Logan’s Final Thoughts

By: Logan

Editor’s note: This is Logan’s final (tears!) post as a consistent author on the blog. He wrote this up about a month ago as school was ending for the semester. Enjoy!

I have finally made it. I am sitting here on the Thursday of Finals Week, done with college forever. It really is a bittersweet feeling. I have had so many great memories and so much fun, but I am also extremely excited to move on to the next phase of my life. This past week I have been thinking about the last four years and just how much I have learned, as well as how much I have changed. When I first started college I had no idea where I would be in four years, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Flashback to me as a freshman, wide-eyed and eager to learn. I began as an Exercise Science major and wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do. It is interesting to see I ended up going a completely different way with my career. My major changed to psychology and I declared a minor in sociology. As far as my field of work I will be working for a transportation company in their operations department. Four years ago I probably could not have even imagined myself doing something like this, but we change a lot in four years.

Personality wise, I believe I have changed a lot as well. As a freshman, I was far more concerned with my activities and organizations than I was with my academic and work life. It seemed like meeting new people and enjoying myself was the main concern. This isn’t all bad, I met a lot of people and made a lot of connections, which is important. As time went along, my focus shifted to my schoolwork and work performance. My GPA rose, and I put more time and effort into my work. I learned many skills on how to present myself professionally and about business etiquette, and I have the counselors at Career and Internship Services to thank for that. I believe when I first came into college I was much more carefree. I am still a relaxed person overall, but I understand I need to get things done in a timely manner before engaging in social activities.

Over these last few years, I feel like I have grown a strong social network, which I am quite proud of. I gained a lot of connections while I was in a fraternity for 3 semesters, I met a lot of students and staff through my work at Career and Internship Services, and I met a lot of great friends just by trying out new friend groups and not limiting myself. I am glad I interacted with so many people because once I leave this place I want people to remember me.

I think this is the most important thing I have learned in college. Sometimes when we start school we believe we must have everything planned out. We think we need to have a set major and career path declared as soon as possible. I have learned this is not how it works. College is a learning experience and you will not know what you like until you try it. I think some of my best decisions have been when I have went out of my comfort zone and tried new things and I have many examples of this. A large contributor to declaring psych as my major was trying out random psychology electives. I knew nothing about psych, but I tried something new and loved it. Do not limit yourself, try things you never expected yourself to try!

I think we all change a bit in college. We get to find out who we really are and what we like. This is one thing I have learned about myself. In high school, I felt like I had to act like who everyone wanted me to be. In college, I have realized you can honestly be yourself and you do not have to care about what other people think. College is far less judgmental and there is really a place for everyone. So go out of your comfort zone, be yourself, and enjoy your college years because, sadly, it doesn’t last forever.

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You Got a Job Offer! Now What?

By: Logan

We all know how long and grueling the job searching process is. You spend hours rewriting resumes and cover letters, reviewing multiple job posting websites nonstop, sending credentials out to potential employers, and attending interview after interview. But if you do it correctly, you will receive an offer. Congratulations! You better hurry and accept it right away before the offer is revoked, right? Wrong. There are still a few things to keep in mind even after you have been given an offer, and I will discuss these in this post.

After you receive a job offer you are allowed to have a little sigh of relief. It feels good to receive the offer, but there are still some things to consider. You may have gotten the job, but is it the right job for you? Be sure to remember you don’t have to accept the first offer you are given! Also, keep in mind you have been offered the job, but there are still some tests you must complete. These include things like reference checks, background checks, and drug tests. This is where it is crucial that you have reached out to your references and informed them they may receive a call from your potential employer. It will reflect on you poorly if your new employer calls one of your listed references and the person you wrote down is not expecting it at all. If the person is warned in advance they have the chance to think of things to say about you. It is also a common courtesy to inform them so they aren’t blindsided by the call. It would probably be a good idea to do this even before you are offered a job.

You got a job offer! Now what?

