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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

Looking Towards Senior Year

By: Logan

For my final blog post of the semester I decided to reflect on my junior year here at UMD and what I have learned. This past year has been a great learning experience and I am very excited for my senior year. Although I’m excited, it is also bittersweet. I’m excited to get into my most applied classes, but having to face the reality of the real world can be intimidating. I know no matter what I do, I will try to make the most out of my years here at UMD and I will try to make as many memories as possible.

My Junior year has been an interesting year so far. I have involved myself in new organizations, made new connections, and took the most credits I have taken in my collegiate career. One thing I have learned this year is that it is important to involve yourself in as much as possible early on, this way you will have plenty of connections once you reach junior and senior year. If you wait until late in your college career it will be more difficult to find these experiences and make these connections. I can assure you once you are an upperclassman you will thank yourself for being involved early on. If you involve yourself early you will make yourself more available to leadership positions, as well as potentially make new friends and connections. Another great piece of advice would be to try and become close with your professors. By doing this early on you can expose yourself to new experiences, such as research opportunities. Also, you may need a professor to write you a letter of recommendation for a job or graduate school. And I mean, it never hurts to be close with your professors. This will make it easier for you to approach them with questions or concerns you may have about your academics.

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Junior year is a very important time in your collegiate career. It is the time where you are not yet applying for full-time jobs and you can really figure out what you want to do after you graduate. Many people use this time for an internship, which is smart. If you get an internship in your junior year and realize you do not want to pursue that exact career you still have time to get another internship or change your career path. I am using this time to develop my skills and review all of my potential options for when I graduate. I am applying for different summer internships to gain new experience and see if I would enjoy certain types of work. The most important thing is to remember to be proactive. You do not want to come into your senior year with no experience, no skills, and nothing to put on your resume. This doesn’t mean you necessarily need to get a related job or internship. You can join clubs or organizations that can give some related experience or leadership positions. I think junior year is a great time for self-reflection. You should identify where you are at in your career, and where you want to be within the next few years.

My senior year will be a very important time. I am going to take an internship preparation course my first semester, and then an internship my spring semester. I am very excited for this because even if I do not get an internship this summer I will be able to complete an internship during the school year. I am also excited to take my most upper division and most applied coursework. I have thoroughly enjoy my courses so far and I am excited to learn more and complete my education. But even in my senior year I will need to remember to stay proactive and take any opportunities presented to me. I am considering becoming a Teacher’s Assistant for one semester as well. Like I said earlier, involving yourself in things will never hurt you, but not involving yourself may come back to haunt you. My most important piece of advice would be to make the most out of your college career. You are a student in an amazing University, take advantage of the opportunities presented to you!

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Patrick Tomasso

Popular Job Search Engines and Their Strengths & Weaknesses

By: Logan

In recent years it has become much more popular to use online job search engines.  Online job websites are attractive because you can quickly apply to many positions as opposed to having to go in to each company and apply in person. Using online sites also gives you a better variety of positions and you can easily use filters to find a job that is attractive to you. In this blog post I will review a few examples of popular job search engines and state a few of their strengths and weaknesses. I would like to state I am not endorsing any of these sites, I am simply reporting on the pros and cons of commonly used job search engines.

Online Job Search Sites

One popular site I have used is called “Indeed.” On Indeed you upload your resume and some personal information and easily apply to jobs. One thing I like about Indeed is for some positions you have the option of apply with your “Indeed Resume,” which is basically where you can apply to a job with a couple clicks of the mouse. Instead of filling out a long application you can just send your resume in and the company judges applicants by the information provided. You can search for jobs by location, position, or the name of the company so your results can be as general or specific as you would like. I like Indeed because of its ability to quickly apply to positions and because the site is fairly easy to navigate.

The next website I will review is called “SimplyHired.” SimplyHired has the same general concept of Indeed and other sites, but has some qualities that set it apart. On SimplyHired you have the option of exploring salaries for different careers. You can search by job title or location, compare job offers, or plot your current salary and compare it to local and national averages. One feature of SimplyHired I enjoy is the success stories section. Here you can read firsthand accounts of people who found jobs by using this site and where they are now. I think it is helpful to read these and see how they used the site to their advantage.

