“New” Year’s Resolutions

I know it is only the 11th of July.  On our campus the countdown to “First Week of School” began weeks ago.  I have been meeting our newest UTC family members this summer and am excited about the Class of 2018! I have also been saying congratulations and good-bye to the Class of 2014.  They have commonalities.  Both are entering new worlds full of both anticipation and some anxiety, characteristics of “new.”  Both have a recent piece of paper called a diploma.  And both need a ticket, another piece of paper, to work on for their new world – a resume.  A resume can open or close doors; can introduce a professional or a novice; can give the best picture of your experience or can make you look totally inexperienced; and can make or break your chances for being considered for the opportunity.  If you are not sure how to start your resume or how to grow it, the UTC Career and Student Employment Center is ready to meet you for the first time or to see you again for the umpteenth time.  There are no limits on the number of times of service, and the same services available to the Class of 2018 are still available for the Class of 2010!  Let “work on resume” be at the top of your new world/new year’s resolution list!


How to Make the Most Of Your Internship – A Grad Student’s Perspective

So you’ve done the hard part and secured an internship. Now what? An internship looks great on paper, but what you get out of it is what matters.  Below are some tips to help you make the most of your internship and future jobs.

Keep a positive attitude
As an intern, it is possible you may have some tasks that are less enjoyable than others. Make sure you keep a positive attitude throughout your experience.  The quickest way to ruin an internship is by being negative.  It is important to think about the big picture and your impact on the organization.

Learn the company and industry
An internship may be your first experience in a corporate business setting.  Take the time to fully understand the business and how it operates.  It’s also important to learn the “corporate culture” of the organization.

Ask questions and take initiative
An internship should be a learning experience for you. Use this opportunity to learn the ins and outs of your career field from experienced professionals.  Ask questions if you encounter unfamiliar things and be willing to take advice from those around you.  Employers also like to see employees who go above and beyond. Don’t be passive and wait for work to come to you. Sometimes your supervisors may not be aware of how quickly you can complete a task. A great way to stand out is to take initiative and to offer to work on additional projects that interest you. With an internship, you’ll get out what you put in.

Take notes
You are going to be learning a lot of new information, and you will want a way to keep track of it. Start a running list of everything you do during your internship, including all your projects and tasks. This will be very helpful when it is time to update your resume. It can also help your supervisor compose a strong letter of recommendation in the future.

Network, network, network
An internship is a great opportunity to expand your professional network and to make connections within your field of interest.  Try to meet as many people as possible, even those in different roles or departments. Learning about their career track and experiences within the company will give you more insight and may lead to future opportunities. Because after all, sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know.


Job Fairs, Career Fairs, Job Market, Career Showcase – An Employer’s Perspective

Regardless of the title used on various campuses, they all are a name for the single biggest networking event held on campus for employers and students.

Employers come looking for future employees that will fill the needs of their organizations, and students come hoping to find that first job after college that will start them on a successful career path.

Our company will attend 13 Career Fairs this semester.  Eleven will be on college campuses.  We, like most other employers I know, hope to meet students who have not only succeeded in their studies but also have made the effort to learn how to properly approach finding their first career opportunity after college. They’ve prepared a resume’ and had it reviewed by Career Services (they come with several copies); they’ve researched the companies that are attending the fair and chosen 5-10 that they want to focus on (they have a cover letter addressed to these companies); they’ve looked in their closet and picked out professional attire for the day of the fair (and ironed shirts and polished shoes); and they have their 1 minute introduction ready.

Employers come with company information to distribute, ready to tell their company story, eager to share opportunities for graduates and hoping to recruit the best and the brightest to their organization.

And the staff of Career Services organizes it all.

I think it’s a win, win, win.

See you soon.


Things I wish I would have known before my Senior Year – A Grad Student’s Perspective

It’s never too early to start creating your resume
Your resume will be one of the most important pieces of writing from your college career. Far too often students put this off until the end of senior year. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. Start drafting a resume your freshmen year. Even if the jobs you’ve had up until that point aren’t in your desired career field, everything adds to your experience.  You’ve likely had some sort of experience working with a team, developing your communication skills, or even held a leadership position.  These are all important things employers look for on resumes. When you first create your resume you may notice you are lacking certain skills or expertise. By doing this sooner, rather than later, you’ll give yourself time to develop those skills. By the time you graduate, you’ll have a resume that stands out to employers.

