Jenny Mendoza is the Communications Intern within the Xavier University Career Development Office. Her bi-weekly blog posts will feature peer-to-peer career advice and guest bloggers including employers and alumni.
“You must declare a major by the end of your sophomore year”
were probably the most intimidating 12 words I have heard in my two and a half
years here at Xavier. Although I originally entered my first semester freshman
year as an Athletic Training major, that game plan was one that was not fully
executed. I found that was not the major for me, and was absolutely lost once I
found myself to be undeclared. I had no idea where to even start thinking of
new career ideas- because finding and declaring a major is basically setting
the path for the rest of your life right? Nope! Not at all.
Knowing Xavier as the Jesuit institution where we are men
and women for others, I turned to the Career Development Office and met with a
career counselor. This resource was one that not even Google could help me
with. I met with my counselor many times and discussed everything- she really
wanted to know not just what it is I might want to do, but who I am and how I
could fit in many career positions that I had never thought of myself.
I was able to discover this by taking three different
assessments: MyPlan, Myers-Briggers Type Indicator, and the Strong Interest
Inventory. Between all three of these assessments, I was able to view how my
personal interests and work styles mashed together with not only various
professions, but also their work environments and values. After I completed
these, along with discussions with my counselor, the fog on my career window
was gradually starting to fade away.
So, before you freak out and think that college just isn’t for you, take a deep
breath and as the saying goes, “keep calm.” Don’t let the titles of the majors
and minors offered at Xavier scare you into thinking you are destined to one
career path and that you have to discover it alone. There are so many people
available who want to help you out! Talking it out with an adult who has
experienced the same things as you really is the best way to see all solutions
to your task at hand.With Fall 2014 course scheduling around the corner, it’s a great time to start this process, whether you are undecided or unsure about your current major.
For more help on selecting a major or visiting Career
Services, please visit:
Job interview. One of the most daunting tasks on your
calendar. Also, one of the most important tasks for college students to master.
It is hard to believe that it was my junior year of college
before I had my first official interview for an internship. It was incredibly
nerve-wracking. But, why? Why does it always seem so difficult to talk about
yourself? The essential behavioral questions, strengths and weaknesses, and
what if’s; it is almost always the same in every interview. So, for those of
you who know exactly what I’m talking about, or for those of you who want to
know, read on.
There are helpful hints about acing interviews everywhere
you turn. In today’s market there are a multitude of successful and unique
students striving for the same positions. We have no choice but to stand out
and be remembered. Harvard Business Review author Amy Gallo offers a few quick
and easy tips that actually do help, trust me.
“Prepare, prepare, prepare.” Seriously, prepare. If you walk
into an interview without knowing anything about the position, how are you
going to market yourself as a perfect choice for that position? Make sure you
know the qualities you have that align with the job description and make sure
to address those confidently in the interview. Knowing yourself is the easy
part. Make sure you also prepare by knowing the brand of the company, their
mission and their vision for their employees, as well as their customers. If
possible find out who is interviewing you, and dig up all the information you
can on them. Prepare yourself by going into the interview knowing all about how
you, the company, and the interviewer could be a great match.
“Emphasize your potential.” After all of your intricate
preparation you may find that some parts of the job you are vying for are not
necessarily your best skills. Keep in mind that no interviewer expects you to
know how to do everything on the job description list perfectly. Exhibit the
fact that you are willing to learn and that you’re good at learning, after all
you are a Xavier student!
“Ace the first thirty seconds.” Your entire life you’ve been
told that first impressions make a difference, well, with interviews it’s no
different. Look the part, talk the part, and walk the part. Make sure you
appear excited to be there, introduce yourself first, and stand up straight.
Remember that even if you give a stellar answer to a question a blank facial
expression will run it right into the ground. Your body language and facial
expressions speak just as loud as your words, if not louder.
In her article, Gallo offers more helpful tips, so for the
full story click here. Make
sure to keep an eye out for the post-spring break blog on declaring or changing a major. Until then, remember to take these tips to those interviews!
Most college students have
heard by now that they should create a LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t already done so, creating a
professional page would be a wise decision.
LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool to help grow your professional
career. Not only does the site expand
your professional network, but it communicates your personal brand and connects
you to opportunities to help you grow your career and your business.
