Career Services

Lebanon Valley College

Create Your Resume with Resume Creator

Students meet with Career Services for a variety of reasons.  We enjoy having conversations concerning majors and careers, job/internship searches or graduate school pursuits, personal statements and cover letters, interview practice and, perhaps most frequently, crafting a resume.                          

If your schedule has kept you too busy to make an appointment with us, keep in mind that our office is open throughout the summer.  We also have a huge array of electronic resources available to you 24/7 through our Resources for Students webpage and your JobCenter account.

One such resource that we refer to students who are beginning to draft their resume is Resume Creator.  First let me say that we don’t often advocate the use of templates; each student’s experience is so unique that there is no way a template can offer the best headings, sections, or format options.  However, Resume Creator is a good starting place with 13 different customizable options.  If nothing else, the samples may help to spark an idea or two of how to begin putting yours together.

To access Resume Creator, first log into your JobCenter account.  On the left navigation column, look for “Create Resume using Resume Creator.” 

You will then have access to 13 templates, each of which lists the categories that are included in that particular option, as well as the level of student for whom the template may be most appropriate.  However, don’t let that classification deter you – take a look at all of them and choose which fits your needs!

Click here for an instructional sheet on how to access Resume Creator

Resume Creator does not lessen the need for your own creative thinking when crafting your resume, but it does offer a solid starting place to ensure you’re on the right track.  Keep perfecting it from there, as you work to tailor your resume to a specific industry or job.  And, as always, let us know how we can help (even over the summer!).

~ Gwen Miller, associate director, career services

Jocelyn Says: Add Extra-Curriculars to your College Experience

College students are shown, through their course work, how education is relevant to future career paths and/or academic endeavors. At LVC, we learn specific terminology, practice best techniques, and acquire helpful information that will ultimately help us succeed in the “real-world.” But there should be more to our college career than strictly academics, right? I think so.

While complete immersion in one’s studies is noble, a key factor to success (personally and professionally) is overall fulfillment. Therefore, regardless of your field of study, I encourage you to:

  • Identify your interests
  • Hone in on hobbies that align with those interests
  • Express your passions by becoming actively involved in extra-curricular activities

How do you get involved? When you come back for the fall semester, look into joining clubs/organizations. These offer a variety of experiences from leadership roles to community service, which can introduce you to new friends, offer an outlet for your passion, and help you to grow as a person. If you’re not quite sure what would be a good fit, then attend a few meetings with an open mind. Try something new!

The Activities Fair, held every September, is open to the entire campus. I highly recommend taking a look at the activities that interest you, even if they are not directly related to your major. If you’re not sure what clubs are at LVC, visit the student activities page at http://www.lvc.edu/student-activities/ for a quick overview. No matter what year you’ll be entering into, it’s not too late to get involved.

Are you already a member of a few organizations? Spend some time over the upcoming break reflecting on why those clubs resonate with you.  It may help to re-energize you for the fall semester, or it might just provide the motivation that you need to take on a leadership role.

Incorporating extra-curricular involvement into your college experience will provide a much more enjoyable time, while helping you to also set goals and work toward achievements in multiple aspects of your life.

 

J

Jocelyn Davis, ’15, Career Services, Student Assistant

Article Round-Up

Over the past few weeks, several articles have come across my desk that I found interesting.  For students in the midst of a job or internship search, they offer helpful reminders, tips, and perspectives on the current workforce.  Take a look:

 

How to Find a Job in 2014 – Gone are the days when sending a resume through the mail and waiting patiently was enough to land a job.  It requires some creativity, plenty of initiative, and a lot of follow-up to stand out from the competition.

Take a look at the compilation of advice provided in How to Find a Job in 2014 that will help you open doors to opportunities. Some examples: Link up with hiring managers in Linked in, and don’t skip the summary section of your profile!  Broadcast your ambitions to help you reach out to promising contacts.  Also, be sure you are actively finding ways to build experience.  As a student, that can be through internships, part time work, on-campus involvement, community services, etc.

 

Top 10 Internet Job Scam Warning Signs – Networking online, as the article above suggests, is a great idea.  With 24/7 internet accessibility, however, there are also more online job boards than one can count.  That’s not a bad thing! In fact, it’s advisable to have multiple search strategies when you are trying to identify positions, companies, and career paths of interest.  However, it can be overwhelming, so I would encourage you to narrow it down to a few sites that you will monitor regularly.  This will help you avoid getting lost online!

