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7 Ways to Get a Jumpstart on Your Career This Summer

7 Ways to Get a Jumpstart on Your Career This Summer

Summer is finally here!

OK, we know summer’s not all about snow cones, flip flops and lounging around the pool. And although you’re probably busy working, interning or taking classes, summer is the perfect time to start thinking about and planning for your future. Here are some tips for taking advantage of your time away from campus.

        • Ask your relatives and your parents’ friends for informational interviews. An informational interview is really just a conversation during which you can learn about a career field or particular company. Speaking with someone one-on-one about what he or she does every day is a great way to learn more about what a job is really like. And while an informational is not an actual job interview, it is not an informal setting. You should behave professionally and come prepared with thoughtful questions. The UD alumni network and friends that have already graduated are also great resources for informational interviews.

       

        • Research internships—know the deadlines and use your time off to work on your resume and cover letter. Not only will an internship provide you with hands-on experience that can help you land a job after graduation, but it can also show the kind of day-to-day experience you can expect in a particular career field. Internships are an important step in the discernment process—you might leave an internship knowing exactly what you don’t want to do.

       

        • Start thinking about next summer’s research opportunities. If you’re a science major, conducting research is crucial to your success. The best REUs and summer research opportunities are highly competitive and will require a thoughtful application. Spend some time over your summer break researching these opportunities and preparing your application.

       

        • If you have a competitive GPA, check out UD’s Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowships page to see if you qualify for any opportunities. Review the requirements and deadlines for each award and begin work on your personal statement. Gaby Martin at the OPCD can guide you through the application process.

       

        • Look for volunteer opportunities. Not only will you be giving back to the community, you can gain experience that many employers will value. If you line up a volunteer opportunity for the fall semester, you may be able to receive course credit for approved community service.

       

        • Explore avenues to present your work to the public if you’ve written an exceptional paper or conducted in-depth research in your field. This could mean making a presentation during a campus event or sharing your work with an organization tied to your area of research. Many scientific, literary, and educational societies welcome student participation. You can apply for a University of Dallas Experience Award funding to offset your travel expenses.

 

        • Make an appointment with an OPCD career counselor if you are around DFW during the summer.  We can also work with you via email and phone. We can help you fine-tune your resume and cover letter, research internship opportunities, and apply for prestigious scholarships and fellowships. Make time now, before your new classes begin.

 

6 Keys to a Professional LinkedIn Profile

6 Keys to a Professional LinkedIn Profile

This post originally appeared on June 30, 2016.

Statistics show that about 80 percent of today’s jobs are landed through networking. But how, exactly, do you go about finding opportunities to network? Robert Yale, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, spoke to Director of Career Services & QEP Julie Janik’s career development class about making professional connections and building your personal brand through LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is not Facebook for the over-40 crowd,” said Yale. “It’s a social network for professionals with over 450 million users. It can be the bridge between you and potential employers if you work diligently to create a profile that sets you apart.”

Here are the dos and don’ts that make for a successful student LinkedIn profile:

Get a professional photo
Eye tracking studies show that recruiters spend 20 percent of their time focused on the photo in a LinkedIn profile. Because of this, Yale says you must use a professional image: “Use a tightly cropped photo. Wear business attire and make sure you’re recognizable.” And make sure you’re the only person/animal/object in the photo: “Don’t use an image of you with a dolphin unless you’re a dolphin trainer.” And beware: if you don’t upload a photo, LinkedIn will choose one from another of your social media accounts. What first impression do you want to make?

Don’t list your class year
According to Yale, listing your class year (freshman, sophomore, etc.) can exclude you from a recruiter’s searches. If, for instance, you forget to update your status from sophomore to junior, any keyword searches looking for juniors will bypass your profile. Another note about searches: list your degree by its acronym (BA, MBA). That’s what automatic searches are programmed to look for.

Complete the experience section with future employers in mind
This means don’t list your title as “student” in the experience section. “College is about more than being a student,” said Yale. “So in the experience section, list all of your volunteer and extracurricular activities, as well as your internships and summer jobs.” Think hard about what you learned and how those experiences translate into transferable skills. List those skills in your profile.

Don’t sell yourself short
When writing about your experience, don’t minimize the work you did by over-clarifying the position. If you were a student worker, list your job title only — do not list it as “student worker for XYZ Department.” Don’t describe your work at a day camp as a “short summer job.” Instead, focus on how you met your employer’s expectations and what skills you gained as a result of the experience.

