10 Lessons We Learned from The Office

By: Willow

I love The Office. I think it’s hilarious and I have watched it a million times. I think The Office can teach us a lot about how to behave, or not behave in an office setting. The following blog post is to show us the lessons we can learn our favorite characters.

Don’t be an idiot.
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Know how to use technology.powerpoint

Have people you look up to professionally, and try to be more like them.
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Have big dreams.
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Never stop trying.
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Don’t start a fire in your office. We learned this one two different episodes.
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Office Safety is important. Don’t do this:

Know that you’re not perfect. Don’t be full of yourself.
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Always be positive and look ahead to the exciting things in coming up in your life.
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Remember that you spend a lot of time at your office so no matter what happens, make the best of it.
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The Right Time To Be a Quitter- How to Act After You Quit

By: Willow

Now you’ve quit your job, take a deep breath. You were professional, you were to the point, you rocked it. So what do you do now?

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People will ask you why you quit your job, and you have a few options of how to respond:

You can lie.
I don’t recommend this one, at all. Lies always come back to bite you in bum.

You can tell the entire truth.
I don’t recommend this one either, most of the time. Just like imagining your desk flipping quitting scenario, telling a couple trusted friends or family members is therapeutic. Tell your mom, bff, significant other, or another trusted member of your inner circle. If you’re struggling to find someone to talk to make an appointment with a counselor at health services, honestly, even just one session could really help. Get out all the dirt, get out all your anger to someone you can trust, whoever that is. Why shouldn’t you tell the whole truth the whole time? There are a couple reasons: It makes you feel angry. Whenever I think about quitting my job I get upset, I don’t like being upset, it’s not fun for me, it won’t be fun for you. Another reason, you don’t want to be the person known for hating on their old boss. You might think it doesn’t matter, you’re only telling the truth, who cares? Things get around, I’m sure you know that. You never know who might be around to remember you as the jerk who couldn’t shut up about their old boss.

You can the short version of the truth.
I am not condoning lying in this post. I would like to repeat that, I am not telling you to lie. You can say something like, “It wasn’t a good fit.” Or, “It was time for a change.” If those things are true, they are perfectly valid answers. Remember, you don’t owe a detailed explanation to anyone. Some people may try to pry a drama filled story out of you, don’t let them. You’re also allowed to tell anyone who asks that you don’t want to talk about it, that is fine too. The big thing here is that even when you’re telling the truth it could still come off as bashing your boss, which is a huge no-no in the professional world. It’s another one of those things that will come back and bite you in the bum.

Remember that you had your reasons for quitting, and you made the right choice. Keep your head up, and take the high road. I believe in you.

Read the rest of the series: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Geran de Klerk

The Right Time to be a Quitter – How to Quit

By: Willow

A couple of weeks ago, part one of my three-part blog post on how to quit your job was posted, welcome to part two, How to Quit. Last time I talked about things to look for to help you figure out when it might be the time to quit your job. This post, is all about how to quit, as in how to have the meeting where you tell your boss you no longer want to work there.

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I’m sure you know that the big elaborate quitting scenes in movies are not the right way to quit your job, even if they are exciting to watch. Even though quitting that way could be detrimental to your career, it’s a good way to get your anger out, let yourself think about how you would elaborately quit your job. Practice it in the mirror or go over it in your head as much as you need to.  Act it out over and over, get all of your frustrations out, yell it into your pillow, whatever. Get your anger out at home. This is so important because you don’t want to be angry in your meeting. Maybe you’re not angry and can keep your cool, maybe you need to keep imagining you’re flipping the desk quitting scenario a few more times before you go talk to your boss. Once you have done that, you can start to plan your actual process of quitting.

When you are ready, set up a meeting time with your boss. You don’t want to go in randomly, you want to be able to mentally prepare, and you also don’t want to totally blindside your boss.

Know exactly what you are going to say. This is a big one. Don’t go in and just say “I quit see ya never.” Be prepared to have a conversation with your boss, state your reason, and say you’re resigning. Don’t say the word quitting, say either leaving or resigning, these words are less aggressive and will (hopefully) prevent your boss from getting defensive. Be prepared for some questions they may ask you, and practice answers beforehand.