With all online activities, it’s important to be cautious about the information that you put out there.  It’s the same with online job boards; some postings may be scams.  For example, if you are asked to provide confidential information, beware.  If you are contacted through personal email accounts, think twice.  If your “spidey-senses” are giving off warning vibes, take note!  Check out this article for more of the Top 10 Internet Job Scam Warning Signs.

 

Just Graduated, and Fumbling Through a First Job – Although the title suggests that this is an article for people already in the workplace, its contents are just as valuable to job/internship seekers.  Expectations for new hires have shifted.  In fact, “most companies operate with fewer employees and tighter budgets than ever before, so there’s not as much willingness — or time — to let novices come up to speed gradually.”

Read Just Graduated, and Fumbling Through a First Job for several perspectives from professionals who look back on their first jobs with an attitude of “I wish I knew then what I know now about….” It also includes a link to the results from a Student Skill Index, an online study conducted with nearly 2,000 college students and 1,000 hiring managers to pinpoint gaps between students’ perception of their level of preparation and that of the employers who hire new graduates.  Knowing this information ahead of time may help you avoid some common pitfalls in your first job.

 

I hope you read these articles and find a few points of interest that you can apply to your own job/internship search.  Have you read any good articles lately on career readiness or job search tips? If so, send them our way – they may just make it into the next Article Roundup!

Gwen Miller, associate director, career services

Graduate School and the Lifestyle Changes You Are Likely to Encounter (part 2)

Last week, the Blog covered what you need to know before applying to graduate school. Tara Kuther, Ph.D says, “your choice of graduate program is a difficult but very important decision that will shape your career and many parts of your life, both during and after graduation.”  She has quite a bit of advice that addresses the importance of attending to your personal life when making the decision for a specific graduate school.  For example:

  • Where will you live? Does the institution offer subsidized or off-campus housing?
  • Is working off-campus permitted?
  • Are students permitted to work on multiple research projects with multiple faculty?
  • Do you know anyone nearby?
  • How far will you be from home?

In addition, there are lifestyle changes that you are likely to encounter that may be unexpected.  The differences between undergraduate school and graduate school are considerable.  Greater autonomy and less structure is one of the bigger changes you can expect.  An Idealist.org post reminds grad school hopefuls that “there’s a general expectation that grad students will be mature self-starters who can navigate the ins and outs of the program, from administrative tasks to academic pursuits. Depending on your program, this may mean making a lot more decisions about course choices and how to structure your studies than you ever did at the undergraduate level.”

Among other changes will be the age and experience of your fellow students,  campus life or the lack of it, time commitments, employment needs, financial readiness, and personal/social life. A discussion of these topics is addressed at two different places on Idealist.org.  See the following:

Finally, last fall (October 2nd to be exact), a Career Services Blog post addressed four common questions surrounding the decision to pursue graduate school and the application process?

  • Should I attend? Now or later?
  • Can I switch fields and go to graduate school in a different area?
  • What do graduate schools want?
  • What do I need to know about letters of recommendation?

Perhaps you will want to re-read that blog post today, as well as our other posts on Graduate School topics.

~Sharon Givler, director, career services

What You Need to Know Before Applying to Graduate School (part 1)

Are you considering entering graduate school within the next two years? Can you name the twelve things you should know about a graduate program before applying?

According to Tara Kuther, Ph.D., a regular contributor on the topic of graduate school planning and preparation for About.com, if you don’t pay attention to these twelve items you may end up frustrated and disappointed.

  1. Program Emphasis – know what kind of training can you expect from each program you are considering; if it isn’t stated explicitly, faculty research interests and the research labs within the department offer important clues as to what you can expect.
  2. Program Philosophy – know the difference between theory-oriented graduate programs and applied research programs.
  3. Curriculum and Coursework – look at the courses that will be part of the program; do they look interesting to you?  Can you see the connection between them and the kind of training you are seeking?
  4. Capstone Requirements – know the dissertation requirements/expectations.
  5. Accreditation – check for both university and program accreditation by relevant governing bodies; discipline-level accreditation is also common in applied fields.
  6. Price – consider whether or not you are able to carry the expense of this investment.
  7. Sources of Financial Aid – research the types of aid available, including funding for research and teaching assistantships.
  8. Faculty – consider the work and research of more than one faculty member when making your choice of graduate school.
  9. Facilities – take a look at the labs and equipment; ask yourself if the program and university’s resources can help you achieve the goals you have for your research/study.
  10. Ranking – compare/contrast the universities you are considering; ranking is one way to do that.
  11. Selectivity – consider your chances of being accepted, especially if the university is highly selective.
  12. Location – know what is offered beyond the university in the location where you will be living for a few years.

