Undecided, Under No Pressure

Written on 9:57 AM by Xavier Career Development

It’s a big world out there with lots of career options to pursue. Since about age 4 or 5 we are asked what we want to be when we grow up. If you were as bright and intelligent as I was at age 4, my answer would be to be a pizza, and if that didn’t work out, then I would be a dog. Clearly I knew what direction my life was heading since my early childhood. If you ask me that question today, I would give a more realistic answer which is working within advertising, marketing, and communications. (But by the amount of pizza I consume I think I am very close to actually becoming one after all.)

When we enter college, the big question that everyone asks you is “What is your major?” Followed by “What do you want to do with that after graduation?” You may be feeling overwhelmed, seeing as how you are adjusting to your college lifestyle and wondering what is out there that can be studied and explored. Some people have no idea what they want to declare their major as, and that’s ok! You are not alone in your search to find the right fitting major for you. The Career Development Office is here to help you!


There are three steps to successfully finding a major that fits you.

Step 1:  Self-Assessment

This calls for some reflection on your part:
·         What are your interests: your likes and dislikes?
·         What do you like to study?
·         Skills and abilities: being able to decipher your strengths and weaknesses.
·         Values: Do you value working independently or with a team?
·         Finally, personality: Do you appreciate structure in your studies or do you enjoy spontaneity?

Step 2:  Major Exploration
This is where you get your hands dirty and conduct research on the areas of study you are interested in. This calls for meeting with professors, meeting with a career coach, or joining a club that supports various career fields. Another option is coming to the Career Development Office to take a few assessment tests such as FOCUS 2, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and the Strong Interest Inventory to view how your personal interests and work styles mesh together with many work environments and values.

Step 3:  Making a Decision
The third and final step is making your decision. Ultimately, you are the one taking the courses and doing the work, so you should not be weighed down by the fear that one path will determine the rest of your life. There are plenty of people here at Xavier who are happy to help you realize what your dream career could be!

From undeclared freshman to Communication Studies senior,
Jenny Mendoza

Spring cleaning- Keys to an organized internship search!

Written on 10:30 AM by Xavier Career Development

The classic internship search: tirelessly staring at a computer screen, writing cover letter after cover letter, and crossing your fingers hoping for some sort of luck on the other side of the screen. It can get so old so quickly, and sometimes we end up not even remembering what positions or companies we have applied for! The key to a successful internship search is making sure to stay organized! By clearly laying out your goals, intentions, and seeing that those can become realities, the task of locking down a summer internship is no longer extremely daunting!

There are a few simple steps to organizing your internship search:
1.      Make a list of companies you want to target
2.      Find out if their internship opportunities are posted
3.      If yes, apply. If no, set up a “job alert”- meaning, making a note to come back to this later.
4.      Find contacts at each company, whether it is collecting email addresses or LinkedIn profiles!
5.      Reach out to express interest in the job or the company by sending a cover letter email with your resume attached
6.      Keep track of the dates of communication and follow up!

The first key to keeping your search organized is tracking. The simplest, and in my opinion the most efficient method, is to create an excel spreadsheet.




By labeling each column with specific titles:
I want to intern
Intern opportunity listed on company website
If yes, did you apply- list the date if so!
If no, did you create a “job alert”
List of contacts at company (or LinkedIn page)
Did you follow up? If yes, when?

This allows for a super easy cross off list that allows you to stay on top of your job or internship search! As long as you keep at it with a positive mindset, a fountain Coke, and work hard, your internship search will be over before you know it!

Wishing you the luck of the Irish,
Jenny Mendoza


Spring Career Fair?! No Sweat.

Written on 8:57 AM by Xavier Career Development

February is upon us, Muskies and we have a lot to look forward to! We hope that the groundhog does not see his shadow so spring arrives quickly, we celebrate African American culture throughout the month, and of course, we anticipate attending the Spring Career Fair on February 17th!