Minnesota Works is another great resource for finding jobs and internships, and is sponsored by the MN Dept of Employment & Economic Development. This site is easily one of the best websites to use because it finds a lot of different positions and jobs. One weakness of the site is you have to sign up and provide a bit of personal information. It is a very secure site to use, don’t get me wrong. Some people just do not like to provide a lot of personal information on the internet. And it obviously only searches for jobs in Minnesota, so it will not be beneficial to anyone looking for an out of state position. This site makes it unbelievable easy to find different positions. There are many filters you can use to refine your results such as searching by zip code, county, or region of the state. You can also search by occupation or keyword. Overall I really enjoy this site because of the high number of jobs and internships provided and I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a job or internship in Minnesota.

Although all of these sites are great for looking for positions, you should not forget our most common methods of finding jobs and internships. These include GoldPASS and LinkedIn. GoldPASS is a University of Minnesota service where you can search for jobs, internships, and volunteering listings. Here you can post your resume for employers to see, as well as search and apply to different positions. We strongly recommend using GoldPASS since it is free to use and is a great resource for all University of Minnesota students and alumni. Plus, it’s only open University of Minnesota students and alumni to see, and not to the general public like other job sites. LinkedIn can also be a valuable resource for finding jobs. You can fill out your profile with all of your information and you can either search for jobs and positions, or employers can reach out to you about their listings. If you do not use LinkedIn or GoldPASS I would strongly recommend you create a profile for both because they can be very beneficial for anyone who is searching for jobs. If you’d like assistance starting to use either of these platforms, we host LinkedIn/GoldPASS drop-in hours every Thursday, 2-4pm in our office.

There are hundreds, possibly thousands of job search engines on the internet. The trick is to know which ones are the most legitimate and provide the best outcomes for those using the site. The few I listed above are all great resources to use when searching for jobs or internships. I would recommend taking a look at them all. Each site may have slightly different positions and opportunities, so it would be a good idea to review them all so you don’t miss any opportunities. One of the most important things to remember when searching for jobs is to just be proactive and keep trying! You probably won’t get a callback for every job you apply for, but it is always a good idea to get your name out and apply to many different positions.

Just a reminder, applying for jobs online is just one method of job searching…and it shouldn’t be the only method you use. Our Career Handbook highlights several methods of job searching, and, as always, you can make an appointment with one of our career counselors to discuss your search.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Damian Zelski

Minnesota Education Job Fair Has Gone Mobile

By: Logan

Are you an Education Major interested in attending the Minnesota Education Job Fair? Are you looking for a service that has everything you need to be successful at the fair? Look no further, we have just the thing for you. We are proud to announce the arrival of the brand new Minnesota Education Job Fair mobile app! This app has useful information about the job fair including how to register, how to prepare, the employers, schedule, and other services. This blog post will be breaking down the app and talking about all of the different information the application holds. This app will be useful for anyone thinking about attending the fair in April.

The University of Minnesota has an app for attending job fairs as well. That app is simply the University of Minnesota Guidebook. If you are interested in learning more about this app you can read our other blog posts about the Guidebook app here and here. They have similar formats, but each has distinct differences as well. Both of these apps are available for Apple and Android phones, and are free to download. These apps contain helpful information about not only the general information on the fair, but ways you can be more prepared and succeed at the fair.

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When you first access the Minnesota Education Job Fair app you will come to the home page that has many options to explore. Here you have access to all of the app’s options. There is a section for general info, which simply states the location of the job fair, the dates and times, and directions to get there. This page breaks down all of the general information on the job fair in one place in an easy to read format. The next button on the home page that you can press is the “How To Register” option. This section obviously talks about how you can personally register for the fair, and breaks it down simply. This section is useful for anyone who is unsure of how to register for the fair, or for anyone who has questions regarding registering.

The next section is one of my favorites. It is the “Prepare for the Job Fair” category. This section is my favorite because it doesn’t just list off general information about the fair, it talks about how you can personally do well at the fair and make the most out of your experience.

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It has multiple notes which include General Fair Info, Research Before the Fair, Prepare for the Fair, What to do At the Fair, How to Connect with District Representatives, Interviewing at the Fair, After the Fair, and it even includes Job Fair Resource Videos. This section of the app tells you how to get ready and get your research for the fair done beforehand. It then gives you tips on what to do before, during, and after the fair. It gives a lot of very helpful tips on how to present yourself professionally and successfully. This portion of the app can be helpful because students can read some of these tips and refresh themselves on proper job fair etiquette before or during the fair.

The next section is one of the most useful sections of the whole app. It is the Districts and Organizations list.

