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Career Corner

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

“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.

It is hard to believe that summer has ended and the fall semester has begun.  It seems the older you are the faster summers go by.  My name is Yuengling Trinh.  I Yuenglingam a senior Business Management major.  As I intern with the Career Center this semester, I am excited to be sharing Career Center news and updates.

As undergraduate students, we are all eager to jumpstart our futures with whatever aspirations we may have.  The Career Center gives us many resources to power our futures in a variety of ways.  One of the ways that the Career Center powers our futures is giving us the opportunity to meet with future employers or internships.  Luckily for us, there is an amazing opportunity in the near future!  The Career Center is having an Accounting Evening today, September 10, 2014.  The event will begin at 3:30 in the Athletic Recreation Convocation Complex (ARCC) Concourse (the hallway when you enter from the main entrance).  This event is open to all sophomores, juniors, seniors, and MBA students.  No specific major is needed to attend this event! It is a great opportunity to be able to connect to twenty different employers.  The twenty employers at this event are very diverse.  They represent both public and private organizations.  Many of the employers are also Mount Alumni.  Some will be returning to The Mount for on-campus recruiting. 

The Career Center had two prep. sessions to prepare attendees for The Accounting Evening.  If you missed these prep. sessions, feel free to contact the Career Center.  Here are some tips that can help you as well.  Before Accounting Evening: remember to bring twenty copies of your resume to the event.  When printing out your resume use a heavier bound paper or resume paper to add uniqueness.  Business attire is required for Accounting Evening.

 For men, select a conservative-colored collared shirt and tie for under your suit jacket.  Make sure your dress shoes are polished and socks are matching dress socks.  Do not wear athletic socks.  For women, your two-piece suit can include pants or a skirt.  If you choose to wear a skirt, make sure that it is knee-length or rests no more than 2 inches above the knee.  Closed-toe dress shoes are preferred.  Choose a conservative blouse for under your jacket. Neutral, sheer hosiery can be worn with skirts. 

During Accounting Evening: when meeting with the twenty companies at Accounting Evening remember to have eye-contact with the person you are speaking to.  Always remember to smile.  It is important because it will help you to stay relaxed and positive.  The way you introduce yourself is very important. You may want to say your name, your year here at The Mount, and what your major is.  It is crucial to have a strong handshake with a firm hold.  Be sure to hang onto the handshake for about three or four seconds.  When you release the person’s hand do not do it abruptly.

Again, feel free to stop by The Career Center with any questions or concerns you may have.  Please consider this opportunity and the numerous career development programs that will power your future.

With the amount of snowfall we received this past semester, I’m sure we all thought summer could not come soon enough, and here we are preparing for final exams.  It is hard to believe, but yet another year has gone by so quickly here at the Mount.  As we all prepare for summer, it is just as important to reflect on this past academic year and view it as an enriching learning experience.

A great learning experience for me was my journalism internship at the Career Center.  Through this internship, I was given the opportunity to improve my writing and editing skills by writing weekly articles for the Mountain Echo newspaper and the Career Corner blog, and I was also able to learn more about basic marketing principles.  I feel that I was able to learn and grow so much throughout this whole experience, and I could not be happier with my decision to intern at the Career Center.            

This internship also provided me with a very deep insight into the inner workings of the Career Center, and I was given the opportunity to understand more about professional marketing, promoting, and event planning on a daily basis.  The Career Center sponsors a variety of events throughout the entire academic year, and one of my favorites is the Etiquette Dinner.  The host Michael True is both entertaining and informative, and the food served is always delicious!  I loved attending this event, and I encourage everyone to attend this event during your time here at the Mount. 

I would like to thank Clare, Matt and Naomi for giving me this great opportunity, and I look forward to seeing how this experience will help me in my future career.  I encourage everyone at the Mount to consider interning at the Career Center.  It is such a great work environment, and just like any other internship, it was a great learning experience!  I also hope all students will take the time to make an appointment with the Career Center.  The professionally trained staff can really help you at any stage of your career development, so be sure to take advantage of this great resource!     

Good luck on your finals, and I hope everyone has a nice and relaxing summer!  Congratulations to the Class of 2014!

Another year gone.  It is hard to believe, but all too soon finals will be over and seniors will be graduating.  We hope that all students have had a fulfilling and enriching year, and for seniors, your time here at Mount St. Mary's University will undoubtedly be an important chapter in your life.  Whether you are moving onto graduate school or entering the workforce, remember that the Career Center is still here to help!

