Career Services

Lebanon Valley College

Exploration, Part 1: Drawing Connections

Whether an underclassman meets with us to begin a dialogue about their future, or a junior starts to articulate interests while embarking upon an internship search, or a senior is looking for advice to really target a job or graduate school, exploration is often at the heart of students’ meeting requests with Career Services.  We love to engage students in conversations to help you draw out skills, interests, values, and goals, all while hoping to spark excitement toward investigating what’s out there in the world of work.

This week and next, I’d like to discuss the idea of exploration from two angles:

  • drawing connections between interests and potential careers or majors;
  • delving deeper into more specific professions/industries to help transition to the workplace.

Our office uses a model to help guide students through many elements of career planning.  The first half encourages students to utilize electronic, printed, and human sources of information to begin exploring how ones interests and strengths might relate to college majors and future career fields.  Although it’s geared toward freshmen and sophomores, the resources suggested can be applicable to anyone’s stage of career development.

Career Planning Model 1

One key component that is absolutely necessary to anyone’s exploration is talking to other people!  Whether you’re questioning what major is right for you, or wondering what you could possibly do with a degree in ______, or you’re interested in learning how certain occupations function within different industries, asking individuals who know about the topic is one of the most effective means of gaining valuable information.

So, go through the suggested resources for exploring your options and investigating potential careers…and then talk to someone about what you’re discovering!  And when I say talk to someone, I don’t mean go ask someone else what you should do.  Instead, arm yourself with knowledge, draw connections between what you’re learning and your own interests and goals, and ask others to clarify, offer perspective, or discuss ideas with you that you haven’t thought of.  The discoveries along the way will be worth the effort.

Next week’s blog will look at the next components of the career planning model to offer suggestions and advice on delving deeper into more specific professions/industries as you begin to engage in a job or internship search.  Stay tuned!

~Gwen Miller, associate director of career services

Jocelyn Says: The Worst Thing You Can Do is Nothing

As promised, the Blog will feature a monthly topic written by Jocelyn Davis ’15, one of our fabulous student staff members.  Jocelyn is pursuing her degree in English Communications with a minor in Business Administration here at LVC.  This is her second year working in our office and it’s been a joy to watch as she enthusiastically pursues her goals and takes on any challenges that come her way.  For her first post, Jocelyn is sharing how she pursued her summer internship.

When I was 14 I started working at a Hallmark store in my hometown. Yes, it was a job (and more importantly) yes, it was money, but at the start of my sophomore year I decided it was time for a change. I wanted to spend the following summer at a job that actually applied to my major; somewhere I could utilize and further develop the skills I was learning in my classes. So, I made it my goal to secure an internship for the summer of 2013.

But how would I go about getting an internship? What would I need? Where would I apply? Was I even qualified? After the initial moment of panic and trying to talk myself out of taking the next step, I started with the basics: research local companies of interest, write a resume, and create a portfolio.

First, I needed to identify possible internships. This was important because I had no idea where to send my resume or portfolio and I knew that my documents would need to be adjusted for each organization.  I started checking my JobCenter account regularly for updated postings and also researched local companies that fit my interests to see if they offered internships. By having an idea of where I wanted to get involved, I was able to make my goal more concrete.

Next, the resume, which I will admit was a little overwhelming. I sat in front of my laptop with a list of accomplishments, classes that I have taken, and the two semi-relevant experiences I have had in the past—but wrote nothing. I was stuck. My advice? Do not waste your time. Once you have your ideas together schedule an appointment with Career Services or meet with your internship advisor (both wouldn’t hurt!). They have been in your shoes and know the in’s and out’s of writing a resume.

Then, the portfolio; basically a collection of everything you have ever done that you want to show to a potential employer. The main issue I ran into with this is that most of my work was digital: blogs, digital stories, online news articles. My solution? If everything else is digital, why not make the portfolio digital? I used weebly.com, a free website creator. You can link buttons on your personal website directly to the source where your work is posted so your potential employer does not have to search for each individual entry. If you need an example you can visit my site http://www.jocelyndavis.weebly.com

These are just a few of the steps I took at the beginning of my sophomore year to meet my goal and I hope you find them helpful as you begin taking your first steps toward an internship. Remember, the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Good luck!

J

Jocelyn Davis, ’15

CareerServices- Student Assistant

Make the Choice to Read Job Choices

Among many traits that employers look for in ideal candidates, resourcefulness and an inquisitive approach to problem-solving are right up there.  Learning about the latest trends and resources, as well as staying current on the competition, are important to many organizations for success.  Students should take a similar approach to career planning and the internship/job search!

