

mtornabene@fairfield.edu

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Her Campus – A great way to build resume & your personal brand!

HC Fairfield

Do you dream of writing for a magazine like Glamour some day? Obsessed with fashion blogs? Want to work in fashion, entertainment, or media? Well, if you asked yes to any of those then you should consider getting involved with Her Campus.

So what exactly is Her Campus?

Her Campus is an online magazine aimed at female college students. The website is divided into six sections: style, beauty, health, love, life, career, and high school. Any questions you need answered, you will find them throughout this wonderful website. But wait it gets better, they added the feature of “My Campus”, where colleges across the nation have the opportunity to have a HC chapter on their campus. And, lucky for us, this is what Danielle Tullo and Amanda McKelvey did!

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Amanda and Danielle at the HC Fairfield Launch Party

The two juniors got approval to launch Her Campus Fairfield, allowing them and their writers to post articles aimed towards the Fairfield women! Since the launch, there have been numerous amazing articles on the Fairfield page including why you should study abroad, cute Olympic athletes, a party playlist, and many more.

To boil it down, if you want to do something that has to do with creating content around fashion, pop culture, entertainment – so do a lot of other people. Writing for Her Campus at Fairfield will give you the opportunity to actually get some experience writing about those topics. This is a very powerful way for you to build your brand & resume.  Just imagine that you are in an interview with some folks at E! for a VERY competative summer Internship. Like they do for all of their applicants, they do a very quick google search before you come in. To their surprise, they find some concrete examples of your WORK and notice that you consistently write about pop culture – BOOM, they’re impressed.

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Her Campus Fairfield Page

If you want to get involved, or have a story idea that HC Fairfield should write, you can email Danielle (danielletullo@hercampus.com) or Amanda (amandamckelvey@hercampus.com)

Also make sure to get your daily dose of HC Fairfield at: www.hercampus.com/fairfield

Instagram: HCFairfieldU

Twitter: @HCFairfieldU

Mary Stampoulos

Mary Stampoulos
Career Peer Adviser

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Would You Attempt Competing in the Giant Slalom if You Have Never Been on Skis?

sochiIn recognition of the 2014 Olympics I thought I would use an Olympics analogy that applies to a lot of things in life.  For our purposes, consider the interview.  Why would anyone no matter where they are in the job search process, consider going on an important interview if they have never prepared. Interviewing is a skill that is built over time and requires practice.

My first recommendation would be to visit the Career Center and spend a session reviewing the interview.  What are direct, indirect, stress and behavioral interview techniques?  What is the simple “trick” you use in a behavioral interview?  Have the counselor review some of the most commonly asked interview questions.  If you are unsure about how one might go about researching a company your counselor can guide you on that in addition to offering pointers on dressing appropriately for the interview.  Then, as you are leaving that meeting, schedule a time to come back for a mock interview. What a concept!

A mock interview is an opportunity for you to simulate a real interview without the added pressure of knowing a job is actually on the line.  A company and position is selected that you will research (ideally within an industry you are interested in pursuing) and prepare as if it were the real deal.  Typically they will run about 20-30 minutes and the interviewer can provide valuable feedback on how you handled yourself.  Could you have provided stronger responses?  Was it clear that you knew the organization and you did your research? Did you say like/um/uh too much? How about that annoying habit you have of staring at the ceiling when answering the question?  You see where I am going with this?  This experience will help better understand the interview itself and where you might need some work.  Consider doing several of these interviews until you feel confident.

A wonderful resource the Fairfield Career Planning Center has made available to students is InterviewStream.  In the privacy of your own room you can go through a mock interview while filming yourself.  How do you think YOU will do? I dare you.  Go to www.fairfield.interviewstream.com

Want to practice with friends who are all going through the process also? You all have to be honest with each other (but in a nice way), and each have the list of 100 most commonly asked questions.  Take turns asking each other questions and critique the response.  After a while it becomes second nature.

Remember, you never want to go into an interview sounding as if you have memorized all of your answers and nothing is spontaneous; but to go into the interview knowing how you might respond to almost anything thrown your way is where you want to be.

Finally, when the time comes and you get that interview…and you know you will…take the time to prep. Don’t be that person that thinks their great personality and ability to hold a conversation will get you through.  Chances are you will be left wondering what happened.

To boil it down, Olympic athletes don’t go into their event unprepared… so you shouldn’t either.

