Goodbye (Only for Now)

By: Ashlee FB

Editor’s Note: Over the next few weeks we’ll be saying goodbye to several of our authors as they are graduating from UMD. Please feel free to wish them well on their future endeavors in the comments!

Well, here comes the sappy senior blog post. Wow, how fast these four years went. Reflecting on all of the memories made, it is impossible to recall everything I fell in love with at this beautiful campus. I am thankful every day for the memories, relationships, and experiences I have made during my time here at UMD.

I have a few words of advice for those of you who are fortunate enough to still call this city home:

  1. Take risks. This may seem obvious, but there are so many times I look back and wish I would have done something that was outside of my comfort zone. Whether it be studying abroad, joining a club that your friends don’t participate in, whatever, it is incredible the people you will meet and the experiences you will have when you take a chance.
  2. Get involved. Again, obvious, but SO important.
  3. Get outside! For those of us who are not from the North Shore, take advantage of the beauty that surrounds us every single day. I promise you it is something we all take for granted during our time here. There are so many opportunities to explore and get our daily dose of vitamin c, even during the winter!

I will miss this campus more than I can put in words. When people told me that college would be the best years of my life I listened, but I didn’t really listen. I didn’t realize that I would find some of the best friends I had never met yet. I didn’t know I would find a second home in the third floor of the library or a lecture hall. I definitely didn’t think about how much I would miss living in the dorms, but its here, and it came way too fast. So for those of you graduating, congratulations! This is a time of excitement and new beginnings. To those continuing your time at UMD, enjoy it while it lasts; it truly does go by so fast.

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Dressing for an Interview

By: Ashlee FB

Have you ever wondered whether or not something is appropriate for an interview? As many of us are approaching graduation, we begin the job search, which leads to the interview process. It is important to understand just how crucial attire is during these interviews. The first thing a potential employer will notice is a person’s physical appearance.

Dressing for Interview

Although it does depend on the industry and the position you will be applying for, generally speaking, these are some basic guidelines for both male and female attire in the interview process:

Men have the luxury of being able to wear a simple suit and tie and it does not take much time to pick out what outfit they will be wearing. With that being said, it is important that you wear the suit appropriately and you’ve taken the time to make yourself look nice. This means no wet hair, no scuffed shoes, no un-tucked shirts, etc. Your attire should be noticed as being appropriate and well fitting, however, it should not take center stage. It is also important to clean up a little before an interview. There is no need for the five o’clock shadow or greasy hair.

Dress for Success-Men

Women have it a little more challenging. A dress, skirt, or pantsuit is usually the safest route to go when dressing for an interview. If you are wearing a skirt or suit, make sure the bottom hem is still at an appropriate length when sitting down. There are also a wide variety of options of colors – all of which portray something different. Generally, navy, dark gray and black for women are considered “safe” colors. It is also important to keep nails, hair, and makeup as simple and as natural looking as possible. With busy hairstyles and jewelry, it is possible they might take away from the most important part of the interview – you and your qualifications. As far as shoes go, make sure all shoes are closed toe, freshly polished, and low enough where you are able to walk comfortably.

Dress for Success-Women

Confidence goes a long way in an interview and it all starts with feeling comfortable in your skin and with what you are wearing. As a basic rule, it is essential to look professional and polished. Employers will be much more impressed with a person that has dressed professionally and can sell themselves as an asset. Happy interviewing!

Of Possible Interest:

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Photo via Source

The Importance of Personal Branding

By: Ashlee

As a marketing major, I have been told the importance of branding in nearly every major class I have taken, however, I feel many students are unaware about the importance of personal branding. According to a forbes.com, personal branding can be defined as, “All about who you are and what you want to be known for”. This may seem incredibly broad, but it’s an important concept to think about. There is so much going on in the social media world today and it is essential that the content that is put out there about ourselves aligns with forbes.com’s definition.

Personal Branding

When thinking about where to start in developing your personal brand, an important first step to think about is what you want to portray about yourself. This will make the next steps easier so you don’t feel that you are “branding yourself” just for the sake of doing it. Think about your passions, goals, and interests and go from there. I found an equation that I thought was quite interesting:

Your self-impression = How people perceive you

I found this useful because your personal brand isn’t something you can make up. It has to be genuine and it has to be something that correlates with the way you think about yourself.

