Career Services

Lebanon Valley College

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

225 million professionals…One site

If you’ve walked past the Center for Student Engagement in Mund College Center recently, you’ve hopefully noticed the large bulletin board that asks “Are you…LinkedIn”?  Perhaps you’ve dismissed it, thinking that you don’t need one more thing to manage; or, perhaps you’ve wandered by thinking “I’ll definitely create an account once I graduate and have information to include.”  In both instances, I’d encourage you to take another look.

Students can, and should, become active on LinkedIn, the well-known professional networking site that is 225 million strong.  According to What Every College Student Should Post on LinkedIn, students should include information about their coursework and extra-curriculars, as well as their schoolwork and projects.  Asking professors to write brief recommendations for you can also be a great way to highlight your accomplishments in the classroom.

There are plenty of resources available for students interested in expanding their network, including:

We would certainly encourage you to review these resources and seriously consider creating an account.  However, once you do, commit yourself to keeping it up-to date, using it as a research tool of companies, industries, and professionals, and becoming engaged through groups and discussions.  By the way, once you have an account, you can also join groups that you’re interested in, including the Lebanon Valley College Professional Network that connects over 1500 alumni, students, and employees of the College!

Lastly, SimplyHired offers a recent Blog post that encourages taking your use of LinkedIn one step further: Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn in Your Job Search, which includes tips on discovering career paths, researching people and following companies, and using it to develop skills and read the latest industry news.

Still not convinced to create a LinkedIn account?  According to the article above, What Every College Student Should Post on LinkedIn, “social professional networks are the fastest growing source of quality hires.”

So…Are you LinkedIn?  If not, why not?!

~Gwen Miller, associate director of career services

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

Experience Counts

Internships are a vital part of the collegiate experience, intended to help develop the work habits, attitudes, and skills needed to begin your career. They enable you to build your network of professional contacts, explore career options, apply classroom theory/concepts, become acquainted with company culture, and make a contribution to the organization that mentors you.  Sound a tad daunting?  Read on!

It’s never too early to start thinking about internships. In fact, lack of planning may prevent you from getting the experience you want. All students (including freshmen!) would be wise to acquaint themselves with the steps to find, secure, and make the most of an internship experience.  The Career TIP Sheet – Best Practices for Student Interns – or our weekly internship tutorials, where you will be given a workbook offering practical advice on topics of importance surrounding the full internship experience, would be great places to start.

Before, during, and following:

It can easily seem as though the most difficult stage of being an intern takes place long before your first day – as you search and apply to, interview for, and ultimately are selected for a position!  Career Services has oodles of resources to help you uncover leads, compose your resume and cover letter, and prepare for interviews.  Consider watching the Creating a Resume webshop and reading the Telling Your Story (interviewing) TIP Sheet.  These, along with other resources can help you make a professional first impression at events like the Capital Region Internship Fair (an annual fall event – held this year on October 1st).

Landing the position, however, is only a fraction of what it takes to create a quality experience.  Setting goals as part of your pre-internship planning will help you identify opportunities that match your interests and needs.  Thoughtful goal setting will also help you articulate what you hope to learn to your supervisors; maintaining regular communication about expectations and assignments is vital too.  Ask for feedback frequently and keep a journal to track and reflect upon your activities.  Nearing the end of your experience, make plans for maintaining your new network and practice telling others about your internship.

Making the unobtainable, obtainable!

Perhaps you’ve been thinking an internship at the Smithsonian would give your resume the boost it needs.  Or, maybe interning in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, NYC, Nashville, London, or Rome would surround you with professionals in the industry you hope to enter upon graduation.  “Sounds great,” you say, “but how will I afford it?”

The Edward H. Arnold and Jean Donlevy Arnold Internship Grants were created to remove financial impediments and help students pursue previously inconsiderable internships. Examples may include underpaid internship experiences within the United States or assistance with an international opportunity. Preference is given to proposals that show cost-intensive, unique, transformative experiences, and provide students the opportunity to have internships out of the local area.  Learn more HERE.