I myself could go on and on about the career fair- what to wear, how to prepare, follow up, etc, etc. Seeing as how this is my blog, I volunteer you Musketeers my advice all the time, and figure you would like to hear from other Xavier students for a change of pace! I have asked students who have attended the career fair for their advice and opinions on how to achieve the most success!

Nick Henrichs, Class of 2015-Marketing Major, Psychology Minor: “Honestly, the career fair isn’t as huge of a stress-enduring deal as most students think it is. It really boils down to three main points: professionalism, preparation, and being polite! Of course, you want to dress your best in business professional clothing- there is absolutely no room for jeans or tennis shoes. Do your research! In order to wow the companies/representatives at the fair, you want to arrive with knowledge of what that company does, and if they are interested in hiring a person like you with your area of study. Having said that, come prepared with questions about possible future employment, whether it’s for a summer internship or a full time job after graduation. Lastly, following up with the employer you talked to is just as important as making a good impression on them- sending them a personal thank you note lets them know you appreciated the time they spent with you, and can make you stand out amongst the dozens of people they spoke to the day of the fair. As long as you stick to those three main points, the fair should be no sweat!”

Kacie Hoyt, Class of 2015-Biology Major: “Being a biology major, through my freshmen and sophomore years I didn’t even give the career fair a thought since I assumed it was strictly for business majors or those alike. It wasn’t until I had heard from other people in my major who had attended at least one career fair that there are employers searching for students with all areas of study! When the spring career fair rolled around my junior year, I picked up a copy of the Career Fair tabloid and found that companies like Procter and Gamble and Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation were going to be right inside Cintas, looking for candidates like myself! My advice to you is don’t skip out on the career fair because you think no one is hiring-you never know who you could speak to and where it could lead you!”

So fellow Musketeers, there you have it. The Career Development Office wants you to succeed in every way possible, and attending the Career Fair is one of the best ways we can help you begin to reach your career goals! Feel free to visit our website or drop by our office if you have any questions!

Best of luck,
Jenny Mendoza



Welcome home, transfer students!

Written on 9:29 AM by Xavier Career Development

Hello transfer students and welcome to Xavier University! I am so excited that you made the choice to join this great community of Xavier students, faculty, and staff! We really do live and act by the motto “All for One and One for All,” so we are all here to embrace and welcome you into Xavier Nation. I am sure you are trying to get settled in your dorms, figure out why there is a ton of construction in the middle of campus, and master the fine art of eating just enough cafeteria food so that you are full, but don’t overindulge yourself so much that you are unable to get up and walk home. Amidst all of these mental processes, we here at the Career Development Office just want to let you know we are here to support you! You may find the following tips helpful through your time here at Xavier University.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
This probably seems like common sense and something almost every person you have met so far has advised you to do. It may be irritating to hear repeatedly, but we express this because we all want you to succeed in every way possible! The only way to know what resources are available to help you grow is to reach out and seek help when you need it. There is absolutely no shame in admitting you don’t know something and need advice- this is something I learned on the first day and still am learning.

Set personal time aside for yourself.
It can be extremely easy to get absorbed into the everyday hustle and bustle of campus life- class, meetings, emails, and study groups. Consistently being involved in a routine of academics, time with roommates and friends, and trying to keep up with laundry so you are not forced to wear the same sweatshirt for two weeks can make any person go a little stir crazy! From personal experience, I can tell you it is so beneficial to set aside mandatory personal time for yourself every once in a while. Whether it is just Netflix binging in order to think about anything besides that lab report, or taking a walk and having a beautiful view of campus and Cincinnati by standing outside the 10th floor of Schott Hall, having a clear mind is vital to your physical and mental health!

Immerse yourself in Xavier Athletics!
What’s a college experience if it is all work and no play? Whether you choose to attend a men’s or women’s basketball game in Cintas Center, a baseball game on Hayden Field, or a soccer game on the XU Soccer Complex; attending any athletic event at Xavier is truly a fun and memorable experience, and a great way to represent your school spirit!