After you have thought about how you want others to perceive you, it is time to put it in words. This may be on your Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram caption, or (most importantly) on your LinkedIn page. This list in not limited to online accounts either; business cards, cover letters, and resumes may be used as well.

After all of the major places you feel your personal brand should be highlighted, are, it is not time to relax quite yet; personal branding consistently takes time, energy, and tweaking to create your final product. It seems to be thought by many that once this is accomplished, that people will start communicating with you. This, too, is false. A personal brand does not ensure that people will communicate with you first, but it does ensure that when you reach out to them, there will be valuable content to read that says a lot about you, possibly before they even know you.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Post-Interview Follow-up MUSTS!

By: Ashlee FB

While many people highly anticipate the process leading up to an interview such as building one’s wardrobe, rehearsing interview questions, researching companies, etc., many forget the important steps to take after the interview is over.  By following up, you’re letting the interviewer know you are serious about the position and have taken time out of your day to go above and beyond coming in for the interview. Following up sets you apart from the rest of the interviewees.

Thank you notes

1) Send a follow-up email

The follow-up email should be sent as soon as you have access to a computer. This email may include thanking the interviewer(s) for their time, talking about what was discussed in the interview, highlighting your interest in the company, or contact information. Whatever you decide to include in your email is up to you based on what you find appropriate. However, it is an imperative step in the interview process as it reiterates why you are a stand-out for the position.

2) Connect on LinkedIn if you haven’t already

This is a step many people forget to take. By connecting on LinkedIn you are showing interest and initiative. You are potentially making a long-term contact within the company, so it is good to be connected professionally. Remember to avoid the generic requests! Be personal and friendly in your request to connect.

3) Send a hand written thank you

In our world of technological communication these days, a hand written thank you card can go a long way. Those with a more traditional style will especially appreciate a hand written card. Again, send this card as quickly as possible, as chances are, they will be interviewing many people at this time.

4) Answer your phone!

I find it astonishing how many people our age fail to answer their phone if it is a number that is not recognized. While searching for a job or internship it is crucial to answer calls, as they may be job offers or requests for another interview. If you are unable to take the call, it is imperative you have a professional voicemail greeting set on your phone. This has a large role in how the interview team perceives you and also ensures they have called the correct number.

I hope these steps will leave an imprint as to why following-up with an employer is so crucial! Again, good luck in your career and internship search!

Of possible interest:

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The Benefits of Job Fairs

By: Ashlee FB

Many students have heard a lot of buzz recently regarding the job fairs available for University of Minnesota students. The benefits of attending a job fair far outweigh the feelings we have all had the morning of the job fair when you don’t want to get up, get dressed, drive two and a half hours to the Twin Cities campus and mingle among fellow students searching for internships and full-time positions.

The benefits of attending job fairs are endless. I find the most attractive part of them is that they are an efficient and economical way to make contacts. In the world we live in today, it seems to be increasingly “who you know” that makes the difference when searching for employment, however, a professor of mine stated, “It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you.” The more you are able to network and make contacts, the better off you will be in your job search.

Another benefit found in attending a job fair is you have the opportunity to network with multiple organizations and recruiters in different fields who are actually hiring. This gets rid of a lot of guesswork in terms of knowing what companies are hiring and what they are looking for in potential applicants. When at a job fair students are swarmed with information, pamphlets, and brochures from different companies who decide to take part in the job fair. One tip I have for you is to take the time to read the information that you find in these brochures, as it provides a better outlook for you as a potential employee, and saves time later down the line when interviewing.

I also find it very beneficial that a student is able to talk directly to a company representative instead of just mailing in or submitting a resume online. We live in a world where electronic communication is becoming increasingly popular, however, interpersonal communication skills remain at the top of the lists for what employers are looking for in potential employees; what better way to demonstrate your interpersonal skills than to speak directly with employees of the organization?

Finally, making a contact within an organization is a huge advantage in participating in job fairs. Not only is it good to have contact information for potential questions in the future, but it also is very possible the people recruiting at job fairs might also be part of the interviewing team. In this case, it is crucial to have made a positive first impression, and if that is done successfully, the contact you have made will put you at a big advantage when the decision process rolls around.

