Friday, April 23, 2010

Needing an Attitude Adjustment?

This transition from college to career is seeming to hit me a bit harder than the move from high school to college. I mean, my friends and I had a photo shoot on the Francis Quadrangle to commemorate our "last first day of school" as you can see below. So yes, we're being a bit sentimental and possibly a tad dramatic, to say the least.

Now don't get me wrong, the papers, projects, articles and busy work will not be missed. It is the opportunity to be surrounded by friends, and make priceless memories that are really getting to me. For that reason, I know this is a typical challenge for soon-to-be and even recent college grads and that it's nothing new with my generation!

Luckily, someone had the wisdom to remind me not to forget about the future ahead of me and I wanted to share that for others going through this, too.

Just because one amazing chapter is closing, doesn't mean the next page doesn't have as many equally or possibly more wonderful experiences waiting for us to enjoy. Change isn't always bad, which is something this stubborn girl forgets too often.

So here's to celebrating the "firsts!" Just today, I stopped in at my future office to pull together some cool agriculture facts for a project with a local radio station. As I started to save the document, I made my FIRST folder on the computer!

Sure, it's a corny thing to get excited over, but knowing how much I'm going to love this job just makes me get a little giddy. Okay, let's be real. I can't think about it without grinning from ear to ear! So for the job searchers out there, I want to remind you to seek opportunities you'll enjoy. Even if it's not the most glamorous or high paying role, my dad once told me, "It's easier to go home hungry at night when you love what you're doing all day."

Obviously food is essential (and let's not forget to thank a farmer for providing us with our daily needs). However, my dad's advice should be a reminder that living extravagantly with a job you hate sounds pretty darn miserable.

It's all about attitude, so start focusing on the positive because no one likes a pity party! That's a lesson that can help anyone, no matter their stage in the professional world!

Editor's note: Now, if my friend's advice was just a plea to get me to shut up with my whining about my last this-and-that, I'll never know. However, it's proof we've got to keep our ears open, because you never know when someone is about to tell you something you've been needing to hear :-)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Job Interview Tip: Are you a People Person?

Like most over-connected and tech-savvy journalism students, I'm guilty using blogs and interesting news sites to help me procrastinate from crossing items off my to-do list. Let's face it, with graduation  around the senioritis is reaching higher levels than I could imagine!

A recent visit to Post Secret sparked an idea for this post, so it can't be all bad. Am I the only one who has called myself a "people person" in a job interview?

Here's what I've learned since doing so: Telling employers you are a people person won't cut it.

At least five recruiters have discussed this frustration with me during my time working in the CAFNR Career Services office. We have lots of interviews happening around our place, so it's a prime location for the gossip and insider tips these recruiters have to share.

As a young soon-to-be professional, I'm guilty of jumping on the buzz word wagon myself. I'll be the first to admit my addiction to cliches and over-used phrases, so I know how easy it is to toss around those popular terms we think employers love to hear. The scary thing is that in reality, they hate to hear those words.

BUT don't get me wrong! Employers certainly appreciate job seekers for their ability to play well with others. That's where creativity comes into play!

Our job now is to show them, rather than just rely on empty buzz words that make them cringe. The best approach to this is simply by taking a walk down memory lane. Just take some time to engage in an old fashioned brainstorming session to determine what experiences (specific ones) you've had that resulted in working well with others.

Think back to part-time jobs, internships, leadership roles, club involvement, and other interactions you've had with people. By prepping yourself with this refresher, you'll be able to briefly give specific examples in an interview that show a lot more of your personality than what the recruiter will get from hearing you say that buzz word that shoots up a red flag in their minds!

Have your own advice to share? Tell us about it here!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Internet Tip: Google Yourself

My journalism class with Joy Mayer discussed how to develop a personal brand last week. It has given me way too many ideas for blog posts, so I'm going to focus on a few key ideas that are helpful to all of us approaching the professional world. Today's tip is courtesy of Jen Lee Reeves, another faculty member of the Missouri School of Journalism.

Today's tip: Google yourself.

Now THAT'S easy! Just type your name into the search bar and see what links come up. You'll also want to click on "Images" to view the photos associated with your name.

Need proof? Check out this photo that came up when a couple of my friends searched their names. While this image was from a college-sponsored skit night, it's likely to lead to some questions if employers are looking online. By knowing what images appear, you can be prepared to explain the context of the photo accordingly!

Now, for those of you saying "What the heck?!" here's the story behind this specific photo. Bonus points for anyone who can name the girl in the poodle skirt. (Hint, hint.)

Happy Googling to you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Phone Tip: When to Answer

Well Spring Break is over, so goodbye beach and hello real world. Here's a tip that came to me while vacationing last week with friends. Hope it helps with your job search!!

There we were, in a loud seafood restaurant on the coast of Florida. My roommate's cell phone started ringing, displaying an unknown number. Her gut reaction was to answer the call without a clue who might be on the other end of the line.

With second thought, she refrained and let the call go into voice mail, and good thing she did.

How would you respond? Of course it could have easily been a friend or personal acquaintance. But when the voice on the other end belongs to an employer, are you ready for a professional conversation...right here, right now? Are you in a quiet place? Without distractions?

Most likely, no. As students searching for jobs and internships, we can't afford to make poor impressions with potential employers. This topic has made for popular discussion in many of the professional development workshops and seminars I've attended so I wanted to share some tips I found as a student working in CAFNR Career Services.

Do answer unknown numbers professionally. Example: Hi, this is Jim.
Do have a brief, and informative voicemail message. Example: You've reached Molly. I can't answer my phone right now. Leave a message and I'll call you back.


Don't have caller tunes blaring while the recruiter waits for you to pick-up the call.
Don't have a rude greeting. Example: This is Tom. If you think it's important, leave a message. If not, I don't plan to call you back.
Don't answer the phone in loud surroundings like at a party, bar, or basketball game. Solution: let it hit your voicemail and listen to the message. Then you can call back when you're in an uninterrupted environment. Just be sure you're prompt with returning calls!

Hopefully these are easy and helpful tips. Do you have other tips I missed?

Editor's note: I originally posted this list for fellow students to read on the CAFNR Career Services blog.