So fellow Musketeers, welcome to your new home. If you see Fr. B giving you a wave and saying “Hi, Saint!”, the smell of fresh bread being baked at Subway, or the sound of the pep band playing the Xavier fight song, know that these sights and sounds are all are yours to claim as part of your Xavier experience. Let’s go X!

Your friend,
Jenny Mendoza

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Break!)

Written on 1:13 PM by Xavier Career Development

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Is it really? When the month of December rolls around for Xavier students, many of us will have had a small taste of home over Thanksgiving break, and then return back to campus to crank out the last few weeks of work and tremendous amounts of studying for final exams. We can have a tendency to only focus on what is in front of us, and not what lies ahead! Keep your eyes on the prize, Xavier students: Christmas break is not that far away!

Christmas break is definitely the time for enjoying, in my opinion at least, the most wonderful time of the year. Family, friends, and food are sources for a fantastic three weeks away from textbooks, meetings, and emails. It is incredibly easy to spend 3 weeks wearing sweatpants as a result of the massive amount of food you have eaten, lying on the couch both starting (and then subsequently finishing) a Netflix series of your choice knowing you have nothing holding you back. Although this may be the dream for a lot of us, I have faith in you, fellow students. We are more than capable of accomplishing some career-related goals and mindsets while we have time to kick back! Let’s take this slowly, this is a vacation after all, right? By no means am I suggesting we all need to spend our breaks researching internships and jobs, interviewing for them, and finally landing those positions.

Let’s say we are spending the day at home, checking Facebook albums, updating our iTunes, and doing some online shopping looking for that perfect New Year’s Eve outfit. While we are on our laptops, we can write or edit our resumes. After having done so, we can head over to LinkedIn.com to update our profiles after having browsed so many of our friends’ profiles on various social media accounts. Perhaps we have some information to add from a fall internship we have landed, or update our objective statements for what it is we are seeking in the spring and summer. After having updated our LinkedIn accounts, we can navigate over to eRecruiting to research those possible winter, spring, or possible summer internship and job positions we are seeking!

By now we’ve spent a lot of time hunched over our computers, and should get outside and enjoy the snow and winter weather! Suggest to mom and/or dad a day of bonding! Sit down with them to explain what it is you really are searching for or hope to accomplish in terms of your career path: whether you are graduating in the spring and want to discuss living situations and the location of your dream job, or you are a sophomore and seeking advice on declaring a major. Those older than us always give us wise advice about their career history when it is sought out! While you are out you can also suggest shopping for business/interview attire! What family member wouldn’t want to help you present yourself as professionally as possible, especially when you mention the Spring Career Fair is right around the corner on February 17!

Vacation is the best of both worlds: allowing for productivity as well as good times with those we love. Make the most of your break this year!

Merry Christmas Muskies,
Jenny Mendoza







What Are You Thankful For?

Written on 1:41 PM by Xavier Career Development

Ah, November. The universal sign that fall is drawing to a close, and winter is not far away. November allows us to indulge in pumpkin pie, raking piles of leaves just to jump back into them, and the best part of the month: Thanksgiving dinner. A famous holiday tradition, and one that occurs in my house every year, consists of everyone going around the table stating what they are thankful for before we dig into our meal. Although we may want to just state something general like “my family,” or “the food on this table,” we can take the next few weeks before we go home to really think about our answer.

We students here at XU are so lucky for a number of reasons. On a daily basis, we tend to go through the motions and don’t give them any thought. We get up, go to class, grab a bite to eat, then either head to our jobs or sit down and do our homework. Even though we all have our own routines, there are so many people that can be thanked throughout all these processes- and so many different places and things to be thankful for!

Let’s break this down: let’s start with the first and foremost reason we are all here, to attend class and transition into a career. Just like we get up and mentally prepare ourselves for a day full of lectures, our professors do the same thing! They dedicate themselves to us before, during, after class, and sometimes even on the weekends. Don’t be afraid after your lecture as you walk past your professor just to say “Thank-you!” Trust me when I say they are probably not expecting it, and will most definitely help make their day a little brighter.