Be definitive and declarative in all your profile entries
Don’t say you are “planning to go to graduate school” or “hoping to land an internship with a large accounting firm.” Instead, show the steps you are taking to reach that goal. Statements like “preparing for medical school” or “completing course work required to secure internship” are straightforward and goal oriented. As Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Make connections
Yale hears many students say they don’t have connections beyond school. “So get creative,” he said. “Start thinking about your parents and their friends, aunts, uncles, and your friends’ parents. Once you make your first layer of connections, the doors are open for you to connect with their connections, and so on.” This is also where networking comes in. When you go to a job fair, pick up cards from employers that interest you and add them to your network. If you notice that one of your connections is linked to a person that could help you or a company you’d like to work for, ask your connection if they will introduce you. “Be diligent, and your network will grow exponentially,” said Yale.

Visit the OPCD website for more career advice.

College of Business Newsletter Notes from the OPCD: Does Your LinkedIn Impress?

College of Business Newsletter Notes from the OPCD: Does Your LinkedIn Impress?

In case there is any question about this topic – LinkedIn is useful. In my role, I regularly use it to recommend candidates to my connections, ask professionals from in my network industry-specific questions, solicit speakers for campus events, and more.  With more than 2,000 connections, I am always surprised at what a useful networking tool LinkedIn is (when it seems like it could be so overwhelming). Here are a few of my thoughts based on my experience with LinkedIn.

Update. Seriously. Be smart about it though. 
Even if you are not actively looking for a new position, updating your LinkedIn profile makes good professional sense. I receive lots of requests to link in, and I see that more and more candidates are adding their LinkedIn address to their resumes (also smart).
 
Be sure to format your address so it reflects your NAME..  Go to “Edit your public profile,” and by clicking on “Edit public profile URL” you can edit yours to reflect your name.  Mine is linkedin.com/in/julieajernigan (feel free to link in with me, by the way).
And that’s just the beginning. Updating sections takes diligence, reflection, and strategic thinking. You also have to decide when to attach a copy of your resume. For example, I typically do not attach a copy of my resume to my LinkedIn, but if I began to seek a SPECIFIC type of position, I would tailor my resume to the skills and experience that recruiters would look for in that industry and post it.  If you know that you want a specific type of role with skills and experience that are generally accepted within that field, then you might want to keep a copy of your resume updated and attached to your profile.
 UPDATE all sections of your profile frequently and with accuracy and with the dual intent of impressing recruiters and serving as a professional resource within your field to the LinkedIn community.
A word about your photo – read THIS posting from Dr. Yale, and if you still don’t think the photo you choose is important, read THIS.
Read THIS advice about LinkedIn from a recruiter’s perspective.
Caution: LinkedIn sloppiness, errors, and lack of content make a bad impression…
Your profile is a marketing tool and you will either build credibility with your profile or… NOT.  Personally, I am skeptical of profiles with strange or grainy photos, lack of detail about accomplishments, out-of-date and missing information from the education and employment sections.
Read some Do’s and Don’ts about LinkedIn here (all shared with us by Dr. Yale).
When to Link and when to wait…
Link in with folks you can help. Link in with folks who might be able to help you.  That’s what this site is for.  If your page is not aligned with some of the professional interests of the person with whom you want to link, they are more likely to ignore your request.  As an example, I receive requests from people who do not seem to have connection to my past or present professional and educational background.  I ignore these.  At times, I receive requests from candidates who have really poorly constructed pages, and upon looking at their profile I am able to ascertain that they are UD students.  I (reluctantly) accept these, but I am concerned that the candidate is not someone I can refer to one of my colleagues.
Link in at will UNLESS you are submitting an application to the person with whom you want to LinkIn. For example – if I am applying for a job and know that Mr. Jones from ABC company is receiving my resume, I will hold off on linking in with him. Preferably, I will be selected for an interview at which time I’ll ask if I might link in. If I don’t hear back about the position after applying, I might wait a week or so and send a cordial message to accompany my LinkedIn request.  If he accepts – well, that’s not a bad sign!  An even better sign?  If you are seeking a position, and the recruiter or hiring manager asks to link in with you, at least you know that you are on their radar!
Know that if you are in the midst of applying for a job, the folks receiving your resume will look at your LinkedIn sites. My recommendation is that you build the best LinkedIn page possible and edit your settings to PUBLIC – making for easier viewing.

Do you have questions about your career search?  Ask Amy Young, Associate Director of Career Services: ayoung@udallas.edu

College of Business Newsletter Notes from the OPCD: Researching Cities

College of Business Newsletter Notes from the OPCD: Researching Cities

When conducting a job search or just to gain a greater understanding of the job market in general, we recommend that you research what cities are seeing employment growth, boast the best salaries, and considerations like average commuting time.

Take a look at THIS PAGE, which provides information on the above topics for the year of 2017 and also allows you to click on the profiles of employment experts who provide answers to questions like:

  • What impact will the new administration’s policies have on job growth?
  • What fields are expected to grow the most in the coming decades?
  • Which are the biggest challenges facing job seekers today?
  • Which are the most common mistakes job seekers make when seeking employment?