The Grass Isn’t Always Greener, But You Should Check Anyway

By: Kirsi

image: green grass growing
Text: the grass isn't always greener, but you should check anyway

I thought I had my post-college life figured out. This summer I received a verbal job offer, determined a location to work, and established a network of friendly coworkers. For seven internship/Co-Op tours, I got to know this job site and found work there that best fit my interests. Out of nowhere I was contacted by a different center of the same organization. They offered a similar job position in an extremely different environment and work culture. I have made a binding offer acceptance with one of these two jobs! Here is how I worked through my dilemma: 

basket of pens and pencils with one pencil on table beside basket.

This basket of writing utensils is all possible jobs I can pick from. The pencil is the first job offer I received at the place I am most familiar with. The pencil is sturdy, predictable, and perfectly fine. I am so happy with the pencil I found I do not feel the need to try any of the other writing utensils.

Basket of pens and pencils with a pen and pencil on table beside the basket.

Out of the blue, a multicolor retractable pen gets chucked at my face. Unexpectedly, I experienced an “ooh something shiny” moment. This pen is the coolest and I can’t believe I was happy with a pencil. Suddenly the new opportunity seemed to be the best opportunity – but I wasn’t sure why and if that was true.

My Worries

  • Was the appeal of my well known option only more attractive because it was a safe? I was not sure if this was true or not, but I was aware familiarity can be a fallacy while determining what is best.
  • FOMO (fear of missing out) – I wanted to be sure I chose to work where I would be useful and where there were the most projects.
  • Will I enjoy life outside of work at xyz location?
  • Will where I work value me and assign me projects beyond busy work?

How I Explored The Options

  • I talked to trusted advisors and mentors about what my options were and what questions I should ask each job site.
  • I evaluated my values I want to practice at work, in personal life, and hobbies.
  • I imagined in more detail what my day to day would look like at each job.

and most importantly….

  • I interviewed and toured onsite at the new job offer. 

Touring the site of the new job offer was invaluable. Every worry, preconceived notion, rumor, and assumption melted away. I felt I gathered enough information to feel confident about making a decision. I walked around the location, drove around the area, tried food nearby, shopped in a grocery store nearby, and spoke with prospective supervisors and team members.

After a lot of thought, reflection, and advisement I accepted the first job site’s offer. Ultimately, I made this choice because I found the work at the first job site most interesting. I feel self-assured that the decision I made was truly mine and not influenced by anyone or force with bias.

Of Possible Interest
UMD Health Services & Career & Internship Services – chatting with a mental health or career counselor can be a great way to help with the decision-making process
The Basics of Salary Negotiation
How to Turn Down a Job Offer

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash | Chang Qing & Kirsi

Questions You Can Ask After an Interview That are Actually Good

By: Kirsi

The hardest part of an interview may be the dreaded, “Do you have any questions?” Interviewees may use this question to learn logistical information like; “when can I expect to hear from you?” Beyond logistical questions an interviewee can use questions to determine if an organization is a good fit. Turn the tables, the organization can now be interviewed about their qualifications.

student talking with recruiter at job fair
Kirsi chatting with an employer at the E-Fest Job & Internship Fair.

Questions To Ask About The Supervisor
What is your supervisor style?
Are you hands off? Their answer could allude to their check in/ monitoring frequency.
Do you like to stay involved with projects? Watch for warning signs of micromanagement.
What got you interested in the organization/ position?
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
What do you find valuable in your work here?

Questions To Ask About Your Position
What are the duties day to day for this position?
What are some projects employees completed in this position?
What is the workload of this position?
Why is there an opening in this position? What is the turnover? This may help identify red flags about unrealistic expectations by the employer.
What does it take to be successful at this position?
Why is this position important for your company? Could help you determine if you help advance company goals or if it is simply busy work.

Questions About The Workplace
What is the environment/ work culture like at xyz organization?
Is overtime expected/ the norm for employees?
How is life balance/ work+life balance achieved here?
Does this organization feel more like a government, private industry, academic, or startup setting?  
Do employees feel tied to the organization’s missions and feel fulfilled by their contributions?  
Is the work pace slow enough/ fast enough?  

Of Possible Interest:
Interviewing – all our blog posts on the topic
Interview Like a Pro – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Senior Year as Coffee Drinks

By: Heidi

Senior year is full of change when it comes to thinking about the future and where you hope to end up. The job search process can be full of ups and downs, while still finishing up classes, making time for friends, and all the fun events that can take place. And what are these late nights and early mornings fueled by? Your favorite cup of coffee full of its own unique blends and flavors. Here are my thoughts on what it feels like to be a graduating senior and all of the emotions that come alongside it.