 

Cathleen Borgman

 

 

 

 

 

Cath Borgman

Director, Career Planning Center

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What is your Road to #Stagcess? Tell us & you could win an iPad mini…

Stagcess logo

The rules are simple:

1. Follow @FairfieldCPC on Twitter

2. In 140 characters share how Fairfield University has helped you on your “Road to Stagcess.” #Stagcess is more than just a hashtag. When students graduate from Fairfield University they will forever be a Stag. We want students to tell us how Fairfield has cultivated them on their personal journey throughout college. Whether it be preparing them for a future career, helping them grow socially, or even on a deeper personal level. In the tweet student must use the hashtag #stagcess in order to be entered into a drawing to win an iPad Mini.

3. If the contestant tags a friend into their “Stagcess” story, they will be entered TWICE in the contest. The drawing for the iPad Mini will take place at the Career Fair on Thursday, 2/27.

Message us on Twitter with questions.

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Law School, the next chapter!

law-school

Deciding to become a lawyer is a major life decision and deserves careful thought. Make no mistake: going to law school will change your life. In deciding whether you should pursue this path, you should follow your instincts and consider the following questions as you explore if law is the career for you.

Should I go to Law School?

Law should be your career if you are hardworking, energetic, analytical, like to argue, enjoy reading and have excellent writing skills. If you have a passion for the law, that will carry you through the many difficult days that you will encounter in law school and in your career. Your career should be something you love not something you chose for the money you think you will make or the prestige you think it might bring you. If you are hesitant about law school you probably should consider waiting rather than going on directly upon graduation.

What kind of skills do I need to be successful in Law school?

Excellent reading and writing skills are essential to success in law school and beyond. The ability to speak confidently in public and to think critically are invaluable. Only those with a strong work ethic need apply. You should spend your undergraduate career acquiring a honing these skills to prepare yourself for law career.

What should I major in if I am planning to go to law school?

There is no required major for law school. Students major in areas as diverse as History, Politics, English, Psychology as well as Accounting and Nursing. 

Is your heart in it? 

Finally, check in with your intuition. What is it telling you about this move? Law school might make all the sense in the world, but if it isn’t right for you, no amount of effort will make it more right or less wrong. Take your time with this question. Envision yourself in the law school atmosphere and as an attorney (or whatever goals you have in mind after graduation). Can you see yourself happy and functioning at your peak in both scenarios? If so, then start researching schools and sign up for the LSAT. But if not, then realize it’s better to know now than three years (and many thousands of dollars in debt!) later, and move on to the next challenge.

Join the St. Robert Bellarmine Society

The Society is open to all undergraduate students interested in a law career. If you are considering law school you are encouraged to join. The Society offers programs and events to help you decide if law is what you want to pursue and offers information to help you prepare.

On Tuesday, March 4 the Pre-Law Society is sponsoring 2 events. Contact the Career Planning Center if you plan to attend and or wish to become a member of the St. Robert Bellarmine Pre-Law Society.

Financing Law School
Stephen G. Brown, Assistant Dean, Fordham Law School
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
4:00-4:45 p.m.
Alumni House

What is the First Year of Law School Like?
Presented by Fairfield alumni who are currently attending law school
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
5:00p.m.-6:00p.m.
Alumni House

Finally, schedule a meeting with the Career Planning Center, cpc@fairfield.edu  or Dr. Sharlene McEvoy, Director of Pre-Law Advising, smacevoy@fairfield.edu.

 

Sue Quinlivan

Sue Quinlivan

Associate Director, Career Planning Center

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Career Fair – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) & Frequently Said Complaints (FSC’s)

Career Fair Faqa

The spring Career Fair is quickly approaching! This semester’s fair will be held on Thursday, February 13 from 11am-2pm in the RecPlex. The Career Fair is a unique opportunity to find out about internships, full-time job opportunities, and to network with professionals in a variety of industries. In order for you to get the most out of the fair, we’re going to cover the common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) but we’re also going to go over what we’re calling Frequently Said Complaints (FSC’s).

FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who is coming?

If you log into Stags4Hire you will see a Career Fair section in the bottom left corner – click on the “Spring 2014 Career Fair” link and then click on the “Registered Organizations” link in the top left. This will give you the most current list of companies registered for the fair as well as the majors they are recruiting. While you’re on Stags4Hire, check out the internships and jobs that have been recently posted!

What do I wear?

Ideally, you will wear a suit. If you don’t have one here with you, consider taking a quick trip home to pick it up or ask your parents to ship it to you if you live far away. You can also find affordable suits at Marshall’s which is conveniently on the Stag shuttle route. If you have a car, check out the Good Will on the Post Road in Westport for some hidden gems. If you can’t get a suit, then you should dress as professionally as possible. No jeans or sweatpants, please.

What do I bring?

