Event: Only You Can Stop You

Post written by Linda Whited, Career Counselor at UNCG

Daniel Seddiqui is known as the World’s Most Ambitious Job Seeker, yet has been named by USA Today as the Most Rejected Person in the World.  He will be at UNCG on September 30 in the EUC Auditorium at 5:30pm to share his story. He failed over 40+ job interviews in a row and after embracing 5,000 rejections, he pursued a crazy idea to get 50 jobs in 50 states.

Only You can Stop You

From his biography: “When it seemed like the world turned against him, Daniel wanted to prove he was worthy of it all.  Leaving his economics degree from the University of Southern California behind, he’s been everything from a weatherman in Ohio and a border patrol agent in Arizona, to a coal miner in West Virginia and a rodeo announcer in South Dakota.”

Check out Daniel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCphXe9rI5o – Hardest Working Person in America

Daniel encourages those to explore the world around them, to understand and respect one another and to make continuous discoveries to better themselves. He will share his 5 elements to success AND all UNCG students who attend will have the opportunity to put a few into practice. This event is open to students and area alumni. Alumni will be on hand for a reception immediately following the event and will be available to mingle with current students – build your network and take a risk to meet someone new!

We hope to see you there!

Event: Fall Career Fair 2015

Fall Career Fair picIt’s one of our favorite times of year at the Career Services Center. Not only because we get to break out our scarves, boots, and sweater vests, but because Fall means we get to serve students by connecting them with tons of employers for future internships and careers through our Fall Career Fair.

If you’re not sure whether or not you should start looking for an internship or full-time job, here is Savannah, one of our PCAs and a senior at UNCG, sharing some of the benefits that came from her internship experience.

If you do plan on coming and hope to snag a great experience similar to Savannah’s, here are some helpful ways to prepare well for this event:

Know the event logistics. 

Where: Cone Ballroom, EUC.
When: THIS WEDNESDAY, September 23rd. Drop in between 10am and 2pm.
Who: Check out our Fall Career Fair board on Pinterest to find out which employers will be coming. You may also download our UNCG Career Fair Plus app to help you navigate your way around the room with ease and find the employers you are seeking.

Dress appropriately.

Professional wear is strictly enforced. Everyone must come dressed as if you were going to an interview. For examples of what this looks like visit our Career Fair and Interview Attire board on Pinterest.

We are also aware that resources can be tight as a student. Check out our recent blog post about buying a suit on a budget, or contact our office and we would be happy to help you navigate this process of finding professional wear in a way that fits your needs.

Have your marketing materials ready.

While you’re in our office discussing professional wear, go ahead and get that resume fine-tuned! If there’s an employer you’re excited about meeting, make a great first impression by already having that resume polished for their viewing.

Practice your professional communication skills.

You’re likely going to be meeting several employers – employers who have hundreds of other students to talk to. How are you going to get their attention quick and stand out in the crowd?

Confident non-verbals. Make eye contact with whoever you are speaking to and position your body to face theirs. Shake their hand. Listen intently by gently nodding when they speak. Feel free to smile to show friendliness and avoid looking bored. These subtleties go a long way and can leave someone feeling good about the time they spent with you.

The elevator pitch. What’s an elevator pitch? A short spiel telling who you are and about your interest in the company or position. It usually only lasts 30 seconds to 1 minute – the amount of time it takes to ride on an elevator. Practicing this can help you feel more relaxed and at ease, but be aware of what impression you’re giving off. Sounding too rehearsed or stiff rather than relaxed and natural may give off a negative impression.

Targeted questions. Follow up your elevator pitch with questions specific to the company or position. This demonstrates interest and may be a chance for you to show you did your research!

Don’t linger. After you’ve made a solid first impression and feel confident about your conversation, it’s time to end it. Lingering around too long without any other questions or jumping into other people’s conversations may show desperation. Finish your conversation with a simple closing, thank them for their time, shake their hand, and keep going.

Ask for contact information. If you’d like to continue the conversation, ask for their contact information and send a follow-up email. This respects both their time and the time of the other students waiting to make their first impression during the career fair.

We hope you feel well prepared, but if you have any questions, we’re always happy to help!

See you on Wednesday!

Careers in Federal Government

Post written by Jonathan Adams, Career Counselor at UNCG

The calendar has turned to September which means that Fall is around the corner! For many of us the Fall season signals the return of cooler weather, football, and pumpkin flavored everything.

However, you may not have known that Fall is also hiring season for departments in Federal Government! The federal fiscal year begins anew on October 1st, and as a result, hiring for federal positions tends to ramp up between September and November each year.

Why work in federal government?

Do you have a passion for service and an interest in applying strong leadership skills to affect change in your field? If so, the federal government may have a position in your field that fits your values interests, and strengths! The federal government is the largest employer in the United States and hires across the country in a wide-range of departments for a wide-range of fields.

To learn more about finding your fit in government, check out this Go Government website link: http://gogovernment.org/government_careers/index.php

I’ve heard that the application process for federal positions can be different than for other organizations. How so?

This is an important point! Here are some factors to consider when applying:

  • Remember, hiring typically begins September-November, so don’t wait until April or May!
  • The application and hiring process may take approximately 2-6 months, which can be longer than with other organizations. Expect to submit a longer resume (between 2-5 pages), complete the application and assessments, interview with the department and apply for security clearance. The process may vary by position and department. See Go Government’s application tips for more information: http://gogovernment.org/how_to_apply/index.php
  • Internships within government significantly strengthen your application and candidacy for positions.
  • Full-time jobs and internships are posted at https://www.usajobs.gov/.
  • Posted internships are competitive and are part of the Pathways Programs. Other internships can be identified through individual department websites and networking.