You don’t owe your boss anything but two weeks notice. It is possible that your boss will try to make you feel bad, or not be satisfied with your reason for leaving. That’s not your problem, you don’t owe your boss anything, you don’t need to apologize. People leave workplaces, it’s a part of life don’t let someone guilt you into doing something that isn’t the best for you.

Don’t engage in petty behavior. We all live in the real world and know that sometimes adults, including bosses, don’t act like adults. Don’t allow yourself to get into an argument, stick to your story. If your boss says something rude and petty that makes you want to yell back, just say something like, “I am leaving because I feel this job is not a good fit for me,” or something along those lines. Don’t cave, when it doubt, repeat what you said the moment you started talking.

Eventually, it’s ok to just leave. If your boss will not stop badgering you, trying to make you feel bad, trying to make you stay, whatever, it is perfectly alright to just say, “thank you for your time, my last day will be next Friday.” You don’t have to spend an hour being yelled it.

As always, the staff at the Career & Internship Services office can help you with your transition, they can help go over what questions your employer might ask you, help you practice what you want to say, and help you get out all things you wish you could say without ruining your career.

Next time, we will cover how to act after you quit. Get excited!

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Geran de Klerk

The Right Time to be a Quitter, Part 1

By: Willow

At Career & Internship Services we strive to help students embrace their futures with confidence. We usually do this by making sure students have the tools they need to get jobs and internships. One important part of a person’s professional life, however, is leaving jobs. We usually don’t talk too much about this, but it is incredibly important and not easy. I recently quit one of my jobs and thought it could be helpful for others hear about my experience. Welcome to the first of three installments in The Right Time to Be a Quitter.

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There are so many reasons to quit a job. Here are just a few:

Moving
Obviously, if you are changing locations you probably won’t be able to keep your job, but it’s better to talk to your boss about it sooner rather than later. There may be options you are unaware of that will help you in your transition.

Health
This one can be hard. Maybe you have a physical job and you get injured. Maybe you have some mental health issues you need to take care of. Your health is so important, once again talk to your boss, they may have health resources you can use. Either way, your health is more import than your job. I know it’s hard to say that because it is not fun to think about not having a job, but if your job is affecting your health you can’t be successful in any part of your life.

Finances
Sometimes you can get more money at a different job. That is awesome, good for you. Remember to weigh all of the pros and cons of a new job including but not limited to money, if it is a good choice, there is nothing wrong with leaving a job to get more money, and there’s nothing wrong with (professionally) telling your boss that’s why you’re leaving.

Unhappy
The final reason I am going to cover is a little more difficult. Leaving because you’re unhappy. This is not easy. I know, because I just did it. It’s hard to know the right reason and right time to leave a job. When I started to think about leaving I went to my resources. The first was my mom, and she gave me some awesome advice: She asked me, “What could change that would make you want to stay?” And when I realized I could see no situation where I wanted to stay, I knew it was time to leave. I know that sounds easy, I was obviously unhappy and nothing was going to make me want to stay. But it wasn’t all bad because there were parts of my job I liked and co-workers and clients I was close with. So I found some other people to talk to.

I went into Career and Internship Services and talked with a couple of counselors there. It wasn’t the first time I had talked to them about my job and how discouraged I was. After talking through options, I once again realized that quitting was the right thing to do. I still had one more person on my list of resources, though, my closest co-worker.

Talking to a co-worker is tricky, it can be setting yourself up for failure. The last thing you want in a job setting is that your venting to your co-worker to get back to your boss, or even worse your boss hearing you want to quit from you co-worker before hearing it from you. I went to this co-worker because we were close, and I knew she would be a trustworthy confidant in this situation. If you have even an eyelash of a doubt that your co-worker might not keep your conversation between the two of you, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. I found it extremely helpful to get an opinion from someone in my situation, but be very cautious with what and how you say things to co-workers.

These were my resources, but yours may be different. No matter what, don’t quit on a whim. It is a big decision that takes planning. Fun fact, you can use Career and Internship Services for your entire life as a UMD alumni. So if you are ever thinking of quitting, you can call our office and talk to a counselor about it. It is important to remember everyone has bad days, once in a while you will come home from work crying, it’s just a fact of life. No job should make you miserable all the time, that’s the difference.

