« April 2009 | Main | June 2009 »

* Using emerging social networking tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to support your career exploration and job search process Visit The Career Center this summer!

Summer can be an important time to work on career and job search plans, and The Career Center is here to help all summer long. Check out This Summer at The Career Center at: http://careercenter.umich.edu/students/gradservices/thismonth/index.html to learn more about:

* Connecting with our office during the summer, including call-ahead advising, career counseling appointments and our web resources
* Scheduling a C.V. critique appointment
* Using emerging social networking tools like LinkedIn and Twitter to support your career exploration and job search process

Visit The Career Center this summer!

-------------------------------------------------
Tom Lehker
Senior Assistant Director,
The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316
734-764-7460
tlehker@umich.edu

Posted by kkowatch on May 15, 2009 at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

The Market Value of a UM Degree

This week, I attended an internal higher education conference sponsored by UM LSA Academic Advising. One of the sessions that I attended featured four employers who provided feedback on the value of the University of Michigan degree. I thought that this information was very valuable and would be of interest to all of our readers, no matter if you are a prospective SI student, a current student or alumnus of SI, or an employer.

Three specific questions were asked and the employer's provided their perspective. The four employers were Susanna Brennan from Media Genesis, Jason Keech from the American Cancer Society, Tyler Coffey from Target, and Angela Shelby of the State of Michigan.

The first question asked of these employers was, "What is your perceived market value of the University of Michigan degree?" The employers provided that when they see the UM degree on a resume, they know that the applicant will have been an outstanding student and therefore, an outstanding employee. UM students are bright, talented, and hardworking. They established a reputation of these characteristics from when they were in high school, as they needed to establish these traits that early on in order to get into Michigan. Students are tech-savvy and can juggle multiple priorities.

However, they also shared that the UM brand/degree won't get you the job. The degree creates a great foundation of skills and work ethic, but its up to you to demonstrate what kind of "house you will build on that foundation" as an employee. However, what's great about UM is that you basically have unlimited opportunities in which to develop your skills in leadership, research, and extracurricular activities. Students are able to get involved in programs such as AIESC, Dance Marathon, Rackham Student Government, amongst a wide range of other roles. What is a key selling point to employers is that many UM students hold professional-level roles in their student organizations while going to school full-time and excelling.

Media Genesis most often recruits for Project Managers, which is a role that is more about communication skills and problem-solving than anything. Michigan grads are able to meet their requirements because the education system provides the opportunity to develop excellent reading and writing skills, often proficiency in a second language, good overall communication skills, the ability to analyze information and to learn very quickly. They are good at managing deadlines -- and their own managers.

The Ann Arbor environment is also large enough that it a good foundation for students to move into any other environment, whether it be New York City or a more rural situation. Also as a product of the environment, UM students are more independent than students from other schools, and as employees, then seem to have less issues with housing, benefits, roommates, etc. The presence of the school in a some-what sizable metropolitan area also makes students aware of urban issues in away that is not possible in a more-insulted "college town".

The recruiter from Target, a recent UM grad, stated that what was the best thing that she took from her UM degree (from Organizational Studies, was here ability to understand and relate to people, especially a diverse range of people. In everything from her classes to social activities, she learned how to work with people -- and also how to influence them positively through her work.

The second question that was asked was, "How can students enhance their UM experience in the eyes of employers?"

Not surprisingly, the three main tips provided were volunteering, networking, and doing internships that are relevant to your area of study.

All of these experiences enhance your resume and indicate to the employee what kind of employee you will be. Networking can be an experience in which you talk to someone who talks to someone who puts you in contact with just the right person.

Internships are an opportunity to build upon that foundation that was mentioned earlier. In an internship, it should be known that all eyes are on you as an employee and that not only is the organization concerned that you are learning and getting your work done, but that you are adding value to the organization. Internships now are pretty much a requirement for a four-year degree, and more commonly so for graduate degrees. Without one, a candidate is not as competitive as that other applicant who has at least a few months of real-world work experience. Doing an internship can provide students with familiarity with office culture and organization vernacular in a way that they just can't get from the classroom experience.