Copies of your resume, preferably on resume paper. Don’t have a resume or need to spruce yours up? Stop by drop-in hours Tuesday-Friday from 1:30-4:30pm and all day on Feb. 12. Have a great resume but no resume paper? Stop by the Career Planning Center to pick some up. You may want to bring a portfolio to put your resumes in and also so you can take notes as well as hold any business cards you collect.

What do I say?

You want to do as much research about the companies as you can before the fair which will help you ask better questions. You can start off the conversation by saying something, “Hi, my name is Lucas Stag and I’m a senior Psychology major with a Marketing minor.” What you say next can be totally up to you. Maybe you give them an idea of some of the things you’re involved in on campus, tell them about a relevant internship experience, or a related class. Perhaps you mention something you saw about the company when you researched them. You can talk with them about why you are interested in that particular industry as well. Most importantly, be yourself!

If you can, avoid asking the recruiter what the company does or anything else you can find doing a simple Google search.

FSC’s (Frequently Said Complaints)

There is nothing here for Arts & Sciences majors.

There is a misconception on campus that businesses only hire students from the Dolan School of Business which isn’t true at all. What is true is that there are some companies who require a particular skillset to work there (accounting, finance, etc.) but then there are many other companies who are very interested in hiring liberal arts majors. While some liberal arts majors will end up working for non-profits, government agencies, educational institutions, etc. the vast majority will work at the same exact places where their DSB friends got hired as well.

How come X company isn’t here?

Great question! There could be a variety of reasons why a particular company is not at the Career Fair. If it’s a very popular company (and that’s usually who people are looking for) then there is a good chance that they do not need to do any campus recruiting in order to attract recent graduates to apply. If there headquarters are far away from Fairfield they may choose to recruit more locally instead. The staff at Career Planning is constantly working to attract new companies to Fairfield so please let us know if there is a particular company that you would like to see at the fair in the future.

The Career Fair should be longer.

One reason why the Career Fair is 3 hours long is because that is the timeframe that employers have requested. When the Career Fair is spread out over a long period of time, there are always lulls and down periods where there aren’t many students there and employers are left with no one to talk to which may lead them to think it’s time to pack up and leave. A shorter period of time allows employers to maximize the time they spend on campus and also encourages students to come out to the fair early.

If you view the Career Fair as an opportunity to develop your networking skills then you can certainly get a lot out of it and it may just end up leading to an internship or job opportunity. We look forward to seeing you at the Career Fair and encourage you to come by our drop-in hours if you have any further questions on how to best prepare for the event.

Meredith Marquez

Meredith Tornabene, Associate Director

mtornabene@fairfield.edu

 

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Friend of Fairfield Career Spotlight:Director of Product, Trulia

trulia-pngEvery time I travel I make a point to try to chat with the person sitting next to me. Sometimes (ok, most of the time) the person is not interested in becoming my new friend. I get it… JetBlue has free TV and my positivity can sometimes be a bit overwhelming. But in my most recent flight from San Francisco to New York, I sat next a really nice young professional who humored me in a conversation about what she did – can we say Career Counselor’s dream! So kick off your shoes and enjoy my first ever Friend of Fairfield Career Spotlight.

Job Title:

Director of Product at Trulia

Tell me about Trulia?

Trulia is an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals. According to their about page, they are a group of “energized and happy brainiacs”. Their employees consist of “semi-pro athletes, ping-pong enthusiasts, avid surfers, chicken farmers, jugglers, knitters” joined together with a common goal; create “killer products that will improve the really hard and potentially un-fun process of finding the right place to live.” She said the best part of working for Trulia are the people, which makes sense as they were voted one of best places to work in the Bay Area.

truliaSoooo… Director of Product, what exactly does that mean?

As Director of Product she focuses on helping consumers who want to buy a new home have the best online search experience. In our conversation she asked me to go through the process of searching for a home on Trulia and engaged me in some interesting questions about how I felt about the product – pretty cool stuff! The other part of her position focuses on helping home builders connect with consumers.

Some background:

She graduated from Georgetown University in 2006 (fellow Jesuit institution!). Her first job out of college was an Analyst for Citibank in the Emerging Markets team. She worked at Citibank for 3 years and built a great professional network. Next stop on her journey was University California Berkley to get her MBA. During her time at CAL, she interned at Apple on the iPhone (so cool). I asked her why she didn’t want to work for Apple post MBA and she said that they had great products and exciting projects, but she wasn’t challenged and didn’t feel like she would be able to make an immediate impact on their business. After grad school she spent just over a year working in management consulting, but was quickly wooed by the tech culture in San Francisco. Her first position at Trulia was a Corporate Finance and Strategy Manager – she was promoted to her current role just after a year with the company (impressive).

What has helped you succeed at Trulia?