What the job search process really feels like: Red Eye
When you order this coffee, you’re confident in the blend you ordered after a little research you did on the coffee shop’s website. Unfortunately, they were out of the coffee you wanted to order and once you placed your order, the barista poured you the wrong kind. Not what you were expecting, but you respect the process of what it takes in order for a good cup of joe.

Notes of: Excitement, Fear, Disappointment, Relief

Image: looking down on 3 coffee cups on wood table surface
Text: Senior year as coffee drinks

Senior slide: Americano
The deadlines have surpassed you, yet for some reason your work seems to still be incomplete. You know exactly what you need to do to get the job done, but the action just isn’t quite there. This cup of java is exactly what you need to get the job done and finish strong my fellow seniors.

Notes of: Procrastination, Regret, Early Mornings, Late Nights

Crossing things off your bucket list: Cold Brew
Those road trips you’ve always wanted to do but left until senior year or a last spring break trip with your friends aren’t going to happen if you’re not fueled properly. Those early mornings and late night adventures could use a little kick, so why not treat yourself in the process.

Notes of: Excitement, Indulgence, Spontaneity

All of the Goodbyes: Flavored Latte
Whether it’s wrapping up clubs you’ve been involved in for the past four years, saying goodbye to your younger friends who will still be around for a few more years, or to the friends who you will be soon parting ways with. A comforting latte with your favorite flavor shot is exactly what is needed for this situation, and ideally shared with a friend.

Notes of: Bittersweet, Nostalgia, Gratitude

Next Chapter: Macchiato
You’re on the horizon of change whether it’s a big move, grad school, a gap year, or a challenging career. Rather than going into it with fear, the best we can do is embrace this new chapter with a positive attitude ready to take on whatever comes your way. You’ve conquered these past four years, who says you’re not ready for what’s next? Let this next chapter be fueled by your passion and confidence knowing you have important contributions to give to the world. This cup of coffee is whatever you choose to make it be.

Notes of: Pride, Bliss, Elation

Of Possible Interest:
Job Search – all our blog posts on the topic
On the Job – all our blog posts on the topic to help you thrive in the phase of life.

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

Resume Tips & Tricks, Part 2

By: Paying

In my last post, I shared several tips and tricks to help you with the formatting of your resume. Today, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks related to the content of your resume.

Section Titles & Objective
In my other blog post, FAQ’s: Resumes, I briefly mentioned how you can separate experiences. Experience doesn’t just have to be from work or volunteer, it can be anything such as student organizations, leadership positions, and more. If your activity experiences are more relevant than work and volunteer experiences, put more emphasis on those instead! Section titles can be anything from: related, sales, leadership, writing, general, additional, and more! Your resume is yours, so customize it to work in your favor.

Image: white background with stack of notebooks and two pens stacked on right side.
Text: Resume tips and tricks

Related Verbiage
Go read my previous blog post where I went in depth with this tip to help you all understand and see how this is done!

Academics
If you went through and added all relevant experiences but still don’t have enough to showcase your interest and skills in that objective/field, think about the work you have done for school. This can be upper division courses, projects, and research papers. Remember, resumes aren’t just about work (although it is important), it’s about you! Don’t leave things out because you weren’t paid for them.

Hopefully through all these tips and tricks you were able to learn more on how to refine and customize your resume to your liking as well as the employers. Feel free to stop in (SCC 22) to chat with the peer educators or pro staff about any of this or other related questions. Good luck!

Of Possible Interest:
3 Tips for Creating Your Freshman Resume
Resume & Cover Letter – all our blog posts on the topic
Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Paying’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Plush Design Studio

The Ins and Outs of LinkedIn as a Student

By: Heidi

As a business student who is in the stage of actively job seeking, using LinkedIn seems like an everyday occurrence for me at this point. After having conversations with friends and colleagues about how I use the website as a student, I wanted to share some of my personal favorite tips I have acquired over the years.

When to connect with people
There are several occasions when it would be beneficial to connect with someone on LinkedIn. Different examples consist of after a Job Fair, after meeting at a Tabling Event, post Informational Interview, as well as connecting with your Professors. When you do connect with someone who either has a professional career or is a Professor of yours, I challenge you to send a personalized note when connecting with them, which can only be done when sending an invitation on your computer.

