Career & Professional Development

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

Tag: Helpful Links

Get Linked Up!

Have you actively created your Linkedin Profile yet?  There are currently 9,500 Zags listed in Linkedin that are possible professional networking connections. Although you may have a Facebook profile, here are five top reasons you need to get active on Linkedin today.

1. Build a professional online presence: No more quizzes or college photos, just professional accomplishments and future goals.

2. Connect in a meaningful way with alumni and other “warm” contacts: Here is your “pre” established network:

  • Fellow Alumni
  • Gonzaga Staff & Faculty
  • Parents and other relatives
  • Friends (Peers and a few years older)
  • Internship managers and colleagues
  • Connections from volunteering

3.Research companies and career paths:  Linkedin allows you to gain a creative edge when hunting for opportunities at dream companies.   Alums from your college are now working at companies around the world, look

them up and make a connection.

4. Find opportunities with organizations that don’t recruit on campus: By using the search function, you can meet fellow Zags in companies and then request introductions.

5. Learn lifelong networking skills: From follow through to developing well written e-mails and thank-you’s, Linkedin allows for recent grads to hone lifelong skills in a dynamic real-time method.

For tips and tricks for recent graduates on making the most of Linkedin, check out their site at:

Once your account is created, make sure to join the Career Center’s Group as well as the Alumni Association’s Group!

linked in-logo

“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.


No matter how nervous you are, there are some responses to the standard interview questions that should never be said in an interview. (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?”

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, Right?


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.

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.


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.

Honey, I Think It’s Time You Admit You Have a Problem


Don’t look away from the screen like I’m not talking to you. Yes you, reader whose face is slightly blue from the screen reflecting from your radiant skin. It’s time to admit that you have a problem along with the rest of the Northwest.

Diagnosis: Caffeine Junkie.

Addiction: Mass amounts of No-Fat Caramel Lattes, and Extra Espresso Shots fed scolding hot directly into your buccal cavity.

I know this may seem like a way to wake yourself up, but a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (click here for the full article) has recently linked coffee, along with several others, as hindrances of your regular sleep patterns. Here are few questions for you.

Do you find yourself sleepy after a long nights rest? This is probably because even though you slept you did not receive adequate REM or deep sleep in the night because you were too busy thinking of that paper due tomorrow, or that assignment at work.

Or, can you find that you can sleep anywhere at anytime? No, you are not just a very talented individual, you are sleep deprived. This can not only make you yawn endlessly throughout the day, leaving your mouth open to catch flies and airborne pathogens along with other things, but sleep deprivation has been proven to decrease college student GPA, your level of work performance, and make you hungrier and feel less full.

So what can you do to help get a better deeper sleep?

1. Reduce noise, light, and disruptive behaviors before bed. That way there’s nothing disturbing you before bed.

2. Have a “power down” hour before bed, removing things like your cell phone, blackberry, e-mail and Internet before bed. This stops your brain and slows it down before bed.

3. Create a “worry Journal” and when you can’t get to sleep write everything that you are stressed about at the time. This way all of your problems are on that paper, and not in your head.

4. Read a book. If you are really trying to get to bed, read a non-exhilarating book, say Fluid Mechanics or Anna Karenina, and it’ll put you right to bed.

So before you pick up that next coffee, think about your sleep and maybe go for a decaf. You’ll think about the wonderful sleep you had, before you started balding or going through menopause because your deep sleep only goes downhill as you get older.

Written by Marvin Dumas, Class of 2011

Don’t Be A Prisoner of Azkaban


Sometimes I can’t help but link my life to Harry Potter. I don’t know how many of you have a similar problem, but there are so many Dementors, Voldemorts, and riddle spitting mythical creatures in my life that I am about to just drop out of Hogwarts. Psh, like my parents would ever let me do that.

However, after perusing the internet I have found at least one partronus that can help us all tackle one particularly bad Dementor: The Tough Interview Question. Who would think that your employer would ever ask you, “What sea creature defines you the best, and why?” or the ever popular, “Why should we hire you for the job?”