She works hard, forged strong relationships with senior leaders, and shows genuine interest in the business. The relationship piece seemed to be one of the biggest factors in her upward mobility within the company. Since day one, she found genuine mentors – people who created opportunities for her and mentored her through the process. Her background was also key in her success – she was able to leverage her finance skills from Citibank and strategy skills from consulting to successfully tackle challenging problems.

Any advice for a Fairfield student interested in working in tech/for a start up?  

Network! You might not get your ideal role right off the bat, but if you are likable and capable of doing the work doors will open for you.  Ideally, you want to have bosses that advocate for you and value what you do – everyone needs a personal cheerleader! Clearly, if you are interested in working in Tech or for Startups there are companies all over the country, but a lot of them are in California. She encourages students to leverage their alumni base and LinkedIn to find a way in. If you are not in a technical role, sales is also a great place to start.

Everyone has a long term goal, what is yours?

CEO of an awesome company like Trulia.

If you are interested in working for a company like Trulia there are entry level sales positions in New York… and of course, the Career Planning Center is here to help along the way!

 

     

Stephanie Gallo 

Associate Director,  Career Planning Center

SGallo2@fairfield.edu

www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniegallo/

 

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How to ACE your Skype Interview

skype1 (1)Now a days, more and more companies are turning to video calling software like Skype during the hiring process. While virtual interviews might be slightly less nerve-wracking than those done in-person – you don’t have to think about traffic, getting lost, or general sweatiness – they still require some SERIOUS preparation. Below are a few tips on how to ace these types of interviews.

Remember, it’s an interview
You need to prepare for a Skype interview in the same way you would for a face to face interview. Know the company inside and out, prepare questions, know your resume, and be ready to tackle “behavioral questions”. Here is our interview handout if you need a refresher – CLICK: CPC Employment Interview Handout 2013.

Prepare your surroundings
It’s important to make sure you are in a quiet environment that is as close to an office as possible. Clearly you don’t want to be distracted and you do not want your interviewer to be distracted. It is also very important that your equipment is set and the internet is working. I realize this is pretty obvious, but technical problems tend to be the most common issue with Skype interviews. On top of having a quiet space and having your equipment ready to go – you need to be aware of your background. Think about it… If you have your Bob Marley poster from your dorm hanging behind you that says SOMETHING. Don’t let the interviewer create any unwarranted opinions about you based on your surroundings.

work-at-home1Be Professional
The whole dress for success concept stays true for Skype interviews. This is not your opportunity to practice the “News Anchor” look… You know, professional on the top, party on the bottom. Treat it like a REAL interview and put your big boy/girl pants on. Similarly, make sure your Skype username is professional – so if you are using SccrrPlayer99, then it might be time to change it to something more consistent with your name.

Practice First
The saying practice makes perfect is NO JOKE. If you have never used Skype or Google+ Hangouts before then be sure to try it out first with a friend or family member. That starts with the obvious; you need to download the program and make sure it runs on your computer and you need to have a functioning web camera with a microphone. If you do not have a computer or a webcam the Career Planning Center can help set something up. Another way to practice is to utilize InterviewStream. This is a new online resource that will help you prepare for interviews by going through a realistic interview experience where you are asked challenging questions based on the type of interview you have selected. The software records you as you respond to the questions and then loads your mock interview into your own personal InterviewStream account. You can than review it as many times as you want or send it to someone else to review. Essentially, you get to practice your interview using a webcam and then you get to review it. It really is the perfect tool to prepare for a Skype interview!

It’s all in the delivery
Obviously how you act during your interview is what is going to make the difference. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

-  Alternate eye contact between your webcam and your screen
-  If you have a headset, use it – your audio might be clearer
-  Smile and focus on your posture
-  Slow down
-  Don’t become distracted by your own image on the screen (To fix this, change your settings to disable your image showing up or simply cover up your image with a Post-It note)
-  Say thank you at the end!

 

Hopefully these tips are useful and remember if you ever need anything we are here to help!

 

     

Stephanie Gallo (Same person, new name)

Associate Director,  Career Planning Center

SGallo2@fairfield.edu

www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniegallo/

 

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Building a GREAT LinkedIn Profile!

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As finals come to an end (you survived!) and holiday break begins I bet you are looking for things to do to fill your time. How about you take some time this break to create (or beef up) your LinkedIn Profile. Below are a few tips from LinkedIn on how to make an effective student profile (tips taken from university.linkedin.com).

1. Write an informative profile headline: Your headline is a short, memorable professional slogan. For example, “Honors student seeking marketing position” or “Social Media Marketing Enthusiast I Communication Student”. For more ideas, check out the profiles of students and recent alumni admire for ideas.