This ends the first installment of The Right Time to be a Quitter, tune in next time to learn about how to quit without, for lack of a better term, being a huge jerk and ruining your life.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Geran de Klerk

What I Learned as a Recruiter’s Assistant: Part 2

By: Logan

Read Part I

One of the most valuable experiences I’ve gained in my professional life, so far, was my experience as a Recruiter’s Assistant with a staffing agency. We have all been in the job seeker position and we know what it’s like. You try to get all of your professional documents perfected, you send in multiple applications in person and online, and you try to make yourself stand out from the hundreds of other applicants in the pool. I have been in both positions, the person looking for a job and the person looking to fill a position. I think the information I acquired from the other side of the spectrum has helped me gain a new perspective on job seeking.

Before I had my position as a Recruiter’s Assistant I was not sure how to make myself get noticed from all of the other potential candidates. Once I was on the other side I found it very interesting to look at what impressed me about the candidates applying for the positions we were staffing for. There were obvious big pieces that impressed the recruiters, such as presenting a well-formatted resume and having the required experience, but I found there were many small things candidates could do to make them stand out, even slightly, from all of the other candidates with the same experience.

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First of all, I learned you are already being evaluated as soon as you apply for a position. Once you hit the send button, the game begins. From the beginning you need to be sure to complete all tasks on time and as efficiently as possible. In my experience after the candidates applied online we would conduct a phone screen. I would ask the candidate questions about their experience and answer their questions about the position they applied for. Most candidates had to complete general office testing for our positions, so as soon as we finished with the phone screen we would tell them we needed them to complete the testing before our in person interview (if they were given an interview). Completing these tests on time was a very important piece. For those who did not complete it as requested it reflected poorly on them as a candidate. This is a very important piece to remember during your job search, finish any tests or additional applications they ask you to, and do it as soon as possible. The earlier the better, people who completed the testing right after their phone screen were viewed more positively than those who completed it an hour or two before our scheduled interview.

There were many other pieces that impressed me during this job. One of them being when applicants would call in to ask about the status of a job. Personally, I always hated doing this during my own job searches. I felt like I was annoying the person if I kept calling them but this is very incorrect. As a recruiter it was very reassuring when the candidate would call back. Don’t overdo it, but one call a week lets the recruiter know you are still interested and still available. One thing that always impressed me was when candidates would be slightly over prepared for the interview. We would usually just ask for a resume, but if the person came with a resume, cover letter, references, and other credentials I was immediately impressed they went above and beyond what we asked for. Another piece I found very assuring was the thank you email. There were many great interviewees who added the “cherry on top” by sending a well thought out thank you note. This always left me with a positive impression of the candidate.

There are many things you can do to help yourself stand out from other candidates. For me it was a mixture of being prompt and punctual, as well as presenting yourself as professionally as possible. Personal interactions between me and the candidates was also a big factor for me, so it is important to follow up and send thank you notes when necessary. I hope this post can help job seekers out there who are wondering why they are not receiving a call back. Use these tips, get your resume critiqued, and visit our office for a mock interview and you will be shocked at the difference it makes in the job seeking process.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Jordan Whitfield

To Disclose or Not to Disclose Your Disability? That is the Question.

By: Alissa (Disability Specialist & Guest Author)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post continues the year-long collaboration we are doing with the Disability Resources office on the UMD Campus.

One very important thing that comes up for many job hunters with disabilities is disclosure. Should you tell a prospective employer about your disability? If so, why? when? and how? While every situation is usually quite different, there are a few key things to most likely consider when making this important decision.

Some people with disabilities may need reasonable accommodations to do a particular job or duty. According to the US Department of Justice, a reasonable accommodation is a “modification or adjustment to a job or the work environment that will enable a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions.” Some examples of reasonable accommodations can include things like making the facility accessible, modifying work schedules, assistive technology available, and being able to work from home, just to name a few.

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Something to keep in mind is that if your employer is unaware of your disability, they have no legal obligation to provide you with a reasonable accommodation. If you need an accommodation to perform a job, you will need to disclose your disability at some point. One of the main reasons behind WHY disclosure in the workplace is important, is so that the employer is able to provide you with accommodations so you are able to perform the essential functions of the job.

Disclosing any sort of more personal information can be scary. We totally get that. Some things that could be helpful and possibly make you feel more comfortable disclosing your disability, especially if you are new to this subject, would be to research the company’s history with disability. Some questions to ask yourself are :

  • Have they hired people with disabilities before?
  • Does their website or hiring materials include a diversity statement?
  • Has the company been involved with any disability-related organizations, such as sponsoring an event, donating to a fund raiser, or posting openings to disability-focused job sites?
  • How is the company environment; more flexible, open, etc.?