Each month, the Career Services Blog will spotlight a few of the tools and tips that we believe are valuable.  This month, I’m encouraging you to get acquainted with the digital Job Choices magazine, accessible on the Resources for Students page of the Career Services website.

Why? Because you can be assured that these online magazines, compiled and distributed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, contain oodles of relevant articles and information for your job or internship search.  Published annually, each magazine – Job Choices and Job Choices, Diversity Edition – covers information from rights and responsibilities of job seekers, to social media, to graduate school or first years on the job.  Take a look at the contents page of the Job Choices edition:

Job Choices picture

 

If that doesn’t inspire you to take a look, maybe the opportunity to win $500 by taking a Reader Poll will (details on page 5 of the magazine).  Two LVC students have won within the past several years…maybe your resourcefulness will also be rewarded!

*Note: Even if you don’t win the $500, can we agree that resourcefulness for resourcefulness’s sake is generally a reward in and of itself?  I think so!

~Gwen Miller, associate director, career services

Ready or not…Fall is here!

WELCOME TO (or back to) LVC!

I love the beginning of the semester.  The energy and excitement of having students back on campus is a welcome change from the summer mode of planning and preparing for the upcoming year.  Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Fall is my favorite season… :)

Before I go any further, it occurs to me that you may not know who I am, or who makes up the Career Services staff.  I’m Gwen Miller, associate director of the office, joined by Sharon Givler, director, and Sue Donmoyer, assistant.  Plus our fabulous student staff – Mel Modrick ’14 and Jocelyn Davis ’15.  Want to know more about us? http://www.lvc.edu/career-services/about.aspx.

Now that that’s out of the way…. we understand how busy students are these first few weeks.  This first posting is to encourage you to start the year out with intentional foresight and thought for your exploration, or planning for career or graduate school pursuits.  Put things on your calendar and set reminders on your phone for events that are coming soon.  (The Reminders and Notes apps are my FAVORITES – but you may find that the student handbook becomes your best friend for its calendar/planner.)  This isn’t advice meant only for first year students, even upperclassmen sometimes need a gentle reminder that advanced planning is key if you don’t want to miss out!

To give you an idea of how the Blog is intended to help you – we’ll be offering new posts each Wednesday, with a weekly focus on:

  • Career/Internships/Grad School planning – 1st Wednesday
  • Resources we’d like to highlight – 2nd Wednesday
  • Advice on preparing for the job search – 3rd Wednesday
  • Reflections from one of our student staff members, Jocelyn Davis – 4th Wednesday

Hopefully you’ll add the Blog to your regularly visited websites!  By the way, if you’ve been a reader for the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that the Blog has an updated look this year!

That’s probably enough for the opening post, right?  Please stop in and see us to share your summer successes, make an appointment to meet with us about your future plans, or, if nothing else, avail yourself of our many, many, many online resources – it’s like having your own personal career coach, 24/7!

~Gwen Miller, associate director of career services

Summer 2013 – Make it a Good One!

It’s finals time, making the likelihood of you reading this in the midst of studying, writing, presenting, panicking, celebrating, sleeping, or any other finals week activity, slim to none.  It’s ok.  We understand.  But we also hope that once you do settle into your summer vacation, you’ll take some time to catch up and make it a commitment to include career planning in your schedule for the next few months.

A few easy things to get you started:

  • Re-read (or read for the first time) the blog postings from this past year.  It’s been our goal to introduce the CareerSpots videos and other great resources by incorporating them into these weekly topics.
  • Acquaint yourself with our Career TIP Sheets for advice on resumes, cover letters, internships, graduate school planning, interviewing, networking, and more.
  • Browse the Career Services Resources for Students website for information on job searching, career planning, online assessment tools, and exploring majors and careers.  **I highly recommend the What Can I Do With This Major site to help make connections between majors and careers, view strategies to help you work toward a career goal, and access professional association websites and other career information.

A few more things to work on:

  • Some of you may be interning this summer with organizations that have learning goals built in for you and projects in which you will be developing your skills and abilities.  Great!  For others, you may be returning to a summer job or planning to seek work that will simply allow you to earn some spending money.  In either case, find ways in which you can offer more to your employer.  Develop your skills by tackling a new project, show some initiative by suggesting a different process, and demonstrate your commitment and professionalism by following through on your work and being a reliable employee.  Be sure you write your accomplishments down – it’s much easier to remember them as they occur than months (or years) later when you’re updating your resume.
  • If you aren’t planning to work, look for ways to make connections.  Network with alumni through Career Connections (housed in your JobCenter account); ask to shadow professionals in your area; attend professional association meetings; volunteer in organizations that interest you.
  • If nothing else, draft (or update) your resume and work on filling in your JobCenter profile and exploring this vast career management system.

