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Career Corner

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

Keyword: career

“Sometimes it’s the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” –Drake

We all had our own experiences in the workforce.  I started to work when I was fifteen years old at a grocery store.  I started off as a bagger and eventually moved my way up to a cashier.  I met a lot of interesting characters while working at a grocery store, from the regulars to my coworkers.  After working at the grocery store I moved on to a few retail jobs.  I worked at a department store and as a front desk clerk at The Mount Post Office.

            In life, we often get caught up in our destination.  Our destination is usually our big goal in life, our dream careers.  For the longest time my main destination in life was to become a merchandise buyer.   I picked up these retail jobs because I needed extra money.  I believe that it is our experiences during our journeys that give us life lessons.  We learn so much more than we expect from our journeys.  Sometimes experiences from our journeys can do a complete 180° turn on us.  Experiences are not just limited to jobs.  Experiences can also be gained from sports, clubs, service, or extracurricular activities. 

During my sophomore year at The Mount, I started to get involved with an immigrant youth led organization.  I got involved with this organization because both my parents and many of my friends are also immigrants.  While being a member in this organization I realized I had a passion for helping others.  That summer I got an internship with a labor union.  The labor union I interned with dealt with grievances and arbitration for numerous diversified workers.  At my time at the labor union, I started to find who I was.  I started to put my passions together, which is working for rights of immigrants and helping people.  This was when I realized that I want to go to law school to study immigration law. 

Waiting until we arrive at our destination is hard.  It took me twenty one years to figure out what I want to do with my life.  We are all anxious to arrive at our destinations.  The reason for this is because it is exciting thinking about our future careers.  Also, we always get that daunting question from our professors and peers, “So what do you want to do in life?”  During our journeys, it is important take it all in, one day at a time.  It is a great time to reflect on your life.  Journeys enlighten us on our traits that we may not have been aware of.  A journey in a way is our search to finding our destination. Luckily, here at the Mount we are given many insightful resources to help us along our journeys.  One out of many resources that the Career Center offers is FOCUS.  FOCUS helps students learn more about themselves as well as majors and careers which may fit their interests, values, and personality.  To gain access to FOCUS you can visit www.msmary.edu/focus.  The access ID is: themount.

 Remember during your journey that it is okay if you do not know what you want to do right now.  Spending time talking about these issues with others is what career development is all about.  It is a lifelong journey.

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, Career-Center@msmary.edu 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.

 
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