It was shared that the student with the 4.0 GPA but no other activities is less valuable to any employer than the 3.4 GPA and a resume full of other experiences. Being studious is good, but being well-rounded is much more valuable.

Again, the point that leadership opportunities are everywhere at UM came up here. Service is everywhere -- student government, sports, LeaderShape, volunteering with Washtenaw Historical Society. It was also said that doing service work is "good karma" -- if you give, you will be benefited in return.

Networking was also pointed out to be not just a way to get a job, but also a way to exemplify your ability to build relationships, which is important in every job.

Employers also like to see creative-thinking, the ability to learn and grow, and for students to be well-rounded. Again, UM provides opportunities for students to take advantage of in order to fine-tune these skills, which puts them at an advantage over other students at different schools.

One of the recruiters made the point that although Ann Arbor is a good size city, in itself it can be insulating. So, it is up to the student to gain skills and experiences that make them capable in a diverse, fast-paced setting and they can do this through exploring the Michigan surrounding areas.

Another collective thought shared was that good experience doesn't have to come from an internship. Many students work part-time jobs and discount the value of such experiences. These jobs can be thoughtfully described in resumes, cover letters, and interviews as experiences that demonstrated loyalty, an excellent work ethic, well-developed customer service skills, time-management, attention to detail, or a multitude of other important and highly-transferable soft skills. Don't discount your weekend job of waiting tables!

The recruiters all also pointed out that quality over quantity is better in terms of experiences. An applicant who's involved with everything on campus never had the chance to really immerse themselves in anything, so a student who's only in one organization, but has been involved with them for years in a variety of positions would be considered to be the better candidate.

The last question asked was, "What are the best ways that UM students/graduates can represent themselves?"

Its probably of no surprise that the focus was on the resume and cover letter writing. It was suggested that the most important information on a resume should be right around the top crease of a piece of paper that has been folded into thirds, as this is where the eyes fall naturally when first viewing a piece of paper. This could be a skills section, education, or a listing of important achievements. The resume should not be a full-detailed explanation of your current job, just the basics on what you do as relevant to the position at hand. You'll get the chance to explain in more detail in the interview.

The cover letter should not be a review of your life. This is like making the employer fit the square peg of your life into the round hole of the job. Don't make them struggle to see the fit! One of the recruiters talked about how their organization just received almost 600 resumes for two posted positions. When there are that many resumes received, your resume needs to be obvious and tailored to the position so that the relevant information is not looked over.

Interviewing is all behavioral based. Behavioral interviewing is based on the concept that past performance/behavior is an indicator of future performance/behavior. In the past hypothetical questions were asked -- however, it is now felt that hypothetical questions result in hypothetical answers. Be prepared to talk about past achievements -- and also mistakes, but don't be too honest or to blatant about your mess-ups! Be sure to practice out loud before the interview -- this really does make a difference!

Thank you notes are still important. Media Genesis indicated that they prefer to receive old-fashioned hand-written cards/letters than an email. They felt that the email was pretty much the easy way out - and we all already receive too many emails!

A few other interviewing tips:
--Don't play it cool in the interview. Act like you want the job and let them know you do. Be enthusiastic!
--Go beyond why you like the company -- be specific about why you like the company, but also include tailored information about what it is about the job.
--It is okay to say, "I don't know the answer to that" -- but be sure to get the answer asap!
-- Ask questions about company culture, environment, a typical day.
--Being confident in huge and can make all the difference in an interview. Many other skills are trainable, but confidence and enthusiasm are not.
--Carry business cards and give them out at career fairs at in interviews. This is especially important if this is a norm for your field (i.e. graphic design) or a way to display your talents/skills.

In the end, old-fashioned, professionalism was deemed much more important than being the most progressive, tech-savvy applicant. Those skills are important too, but the foundation of professional abilities was what was pointed to be essential for success.

Posted by kkowatch on May 14, 2009 at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

SI Career Services Surveys

Internship Survey
All students are invited to take the SI Career Services Internship survey if they completed a professional-level internship during the Fall 2008 or Winter 2009 terms. (All students enrolled in SI 690 are required to complete the internship survey, but we appreciate the information from all other students who also completed a not-for-credit internship).