So you got the job offer, but is this the right fit? There are quite a few things to consider when deciding on a position. In my experience, I was offered four positions so I was forced to evaluate each job in every single detail. One thing to think about would be location. Do you prefer a large city or a smaller town? Do you want to live close to home or do you want to have some distance? Would you be willing to relocate across the country? These are all things I’m sure were considered while applying for the position, but it is a very important part of your final decision. Right fit can also mean company culture, training provided, and opportunity for advancement.

There are also many things to consider as far as compensation. When I was offered my positions I had an understanding of the salary and how the pay worked, but I knew little to nothing about insurance and benefits. So I decided to have my mom review all of the jobs’ benefits packages and insurance. She then broke it down for me and explained which job had the best overall compensation. This is where it is important to reach out to someone you trust if you don’t know a lot about the subject. If I didn’t ask around I could have made a poor decision based on compensation. If you don’t have a close adult or friend who knows a lot about these policies you can reach out to the UMD’s Career and Internship Services office, or your local career office. The counselors would be happy to review the information for you and provide you with thoughtful, unbiased information.

There are many things to keep in mind while deciding on a position and it is important to put them all into consideration. Be sure to reach out to trusted friends and family for assistance when needed, but overall it is your own decision to make. Review all of your options and go with the position you think you would be the happiest and most successful in.

Of Possible Interest

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Photo source: Unsplash | Breather

Landing a Job or Internship

By: Logan

At some point in your college career you will be searching for either an internship or job. This process is far from easy and is a lengthy, exhausting process. Whether you are graduating soon or looking to gain some experience in your field, the job search is fast-paced, competitive, and very exciting. In this blog post I will be explaining the steps I took to decide which job I wanted to accept upon graduation, and I hope this post can help someone out who is in a similar position.

I have been lucky enough to receive multiple job offers during my job search, but these did not just fall into my lap. I was proactively searching and applying for jobs far more than any of my friends, and I believe this gave me an advantage. I started early (early February for a May graduation) before many people had even begun their search. This is one point I touched on with my last blog post, try to apply early before your dream position is filled! There were many other steps I took to get my name out there. I went to the job fair, I applied to positions on multiple databases, and reached out to relatives and friends who may have known of available positions. This is how I found the companies I was interested in and got my name out to employers.

One thing I learned recently was how beneficial Spring Break can be in the job search. Yes, I understand most people would rather be laying on a beach or going on a road trip, but if you are like me and are not able to indulge in these experiences you should make the most out of your time on break. After networking with employers online and through the job fair, I scheduled in-person interviews during Spring Break when I knew I had no class and would be closer to these companies. Over my Spring Break I attended 4 in-person interviews, one phone interview, and one Skype interview. Seems like a bit of overkill, I know. Not everyone needs this many, but I was proactive, curious, and wanted to see what was out there. Also, I had nothing better to do. Setting up these interviews early is crucial in the job search because you show your initiative and drive by reaching out to companies long before graduation.

This is where the fun began. I ended up receiving four offers for jobs, and I had mixed emotions about this. Yes, it felt good to know my skills were wanted in the workplace, but how would I ever decide which one to take? This is where reaching out to all the resources you have available will benefit you. I made my decision by looking at each job from every angle. I thought about the environment of the workplace, do I feel like I would fit in? What is the typical age of others in my position? Next, I put compensation and benefits into consideration. I could understand the salary and commission pieces, but I didn’t know a lot about benefits and insurance, so I reached out to my mom and had her read it over and tell me what she thought. Since many of us students have never had a full-time job, we may know little about how good the benefits are, so it is a good idea to reach out to someone who has been through it before. I also put geographic location into consideration. Where can I see myself living? What is the cost of living in each of these areas? Do I have any family or friends in this area? And of course, you have to consider the type of work. Where do I have experience? What kind of work do I enjoy? Can I see myself moving up in this company? There are definitely many things to consider, and this made my choice very difficult.