How do I stand out in the application process?

To stand out in the federal application process, consider demonstrating these skills through specific examples from class projects, volunteer work, internships, jobs or other experiences

Key qualifications and skills to market in your resume, cover letter and interview:

  • Leadership skills
  • Strong communication skills both written and verbal
  • Critical thinking and ability to solve problems
  • Collaboration and delegation
  • Initiative and innovation

What about current hiring trends for government positions?

The federal government is increasing hiring efforts across a range of departments and positions. Examples of departments looking to expand significantly over the next 0-4 years include the VA, HUD, OPIC, DOD, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, and Social Security. Talent is needed in fields such as engineering, business, and the social sciences.

Want to learn more?! Go to http://gogovernment.org/ for a range of resources on federal careers and check them out on twitter, @gogvernment. Or stop by the CSC for further resources and support!

Buying a Suit on a Budget

The Fall Career Fair is just around the corner, so it’s time to talk about professional wear! A suit is required upon entry into the Career Fair because we want to help you practice presenting your best professional self. You never know – that employer you meet may just be your boss one day, so it is worth making a great first impression!

As important as it is to have that professional wear handy, we also know that buying a suit can get pretty pricey! However, there are lots of tips and resources to help you land a great professional outfit without going over your budget. Below are a few suggestions:

Know what you’re looking for.

So you don’t have to go shopping again and again for the right professional wear (thus spending a ton of money), take a look at our requirements for what is considered professional wear first, so you can shop prepared and confident in your purchases the first time around.

Be thrifty!

Don’t underestimate the powers of a thrift store. Sure, it may take more time to sift through the racks, but that extra time is worth it. Many students have found great suit jackets, blazers, pencil skirts, and slacks for an insanely low price. Here are a few of our favorite thrift stores to start you out:

  • Goodwill
  • Bargain Box
  • Plato’s Closet
  • ThredUp.com

Tailor it to you.

Found an awesome steal that’s not exactly your fit? Snag that low-price suit and get it tailored. It’s an extra step, but a step that could save you money in the long run.

Put it on the wish list.

Have a birthday or gift-exchanging holiday coming up? It’s time to add “professional wear” to that wish list! A few gift cards to the same store (or one gift card from a very generous gift giver) could mean your entire suit is paid for without you having to touch your own bank account!

Come to our event to find out more!

On September 16th from 1-2:30 our Graduate Assistants will be in the EUC Commons answering questions and showing you how to be a Sharped Dress Spartan! Free snacks and drinks will be provided, so don’t miss out!
Sharp Dressed Spartan Flyer

We know money can be tight when you’re a student, so don’t feel pressured to go for the most expensive suits. If your professional wear is neat and you appear confident, your employer will likely never know how much (or little!) you paid. Happy shopping!

Getting into Grad School: Recommendation Letters

We are continuing our series on getting into graduate school by discussing how to ask for a recommendation letter.

Recommendation letters are a helpful part of any graduate school application because it allows the school to get an idea of who you are through the eyes of various sources. Remember, these people are writing about you as a student and future professional, so it is worth taking the time to prepare well for these. Here are some tips and tricks in how to obtain a great recommendation letter.

Who to ask: Use the relationships you have built

Tempted to ask the most well-known professor in your field? Consider first the people who have gotten to know your achievements and personality over the years. They are much more likely to write a personal and credible recommendation letter. The admissions team cares much more about getting to know you than they do about the name on the signature line, so go for your relationships rather than those who are considered high-profile.

When to ask: Ask early and follow up

Professors and university staff are busy, so respect their time and ask them a month and half to two months prior to the due date. This gives them time to think carefully about what they know about you and reflect upon the relationship. A few weeks prior to the due date, follow up with a polite reminder and an offer to meet to provide extra information if they need it.

Important note: you should also not assume your desired reference will say yes to your request, so asking early allows you to find another reference within a reasonable amount of time.

What to ask: Be professional, personal, and prepared

Even if you feel like you have a casual relationship with your reference, remember this is a professional request, so be professional with the process. Set up a face-to-face meeting with enough time to go over any directions and official documents that your reference may need to complete the letter properly. Even if you feel like they know you well, you should provide reminders of your accomplishments. Below are some examples of extra materials you may provide:

  • A complete resume of your work experience, relevant academic experience, involvement in organizations, etc.
  • A list of specific accomplishments, paper/project topics, grades, and/or participation examples from your reference’s class or organization in which you were involved
  • Saved samples of your work from their class or organization

Also, be sure to have a conversation with them about your career goals and how the desired graduate program fits into them. Knowing not just what you have already done, but what you would like to accomplish in the future can really help round out a recommendation letter.

Consider waiving your right to read the letter

By law, you have access to your letters of recommendation. However, often times a graduate school will include a form in which you may opt to waive your right to read your letters. Keeping the letter confidential indicates that the author felt free to write candidly and as honestly as possible. This may carry more weight with some graduate schools when reviewing the letters and could give you an edge. If you have followed the other guidelines and trust your reference (hopefully you have chosen someone you trust), you should have nothing to worry about and can feel confident waiving your right.

Send a thank you note promptly

It is suggested that you send a hand-written thank you note after the due date, but before you have heard back from the school. Doing so in a personal and prompt manner allows your reference to feel like you appreciated their time, and may make them feel good about writing you another one in the future!

Asking for a recommendation letter can feel intimidating, but it does not have to be. Hopefully these guidelines can help you build upon your professional development and increase your chances of receiving great recommendation letters.