Complete the survey at: http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB228JYYRBP5B

Internship Public Portfolios
All students who completed an internship and did not receive credit are also invited to complete a public portfolio. The public portfolios, listed at http://si.umich.edu/careers/internships.htm, are a valuable resource for prospective students and first year MSIs for their internship search.

Create a public portfolio by logging into the Intranet at http://si.umich.edu/intranet/index.htm and clicking on Public Portfolios Updates. Then click on, Add a new listing

Part-Time Job Survey
If you worked in a part-time job over the last two terms or have one lined up for this summer, we’d like to hear about it. You can report your part-time position at http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/survey-intro.zgi?p=WEB228X8PQSUJL

2009 MSI Employment Survey
Please complete the 2009 MSI Employment Survey to indicate your acceptance of a job or continuing education as a School of Information class of 2009 graduate http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB22945YLSVFC

To show our appreciation for taking the time to complete this important survey, we will provide you with a $10 gift card to amazon.com upon submission of your survey.

SI Career Services Satisfaction Survey
And, if you just really like taking surveys, you can also complete the SI Career Services Satisfaction Survey at http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/?p=WEB2292SFVYB4A

All of these surveys should only take a few minutes of your time.

Your feedback is highly valued and helps inform decisions for change or improvements to the resources and services that we provide to students.

Your participation in this survey is completely voluntary. All responses will be confidential, reported only in aggregate form, and will be used for evaluation, and planning purposes.

Posted by kkowatch on May 12, 2009 at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

Case Study Interview Practice for PhDs

Case study interviewing is a key component of the hiring process for management consultants, requiring candidates to think like a consultant to solve business problems. Consulting companies typically begin their hiring process early in the fall, and successful candidates will need to demonstrate their mastery of the case interview process.

For many PhD's, case interviewing is a very new process. Fortunately, it is something that can be improved upon with practice. The Career Center is organizing small groups of graduate students interested in actively practicing case study interviewing this summer, in preparation for the fall recruiting season. These groups are for students who will be finishing their degrees this next year and will be actively pursuing employment with management consulting companies.

If you are interested in joining a case interview practice group, please contact Tom Lehker at tlehker@umich.edu.

-------------------------------------------------
Tom Lehker
Senior Assistant Director,
The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1316
734-764-7460
tlehker@umich.edu

Posted by kkowatch on May 11, 2009 at 02:44 PM | Comments (0)

Considering Federal Librarianship? Learn how on Second Life!

The Government Information Division, the Military Libraries Division, and ALA's Federal and Armed Forces Round Table (FAFLRT) are co-sponsoring a booth with information on how to become a federal librarian at the first Second Life Library Career Fair and Library Fair, sponsored by the Alliance Virtual Library on May 8 & 9th, 2009. The event takes place on Infotainment Islan.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infotainment%20Island/98/69/31

The Federal Depository Libraries also have booth at the the fair.

From the description on the Alliance Library webpage:
The Library Career Fair, May 8th, is being managed by the LIS Student Union under Adra Letov and DaisyBlue Hefferman. The Career Fair events will include: Orientations for new avatars (librarians, students, and staff), an LIS Career Resource Center with links to global job postings, speakers on survival skills for getting a job in a bad economy, resume tune-up, and what employers are looking for in today’s media-rich Web 2.0 information environments. If you are interested in posting positions or working with the Career Fair in some way, please contact Diane Nahl, SL: Adra Letov, at nahl@hawaii.edu.

Here is the schedule:

Second Life LIS Student Union Career Fair:
Carpe Calamitas! Networking Librarians, Students, Employers and Recruiters
Friday May 8, 2009 - Noon to 7 PM SLT
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infotainment%20Island/98/69/31


Noon-2 pm SLT: Orientation sessions for new avatars

2-3 pm SLT: Opening Keynote Speaker: Kitty Pope, Executive-Director of AVL, on kicking off the month-long celebration of AVL’s Third Anniversary in Second Life. Additionally, other speakers will be addressing survival skills for getting a job in a bad economy.

3-4 pm SLT: Research mini-conference presentations by students on their Second Life interface studies.

4-5 pm SLT: Panel of recruiters and employers: “What are employers looking for in today's media-rich Web 2.0 information environments?”

