Career Services

Lebanon Valley College

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

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

Researching Companies – the most important activity of job searching

Spring often means that many students are engaged in an active search for jobs or internships.  Identifying companies of interest is certainly the first step, but what comes next?  Your resume, along with your cover letter or presence/conversation at a career fair, is your opportunity to illustrate how you would be a good fit for a position or organization.  That means that you should be purposefully highlighting skills, abilities, and attributes that are relevant to the employer.

Figuring out what is relevant is the behind-the-scenes preparation before your resume is created, your cover letter is drafted, and your interview responses are practiced.  By researching the organization and industry of interest, you will be able to tailor your job search materials and create a strong personal brand that advocates for why you should be considered as a candidate.

According to the Digital Job Choices Magazine, available through the Career Services website, “Researching employers is perhaps the single-most important activity you will undertake in your job search.  The information you uncover can help you:

  • Discover organizations that are a good match for you,
  • Identify the organization’s goals and needs,
  • Tailor your resume and cover letters to highlight your skills and experiences that match the employer’s needs,
  • Know what questions to ask employers,
  • Demonstrate your interest in and enthusiasm for the organization,
  • Answer interview questions with confidence, and
  • Make an informed employment decision.”

Click HERE for this 4 page article that advises where to begin, offers research resources, information you should be looking for, and websites to delve into specific industries.  Don’t skip this step!  The more effort you put in, the more confident you will feel when making a positive impression on potential employers.

Make your Resume POP

One Page ………………. (in length)
15-20 Seconds ……… (amount of time you have to make a great first impression)
Multiple drafts……….. (before you have a polished document)

These are important considerations to remember when putting together your resume.  Whether you are applying to a summer position, an internship, full time work, or graduate school, your resume is often your first means of introducing yourself.  Be sure it represents you well!

Your resume, like your finger print, should be one of a kind. The activities that you’ve been involved in, your accomplishments and successes, as well as qualities you’d like to highlight, will be different from anyone else’s.  Although your resume is meant to be a snapshot, meaning it won’t include every detail of your life, it should include the information that will be the most impactful and demonstrative of the skills you have to offer.  This takes time and thoughtful preparation!

Check out the CareerSpots video Make Your Resume POP for advice and a quick-tips sheet.  Career Services also has plenty of resources to help strengthen your Communication for the Job SearchRemember, your goal should be to produce an impressive document that represents your strengths and accomplishments.  Anything less will make it that much more difficult to get noticed!