Jenny Mendoza is the Communications Intern within the Xavier University Career Development Office. Her blog posts will feature peer-to-peer career advice and guest bloggers including employers and alumni.
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.)
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
Step 1: Self-Assessment
This calls for some reflection on your part:
are your interests: your likes and dislikes?
do you like to study?
and abilities: being able to decipher your strengths and weaknesses.
Do you value working independently or with a team?
personality: Do you appreciate structure in your studies or do you enjoy
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
with a career coach, or joining a club that supports various career
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
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
undeclared freshman to Communication Studies senior,
classic : 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
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
apply. If no, set up a “job alert”- meaning, making a note to come back to this
contacts at each company, whether it is collecting email addresses or LinkedIn
5.Reach out to
express interest in the job or the company by sending a cover letter email with
your resume attached
of the dates of communication and follow up!
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?
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
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!
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!
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!”
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!”
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!
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
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
you attend the post-grad fair during your
time at Xavier?
I did attend! I went my Junior and Senior years.
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.
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.
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.
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!