Creating a profile is the
easy part, but how do you make your page stand out to employers? Here are some helpful tips to enhance your
-Be sure your profile
photo represents you as a business professional… your picture is likely the
first thing viewed and first impressions count! Lucky for you, the CDO is
providing free professional head shots
at the spring Career Fair on
-Have a strong
headline to get noticed. Your profile is
not the place to be shy! Write a concise
yet descriptive headline to stand out.
-Talk about ALL of
your relevant experience! Every
experience makes you more marketable even if it isn’t paid or called by a fancy
-Add rich media to
visually enhance your profile and showcase your work. (40%
of people respond better to visual info than plain text and 46.1% of people say a website’s design
is the #1 criterion for determining the credibility of a company.)
So now that you have a
strong, stand out profile, here are some cool things you can take advantage of
“Student Jobs Portal” for a list of all the entry-level job and internship
postings on LinkedIn.
-Ask your networks
for help! 70% of jobs are found
through networking, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your connections and ask
about job openings or advice.
pages” of the organizations where you want to work and see if you’re connected
to anyone who works there or has previously worked there.
LinkedIn’s “Alumni Tool” to see what Xavier grads are doing today.
There are so many
different features to LinkedIn that students don’t realize are available. It can be the major link to you landing your
dream job. So get out there, strengthen
that profile, and start connecting!
For more helpful tips on
using LinkedIn, please visit:
for a job or internship in a city besides Cincinnati may seem like it would be
a very complicated process. Many
students and alumni may feel like they don’t know where to begin that
search. But if you haven’t learned by
now, the Career Development Office at Xavier is here to help you!
University has a reciprocity agreement with all the other Jesuit universities in
the country. This agreement means that
any student or alum can utilize various services provided by these career
service offices at any of the schools that hold this reciprocity
agreement. You can locate a Jesuit
university in the city of your choice and possibly go visit their career
services office for help finding job connections in that particular city. This agreement sometimes allows for you to
attend job fairs that the university holds as well as possible access to their
online job database. These are just a
couple examples of the many advantages that the reciprocity agreement can offer.
way to go about relocating is to do what I did.
I have lived in Cincinnati for most of my life so I knew I wanted to
expand my horizons and look for positions outside of Cincinnati. I had about five cities that I knew I would
love to live in but they were scattered all over the map. Therefore, in my job search process, I made
sure to look at companies that were either national companies or companies that
have locations in cities besides Cincinnati.
I visited company websites to research their location options. Then, at the Fall Career Fair I made it a
point to ask organizations if relocation was an option as well as which city
locations had job openings. Location was an aspect of the job that was very
important to me so if relocation was not possible, then I was able to rule out
advice would be to think of about five ideal cities that you would like to live
in. If you are not sure about specific
cities, then maybe just pick a region that you think you would enjoy. Then, I would look for Jesuit schools in that
area. It would be extremely helpful to
visit the Career Development Office
for help in this department or for more details on how the reciprocity
it may seem scary to move out of your comfort zone, there are plenty of people
and resources out there to help you. Set
yourself up for success by utilizing all of these tremendous resources!
Seniors… with 124 days left until graduation, what are you doing to get yourself ready for life after college?Have you thought about where you want to live after graduation?Or maybe thought about a job you’ve always dreamed of having?We’ve all heard by now that in the job search, it’s all about who you know. So make the transition easier for yourself by building a strong network now!
There are so many different networking opportunities available to us to take advantage of!The career fair coming up in February is an excellent networking opportunity.It is a convenient way to speak with several different employers all in one day.Even if you don’t plan on working for a certain organization, there is no harm in simply introducing yourself for a brief conversation.You never know where your paths may cross in the future!
Your mentor is another great network!Mentors not only give advice on the best ways to extend your network, but they can connect you with their contacts as well.They may know someone that works for an organization you find interesting, or maybe they know someone with the job title you someday want, or maybe their cousin works in the city that you want to live in- then that cousin can tell you the best and most cost efficient areas to live in.
Tap into networks that may not seem obvious!We all have friends that have graduated- talk to them and find out if they have friends that you could add to your network.Ask your aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, friend’s siblings… people love talking about themselves so anyone would be flattered to hear that you want their advice!