5-7 pm SLT: Social Networking Party mixer for Career Fair and Library Fair participants and friends with DJ Gwen Carillon, dancing and music.

Questions? PM Melanie Twine.

===========================================================

Alliance Virtual Library Library Fair
Saturday, May 9th 2009
Noon to 6 PM SLT

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Infotainment%20Island/156/151/32

12:00 pm - 12:45 pm SLT
"Libraries and Innovation in Second Life" - Lori Bell (RL) Lorelei Junot (SL), Alliance Virtual Library

1 pm - 1:45 pm SLT
"Growing a Community Library; Lessons from the Field" - Micki McIntyre (RL) Derry McMahon (SL), RezLibris

2 pm - 2:45 pm SLT
"Supporting and Promoting Ingenuity" - Joanne Brothers (RL) Vienna James (SL), University of the West of England & RezLibris

3 pm - 3:45 SLT
"SL Library Instruction: A Work in Progress" - P. Charles Livermore (RL) Hopalong Oh (SL), St. John's University Libraries

4 pm SLT - 6 PM SLT
Exhibits & Networking

Posted by kkowatch on May 08, 2009 at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

Eleven Ways to Keep Your Job Search Moving

I recently received a newsletter from a group that I'm involved with that shared 11 points of advice for people who are about to enter the work force from a graduate program. I thought that the information was very interesting and relevant to our recent grads. So, thank you ACPA Commission for Career Development for the basis of this blog entry. (Note that this information has been edited for relevancy to our readership.)
************************

....note that many states are in the process of finalizing their budget allocations for the new fiscal year. Although there will likely be more cuts in high education for several states, many state institutions will be receiving new allocations from the stimulus package. This means that the hiring freeze in many institutions may be lifted, so keep an eye out for new openings this summer.

Top Eleven Ways to Keep your Job Search Moving

1. If you are graduating from a Master’s or Doctoral Program, discuss extending your Graduate Assistantship or Internship. Additional skills and experience gained through the summer can be critical to your competitiveness in the higher education market, and also expose you to different aspects of Career Development functions.

2. Volunteer – If you can’t extend an existing internship, assistantship, or current position, start a new one! Many offices have summer projects or have students who continue taking classes in the summer. Volunteering at a new office will also give you a greater breadth of experience, while allowing you the flexibility to continue your job search.

3. Job Shadow – Contact offices, libraries, or recruiters at your preferred organization in your geographic area (or the one you are trying to get to) and ask about shadowing for a week in their office. It will give you an interesting glimpse into a different institution, as well as expose you to best practices. Many offices that can’t take on interns will be open to someone shadowing professionals for a week.

4. Conduct Informational Interviews – Many professionals are open to sitting down with candidates to discuss their offices, practices and students. Calling around to make appointment will gain you strong network connections, and also keep you at the front of people’s minds when positions open up.

5. Consider Retooling your resume and cover letters – Depending on the level of response you are getting, you may want to have someone in your preferred field look at your resume. Solicit advice from people you shadow or conduct informational interviews with.

6. Apply for positions that aren’t there yet! – Make sure that you connect with offices in your geographic area, expressing appropriate interest through your cover letter, and inquire about the possibility of positions in the future. While time intensive on the research end, this can be INCREDIBLY effective when positions become open unexpectedly, getting your foot in the door before it’s even open!

7. Follow-up! Continue to connect with mentors, people you meet at conventions, and professionals who have offered their assistance to you. Update them on your circumstances and your search needs and help them remember to help you!

8. Use your Network – (it’s not just a Verizon Wireless thing) – In difficult job markets, the #1 way to find new opportunities is through networking. Continue to be in touch with your personal and professional network, and don’t be afraid to utilize social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. A brief update that lets your connections and friends know that you are job searching will increase your exposure to job opportunities, even if they are part-time. Also be sure to let appropriate people know where you have applied, as they may have connections they can introduce you to.

9. Continue advancing your professional development and take courses – While this can be pricey, additional qualifications such as specialized certifications or tech skills (consider a local community college to update your web skills) can help boost your resume while giving you practical experience to talk about in interviews.