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This section lists off every single District and Organization that will be attending the fair. You can click on any organization’s name and it will bring you to a page that has some general info about them. It lists their address, website, contact, phone number, and email. It also specifies which type of positions they are looking for, and if the District will be performing interviews that day. This is very important because at this fair there is a large number of employers who will be interviewing on site.

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Another great feature of the app is that you can search for any District or Organization and add them to your To-Do list. You can access these in the “Districts/Organizations I Like” section on the home page. This could be helpful for all students because it can help them remember who they all wanted to talk to at the fair. Once you talk to an employer you can check them off your list. This is another great section of the app because it can help the student prepare for who they want to talk to and connect with.

The next section of the app is the Job Fair Map. This section can be very useful for students. Here you can see where employers are positioned in the venue, so you can strategically plan your day out and have an idea of who you want to talk to and where they are positioned. This way students are not aimlessly wandering around looking for a certain employer.

The next section is the Job Fair Schedule. This section breaks down the times and dates for when everything will be taking place. It says when the doors open to students, when interviews are conducted, and when the halls are closed. After this, there is the “Find Your Career Office” section. This section is very helpful because it can help any student find out how to access their own Career Office at their school. It lists off all of the Schools that will be able to attend the fair, and you have the option of clicking on any of the schools. Once you click on a school name it gives you basic information on your career office such as the address, phone number, email address, and primary contact.

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The next section on the list is the Job Fair Homepage. This section brings you to the Minnesota Education Job Fair website where you can find additional info on the fair and you can access things such as Frequently Asked Questions and other information about the fair. The app also has sections on transportation options and nearby restaurants to make your experience enjoyable and easy to navigate. The app also has a section for notes, which can be very useful for students. An example would be if a student had a particular organization in mind and he or she planned on meeting with that employer. The student could use the notes section to prepare a few questions for the employer to make them look prepared and professional. You wouldn’t want to pull out your phone to access the questions during the interview or anything like that, but before you talk to the employer it can be helpful to read over your questions to ensure that you remember them.

Overall, this app has many features that are very helpful to any student planning on attending the education job fair. It can help you prepare, it can help you present yourself as well as possible at the fair, and it can help you do the right things when following up with a company. This app is essential for anyone attending the job fair because it has everything you would ever need to know about the organizations and the fair in general. I highly recommend this app and the University of Minnesota app for anyone interested in attending a job fair soon.

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How to Continue to Build Your Resume

By: Logan

There comes a time in your collegiate career where you may be unsure of what to do next. You may be in the awkward stage where you have your major declared, you are taking classes, and you are on your way to graduating. But you may wonder to yourself, is this enough? You may be in the time period where Internships are not available, and you are not sure of how to continue to build your resume. This is the place I am at right now in my college career. Once Junior year hits sometimes you may feel like you are not doing enough, but I am going to give you tips on how to continue your growth and development during this time period.

If you are like me, you may be in the time period where you are not yet ready for an internship. I am thinking on finding an internship for the summer or taking an internship prep class during my senior year. But what am I supposed to do now in the meantime? There are multiple options for someone trying to continue to build their resume. The most obvious would be to join any clubs or organizations at UMD or in the surrounding community. An example for me was when I joined the Student Life Change Team, which tries to increase diversity and inclusivity on our campus. Activities like this are great for building leadership skills and filling out your resume more. Other activities, such as clubs, are a great way to get involved as well. Most of the clubs at UMD are small enough that it is very possible to obtain a leadership role if you desire to. This would help you to build your resume by talking about the skills you gained from this experience.

If there are no clubs or organizations you are really interested in, there are other options. You could get involved in research, either Independent or with a professor. This is a great way to not only gain research skills and build your resume, but you will be making a strong connection with a professor at the university. This can be helpful when you need a letter of recommendation or references. If you are interested in research, try contacting a professor in the area of your choice and ask them for more information.

If you are not interested in research or there are not many research opportunities available, becoming a teacher’s assistant could be a great experience for you. TAs gain valuable skills in leadership and organization, as well as a strong connection with the professor they work with. Similar to research, this would give you the opportunity to become close with a professor and to have them as a reference in the future. It is also a great resume builder because you can talk about the different organization skills and other skills you used.

If you are at a standstill in your collegiate career, don’t panic! There are many other ways you can continue to build your resume, even if you don’t have a job or internship. The first step is getting out of your comfort zone and engaging yourself in activities you do not usually get involved in. all of these experiences will not only help you build your resume, but gain valuable skills for life.

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