Take advantage of the resources available to you
If the thought of writing a resume, job searching, or interviewing for a job, stresses you out, you aren’t alone. I remember that writing my first resume felt daunting and overwhelming. When it came time for me to look for an internship I didn’t know where to start. Fortunately for you, The Career Center is an office dedicated to helping you with any of your career needs.  We offer a variety of services that will help you land your dream job. Looking back, I regret not taking advantage of the career related resources available to me as an undergraduate.  I know that it certainly would have relieved a lot of stress on my part.  Just as it’s never too early to start working on your resume, it’s never too early to visit the Career Center and learn how we can assist you.

The importance of internships
Securing an internship as an undergrad is a great way to make yourself more marketable to employers. Nowadays, companies are not interested solely in your academic credentials.  They also want to see that you have applied experiences. Graduating students with internships on their résumé have a better chance of landing a full-time position. You may also find the internship experience in general to be of great benefit to you. Internships are a great time to “test drive” your career field.  They allow you to determine whether or not the job you had in mind is a good fit for you. Internships are a great way to begin networking within your field. Many even have mentoring programs that will pair you up with an experienced professional within the company. Any internship experiences you gain will be invaluable.  Even for me today, one of the most important and beneficial “jobs” I‘ve had was an internship during my time as an undergrad.

Build (and monitor) your Social Media presence
Technology has changed the way job-seekers look for jobs, as well as the way companies search for candidates. Social media is now more important than ever. When you apply for a position, assume hiring managers will search for information online about you. Make sure to review social media accounts and remove any content that would lead prospective employers to question your professionalism.
Social media can be one of the best career tools and resources. If you’ve not yet created a LinkedIn account, you’re missing out the opportunity to connect and network with employers worldwide. Admittedly, I joined LinkedIn later than I should have, but I now realize how important it is to establish a professional presence. Joining LinkedIn, or creating a professional Twitter account, allows you to follow companies that interest you. Not only does this enable you to stay up to date with their company and job openings, but you also begin to establish a professional network.
The importance of social media in this day and age cannot be overstated. Your online reputation is your reputation. Make sure you take time to create, build and protect it.

Get to know your professors
Besides the fact that it will make class more enjoyable, there are several reasons why getting to know your professors will be beneficial to your future career. If you are unsure of what field you want to go into, talking with professors who teach the classes that most interest you may help you decide what types of jobs are available in that area. When applying to jobs, some may require a letter of recommendation. Building relationships with your professors allows them to get to know you better. As a result, they’ll be able to provide a stronger recommendation. Professors may also have leads to jobs you were unaware of. Many are well connected in their industry and may be able to assist you in your job search.


“Dr. Who? And Other Networking Tips”

You have all been on the campus for almost four weeks.  Some of you could add the number of years to that count.  So, how is your networking going?  The kind that leads to your future career.

Whether you are a Freshman or a Senior, networking will be the fuel that moves you toward career goals. (If you have no career goals, that’s another blog.)  Do you have a 15 second elevator pitch? It is the response you should be able to give to the question, “So what do you do?”. “ I am a (Freshman, Sophomore, etc.) at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, majoring in _____ with the goal of entering into the field of ______” sounds sooo much better than “just hangin’” or “just barely getting by”.

Now that you might introduce yourself with more intent, go meet some very influential persons on campus.  We call them “Professors or Drs.”.  After almost four weeks on campus, can you list the names of your professors? They know about the field in which you are interested, or know persons who are in the field.  They will be your contacts for that full time course load you are taking. They could be influential references for your resume, internship, employment, research opportunity, etc.

You will not be able to claim proficiency in all things when you graduate, but your professors will be able to give you recommendations based on your performance in their classes.  If they know who you are, that is.

On Wednesday, September 25th, from 10:00am – 2:00pm in the UC Tennessee and Chattanooga Rooms, the Career and Student Employment Center will host its Fall 2013 Career Day for UTC students and alumni.  Practice your networking tools and be prepared to meet the employers who are experts in their fields.  They are preparing to ask you, “Who are you and what do you do?”