10. Think outside the box – Not finding positions in traditional four-year public or private schools, high-tech firms or what you normally think you should work in? Consider community colleges, professional schools, for-profit institutions, community organizations, and even the corporate world! Your skills can be transferrable to many areas in the sector opposite for what it is that you thought you would go in to when you started your grad program. In a market like this one, it’s important to realize that experience is experience, no matter where you get it!

11. CONVENTIONS AND CONFERENCES – As summer nears, many professional demands decline, espcially in universities, and professionals have time to work on themselves! Many regional career development conferences are held over the summer, BE AWARE OF THEM.

Posted by kkowatch on May 08, 2009 at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

SI Careers on Twitter

SI Career Services is on Twitter...

You can follow us @si_careers -- https://twitter.com/si_careers

We'll be sharing our events, announcements, and daily "Twips!" We hope to see us following out Tweets.

Posted by kkowatch on May 06, 2009 at 04:24 PM | Comments (0)

How to Get the Most Out of Your Campus Career Center

A SI alumnus recently sent me this link about how to best utilize the resources that are provided by campus career centers. I thought that I would share this with readers, as its always good to hear from others about tips and suggestions that the internal resource provided.

**************************

How to Get the Most Out of Your Campus Career Center
Published by kcuene on April 30th, 2009 in Work

Note: This is a guest post from Kelly Cuene. Kelly is a friend of mine and a Career Advisor at The University of Wisconsin. Most people I knew in college, including me, didn’t take advantage of their career centers until it was too late. That’s unfortunate because your career center really can be a great resource. If you’re in college, I urge you to take Kelly’s advice and get the most out of your career center, before its too late.

—————

I realize many students have serious concerns about the quality (or lack thereof) of their campus career center. It’s also important to know, however, how to get the most from your career services office. Some basic tips:

Do some work on your own, first

Student services staff are always trying to conveniently deliver information to students (notice the increasing use of videos, blogs, podcasts, websites and social networking sites by campus staff). Seriously, we have committees, surveys and focus groups trying to figure this out. If you look for these first, you’ll have a more productive appointment with a career advisor because you can ask follow-up questions or apply that information to your own situation.

Be prepared for an appointment
Before you visit with an advisor, think about what it is you hope to get out of the appointment. What questions do you have that you need answered? Some students with whom I meet apologize for bringing in a list of questions to ask. No worries - preparing questions in advance is awesome. It ensures all your concerns are discussed and our time is used effectively.

Visit early

Fall career fairs often launch campus recruiting for the year and usually take place just a few weeks after classes begin. This catches students off-guard, who have to scramble to prepare, or worse, miss out on great opportunities entirely. This is especially important for business majors and any students hoping to pursue careers with corporate employers, who conduct the bulk of recruiting in the fall. Plan ahead and hit the ground running once you get back to campus. Bonus points if you visit during the summer when few students are around.

Don’t believe the grand daddy of all career center myths

If nothing else, please do not wait until senior year to visit the career center! Most career centers are not in the business of handing out jobs once May hits. Advisors teach students to conduct a job search and build their brand, developing career management skills to be used long after graduation. Figuring out what to do with your life requires on-going assessment of your values, skills, strengths, interests and priorities. A career advisor will be more valuable to you if they can spend 2-3 years getting to know you and your needs, as they evolve.

In addition, your advisor is part of your network - nurture that relationship over the long-term to gain more from it. Advisors often have valuable contacts, including their own personal connections, and are more likely to share those when they know students will use them responsibly and professionally. Demonstrate, over time, that you are both those things.

Make an effort to attend group advising sessions or career workshops
Students tell me they prefer to skip group sessions because they want one-on-one attention from a career advisor to discuss their unique situation. I’m not sure if this is a millennial thing or what. Chances are, however, the issues are not as unique as students think. Many individuals struggle with the same questions. Group advising or workshops help you learn from others experiencing the similar things.

If your career center sucks, let someone know

Most colleges and universities, regardless of type, have a hierarchal structure. Academic departments and faculty are priority because they carry out the teaching and/or research missions of the institutions in a direct way, on a daily basis. Even a college president or chancellor is nothing without the support of faculty.