Image: looking down on white wood desk with iphone, mac laptop keyboard, and cup of coffee
Text: The ins and outs of LinkedIn as a student.

What type of message to send
When sending a message on LinkedIn, the type of message you send depends on if you’re currently connected or if its a new connection you’re adding. If you’re sending a message to someone you want to connect with, it’s important to note that you’re limited on the number of characters you can send. Typically, when I send out a message to recruiters after a job fair or someone to conduct an informational interview the message starts out like this:

Message after a Job Fair:

Hi Candace,

It was so nice to meet a fellow Bulldog at the job fair on Friday. I loved getting to learn more about the position and how you have the capability of working on your own projects and meet with clients of fortune 500 companies. Thank you so much for answering all of the questions I had. Looking forward to keeping in touch.

Thanks, Heidi

And because of the character limit it typically gets cut down to something like this:

Hi Jordan,

It was so nice to meet a fellow Bulldog at the job fair on Friday. Thank you for answering all of the questions I had. Looking forward to keeping in touch!

Thanks, Heidi

Message to a Recruiter for a position you’re interested in:

Hi Olivia,

My name is Heidi and I’m currently a senior studying at the University of Minnesota Duluth. I’m interested in relocating to Nashville once I graduate in May and I’m extremely interested in working for The Creative Group. I was hoping I could learn more from you or point me in the right direction of who I could talk with for an internal position.

Best, Heidi

After Revision:

Hi Olivia,

My name is Heidi and I’m currently a senior at UMD. I’m extremely interested in working for The Creative Group in Nashville. I was hoping I could learn more from you or if you could point me in the right direction of whom to speak with about an internal position.

Best, Heidi

Perks of LinkedIn Premium
Having a Premium account isn’t essentially necessary to have if you’re not actively seeking employment. I personally chose to save my free month of premium until second semester of my Senior year when I knew I was ready to get serious about applying to jobs. Different perks I have learned about after having my Premium account are:

Having access to insights for a job you’re looking to apply to. As long as there are 10 applicants, you can see how your skills compare against other candidates, the seniority level of different applicants, as well as different companies and schools they’ve hired from.

If there is a recruiter attached to the job you’re applying to, after hitting the bottom to “apply” through LinkedIn, your profile gets shared with that recruiter which is a great way to get a set of eyes on your profile fast!

To follow that, when you apply to a position through LinkedIn, you get notified when you application was viewed and when it was last seen. This can be a helpful tool when deciding if you need to reach out to recruiters if you’re concerned about not hearing back.

Use Your Connection’s Connections
Before you think you’d be creepy for doing this, remember the purpose of LinkedIn is to network! You can go to a Professor’s page or previous colleague and view their connections. It’s helpful too to narrow it down if you’re looking for a job at a certain company or a city you’re interested in relocating to. There is a LinkedIn feature where you can request that your connection introduces you or you can reach out over email and explain your situation.  

Of Possible Interest:
Social Media & Digital Identity – all our blog posts on the topic
The Student Job Hunting Handbook series on LinkedIn
Social Media & Digital Identity – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Alexander Mils

Resume Tips & Tricks, Part 1

By: Paying

As a Peer Educator, I see many different types of resume styles written by all kinds of students with various majors. In my short time in the office so far, I’ve learned some tips and tricks while training and also working with others that apply to many students. Today, I’m starting with a few simple formatting changes that will help give your resume a clean and professional look!

COMBINE DESCRIPTIONS
There are many job description lines I’ve seen that could be combined. Here is an example:

Original Example:
Sales Associate, Walgreens, Duluth, MN October 2018 – January 2019
• Picked up phone calls
• Helped ring up customers
• Walked on the floor to answer questions if asked

Updated Example:
Sales Associate, Walgreens, Duluth, MN October 2018 – January 2019
• Assisted many customers through phone calls, checkout, and on floor assistance

As you can see, you saved up 2 lines already without having to delete anything! If you went through and combined more descriptions, you could have more space for other information that you feel is more relevant to the positions you’re applying to.

CONSISTENT AND SMALLER SPACING
For this section, there are three things that should be at the top of your list to consider tweaking in order to save space: margins/bullet points, font size, and unrelated information. There isn’t much to explain for this besides actually showing you all how it’s done.

Margins/Bullet Points
The top and bottom margins can be between 0.5” to 1.0” while the left and right should remain at 1.0” due to printing reasonings. That can be done through using the margins on Microsoft Word or the page setup on Google Doc.