2. Pick an appropriate photo: LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. Upload a high-quality photo (your profile will be 7x more likely to be viewed) of you along, professionally dressed. No party shots, cartoon avatars, or puppy pics!

3. Show off your education: Include all your schools, major(s) and minor, coursers, and student abroad or summer programs. Don’t be shy – LinkedIn is an appropriate place to show off your GPA, test scores, and honors or awards.

4. Develop a professional Summary: Your Summary statement is like the first few paragraphs of your best-written cover letter – concise and confident about your qualifications and goals. Include relevant work and extracurricular.

5. Fill “Skills & Expertise” with keywords: This section is the place to include keywords and phrases that recruiters search for. Find relevant ones in job listings that appeal to you and profile of people who have the kinds of roles you want.

6. Update your status regularly: Posting updates helps you stay on your network’s radar and build your professional image. Mention your projects, professional books or articles, or events you’re attending. Many recruiters read your feed!

7. Show your connectedness: Groups you join appear at the bottom of your profile. Joining some shows that you want to engage in professional communities and learn the lingo. Start with your university and industry groups.

8. Collect diverse recommendations: The best profiles have at least one recommendation for each position a person has held. Recruiters are most impressed by recommendations from people who have directly managed you.

9. Claim your unique LinkedIn URL: To increase the professional results that appear when people search for you online, set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and create a unique URL (e.g., www.linkedin.com/in/JohnSmith).

10. Share your work: You can also add actual examples of your writing, design work, or other accomplishments on your profile, where you can share rich media or documents. What better way to sell your skills than to show employers exactly what you can produce?

Use the check list below to make sure you are on the right track! A big thanks to LinkedIn.com for all of the amazing resources.

Click here – LinkedIn Student Profile Check List

 

     

Stephanie Gallo (Same person, new name)

Associate Director,  Career Planning Center

SGallo2@fairfield.edu

www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniegallo/

 

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Alumni Advice: 4 Tips for Successfully Managing Your Career

Whether you are in the beginning of your career or looking for ways to advance, if you address these four areas, you can successfully manage your career.

Alumni Career Panel

1. Owning Your Career

You may think that your company is going to manage your career, but in most cases this does not happen. You are responsible. What are you doing to seek out information from role models and mentors to help you determine your career path? Look a level or two ahead of you and ask that person questions like, “How did you get to this position? What was your path?” Then ask yourself, “How can I develop myself to get there?” Ten percent of what you learn is from taking classes; 20% is from a coach/ mentor/ boss;, and 70% is through on-the-job experiences. Seek out opportunities to be put on projects and to help out. Possess the motivation, show that initiative, and don’t forget to master the job you have now.

2. Create/Develop Your Skill Set

Is your company laying people off, but hiring people, too? Welcome to the world of shifting work skills. You need to take the emotion out of it and look forward to the growing industries and the skills required to be successful where the growth is. Technology, healthcare and hospitality are examples of growing industries. Assess yourself.  What skills do you possess that will transfer? How can you sell that to a future employer? What new skills must you acquire to be successful? What most people want in a job is 1) challenge 2) balance and 3) authenticity and passion. Find your passion. Companies are open to employees from other industries as long as the skills are there.

3. Create Your Personal Brand

It’s amazing at how little time and energy people put into planning; whether it is for their next interview, their next career move, or even a networking event. Take the time to create short commercials about each point of your resume. What did you do, what did you learn, what was the result? Understand yourself and prepare one- or two-minute stories that tell the listener who you are and what’s unique about you. Practice! By understanding yourself and preparing your message, you are creating your personal “brand.” Once you master this, take it to social media and make your LinkedIn profile, your Facebook, and your Twitter feed portray the authentic message that you control.

4. Be a Leader Alumni Career Panel

All employers want leaders in their organization. Leadership is complex; it grows over time. Anyone can demonstrate leadership. It’s not always the highest performers that employers want to hire and promote, but the ones that have the highest potential to lead. What are some ways to develop leadership? Find the holes in your organization. Where can you make the biggest contribution? Get involved; raise your hand for additional projects. Does it mean putting in extra time? Of course it does! Do the work associated with the next level. Be agile, flexible, and develop new skills. It’s a choice you make. If you are caught leading; you may be identified for that next level position! Being a team player is essential in today’s market. It’s a “we” environment. Develop an “I am here to serve, to help you/ manager/company succeed” attitude.

               

Interested in more? Here are some Recommended Readings:

Emotional Intelligence 2.0, by Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves

You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader, by Mark Sanborn

 

(Article provided to CPC by Fairfield University Alumni Relations )

 

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