You really should follow Dr. Kuther’s advice on About.com.  Her point, and mine too for that matter, is that while you want to choose a graduate school with the best academic program leading to the most promising career options, you also want to consider a location where you will be content and happy.  Next week’s blog will cover what Dr. Kuther has to say on the importance of considering your personal life when choosing the right graduate program.

~Sharon Givler, director, career services

Mel’s Advice: Relocating after Graduation

Everyone experiences big changes after graduating from college. From finding a full time job to enrolling in graduate school, it is a stressful time of transition.  An added pressure for some is finding a place to live in an unknown environment when that job or graduate program means relocating to a new city or state.

Personally, I experienced that pressure last fall after I accepted a full-time job at The Hartford in Connecticut.  Although I had spent the summer there for an internship, I relied on my GPS heavily and didn’t know too many people outside of my internship group.  I was fortunate to be offered a full-time position early in my senior year (to start following graduation), but I knew September was a little early to start making concrete living arrangements for the following summer.  Still, I began to think about my general living preferences.  For example, did I want roommates? Did I want to live in the city or outside of it? What was my ideal price range for an apartment? Did I want to live in an apartment complex or rent a house? All of these factors would impact my relocation process.

Ultimately, I decided to find roommates to help keep costs lower.  I also determined that I wanted to live outside of the city. These two decisions gave me some direction on my next steps, but searching for roommates and an apartment are still big activities to manage when you’re far away!  My plan for finding a roommate involved reaching out to people I knew in the Hartford area from my summer internship.  Other strategies that I was prepared for included emailing the Human Resources department at the company to ask if they would help introduce me to other new hires who may be starting around the same time.  I asked the handful of people I met during my internship if they knew of anyone who would be looking for a roommate soon, or if they had recommendations on apartments.  I also planned to search Craig’s List and apartment sites to begin making inquiries.  I knew that moving would require a lot of effort through web searches, phone calls, and (possibly) in-person visits.

I was glad to have plenty of time to plan my move.  At this point, I know where I’ll be living and who my roommate will be – timing worked out perfectly and I’ve made arrangements for where/when I’ll be moving, taking a lot of pressure off the overall stress of starting my career.  My advice to students who are planning to relocate after graduation is to plan as far ahead as you’re able to – even if you don’t know exactly where you will be yet, you can think about your living preferences and figure out your price range so that you’ll be at least that far in the process!

Melanie Modrick ‘14, Career Services, Student Assistant

Other resources that can be helpful as you think about relocating include Career Connections, the online mentor program of LVC alumni and parents.  You can search the database by geographic location to introduce yourself to people living in an area you’re interested in to gain valuable insight.  LinkedIn can also be helpful in building your professional network, as can local Chambers of Commerce for networking events and/or Young Professional organizations.

Where are You in Your Career Planning?

When it comes to your job or internship search, your approach, your goals, your networking, your applications, etc. will be tailored to you and your chosen industry.

Three pieces of advice that apply to everyone, however, is to stay positive, keep going, and be open-minded!  Job searching takes persistence and a willingness to explore.  It also, of course, takes time!  Give yourself plenty of time to learn about opportunities and tailor each application. Several CareerSpots videos address the importance of Being OPEN to Opportunities, Making Career Fairs Counts, Starting Early, and more.

Additionally, think about the following:

  • What do you know about yourself? Can you clearly state your goals, strengths, and preferences in a work environment? Are you able to explain your accomplishments from your college involvement, work activities, internships, or volunteerism as they relate to the working world?
  • What do you know about employers? Have you identified industries of interest, companies within those industries, and potential positions that appeal to you? Have you organized your search activities to help you track when you apply, when you should follow up, and the status of each position? Is your job search public? Meaning, have you spoken with your family, friends, faculty, past employers, mentors, etc. to help you brainstorm and learn about opportunities?
  • Are your materials and interviewing techniques up to par? Have you had your resume reviewed, learned about effective cover letters and other correspondence, and practiced interviewing techniques?

Clearly there is a lot that goes into the job and internship search, and the same is true for those interested in graduate school.  As such, I would add be prepared to the three pieces of advice mentioned earlier! Utilize Career Services’ Resources for Students to get started and include us in your search activities!

Gwen Miller, associate director, career services

 

Reasons to join LinkedIn and resources to do it well

Why be on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn, with more than 277 million professionals, is an essential tool to help students transition into the working world.

