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Career Corner

Current Career Topics for Mount St. Mary's University Students

Date: Mar 2014

The Career Center is very excited to hold the annual Student-Athlete Career Week from March 30 to April 4.  This week is especially geared towards the career development and considerations of the Mount’s athletes.  Together with the assistance of Chris Stack, coordinator of support services for student athletes, and Kaitlin Hallahan, the assistant director of the Office of Alumni Relations, Student-Athlete Career Week is one way to give back to those athletes who continuously represent the Mount.   

The second annual Alumni Career Panel will take place on Tuesday, April 1 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the O'Hara Dining Room.  Even though this event will have more of an athletic focus, this is great opportunity for all students to hear from alumni about their experiences in various career paths.  There will also be time for refreshments and for students to have one-on-one conversations with the alumni, so don't miss this chance to learn more about the transition from school to work and to network with alumni!

Wednesday’s event will feature a lecture presentation given by the President of Hanover Capital Management, Mark Riggs: “Get A Hold of Your Financial Footing.”  As a member of the class of 1998 and the MBA class of 2002, Riggs is very familiar with the Mount and he hopes to offer students advice on how to handle finances before and after graduation.  Along with his presentation, there will also be time to socialize and network, so be sure to attend this lecture on Wednesday, April 2 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in the Horning Hospitality Suite. 

The final event of Student-Athlete Career Week is the Etiquette Dinner on Thursday, April 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the O'Hara Dining Room.  Director of the Internship Center at Messiah College Michael True will once again host this semester's Etiquette Dinner to teach Mount students the essential skills needed in a professional dining setting, such as holding your plate and drink in one hand while shaking hands with the other professionals present at the event.  

If you have any questions about any of these upcoming events, contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment.  Remember that the Career Center is here to serve all students, and we hope to see everyone at these great events!

The Career Center is proud to announce that it will hold the annual Federal Agency Week from March 24 to March 27.  Representatives from three government agencies will be here at the Mount to meet with students about possible internship and employment opportunities.  These representatives are interested in meeting students of all majors, so keep reading to learn more about these great upcoming events!

Federal Agency Week will kick off on Tuesday, March 25, with the United States Secret Service.  This agency is in charge of two missions: protecting national leaders, including the President, Vice President, their families and visiting foreign heads of state,  and carrying out various criminal investigations, including the reason it was first established: counterfeiting.  The United States Secret Service is guided by the agency's five core values: justice, duty, courage, honesty and loyalty.  Interested students should attend the information session on Tuesday in the O'Hara Meeting Room from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.    

On Wednesday, March 26, representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation will be at the Mount.  As a national security and law enforcement organization, the FBI protects and defends the United States against various threats and enforces our country's criminal laws.  The FBI also assists local and state authorities in handling complex dangers that they cannot handle alone.  The information session for this agency will also be held in the O'Hara Meeting Room from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday.  

The final agency to attend the Mount during this Federal Agency Week is the National Security Agency on Thursday, March 27.  As the agency's name suggests, the NSA protects national security interests by observing their following core values: lawfulness, honesty, integrity, fairness, accountability, loyalty, collaboration, innovation and learning.  This information session will be held in the Laughlin Auditorium from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday.

If any student has questions about one or more of these federal agencies but is unable to attend the information session, please contact the Career Center to set up an appointment with a counselor.  Please join us in welcoming these agencies to the Mount this week.  We hope to see you at the information sessions!    

As we finish up our series on the top five most common interview questions, the fifth and final question is: What experiences have prepared you to succeed in this position?  Employers are looking for candidates who can take what they have learned from all of their previous experiences and make a positive contribution to the company or organization.  Since this question requires a carefully planned answer, keep reading to learn how you can prepare a great answer to this question so you can really impress the interviewer!

When faced with this question, it is very important to relate your experiences to the requirements of the position you are applying for.  These experiences can range from anything like work and research to student and volunteer activities.  No matter what kind of experience it is, the key is to be able to explain how those experiences have prepared you for this new position.  This is your biggest opportunity to summarize all your experiences from a learning perspective.  Employers are looking to see what value you will bring to this position, so be sure to comment on how you have benefitted all the companies and organizations for which you have previously worked.