So, how about it?  Will you hone your strengths, make a contribution, build your network, and improve your chances for a bright future with an internship?

~Sharon Givler, director of 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.

On-Line Video Interviewing

In this technology-rich era, it’s no surprise that many companies are incorporating it into their hiring practices through the use of on-line video interviewing.  On-line video interviewing may take the place of telephone screening, or could be used throughout the first round(s) of interviewing. Why?  Because it is convenient and can save the company time and money if initial interviews are conducted on-line versus bringing candidates on site.

On-line video interviews may be through SKYPE or other similar applications, in which candidates and interviewers are both “live,” or company’s may use technology that allows an interviewer to pre-record questions that candidates may respond to within a designated time period.  Either way, video interviewing requires preparation and practice if you want to present yourself as well as you would in person.

The CareerSpots video – On-Line Video Interviews – suggests the following tips:

  • Do a test call with friends or family.
  • Check for technical problems ahead of time
  • Dress as though you are conducting a face-to-face interview
  • Make sure your space is tidy and clutter free with nothing distracting in the background
  • Eliminate interruptions by informing others that you will be conducting an interview
  • Plug your computer in so your battery doesn’t die during the interview
  • Check lighting to ensure interviewers will see you clearly
  • Frame your shot – make sure the camera focuses on your face
  • Look directly into the camera lens – it’s the same as making eye contact
  • Be enthusiastic!

Most importantly, practice, practice, practice!

Juggling Job Offers

It’s so easy for students to become caught up in the job search/interviewing process that it can come as a surprise when it’s time to evaluate whether or not a job that has been offered is a good fit.  Trying to juggle multiple job offers to determine which is best can be even more of a stressor.

If you find yourself in this dilemma, first take a look at the CareerSpots video – Juggling Job Offers – for advice on how to make your decision and remain professional.

The National Association for Colleges and Employers also offers a great article with accompanying rating sheet for students to use when evaluating multiple job offers.  An excerpt from the article explains:

There is no perfect formula for making your decision, but one of the best ways to begin is by making a list of all of the features that are important to you in your first job. These may include such items as the type of work you’ll be doing, the organization’s reputation/prestige, training program, salary, specific benefits, location of job, opportunity for advancement, work environment, opportunity for free time (evenings and weekends), opportunity for travel, colleagues with whom you’ll be working, and so forth. Add every possible item you can think of to your list.”  Continue reading HERE.

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 Salary Question

Are you, as the candidate, supposed to bring up the subject of compensation during the interview process?  If so, when?  Although things will certainly be different for each employer, the general rule is that salary shouldn’t be discussed during the first interview.  And, whenever possible, let the employer bring the subject up first.

More importantly than worrying about when you should discuss it should instead be how you plan to discuss it when the time comes.  You should always do your homework prior to any interview so that you are prepared.  According to the CareerSpots video – The Salary Question – there are two sets of numbers that candidates need to know: the minimum salary that you need to make for your own financial obligations, and the average salary range for the type of position that you’re interviewing for.

That first number needs to be something realistic and well thought out; the second can be determined by researching salary information on similar positions for individuals with your level of experience and knowledge.  Don’t forget that geographic location is also a huge factor!  Understanding both of these numbers will help you to plan out a thoughtful response to the salary question.

How do you determine a salary range? The CareerSpots video offers several websites that may be helpful, including www.salary.com, www.salaryexpert.com, and www.payscale.com.  It also suggests the Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov for tons of information, as well as professional organizations, business magazines, and online job boards for general salary information.

Another great resource, accessible through Career Services’ Resources for Students webpage is the NACE Salary Calculator Center.   The Salary Calculator’s User Guide and FAQ page indicates that “the program will reference your input information against the average salary values in our databases, and provide you with your personalized job salary data. The salary data provided to you is derived from salary survey data and compensation surveys.”

There are plenty of resources out there to help – be sure to investigate this before you ever talk with the interviewer – you don’t want to be caught off guard and unable to answer the salary question!