I hope I have been convincing in my argument regarding why job fairs are so beneficial and I wish you all the best of luck in continuing your job search!

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Public Speaking: Are You Fearful?

By: Ashlee FB

I was in a presentation recently and was told that in the list of “top ten fears,” public speaking comes in second (behind the fear of dying). I had to look this statistic up, as this seemed outrageous to me. What I found, however, was that in some polls the fear of public speaking actually came in as the biggest human fear in the world for most people. Check out this link to IBM’s website if you don’t believe me.

This made me curious as to what exactly are people afraid of when it comes to public speaking. What I found makes perfect sense and I’m sure many of you are able to relate to this! The following is a short synopsis on my research as to why people are so afraid of public speaking, as well as a few ways to overcome this fear.

First, we are human, and none of us are perfect. Yet, when it comes to public speaking, some of us tend to kick ourselves over every mistake we make. These mistakes, in fact, are usually much less noticeable to the audience being presented to and we tend to magnify our imperfections, while ignoring all of the things we’ve done well. The truth is, even the best, most experienced speakers make mistakes. When they do, they recover gracefully, and this makes their mistake a little less noticeable. This is one of the keys to public speaking success: to keep going gracefully. The audience will never know most of your mistakes, unless you halt your speech, break down, and confess them. Carry on with poise. Give yourself permission not to be perfect.

Second, there’s something about standing in front of an audience, with all eyes on that person makes the presenter so nervous; this is understandable. From my research, psychologists suggest that public speaking phobia (glossophobia) is “often associated with the fear of rejection at a primal level. The fear of being rejected is so strong because we are not only afraid of being ashamed, or judged; we are afraid of being excluded from the social group, abandoned and left to protect ourselves all on our own.” (source)

Lastly, sometimes it is only human nature to get nervous about our own nervousness. Public speaking, among other things, is almost considered to be a self-fulfilling prophecy when feeling like you might make a mistake. Nervousness is a form of energy, and really is just our adrenaline flowing. Speakers that find themselves to be successful know how to make this energy work for them, and turn that nervousness into enthusiasm and engagement.  The take away from this point is that it is okay to be nervous, as again, we are only human.  What is important is to try to take the nervous energy you might have and make it work for you!

What are some of your tips when it comes to public speaking?

Related Reading: 4 Reasons to Learn How to Speak in Public

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Sales: Why Are People So Frightened By It?

By: Ashlee FB

Growing up, I was often exposed to the world and the idea of sales. What many people fail to understand, however, is they have been around sales probably more than they realize. When people think about sales, many think about the door-to-door vacuum salesman and the guy receiving commission selling used cars. Think about the pencil you take notes with, the television you watch every night before bed, or the frying pan you use to make breakfast. Those items were all sold at some point. What most people don’t realize is that sales happen all around us, in every industry, every single day. It’s not only physical products that require sales; think about a financial advisor who sells dreams, sustainability advertisements selling ideas, or an entrepreneur selling a goal to his/her company. Sales take place in every sector and many of us fail to see the opportunities this presents.

High-energy work environment

Sales is a highly competitive and challenging career; therefore, high-energy work environments can almost always be expected. Sales is mainly about the relationships established between people. It is also about helping other people achieve their goals and solve their problems by introducing different products or services needed. The competition involved in sales can create innovation and better performance, which, together, can construct an incredibly high-energy work environment.

Potential for high income

Companies need to generate sales to survive. Usually organizations highly reward successful sales people, to ensure they stay in the position and with the organization. As a fundamental part of the source of profit for organizations, it seems appropriate for the salesperson to reap financial rewards. Many sales jobs include excellent salary packages with base salaries, benefits and generous commission schedules, and, unlike most jobs, generally, the harder you work, the more you make.

Autonomy

One of the best perks (in my opinion) in a sales career is that many times you dictate your own schedule. Oftentimes salespeople are able to make their own appointments, and run their own days the way they see fit. As long as they’re producing the results their bosses require, they are able to more or less do what they want.

A good resource to look into is the Graduate Follow-up Report put together by our office every year. It does a wonderful job of breaking down majors into very specific categories, such as where to find jobs, pay, etc. You might be surprised at how many jobs there are in sales, throughout a wide variety of majors. Check it out!

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