Don't be afraid to share specific examples which apply to your desired position.  Examples are the easiest way for employers to see how you have handled a situation in the past and how you will handle a similar situation on the job in the future.  One helpful way to successfully share an example is the STAR Technique.  To organize an answer that incorporates an example, ask yourself the following four questions: What was the SITUATION? What TASK(S) did you identify that had to be completed? What ACTION did you take? What was the RESULT of your actions?  By answering these four questions, you present your example in an appealing way to the interviewer because it shows that you took the time to prepare a detailed response to this question. 

If you have any questions concerning any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment. The Career Center offers interviewing tips and mock-interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so be sure to take advantage of this great resource!  To learn how to answer more of these common interview questions, check out the Career Corner Blog on the Career Center's website.

As many of you know, one of the biggest events sponsored by the Career Center is Internship and Job Fairquickly approaching: the Internship and Job Fair! It will take place on March 19 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in Patriot Hall. This annual event gives students the opportunity to network with approximately 35 local companies and organizations right here on campus. But to get the most out of this great event, here is a list of things to prepare so you can make the internship and job fair work for you!

It is very important that you research companies BEFORE the event. On March 14, you will receive a guidebook via email listing the companies and organizations that will be present at the fair so you will have plenty of time to research potential employers. After going through the guidebook, make a list of employers to visit and come up with questions to ask. Employers are looking for students who are genuinely interested in their organization, and asking questions is one way to show your interest. Be knowledgeable about the companies and organizations that interest you. But it is also important to remember to be open to any company or organization - many hire a variety of different majors!

On the day of the fair, be sure to dress professionally. First impressions are key, and the way you dress really does affect the employer's view of you as a potential employee. Men should wear a 2 or 3 button two piece suit with a white long-sleeved dress shirt and a tie that matches the color of the suit. Women should wear a white or lightly-colored blouse with 1 or 2 button jacket and a knee-length skirt that is at least 25 inches in length. Slacks are appropriate as long as they are tailored and dark in color.

It is also important to bring plenty of resumes and business cards with you to the fair. More is always better than less, and you want to make sure you have enough to give out to the employers in whom you are interested. Also, remember that it is normal to be nervous, but don't let your nerves keep you from networking! Be confident in your skills and be proud of who you are. If you show your personality, then you will stand out among the crowd - literally!

If you have any further questions or concerns about this event, contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202,, or simply stop by the Career Center. Be sure to check out the Job Fair Preparation Workshop on March 11 at 3:30 p.m. in the Career Center Seminar Room. We hope to see everyone at the Internship and Job Fair on March 19!

As college students begin applying for internships and college graduates begin applying for full-time jobs, an important thing for both groups to consider is the future. You need to consider how every experience, whether it is an internship or a job, affects your future plans and goals. Employers are also very interested in your future goals, which is why a very common question for employers to ask in an interview is "Where do you see yourself in five years?" The whole purpose of this question is to show employers that you are focused on the future, so keep reading to learn how you can prepare!

Whenever you are asked this question, it is very important to demonstrate how the position for which you are interviewing fits into both your short and long-term goals. Be ready to explain how you hope to progress within the company in the future. However, even though this question requires you to clearly explain your future plans, it is just as important to be practical and realistic about those goals. Before the interview, be sure to research the structure of the organization itself in order to identify where and how entry-level employees progress. If you have a contact within the company you are applying to, respectfully ask them about this and other topics in order to get a sense of the overall structure of the organization. Remember that it is always better to have more background information on an organization than less when applying for an internship or job.

When answering this question, a common response from recent college graduates involves graduate school. Although this is obviously such a great path to follow after graduation, you may not want to immediately tell your employer of these plans during an interview. Oftentimes, a company or organization has a program that supports young professionals in achieving their master's degree, but educational benefits are typically discussed after an offer of employment has been made. So before you share your graduate school plans, be sure to research if the employer supports further education.

If you have any questions concerning any of this information, contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment. The Career Center offers interviewing tips and mock-interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so be sure to take advantage of this great resource.

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