Career & Professional Development

Helping Gonzaga University Students and Alumni Clarify and Achieve Their Academic and Professional Goals

Month: July 2009 (page 1 of 2)

Is Your Job Search Giving You the Shock of Your Life?

You’ve been applying for positions on a daily basis.    Your parents are wondering if they will ever get you out of the house and if tuition was money well spent.   You may have even had an interview, but you’ve yet to land a job.

Now is the time to contact the Career Center.

We are here to help our Zags get that job that will launch your career through various coaching steps.

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Maybe your resume is good, but not great.  We can help you with that.  Maybe your cover letter is getting passed over because it rather generic instead of specific.  We can help you with that.  Maybe when you went on that interview, you didn’t feel as prepared as you wish you were.  We can help you with that, too! Oh yeah, we also have resources to help you with job searching as well from helpful links to getting familar with networking tactics.

Just come by…call… or email (careercenter@gonzaga.edu).   If you feel like you are getting shocked by the reality of your first job hunt, then come see us at the Career Center.

Hot Communication Leads in Portland

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Just as the summer is heating up throughout the Pacific Northwest (it’s hotter in Seattle/Portland than Spokane today!), I wanted to forward along a few job leads that have come into the Career Center recently. If you are job

hunting in Portland in the field of communications/non-profit or public relations, check them out!

  • The Washington County Visitors Association is hiring a temporary part-time marketing assistant. Hourly salary is $10-$14, depending on experience. Apply by July 31.  For the job listing go here. For the Association’s site, go here: http://www.visitwashingtoncountyoregon.com/
  • Legacy Health is seeking a part-time communications specialist to lead internal communications planning. This limited duration position is in NW Portland and not expected to extend beyond 4th quarter 2011. Hourly salary is $22.34 – $33.37. Visit Legacy Jobs and search job number 09-0770.
  • The Oregon Department of Revenue is hiring a communications managerMonthly salary is $4,670 – $6,889. Position closes July 31.

What NOT to do After an Interview…

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We always tell job seekers what to do before, during and after an interview.  From researching companies to sending a well written thank-you note, there are some “basics” when it comes to interview etiquette.  Sometimes we forget however what job seekers shouldn’t do after an interview.  Yes, there are many no-no’s for post interview but in a Facebook and Twitter world some of the rules are being re-written.

For example: HR recruiters are in fact using social media websites like Twitter,  Facebook and MySpace to find out more on individual candidates.  (Ethical implications of this is still undefined and under debate.)

With that, consider that your Facebook Status as well as your Twitter updates up for grabs for recruiters, potential bosses and individuals to network with.  It’s recommended that job seekers to never update Facebook status or Twitter regarding the success (or failure) of an interview.

Saying, “That interviewer was such a jerk, and they would be lucky to have me on their staff.”  Probably wouldn’t read very well if someone from that company comes across it.

Or, “That interview was a snap and that job is in the bag and is mine.”   Being arrogant and ostentatious about the possibility of landing the job also will not make you appealing to employers.

My tip for you?   Follow the instructions of the Twitter Bird here on the blog and know what to Tweet/Facebook and what to leave alone.

Digital Career Fairs?

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This caught my eye as potentially the latest in trends for Career Fairs: 100% Digital Career Fairs. The concept of being able to chat with HR recruiters is a new idea to me, but I thought I would pass it along to job hunters out there.    I stumbled upon this one in a various e-mail to our Career Center sponsored by Proctor & Gamble hosted on October 1st.

Checking out their Facebook page you see event details such as:

  • You’ll get to meet P&G recruiting leaders from the comfort of your own home
  • Gain knowledge about P&G beyond what you would receive from an on-campus career fair
  • Connect from any place that has access to windows explorer
  • Business attire is not necessary & there’s no cost to you
  • All typed dialogue will be in real time, such as instant messages, so you will not encounter lag time between posts.

Considering that there is little to no cost to job seekers, it can’t hurt to check it out.  Mark your calendars today!

“You said What?”

I will admit.  I am not perfect, sometimes in social situations I can get nervous trying to be too funny or witty (which of course just annoys anyone in a 10 feet radius of me).  The butterflies in the stomach, clammy hands and the second guessing of each comment said is another side effect of my tension.

One would think that I am referring to a blind date, but instead I am writing about the good old job interview.   Just like with dating, being nervous in an interview is a good thing.  Your adrenaline makes your senses heightened and ideally you should be much more aware of questions being asked as well as appropriate responses.

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No matter how nervous you are, there are some responses to the standard interview questions that should never be said in an interview. CNN.com (in partnership with CareerBuilder) recently released hiring managers craziest responses to fairly standard questions.  The majority of the answers are funny and jaw-dropping.  One thing they all have in common: they are real.

“I’m not wanted in this state.”

“How many young women work here?”

“I didn’t steal it; I just borrowed it.”

“You touch somebody and they call it sexual harassment!”

“I’ve never heard such a stupid question.”

For the full list of outrageous answers, check it out the article here.

What should you say in the coveted job interview?  Highlight skills, accomplishments, qualities and goals for the future.  The interview is where you get to bring your personality away from paper and into real life.  Ideally you will answer the question how you fit perfectly with the organization and the position.

And whatever you say don’t let it be something a friend would reply by saying, “You said what in an interview?”

A Handful of Portland Leads

The following Portland job leads were forwarded to the Career Center today.  Many are communications and marketing based with a range of experience levels.  Is one of interest? Check it out directly!