Another convenient networking opportunity is offered in The Career Development Office.The office schedules employer resume critiques where real employers are available in the office to sit down with.Not only will they help you improve your resume, but you get to speak with them in an informal setting.Rarely do we get the opportunity to speak with employers in a relaxed environment where we can hear first-hand what they want to see on a resume, so be sure to take advantage of this!Visit the CDO site to see the Employer Resume Review dates.
This last semester at Xavier is going to fly by for us seniors, so let’s take advantage of our time here!After college these networking opportunities probably won’t be so readily available so make the most of what the university offers!
Class, caf bonding, rigorous walks to class, work, updating music for the iPod, extracurricular activities, keeping up with a hectic Twitter & Instagram feed— trust me, I know there is no time in our day to set aside a couple hours to search, prepare, and apply for jobs.We all prefer to put it off and have it sit in the back of our minds to stress us out.
Instead of procrastinating, take advantage of your time over Christmas break! Make a quick list of some things you would love to have done when you come back in January.Here are some ideas…
-Shop for professional attire (while you can maybe squeeze it on your parent’s dime!)
-Research open positions- Click here to use the e-recruiting site to see available jobs!
-Write or edit your resume
-Talk with your parents about your major/career plans
-Make a folder of work samples
-Create or enhance your LinkedIn page-Click here to visit LinkedIn.com
-Apply for 5 jobs
-Meet with your mentor
-Talk to your uncle/aunt/cousin about their jobs and career paths
-Schedule an informational interview with someone holdingyour dream position
-Find places to volunteer or clubs to join to strengthen your resume
I asked a couple fellow musketeers what they hoped to accomplish with their free time over Christmas break.
Senior psychology major, Lauren Heap, is a Colorado native that spoke of her goals for Christmas break, “I want to research different positions available in Colorado.While I’m home I really want to network with local companies so I can get a job in Denver after graduation.”
Sophomore, Shane Crutchfield said, “My dad is an executive recruiter so he sees several LinkedIn pages and resumes every day.It can be hard to get his help over the phone so I want to sit down with my dad and get his help with strengthening my resume and LinkedIn page.I want to get this done so I am already prepared for opportunities that arise in the future.”
Maybe you could even throw some items on your Christmas wish list.
-A simple necklace to complete your “workplace chic” look
-The perfect tie to nail the interview
-A padfolio to impress employers
Career opportunities can arise when you least expect them.With tests, papers, work, and everything else going on, it is hard to give the job search your full attention and focus.Therefore, over Christmas break, get things done so when an opportunity arises you are already prepared and are ready to present your best self.
a major feels like a big decision that no one wants to make because it seems
like you are determining the rest of your life!However, it is nothing to stress about! You just need to do your research and make an
informed decision.Companies today do
not rely on your major as heavily as they do the skills & abilities you can
bring to the table.
did not declare my major until my sophomore year at Xavier.When I came to college I knew what I was
interested in, but I did not feel like I was informed enough to make the best
decision.I didn’t want to declare a
major because I didn’t want to end up in a study that I didn’t enjoy.
my freshmen year I focused a lot on my core requirements and enrolled in
classes that would teach me more about different areas of study.I also had several conversations with older
students who were declared majors in the areas I was interested in.It really helped speaking with other students
because they gave me real advice and experiences.I would ask about the teachers, the work
load, the types of assignments, the opportunities their major presented, if
they would’ve done anything differently, and anything else that I would wonder
but probably wouldn’t ask a teacher.
also went to the Career Development Office and met with a career
counselor.This was a resource that
helped me in a different way than students were able to.I sat down with the counselor and listed
things that I enjoyed doing and then listed things I did not enjoy as
much.We also discussed my ideal jobs
and areas that I would love to pursue.My
counselor was able to tell me about specifics in certain job areas.She told me the kind of work that might
typically occur day to day, what the pay is like, what my responsibilities
might include, etc.It was very helpful
to sit down with an adult who has a grasp of life after college.
before you let the decision stress you out, just take a breather and do as much
research as you can!It is so helpful to
ask around and get different perspectives.Xavier offers so many great programs that you can’t go wrong!Call the Career Development Office today, or visit us online, to schedule with a
career counselor to discuss your options!