Many of the services available to students are still available to you as alumni.  Alumni can use College Central to search for job opportunities 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Career Counseling is also an option for alumni.  You can continue to visit with a counselor for individual assistance with career planning and decision-making, along with taking a career interest and personality inventory.  Not only are you encouraged to make appointments with a career counselor, but you are also invited to all the events the Career Center sponsors.  Alumni are welcome to attend the workshops, seminars, on-campus recruitment and Career Fairs that are held throughout the year.  There are various ways for you to give back to the Mount too.  Serving on an alumni panel or offering internships or jobs at your place of employment are just some examples.

A service exclusively for alumni is the Mentoring Network.  This gives alumni the opportunity to mentor fellow Mounties and network with alumni on various career levels.  To register, visit www.msmary.edu/mentoring and select “Join Our Mentoring Network.”  Director of the Career Center Clare Tauriello encourages alumni to take advantage of these services: “The Career Center welcomes the opportunity to assist alumni in their career development.  You may be graduating, but our services continue!”

Remember that you can always contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202 or Career-Center@msmary.edu.  Once a Mountie, always a Mountie!  On behalf of the entire Career Center staff, we congratulate the Class of 2014 and wish them the best of luck as they begin their next chapter in life!

Whether you are preparing for a job or internship, it is very important to consider workplace etiquette.  Since every work environment is different, consider how well you fit within the organization, and these tips on workplace etiquette may help you make an easier transition into the workplace.

One of the easiest ways to smoothly transition into a new workplace is to make positive first impressions.  Learn the names of your coworkers and learn them quickly.  Since this can be a bit overwhelming on the first day, a good tip to help you remember someone’s name is to use their name about two times in your first conversation with them.  It is also important to realize that it’s sometimes not what you say but HOW you say it that matters.  Always be kind and courteous to your fellow employers, and remember to smile.  Not only will it make you feel more comfortable with your new coworkers, but it may also make you an even more productive worker!

Some other important things to remember when incorporating workplace etiquette into your new work environment simply involve common courtesy.  For example, be sure to return all phone calls and emails within 24 hours of receiving them.  Even if you just respond saying that you will have more information at a later date and will contact them as soon as you can, it is very important to do so.  Not returning an email or phone call is seen as unprofessional.  It is also important to always adhere to deadlines.  Many work environments are fast-paced, and so deadlines are essential to the flow of the workplace.  If you do not think you will have enough time to complete a project or task before the deadline, speak with your supervisor immediately.

 A final thing to remember is that if you have any questions about your workplace’s etiquette or protocol, simply ask your supervisor.  You will be more successful in the workplace if you follow these etiquette tips.  For more tips on how to adjust to a new work environment, contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, Career-Center@msmary.edu or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment.

Especially in today's world as technology rapidly advances, employers are conducting digital interviews instead of meeting with applicants in person.  Although this can be more convenient with no travel required, a two-dimensional interview makes it much harder for the applicants to connect with the interviewer since they are not in the same room.  But as digital interviews become increasingly popular among employers, it's essential that you learn how to make this type of interview work for you!

In order to successfully prepare for a digital interview, the first thing to consider is the quality of your camera.  It is important to ensure that your camera provides the professional image required before, not during, an interview.  To do so, simply practice using the camera with a friend to make sure everything will run smoothly during the real thing.  The setup of the camera is also important.  Eye contact is key during a digital interview, so be sure that the camera is at eye level so you can look directly at the camera, not just at the screen.

The background is another important element to the digital interview because you do not want anything to distract interviewers from the main focal point: you.  Backgrounds should be bland and neutral, and the easiest way to have a professional background is to purchase a large poster board.  The other option is to reserve an Interview Room by contacting the Career Center at 301-447-5202 or career-center@msmary.edu.  Most digital interview software like Skype require a username, so be sure to have a professional username and picture so you can make a great first impression with employers – even before they see you in the interview. 

Although you are talking to the interviewer on a screen, it is important that you talk to them, not at them.  By talking to them as you would if you were having this interview face-to-face, it will be easier for the interviewer to connect with you.  You should always maintain good eye contact with the interviewer.  By avoiding eye contact you appear to lack self-confidence, and it actually distracts the interviewer from focusing on what you are saying.  Don't forget that you are on the air throughout the entire interview and that everything you do will be perceived either positively or negatively by the interviewer.

A final thing to remember is to always wait five minutes before shutting down your equipment.  Although this type of interview can be stressful and you're glad that it is over, don't rush away from the camera.  Wait until the interviewer's computer is shut down, take the time to reflect on how the interview went, and congratulate yourself on completing a digital interview!

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, Career-Center@msmary.edu 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, 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.

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, CareerCenter@msmary.edu, 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!

 
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