Another important question that pops up is WHEN to disclose your disability. Do you disclose before the interview, during the process, or after you are hired?! Guess what…..that is TOTALLY up to you! You will want to make sure you select a confidential place in which you feel comfortable and allow the potential employer time to ask questions if needed. Always, always focus on your strengths and things you do amazingly; do not dwell on any limitations your disability might pose. The timing of disclosure might depend on the requirements of the interview process, the barriers presented by your disability, or the essential duties of the job.

Last but not least, HOW to disclose your disability to potential or current employers. Being prepared is KEY for disclosing your disability. It may even be helpful to practice your disclosure discussion with someone you feel comfortable with. You could even put together a little script to help you out and practice that. Remember to keep it positive and strength focused and you will shiiiiine. You got this!!!

If you want more information on this topic or even some practice disclosing, do not hesitate to reach out to me by email at alstainb@d.umn.edu – we can even meet in person if you like! I would be more than happy to help!

However you disclose, it is helpful to be familiar with your rights under state and federal disability laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act. See the links below for more information.

Sources and more information:

Read other posts/resources about Disabilities in the Workplace

Photo Source: Unsplash | Ashley Knedler

What I Learned as a Recruiter’s Assistant: Part 1

By: Logan

Writing the first blog post of my senior year I found myself reflecting back on my first semester of working at Career and Internship Services as a Peer Educator. I was a young sophomore still trying to figure out what I wanted to do and I had a lot to learn. Looking at how far I have come in my professional development, as well as my personal development, I am proud of my accomplishments. My most recent accomplishment was my position as a Recruiter’s Assistant with Pro Staff, staffing agency. My experience as a Peer Educator with C&IS greatly helped me in my position at Pro Staff. I also gained many valuable skills and learned a lot about the business of recruiting and staffing. Over the course of the year I will be releasing a series of blog posts about the things I learned in my position as a Recruiter’s Assistant and how it has helped me as a Peer Educator.

My first semester as a Peer Educator was a very busy time for me. There was a lot of information to take in and it involved quite a bit of training. A lot of the rules for writing resumes are very small details and can seem rather tedious. Certain sections must be formatted a certain way, you must list your information in a certain order, and only specific items should be bolded. Going through the training I found this frustrating at times. “Why does it matter exactly how the section is formatted,” I sometimes wondered. “All of the information is on here so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal, should it?” I often hear this from students as well. They often say things like, “My Professor said it was okay,” or “Well can’t I format it like this?” And technically they are correct. I can’t imagine an employer would completely disregard a candidate just because they didn’t bold the name of their degree at school. But from my experience as a Recruiter’s Assistant I learned a lot about why we have these rules and why we enforce them. We do not recommend this style simply because it is the way we have aways done it, there is a reason for why we have these recommendations.

In my position at Pro Staff I was in charge of reviewing Resumes submitted online, and we would receive up to 20 resumes a day. I would then make qualifying calls based on their experience and the job they desired. It is safe to say I saw a lot of Resumes every day, many good and many rather poor. This was especially painful for me because my position as Peer Educator is mainly focused on critiquing resumes. But one of the most important things I learned over the summer was there truly is a reason for why we format everything the way we do. Our resume style is formatted for the ease of the employer reading the document. We put information in order of importance, one example would be how under the Experience section we want you to put the name of your position first (and bolded), and then the organization, city, state, and dates of employment. This makes it as easy as possible for the recruiter to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. When recruiters are looking at dozens of resumes a day you want to make sure your resume is as organized and easy to read as it can be. By following the format we recommend at Career and Internship Services you are ensuring all of your information is easily accessible and it is making the recruiter’s job as easy as possible. This will make you more attractive as an applicant, and this is one way you can put yourself ahead of the competition.

You see, when we give students recommendations on their resumes that may seem minuscule or picky, you must keep in mind we are doing it for a reason. We want your resume to be as attractive and organized as possible. Please remember we are extensively trained in the art of resume writing. We contact recruiter’s annually and ask them what they like to see on resumes and we are constantly updating our information. Moral of the story: we give you these recommendations for a reason, take advantage of our services and follow our recommendations because we are here to help you.

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