Job Lead in Finance & Administration (South Seattle)

The south Seattle parishes and schools of St. Edward, St. Paul, and St. George are seeking talented and experienced candidates for the position of Regional Pastoral Assistant for Finance & Administration.

Email jfadul@stedwardparish.net to receive a complete application packet. Position open until filled. This is a challenging position in a multi-cultural setting, and a grace filled opportunity for someone with the right gifts to make a difference.

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, Right?

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Finally I get to be sharing some good news to our recent graduates as well as any job hunter who is looking for the first “real” job.  (The lemonade stand in the 3rd grade just doesn’t count guys.)  Earlier this week, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) released a press statement that highlighted that overall starting salary offer has stayed fairly on par despite the tough economy.

NACE’s Summer 2009 Salary Survey report shows that the average starting salary offer for new college graduates now stands at $49,307. That’s off less than 1 percent from the average $49,693 that 2008 graduates posted last year at this time.

The statement goes to even break down data by school and major:

  • Engineering graduates enjoyed the highest salary increase with an average offer to engineering graduates rose 3.7 percent to $59,254.
  • Accounting majors also did better than the average, and posted a 1.9 percent increase for an average offer of $48,993.
  • The average offer to finance graduates rose 2.9 percent to $49,940, while marketing graduates posted a 3 percent increase for an average of $43,325.
  • For all those liberal arts grads, starting offers barely changed.  Their overall average offer fell less than 1 percent from $36,419 last year to $36,175.
  • Economics graduates also saw a decrease to their average salary offer, which fell by 1.3 percent to $49,829.

Although we all know the old saying, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”  But is nice to know that the branches are not being pruned back to heavily for all those job seekers out there.

Tips for Recent Grads from HR Recruiters

CareerBuilder launched a study recently that caught my eye and could be consider “blog” worthy.  The idea of the study was highlight the highly competitive job market that the Class of 2009 faces.  Now you don’t need to have a Harvard Economics degree to find truth in that statement, but what is helpful are the areas of awareness for recent grads to consider when job hunting according to the survey.

1. Presenting Experience:

For recent graduates, one of the most challenging components of a job hunt is proving they have the relevant experience employers want in candidates.  Your resume should not only highlight tactical and tangible accomplishments like group projects, relevant course work or internships but also “soft” skill set.

Here are the top ten qualities and skills employers are looking for in new hires:

  • Communication Skills
  • Honesty/Integrity
  • Ability to Work in a Team
  • Strong Work Ethic
  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Motivation/Initiative
  • Computer Skills
  • Detail Oriented

The majority of Gonzaga grads have a wealth of experience with many of these qualities and skills, the problem is how do you sell it.  If you have leadership experience in a club or organization that highlights one or more of these qualities, expand it on your resume.  This is not an economy to be humble about accomplishments.

2. Interview setbacks

The survey mentioned that 63%  of employers believed that the biggest interview mistake  recent graduates make is acting bored or cocky. How can you prevent that?

  • Once trick is to take notes during the interview (but no doodling!) and refer to them later when you have the chance to respond.
  • Listen for key words such as:  goals, accomplishments, objectives, visions, outline, overall, etc.  These words are indicators that the interviewer is mentioning a pivotal piece of information.  Perk up!

Other interview pitfalls included:

  • Lack of preparation.  (Yes, this keeps coming up over and over again.  Research really is that important.)
  • Professional dress and etiquette: Iron the shirt and pants, comb your hair and turn off your cell phone.   (All the way to silent please!)  Also 12% cited that forgetting to mail a thank you card can damage a successful interview.

All of this information shouldn’t be a suprise, but I guess when it comes to advice sometimes ithas more weight from a HR recruiter.  Keep it in mind job hunters!

Standing Apart in the Crowd

We all know that times are tough in this job market.  Positions are being filled quickly and with a highly qualified pool of candidates.   Recruiters are seeing more applications than ever in the thousands.  How does a job hunter set themselves apart from other seekers?  This can be an intimidating concept for recent or new college graduates  especially those who have never had a job hunt in a good economy.

Recently CareerBuilder launched the results of a survey highlighting interesting tactics job seekers have tried in order to gain attention of recruiters.  These are some pretty non-traditional methods of job hunting (to say the very least).

Some of the examples listed in the survey….

    • Candidate sent a shoe with a resume to “get my foot in the door.”
    • Candidate staged a sit-in in the lobby to get a meeting with a director.
    • Candidate washed cars in the parking lot.
    • Candidate sent a resume wrapped as a present and said his skills were a “gift to the company.”
    • Candidate handed out resumes at stoplights.
    • Candidate sent a cake designed as a business card with the candidate’s picture.
    • Candidate went to the same barber as the Chairman of the Board and had the barber speak on his behalf.
    • Candidate handed out personalized coffee cups.
    • Candidate came dressed in a bunny suit because it was near Easter.
    • Candidate told the receptionist he had an interview with the manager. When he met the manager, he confessed that he was driving by and decided to stop in on a chance.

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Do I recommend any of these in catching the eye of hiring managers?  Probably not.

In the survey, one recruiter was quoted as saying, “While unusual job search antics may attract the attention of hiring managers, they need to be done with care and professionalism so that candidates are remembered for the right reasons.”

What then do I recommend for job seekers in this tight economy?  Think like the Boy Scouts. Always be prepared. When you step out of your house to the post office, bank or an interview be ready to potentially meet someone who can help you in your job hunt.  In other words, leave those sweatpants at home! (Along with your pink bunny suit.) I am not telling you wear a three piece suit, but clean and presentable outfits are always a minimal.  You never know who you will run into at the grocery store.

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