Well I, along with the help of Yahoo!hotjobs, have the answer for these questions so next time you won’t faint and need to be rushed to the nearest candy shop for a large piece of chocolate.

The “Why Question” or “Why Should we Hire YOU?”

Firstly KNOW the fine line between boastful and confident and DO NOT cross it. You are here to sell yourself, but do not come across as if you already have the job. Remember to highlight the specific aspects of your experience that pertain to this job.

The “Future Question” or “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

Remember not to get too detailed, and tell them what is important to you professionally and how you plan to achieve your goals.

The “Salary Question” or “How Much Do You Plan To Make?”

First, try and gently deflect the question and ask them what about the salary for this job, but if they pressure you for an answer give them your range. Know that this question can and will be asked, and be prepared to offer a well thought out answer so you seem knowledgeable of the field and it’s typical pay.

The “Silly Question” aka “Which Country in the UN Describes You and Why”

First things first, DO NOT blow this question off. The employer uses this question to see how you react under pressure, and you should not take too long to think this over, but make sure you pick a creature or country that fits you well. For instance, take an animal like a ferret, and say how you always look for BRIGHT SHINY new ways to push yourself to new boundaries, and you get along great in a “business of ferrets” always helping your entire business to succeed.

So there you have it, a lovely business of ferret patroni to help you conquer your next job interview.

Written by Marvin Dumas, Class of 2011

FREE Resumes Ends on Saturday!

With times being tight, every bit helps especially for those on the hunt for the next great career.  Staples is helping out with FREE (yes, free….) resumes and business cards.

Now through  Saturday June 13, Staples stores across the country will print 20 copies of your resume and 40 business cards for free as part of the office giant’s Job Stimulus Program.  For details and store locations go to:

Tip from ’06 Grad:

This piece of advice came to me via Linkedin  through the Gonzaga University group where I posted information regarding our new Facebook group.  (Have you joined yet? If not, check it out here.) In my discussion post I asked fellow alumni to consider what advice or tips they would give to current students and recent grads in light of our current economic conditions.  

This was Matt’s reply:

I am a GU alumnist, class of 2006. My biggest advise for recent college grads is too exaust all outlets. What I mean by this, is too post your resumes on the, kind of sites. Find local recruiters around your area that can help set up interviews for you. 

My biggest advise is too go on as many interviews as possible. Even though you may know the job is not for you going into the interview, the experience itself is worth the time. The more interviews you go on, the better in the long run. 


Matt Fergen, Account Specialist at Guy Carpenter


Any other alumni out there who would like to share some advice or tips for current GU students or recent grads? I’d love to hear from you!  Comment here or e-mail me directly at  


Thanks in advance for connecting with fellow Zags!

CareerBuilder’s Annual College Job Forecast: New Grads Must Step it Up

This is an eye-opening article from For the full article, click here.

The class of 2009 will face the most competitive job market in years, as companies continue to proceed with caution amid economic uncertainty, according to CareerBuilder’s newly released annual college job forecast.The percentage of employers planning to hire recent college grads is roughly half of what it was just two years ago. Only 43 percent of employers plan to hire recent college graduates in 2009, down from 56 percent in 2008 and 79 percent in 2007.


2009 Salaries

Along with the economy, entry-level salaries have taken a bit of a dive. Among those employers planning to hire recent college graduates, more than one in five (21 percent) said they will decrease starting salaries for recent college graduates in 2009 as compared to 2008. But there’s hope! A whopping 68 percent of employers plan to keep initial salary offers the same as last year, and 11 percent will increase them.

  • Thirty-three percent of employers plan to offer recent college graduates starting salaries ranging between $30,000 and $40,000.
  • An additional 17 percent will offer between $40,000 and $50,000
  • Fourteen percent will offer more than $50,000
  • Thirty-six percent will offer less than $30,000
  • “While recent college graduates are facing a highly competitive job market right now, there are still opportunities out there,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America.