Examples from Google Doc and Microsoft Word to find margins

Another thing related to the margins is the spacing between paragraphs. When using the spacing settings, always make sure to “Remove Spacing After Paragraphs.” If you don’t see that option, make sure the “Spacing After & Before Paragraphs” is set to “ZERO (0).”

How to do custom line spacing in Google Doc.
How to do custom line spacing in Microsoft Word

Similar to the margins, the bullet point spacing allows you to save a bit of space without removing information. After you create your whole resume, you can use the “Ruler” to move it around. If you don’t have a ruler, here is how you could find it in Word:

Where to find the ruler in Microsoft Word
Click “View” and click on “Ruler”
Screenshot of resume in Microsoft Word
Screenshot of resume in Microsoft Word

In the above images, the little arrow marks can be moved around to what you want and change how the bullets will look. The top arrow moves just the bullet point, the bottom arrow moves just the text, and the rectangle under the bottom arrow moves the text and bullet point together. You won’t see a dramatic change but it could help you save a few lines if a word rolls over and takes up its own line.

Font Size
This is something very simple! Your name can be from 12-14 pt font and you can have the rest of your resume be anywhere from 10-12 pt font so always double check it!

Unrelated Information
Unrelated information can be anywhere from old high school information to skills. You might think, “Aren’t those all relevant?” In a sense, yes, but only to a certain extent.

If you are a junior or higher, remove high school information and add in more recent and relevant activities.

Soft skills (ex: Positivity, leadership, adaptability, etc) could be shown through your job description lines and doesn’t need its own section.

Using the Whole Page
“Using the whole page” is another way of balancing your content throughout the whole space: top to bottom, left to the center to the right. It’s not necessarily a bad way of formatting, but if you want to save space, example two would be your go-to. Here are examples of the same content that uses the space differently:

Resume Example with most content centered
Resume example with most content starting on left side of page

These two examples have the same content, nothing is changed at all besides the way it is formatted. Look at how much space you could save!

Stay tuned for more resume tips and tricks related to content!

Of Possible Interest:
Resume & Cover Letter, Building Your Resume – all our blog posts on the topics
Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Paying’s other posts

Library Resources That Will ROCK Your Career Search

By: Heidi

So you’ve begun the job search process. First, congratulations on making it this far! It’s exciting being able to think of all the possibilities of where you could end up next, but can be daunting for some not knowing where to start or what to even be thinking about in the job search process. I recently spent some time at the Library learning about resources available to us as a UMD students and I’m here to share what I found.

Reference USA
Ever feel like a company’s About Me page just isn’t enough? Reference USA can be a great tool for learning more about an industry by searching specific companies you’re interested in. This site will give you the scoop of demographics of a business, their current management, and business size history by sales volume as well as employees. This can be useful information for you to understand if a specific company is experiencing growth and can be a way for you to frame your interview questions.

Image: wall of books shelves filled with books
Text: Library resources that will ROCkKyour career search

Occupational Outlook Handbook
This resource is a great starting point for understanding what type of salary you can expect in the industry you’ll be going into. You can select different occupational groups and from there select the specific occupation you’re pursuing. After that, information is broken down into what that job does, the typical work environment, pay, job outlook, and similar occupations. What I think is the coolest part of this site is the “important qualities” information which can be found underneath the “how to become one” tab. For example, I’m looking at an Advertising Sales Agent role which highlights having communication skills, initiative, organization, and self-confidence, all of which I would strategically highlight how I have these skills if I were to go into an interview for this position.

Learning Express Library
Is passing an entry exam for an occupation/job or the GRE on your mind? This site is going to be your go to spot for all resources for preparing for all different tests you can imagine and actual practice exams. Different tests range from nursing, real estate, social work, EMT services, and law enforcement. Along with assessments, the Learning Express Library also offers different ways for you to build your skills with writing, speaking, and grammar which are all crucial when it comes to building your resume and communicating your skills and accomplishments in a job interview.

Interview Books
Congratulations on being at this step in the process! It’s exciting to finally being able to get your face in front of a company and highlight all of your hard work and what you’ve been doing as a student. If you’re new to this or just looking to brush up your skills, the library has TONS of books to help set you up for success to stand out in the process. Follow this link to browse different titles for all your interview needs.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to a resource librarian to answer any of your questions or further assist you in finding resources for the direction you’re going!

Of Possible Interest:
Job Search – all our blog posts on the topic
UMD Specific Resources – all our blog posts on the topic
Ace the Job Search – our Pinterest board filled with articles & resources

Read Heidi’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Stanislav Kondratiev