So we’ve had a day full of classes and now we head back to our dorms or apartments. We enter a room that has been swept as well as a bathroom that has been cleaned and filled with supplies. The next time we are in our room at the same time as the cleaning staff, feel free to just ask “How is your day going so far?” A little conversation started goes a long way and shows you aren’t taking their service for granted.

Mentors, both those through the Xavier Mentoring Program and ones we have collected over time on our own, are other friendly faces here at Xavier that are looking out for us and genuinely have our best interests at heart. When you meet with your mentor, instead of feeling as if it is another component of your busy day, try to use active listening! Active listening is more than just nodding your head and answering questions. Active listening shows you really are taking to heart the advice your mentor is giving you. An example of this would include responding to your mentor with “That is really great advice!” or “I agree, thanks for the suggestion!” A handwritten thank-you note is also a classic method to deeply show your gratitude for their time and efforts they have spent with you.

So in summary, although Thanksgiving Day may be the primary time where we express what we are grateful for, don’t be shy to let those who matter in your life know that they do so! All for one and one for all never fails!

Behind the bowl of mashed potatoes,
Jenny Mendoza

Year of Service: Living Out Our Ignatian Spirituality

Written on 1:37 PM by Xavier Career Development

“Go to college, a university. Get a real job-that’s what they said to me.” That’s what Joel Madden from Good Charlotte sang about our futures back in the year 2003. But this is the year 2014, and not all of us want to follow the routine pattern of jumping straight into a working environment immediately after graduation. Some of us are pursuing graduate school, and others are considering a year of service: being a man or woman for others and giving their time and talent to those truly in need. Xavier graduate Matthew Mellon, class of 2009, describes his life changing experience with post-grad volunteering.

What was your scenario that made you decide upon your year of service?
A year of service was a logical place to start my career after college. I always knew I wanted to work in something related to social justice. At that point in my life, I was also exploring the connection between social justice and faith. So, spending a year with the Lutheran Volunteer Corps fit my priorities quite well, because they were a faith-based program and most of their service placements were explicitly focused on social justice. 

Did you attend the post-grad fair during your time at Xavier?
I did attend! I went my Junior and Senior years.

What is it you did during your year of service?
Immediately after graduation, I went into my year of service with Lutheran Volunteer Corps. I was placed at DC Employment Justice Center, a law center for low-wage workers. I worked on the advocacy team, where I lobbied for workplace protections for low wage workers in Washington, DC at the city council. I also did some case work with our clients and helped them navigate legal issues related to their employment (I was supervised by an attorney). I heard about Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC) through a friend who had applied a year earlier. I also think I talked to them at Xavier's Post Grad Service Fair, but I can't remember for sure.

 Did this require you to re-locate from your hometown? Did you complete the year of service alone or with others you knew?
Yes, I left my hometown of Cincinnati, and relocated to DC. I didn't know anyone beforehand, but I became good friends with most of the other 21 people in my LVC cohort.

What are you most glad about after having completed your year?
Well, this is a bit difficult to answer. There are many things that I am deeply appreciative of after finishing my year of service (which was four years ago). If I had to pick one, I think it was learning about the policy-making process in DC City Council, and more importantly how important policy advocacy is in social justice work. Advocacy has been my career, in one way or another, since finishing my year of service.

What followed your year of service?
Right afterward, I started a one year leadership development program called Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship, which took me to Arizona to work on hunger related issues. After that, I moved back to DC and worked for several years in health policy, then as a researcher at a hospital. Now, I am in graduate school pursuing degrees in public health and public policy.


Although Matthew’s experience was within the United States, there are many international opportunities as well! A year of service could be a great opportunity to explore a career field and gain experience.  To find out, attend the Graduate School and Year-of-Service Fair on October 28!


Click here for more information!


Cheers to the future,
Jenny Mendoza