I think the question that made me think the most and ultimately helped me come to my decision was, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” This made me think about how long I could see myself staying with a company, and if I could see myself doing this for a while, and it was something I hadn’t thought about very much. To come to my decision, I reached out to my parents, brother, friends, and spoke with a counselor at UMD Career and Internship Services, and altogether I got a variety of viewpoints and opinions. All of these viewpoints, combined with me thinking through each of the questions I stated above, helped me come to my decision. Ultimately, you are the only one who knows what you like, so you have to make the decision. It is also important to keep in mind most people do not find their dream job straight out of college. If you realize this is not the job for you, you can always begin the job search again.

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The Job Searching Process

By: Logan

Being that I will graduate from UMD in May, I have shifted my focus from strictly schoolwork and internships to finding an actual job upon graduation. This is an exciting and scary time for many graduates. Many people have never had a “real” job before, so once they get to this point they are unsure of the best practices. In this post, I will discuss my own journey and the steps I am taking to lock down a job before May.

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Sometimes it is difficult to gauge when you should begin applying for jobs. January may seem too soon since you will not be able to work for several months, and if you wait until April you may have difficulties finding a job since many will already be filled. From what I have learned from my Career Counselors and my own experience, I have found mid-late February to be a great time to begin the search. It is early enough that many positions should still be open, and you are getting your name out early so you can begin making connections and exploring opportunities. One superb resource I took advantage of this year was attending the U of M Job & Internship Fair in Minneapolis. This job fair exceeded my expectations and introduced me to many great opportunities I was not aware of before. A job fair is a great place to make connections with companies, network with recruiters, and explore multiple career options all in one day. By conducting a bit of research before attending you will be prepared to succeed. We have multiple posts about job fairs here on the blog. There are posts about how to prepare, what to do when you’re at the fair, and what to do afterward.

logan-at-umjf
Logan at the UMN Job & Internship Fair

One important piece to remember is to not be afraid to really put yourself out there. Personally, I have applied for a large variety of jobs, even some jobs I did not expect to be interested in. It is important to put yourself out there and explore all of your options because you never know what might catch your interest. If your job search is too narrow you may find yourself having trouble finding opportunities. I’m not saying you should apply for jobs you are not interested in, but be sure to explore many opportunities. Your first job out of college is rarely your dream job, and sometimes you just need a few years of experience to add to your resume before you can land your dream job.

Right now, it seems the most common form of job searching is through internet databases. These can include sites like Indeed.com, Monster, GoldPASS, and many more. Last Spring, I wrote a blog post about different job searching sites and their pros and cons. What I have learned from applying to multiple jobs online is it is helpful to include as much information as you can. On sites like Indeed, you can supply minimal information, no cover letter, and a very simple resume. Although this is the fastest and easiest option, I have found applying to jobs using the bare minimum very rarely results in calls back. If you are going to use these services, make sure your resume is updated and current. Personally, when I apply for a job I am very interested in I attach my resume, cover letter (even if they do not ask for one), references, and sometimes a letter of recommendation if there is a space to add one. Adding these extra credentials will show you are really interested in this job and you put in extra time to apply for the position.

I have more tips on how to navigate your job search which I will continue in my next blog post. These tips can also be used by students looking for summer jobs or internships, this information is all relevant! Be sure to be professional and thorough, and apply early enough so the position you want isn’t filled. Good luck with your search!

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Photo source: Unsplash | Mari Helin-Tuominen

What Can I Do With My Minor?

By: Logan

Being a psychology major and sociology minor I hear the same question quite often. What are you going to do with that degree? This question always makes me think and I don’t always have a specific answer to give people. I know psychology has many applicable uses within business and recruiting, but where does sociology come in? I believe sociology gives me a better idea of how societies operate and function and I find this very interesting and helpful.

So how can knowledge of sociology help a person in the working world? I think the experience I have gained can be applicable in many areas. Many sociology courses have a focus on how certain groups are disadvantaged or stratified and this is a very important issue in our day and age. I have used this knowledge to help me in certain activities and organizations I am involved in. Here at UMD, I am a student representative for the Student Life Change Team. SLCT focuses on creating an inviting and comfortable environment for students of all demographics and backgrounds. I am on a committee within SLCT which focuses on recruiting efforts and discrimination. Specifically, we look at how different departments within Student Life recruit student employees, create a comfortable and inviting environment, and how applications or interview questions could be discriminatory. My background in sociology helps me better understand how certain groups are disadvantaged in the job application process and we aim to make this process and environment comfortable and inviting to everyone.

