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

Month: October 2020

Writing Thank You Cards to Employers

Career Month is ending at Career & Professional Development, and now is the perfect time for students to build upon the connections that they have made throughout our various career fairs and digital treks.

A great way to maintain these professional relationships is to practice writing and sending thank you cards to those you have interviewed with, sought guidance from, or networked with. To strengthen these communications and ensure a great future contact, here are some steps you can take and tips to lead you to success:  

  1. When do I Send It?  

Once you WOW an employer after an interview, you want to make sure your great first impression remains fresh in their minds. It is generally recommended to send a thank you message within 24- 48 hours of your interaction, but for events taking place near the end of the week, messages the following week are okay, too.

Directly after your interview or meeting, write down a few takeaways that you can include which will then assist you later when writing the thank you message. 

  1. What do I Include?  

There are some key things you should cover to make a strong impression. 

  1. Clearly express your thanks!  Although this may seem obvious, demonstrating this message will be meaningful to employers. 
  1. Show Interest: Explain why you applied for this position, reached out during the career fair, or completed an interview, and why it is relevant to you. 
  1. Highlight Experiences and Top Traits: Share again why you would be right for the company or job and how your past and abilities will assist you to be the perfect candidate 
  1. Mention specifics from the Interview: In doing this, the interviewers will be reminded of how the interview went and demonstrate your attentiveness to what was discussed. 
  1. How long should it be?  

To keep the recipient interested in what you are discussing, it’s a good idea to keep the thank you message to a maximum of 250-300 words. The subject line should also be concise, e.g., ““Thank you – Sales Marketing Associate interview” 

  1. Proofread! 

When sharing your message, a thank you note that is free of errors will further confirm your professionalism and ability to be detail oriented.  

  1. How do I end my message? 

Finally, ensure your message has been well received by ending it with a simple and polite closing statement along with any further contact information so they can continue the dialogue.  

By following these tips and tricks, whether your Thank-You note is sent following an interview, interaction at a career fair, or following another connection, your professional network will be positively impacted and will lead to your success even after Career Month is over.  

Career Fair Etiquette

Career fairs are a great resource for navigating the process of searching for jobs and internships. Not only are participants able to connect with potential employers, but they also provide an environment to practice interpersonal skills, networking habits, and witness how your resume and cover letters will be received.

This October is Career Month at Career and Professional Development, and many career fairs will be occurring starting on October 14th. One skill essential to all students entering the workforce is demonstrating etiquette when attending these events, and so listed below are some tips to help ensure the best experience possible! 

  1. Research those attending: Career & Professional Developments provides attendees with lists of the companies that will be participating at their events, by looking at the event in ZagsIgnite. It is extremely beneficial to take a look at this beforehand, as it will enable you to look closely at what the companies stand for and what services they provide. This tactic will allow you more information on how to connect when networking.  
  1. Pick your top choices of those you want to talk to: When attending, it is important to not only research employers beforehand but also decide based on that information what jobs you think would best fit you and your needs. This will ensure the strongest interactions in a limited time frame. 
  1. Go the extra mile and show your style! Many times professional career events and employers like to see participants engage in business casual and business professional attire. By dressing appropriately, this will ensure you give off a good first impression and show employers that you are serious about your search.  This is true even for virtual fairs, where video chat is the primary method of communication, such as those taking place this month.
  1. Prepare what you want to say: Go in with an idea of the important things you are wanting to share. Often referred to as an elevator pitch, this will be a short description of your strengths, educational and personal interests, and experiences. By knowing this ahead of time, you will be able to express your preparedness along with providing employers a better understanding of who you are. If you need help clarifying your elevator pitch, check out our how-to guide.
  1. Bring a resume! Look at the theme of the career fair and tailor your resume around that. When talking to employers, be sure to begin the conversation by sharing this document with them, as they will be able to reference it throughout your conversation and provide them with extra information they can ask about. 
  1. Follow up: Ending your discussions, make sure to request either a business card or contact information from those you felt a strong connection with. This way, you can reach out and request either further information regarding the position or enquire about any questions you may have. This will reaffirm your interests in the company and remind employers of who you are.  

By reading this article and educating yourself on the etiquette required, you have already taken the steps needed to find greater success in this process, wow potential bosses and build connections to ensure a great outcome. 

If you have any questions or are interested in additional career fair prep materials, make sure to check out ZagsIgnite. You can book an appointment to review your resume, build your pitch, and get additional tips for networking. Don’t forget to check out all the resources on our downloadable resources page.

Tips for Keeping Your Social Media Professional

Have you ever wondered what an employer might find if they decided to “Google” you? Social media has become a regular part of our digital reality, and what many students forget is that it can be a powerful tool for hiring managers to learn more about their potential candidates. To help you navigate what works and what doesn’t, here are some tips and tricks to help you stay smart on social media, and
show your best self to the world:

1. Review your privacy settings
Become the gatekeeper to your social media content by adding privacy settings to your account. This will let you decide who is allowed to see your posts, follow you, become friends with you, etc. Facebook and Instagram make it super easy to protect your content, and it is only the people in your immediate circles who are allowed to interact with it. Privacy settings vary by platform, though, so when in doubt, maybe skip that post.

2. Allow your accounts to be a form of expression
Social media can be a tool that actually helps you in the hiring process, if you post about things that interest you and show off a little bit of your personality. This will help employers learn more about you and your life outside of the workplace. Creating a positive personal brand for yourself will make you more appealing as opposed to your other competitors.

A hand holds up a cell phone with an Instagram image pulled up. The image shows two people laughing in a grove of neatly trimmed pine trees.
Don’t be afraid to post about your life and interests! Just remember the audience might include potential employers.

3. Keep your photos G-Rated
Avoid posting content with any form of substance or nudity to make a good first digital impression with your potential employers. Remember this! Even if your post is set to private, don’t put all of your trust into the hands of these social platforms.

4. Grammar is key
Use proper grammar when posting on social media. It can be tempting to be informal when talking with friends, but your social media is one of the first things employers see and having good grammar will help boost your credibility online, and demonstrate that you are a well educated candidate.

5. Don’t bully others
This might seem obvious, but avoid posting content that is hateful or offensive. The best thing you can do is post about topics that bring happiness to one’s feed, rather than negativity.

In conclusion, the power of social media can truly benefit you as you progress into your professional life, and if you keep track of these tips when it comes time to post you will be well on your way to success.