This means resources are often allocated other places before they go to undergraduate student services. It’s possible your college career center is lacking the financial or human resources it needs to meet student expectations. Start with the college career center staff if your needs aren’t being met. Most staff want to hear students’ ideas about how to improve services. But, if you feel like what’s going on is an issue beyond the career services office, let your voice be heard. Students can have a huge impact!

Posted by kkowatch on May 05, 2009 at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Announcing ALA Connect

I saw this post on the LM_Net listserv and I wanted to share this resource with our readers.

***************************
If you know of any graduate MLIS programs that encourage their members to post to listserv's like LM_NET, could you let them know about ALA Connect http://connect.ala.org/? This is a very exciting new feature from ALA that provides a social community for librarians even if they are not ALA members.

If you aren't a member, you can register, read and post. You just won't see as much detail.

If you are a member, you just log on using your membership ID and your password. The program has already linked you to each of your committees and provides these with forums for work. You can decide if your committee work and posts are viewable to the public or just to the committee.

You can also create your own community. I heard another librarian jokingly say he hasn't seen a group for "Librarians who own cats" yet and I'm thinking this would be a fun group. I am very excited about the possibilities of this program. It's like a professional playground for people who like facebook and it's a convenient collaborative workplace.

One of the features I like is that you can search for a committee and see the membership list. If you were wondering who is actually on the Intellectual Freedom committee, you can easily find out. It makes much of ALA transparent. I know Jenny Levine has worked with some of the members here on LM_NET to design this and I hope you will check it out.
************************

About ALA Connect...

ALA Connect replaces the existing Online Communities service that ALA currently offers as a virtual, collaborative, workspace online. A few member groups have been using Communities, but it wasn't widely adopted, so we've revamped it using new software called Drupal. We hope this will become a centralized space where official ALA groups can work together online. In addition, any member can create new communities (unofficial ALA groups) without any staff assistance, so the site will combine association work with communities of interest in one place.

Every active ALA group already has a space in Connect automatically, because we've pre-populated it with data from our membership database (iMIS), and we synchronize member data nightly, so we'll always know which committees you're on and which other official ALA groups you're part of.

Both ALA groups and communities use the same types of tools. By default, each one has blog posts, online documents (like wiki pages), a calendar, polls, a chat room, a discussion board, and images (logos, pictures, etc.). The group can use whichever of the tools it finds valuable.

Non-members will be able to register in Connect to create a free account, but they will only be able to view and add to public content. They won't be able to search for ALA members, view member data, or take advantage of any of the networking features.

In phase one (which we're in now), members can also identify other members as co-workers, frequent collaborators, classmates, and friends in order to create an online professional network that mirrors and extends their physical world on.

But it's really phase two where we start implementing ways for you to find and connect with other members around professional interests, issues, advocacy, your job, the work of the Association, meeting up with friends & colleagues when you attend ALA conferences, and the like. Sometimes we've referred to this as "ALA's social network," but it's probably more accurate to think of it as ALA's professional network, an online version of what has traditionally taken place in the physical world. This isn't going to be "ALA MySpace," although there will be hooks into and out of some social sites such as Flickr (for pictures), and Delicious. We know you don't need yet another place to go to update your status, but you might find it valuable to see what your colleagues are working on and where.

Because ALA knows a little bit about you (if you're part of a division, how long you've been a member, what committees you've served on, etc.), we plan to help you pre-populate your profile with all of the great work you've done for ALA in your professional career. That way, if you decide you want to display your profile to colleagues, potential employers, or even publicly, we'll have created a curriculam vitae of all of your contributions. We really appreciate members' efforts, and we want to help others appreciate you, too, by letting you show off the great work you do.

You can read more about the history (and future) of ALA Connect on the ITTS Update blog, particularly in the Roadmap that we posted there. In the near future we'll be expanding the online help and posting some tutorial videos, but if you have a specific question about the site or our goals for it, please feel free to post a question as a comment here, in the Discussion Forum for questions, or using our contact form. Don't forget to read through the user guidelines before you start posting content, but we hope to make your Connect experience as easy and practical as possible.

Posted by kkowatch on May 04, 2009 at 04:16 PM | Comments (0)