This is one way sociology can help me in the future but there are definitely many other options. There are dozens of websites that give examples of careers for people who have a background in sociology. These websites can give you an idea of what types of jobs they are going into, the experience level needed, and more. One resource I find very helpful is What Can I do with This Major? A very direct title and it has a lot of great information for almost every major someone could have. This website lets you choose from a large list of majors, and from here you are given a detailed list of different careers people have gone into using this major. It also gives information on how much education or experience is needed for different positions. One thing to keep in mind is that even though this resource highlights “majors,” the information applies to minors as well.

Another great resource Career and Internship Services offers is the annual Graduate Follow-up Report. This is a perfect resource for anyone curious about what people have done with the different majors, after UMD. The report includes information such as percentages on how many graduates in each major are employed or continuing education, if they think their jobs are relevant to their majors, and average annual salaries. This resource is great because rather than just listing off a bunch of potential careers, you can actually see exactly where graduates from UMD are working and what they are doing. The report even has a list of the names of the companies the graduates are working for and position titles. This resource is helpful for all students who are curious about what people from UMD have done with certain majors. Again, even though this information is about different “majors,” it applies to minors too.

Overall, in a field such as sociology, there are a lot of options. I have provided a few resources in this post to help you get a good idea of what can do with a major or minor.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Senior Year: Anything Can Happen

By: Logan

So you have three years of college under your belt. You had somewhat of an idea of what you wanted to do upon graduation, but now you are not exactly sure of what you want to do. Back when you were a freshman or sophomore you used to think to yourself, “Well, I still have some time before I graduate!” This thought continued to persist until one day you woke up and realized, “Oh wow. It’s time to decide.” This may be an exciting time or a scary time for you. In a few months you will find yourself out of college and in the real world. This is the point in many students’ college careers where they think that everything is coming to an end and decisions have to be made quickly.

I have pondered this a lot lately, being that I will graduate in the spring and I am also unsure of what the future will hold. Many people will see this as being unprepared or unorganized, but I see it as an opportunity. We need to realize that it is okay to not have our entire futures planned out! Some people thrive from making a specific plan and following it, but for others (including me) this is a great time to explore the possibilities of what we can do.

sr-year-leap

It is common for college students to compare ourselves to classmates around themselves. For those of us who do not have an exact plan it is hard for us to not compare ourselves to that student who has their entire life mapped out. We all know this type of student, the one who knows exactly where they will be working, where they will be living, and seems to have their whole career in line. Kudos to this type of student, I have admiration for people like this, but not everyone has the same mentality.

There are many advantages to not having your future all planned out. This leaves room for more experimentation and potentially more opportunities. Those who do not have an exact picture of what they want to do will look at a larger variety of options post graduation. This allows for the student to develop multiple paths and backup plans in case certain options fall through. For students who have a very narrow idea for a career path it could be catastrophic to them if their career plan does not work out the way they want it to. Imagine having your entire life planned out to follow one specific path, and then one day it all comes crashing down because you did not get your desired job or internship. This is why it is important to have a few ideas and plans of what you would be interested in doing, so you always have something to fall back on.

Don’t get me wrong, it is important to have a general idea of an area you would be interested in, but it is important to not be too narrow minded. Also keep in mind that we have a variety of resources here at UMD that can help with these questions you may have. The counselors at Career and Internship Services are exceptionally helpful with brainstorming ideas, assisting with plans, and getting you ready for these opportunities. Take advantage of these resources and it will definitely help you in the long run.

The real world can be a scary place, but it is okay! Not having an exact idea of what you want to do leaves more doors open for potential opportunities. So continue your research on different areas that you are interested in and don’t limit yourself on what you can do. With the resources available to us at UMD and the excellent education we have earned, we will figure it out eventually. Until then, enjoy the ride!

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Cam Adams

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.

tips-from-recruiters-asst

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