    “The biggest challenge is showing relevant experience, which employers say is one of the most important factors they look for in applications from recent college graduates. This isn’t limited to professional work experience, so don’t get discouraged. Class work, school activities and volunteering also qualify as relevant experience and can be included in your resume as well.”

So how can new graduates differentiate themselves in the current job market, and what are the absolute faux pas that today’s candidates need to be aware of — and steer clear of? Employers who participated in the survey weighed in below.

Relevant work experience?

I’m pretty sure grads (and candidates in general) should leave that week-long stint with a cult or the Britney Fan Club honorary board member award off their credentials. But with that said, what activities qualify as pertinent work experience for recent college grads to include on their resumes?

  • Internships
  • Part-time jobs in another area or field
  • Volunteer work
  • Involvement in school organizations
  • Class work
  • Involvement in managing activities for sororities and fraternities
  • Participation in sports

Hey new grads, don’t do this:

Employers also shared their opinions on the biggest mistakes new grads make when applying and interviewing. Wearers of Spandex unitards and lovers of keg stand Facebook profile pictures, take note:

  • Acting bored or cocky – 63 percent
  • Not dressing appropriately – 61 percent
  • Coming to the interview with no knowledge of the company – 58 percent
  • Not turning off cell phones or electronic devices – 50 percent
  • Not asking good questions during the interview – 49 percent
  • Asking what the pay is before the company considered them for the job – 38 percent
  • Spamming employers with the same resume and/or cover letter – 21 percent
  • Failure to remove unprofessional photos/content on social media such as social networking pages, Web pages, blogs – 19 percent
  • Not sending a thank you note after the interview – 12 percent

CareerBuilder’s Annual College Job Forecast was conducted from February 20 to March 11, 2009 among 2,543 hiring managers and Human Resource professionals. Get the full press release here.

Top 10 Cities for New Grads

Again, many congrats to the Class of 2009.  The weekend was filled was so many wonderful friends and family descending onto Spokane to celebrate graduate’s recent success!  Now that is official, you may be asking yourself, “Now what?”  Maybe, just maybe, relocating to where the opportunities, cheap(er) apartments and variety of young professionals is your next step.

MSN Careers launched this story today entitled, “Top 10 Cities for New Grads“.  The article lists the top ten cities based on the ranking of the top U.S. cities with the highest concentration of young adults (age 20 – 24) from the U.S. Census Bureau (2006), inventory of jobs requiring less than one year of experience from (2009) and the average cost of rent for a one bedroom apartment from (2009).


1.  Indianapolis 
Average rent:*

Popular entry-level categories:** salescustomer servicehealth care

2.  Philadelphia                
Average rent: $1,034
Popular entry-level categories: salescustomer servicemanagement

3.  Baltimore      
Average rent: $1,130
Popular entry-level categories: salescustomer servicehealth care

4.  Cincinnati      
Average rent:
Popular entry-level categories: salescustomer servicehealth care

5.  Cleveland
Average rent: $686

Popular entry-level categories: salesmarketingcustomer service

6.  New York      
Average rent: $1,548
Popular entry-level categories: salescustomer serviceadmin-clerical

7.  Phoenix         
Average rent: $747
Popular entry-level categories: salescustomer servicemarketing

8.  Denver           
Average rent: $877
Popular entry-level categories: salescustomer servicehealth care

9.  Chicago          
Average rent: $1,133
Popular entry-level categories: salesmarketingcustomer service

10.  San Antonio               
Average rent: $696
Popular entry-level categories: salescustomer servicemanagement



Of this list Gonzaga has chapters in a handful of these top ten cities: Phoenix, Indiana, Chicago, New York, Denver.   If you consider relocating to these or any new city, make sure to contact the Alumni Association…they can help you connect to fellow Zags in the area. 


Kate Lorenz is the editor for and its job-seeker blog, She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow her on Twitter

*Average rent of one bedroom apartment

**Using search term “entry level” in that city