  • Create a professional profile and network with others about your strengths, interests, and experiences.
  • A multitude of associations, organizations, and employers use LinkedIn. Join/follow those specific to your interests to receive emails with industry news, current discussions, and job opportunities.
  • Social media is critical in today’s job market. Many employers use LinkedIn in their recruitment efforts. Be a part of the professional community!
  • Use LinkedIn as a research tool; gain valuable information about a company to tailor your application and prepare for an interview.

How do you get started?

LinkedIn has compiled fantastic tip sheets and video resources to help students make the most of their profile.

Take advantage of tips on:

  • Profile Checklist: College Students
  • Finding a Job or Internship
  • Networking on LinkedIn
  • Tailoring your Profile to your Goals
  • Using the Alumni Tool to Explore Career Paths
  • And many other topics!

For a little bit of fun:

Gwen Miller, associate director, career services

Jocelyn’s Advice: Creating an Online Portfolio or Professional Website

Which do you do most often: read hard-copy, printed articles or browse the internet for articles and news? I would venture to guess, unless you’re trying to rebel against a societal norm, you probably engage in the latter. According to industry professionals, employers are also following this trend. Have you ever considered creating a digital platform for your resume or portfolio?

Michelle Mignot, a Career Education Professional who presented at the Careers Done Write! conference in January, regularly speaks to college students about the 21st century resume and the importance of incorporating creativity. Check out her handout to learn about several sites she recommends for establishing an online presence.

Personally, the idea of designing and maintaining a live website initially intimidated me; I’m not a digital communications major!  However, through my coursework, I had the opportunity to learn about several user-friendly web hosting platforms that would allow me to share my job search documents. I chose www.weebly.com because of these easy functions:

  • Premade layouts
  • Free
  • iPhone & Android apps
  • Ability to easily upload your material

On many sites, you have the option to work on and perfect your pages before it’s activated for viewing by the public. Therefore, before publishing your site, be sure you complete each accessible page, proofread your content, check that links work, and remove unnecessary buttons that could crowd your site and confuse your audience.

In order to appeal to a variety of audiences, especially potential employers, I divided my site into multiple pages that make it easy for viewers to find key information:

  • Homepage- Brief bio, contact information, professional headshot
  • Resume- overview of my past experiences, education, relatable extracurricular activities
  • Portfolio- Digital stories, journalism, blog, samples of work

That’s just me.  You may have a whole host of other information to include, which is a good thing!  An online presence can help you stand out and give employers a glimpse of your strengths and interests that may be less obvious on a hard-copy resume. Have fun with it and keep your audience in mind. Creativity is good as long as it’s also professional.

Once your page is live, congratulations!  You now have an online portfolio. It’s important to maintain your site regularly; keep it fresh, and keep it updated.  Also, don’t forget to promote it!  Add the URL of your site to your paper resumes, business cards, cover letters, etc.

J

Jocelyn Davis, ’15, Career Services, Student Assistant

Interviews: Make a Positive Impression

Nearly every year someone conducts a survey among employers about memorable interviewing blunders.  I laugh.  How ridiculous! No one would “attempt to secretly record the interview” or “check Facebook during the interview.”  But, indeed, these were two of fifteen most memorable interview mistakes that surfaced in a recent online survey conducted by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder.

Surely none of “our” students would pull such a stunt.

And yet, I am convinced that more often than not interviewees are not aware of the less-than-stellar impressions they make on employers. For example, half of the employers responding to this survey reported these top five common interview mistakes:

  • Appearing disinterested – 55 percent
  • Dressing inappropriately – 53 percent
  • Appearing arrogant – 53 percent
  • Talking negatively about current or previous employers – 50 percent
  • Answering a cell phone or texting during the interview – 49 percent

And, how about these top two body language mistakes?

  • Failure to make eye contact – 70 percent
  • Failure to smile – 44 percent

Generally it only takes a few seconds to make an impression. You may know that, but you may underestimate how quickly interviewers determine if you are a good fit and match for their organization.  I assure you it does not take the entire length of the interview.  Therefore, know what employers want and deliver.

A great place to start would be to take a look at this Press Room post (1.16.2014) on Careerbuilder.com and determine what communication skills, body language, and etiquette you need to improve upon. Then, concentrate on telling your story of successes and accomplishments that speak to the needs and mission of the employer with whom you are interviewing.  And by all means, don’t forget to prepare thoughtful questions that demonstrate you have researched the organization and want to be part of their team.

Here are a few other action steps you can take to ensure you will make a good impression and have the attention of an employer throughout your interview.

Knowing the basics is important.  And, practice makes you better.

Sharon Givler, director, career services