Frankly, I could go on and on.  There are many steps, big and small, to achieve in your career development process.  The Office of Career Services is open throughout the summer to guide and assist you.  Let us know how we can help!

Career Services Staff
Sharon Givler, Director
Gwen Miller, Associate Director
Susan Donmoyer, Assistant

Phone:  717-867-6560
Email: careerservices@lvc.edu
Summer hours: Monday through Friday; 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

LinkedIn Job Search Checklist

Serendipity – making fortunate discoveries by accident.

This morning on my way to work, as happens pretty frequently on Wednesday mornings, I had my weekly brainstorming session in my vehicle about what to write for a blog entry today.  Those sessions often begin with “what haven’t I written about recently” followed by “is that subject something that I can make interesting on this particular morning” and finally progresses toward sentence stems and the framework for a few paragraphs.  Quite frankly, this morning I drew a blank.  My creative wheels just weren’t turning.

But, when I got to work, I opened my email and was greeted with a notice from the Career Services Professionals LinkedIn group that I am a member of.  Within the first sentence, a link to a recently published “LinkedIn Job Search Checklist” caught my eye.  I opened it and…yes!  I could use it as a blog (along with this rather lengthy insight into my blog-writing process)! My failed brainstorming was a moot point.  This was glorious.  This was serendipity.

The November 28, 2012 posting – Why Be LinkedIn – introduced the professional social media forum and provided tips to help students and recent graduates create a profile and utilize the site effectively.  At the risk of repeating too much of that blog, I would like to call your attention once again to the video guides on: What is LinkedIn, Build your Professional Brand, Find your Career Passion, Build a Professional Network, Turn Relationships into Opportunities, and Researching & Prepping for Interviews.

As a complement to those videos, take a look at the Job Search Checklist.  I liked it, so I hope you will too.  But, don’t wait until the last minute to begin building your profile – it’s unlikely that a job will land in your lap without quite a bit of effort, networking, and searching.  After all, even though serendipity came through for me this morning, it probably isn’t a reliable job search method.

The Job Outlook for the College Class of 2013

The National Association of Colleges and Employers releases an annual report for students on the job outlook for the upcoming college class.  Based on a survey conducted from July 25 – September 10, 2012, 244 organizations provided input about their hiring plans and other employment-related issues in order to project the market for new college graduates for the current class and to assess a variety of conditions that may influence that market.

Take a look at The Job Outlook for the College Class of 2013, provided as a student report through NACE, to find information on:

  • Good News – hiring is up for new grads!
  • Who’s in demand
  • Who’s hiring: a look at specific industries, specific majors
  • What employers want in a job candidate
  • How to stand out: advice from employers

Although hiring procedures and job outlook will certainly differ among companies, industries, and geographic locations, the information provided in this report can reinforce some of your preparation and job search efforts.  For those students who are not part of the class of 2013, read through anyway!  Remember, knowledge is power!  At the very least, it provides you with some great insight into what employers are currently thinking in regards to their hiring decisions.

Behavioral Based Interviewing

Generally speaking, you are not likely to have made it to the interviewing process of your job search if the organization meeting with you didn’t believe you could do their job.  They still want to hear you speak about your skills and job knowledge, but if they didn’t think you had the basics, you wouldn’t even be there.

Although this is reassuring in some ways, it also puts the pressure on you to perform well during that interview by articulating your strengths, offering examples of your past behaviors, and providing relevant information that reinforces your fit with that company.  Many employers utilize the Behavioral Based method of interviewing, meaning they ask questions that require you to tell stories (give examples) about how you responded in past experiences in order to gain an understanding about how you might behave in future work situations.  The CareerSpots video – Behavioral Interviewing – gives an excellent introduction to this interview technique as well as examples of questions, good responses, and attributes they’re listening for.

How prepared do you think you are for a behavioral interview situation?

Time and again, we hear that communication is one of the top skills that employers and graduate schools seek.  You may truly be the perfect fit, but if you can’t articulate your strengths and experiences well, you may be passed over.  Good communication takes reflection, practice, and an understanding of what employers/schools are seeking.