Endgame

Written by Jesse Sannicandro

As I’m coming to the end of my Professional Writing Internship at the office of Career Services and Employer Relations (CSER), I’ve been reflecting on everything that I’ve done and learned here. I visited the office during the spring of 2016 for help with my resume, but that was the extent of my experience with career services before I started my internship. I didn’t entirely know what to expect beyond my few brief meetings over the summer with the director of CSER, Dawn Ross.

As I wrote in my first post, I hit the ground running right away, attending the Employment & Enjoyment Fair. This was somewhat of a daunting experience, and I quickly learned that the office was always bustling. I spent the next couple of weeks familiarizing myself with the office, its inner-workings, and the major amount of job-searching resources that it has to offer. I’ve studied nearly all of the forms that are available and used all of the online resources, including Vault and CareerSpots, and I’ve only scratched the surface of everything that CSER has to offer.

Dawn also encouraged me (as well as all of the other students working in the office) to take part in the Suitable Solutions professionalism program. This was a wonderful experience that helped me gain confidence in my job-searching skills. The most beneficial part of the program for me was the mock-interview process. Local businesses collaborated with CSER and sent their employees to conduct the interviews.

This official blog has been my favorite experience in terms of work that I’ve done for the office. Early on, it was made clear to me that I would be doing primarily self-directed work. There were a lot of options of projects that previous Professional Writing interns had worked on that I would be able to continue. The blog was originally created by Arianna Miller in 2015 and I decided to pursue that with a goal of creating one post per week. Before I put anything up I made sure that it was appropriate and was approved by Sarah Falber, one of the office’s esteemed career counselors. Whenever I showed Dawn the work I’d done, I was always elated to hear her say, “love it!”

Since the beginning of my internship, Dawn has stressed that I should work on a “legacy project,” something that I can leave behind when I move on. What I’ve been working on is a workbook called “Cracking the Vault,” that aims to demonstrate how to easily use the online resource, Vault. I have been feverishly crafting this workbook for the past couple of weeks, trying to perfect it. I’m pretty happy with the results and am glad to be able to leave something behind that will hopefully help students in the future.

Working at CSER has been a great experience. I’ve learned to collaborate on writing, put myself on a schedule, and think of original ideas to create focused blog posts. I consider myself lucky to have taken part in this internship. I’m glad to have had the experience, sad to have to leave, and excited for my future with all the skills that I have learned and developed at Career Services.

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Adventures in LinkedIn Part 3: Keeping It Focused

 

Written by Jesse Sannicandro

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I’ve been using LinkedIn actively for a couple of months now and I’ve slowly been learning how to use it effectively.  Lately, an important idea I’ve been keeping in mind is making sure that my personal profile has a focus.  Many people are unsure of what vocation they want to pursue and there are certainly people who take nonlinear career paths, but, it’s extremely useful to have a general idea of where to start.


Experience

The experience section of your profile should be somewhat of a trade-off between what you’ve gained in educational and professional environments.  Since I am a student, I focus more on my education.  My work experience so far hasn’t been entirely related to the field that I want to enter as a career.  Classes that I’ve taken may be more relevant to the industry I want to pursue, so they can take the forefront.  This can also be the case for recent graduates who still have yet to gain much meaningful experience.  Meanwhile, someone who has been out of school for a while would be able to put more of a focus on their recent jobs.  It’s really a matter of give and take between these two realms.

Skills & Endorsements

It’s good to have a lot of skills on your page, but it’s more important to include those that are relevant to the field that you are pursuing—you don’t want to have too many skills.  Things that are not related to your industry or future profession should probably not be included on your page.  Your first-degree connections can vouch for you by giving you skill endorsements.  When other people can verify that you have the skills that you say you have, this increases your credibility and helps to build your personal brand.  You are able to organize your top skills and should make sure that your most important ones are at the top so that they can be noticed first.  You can do this by putting them in order of importance.  It’s possible to hide others’ endorsements so that the skill that shows up first is the one that you feel is most important.  To do this, click the pencil icon located to the right of a specific skill and click “Manage Endorsements.”  Remember, highlight the skills that are most significant to your field.

Who to follow

You can follow companies and groups that you are interested in to see their posts.  You can add causes that you feel passionate about and join groups that pertain to your interests.  Not only will this let others know what kind of person you are, but because LinkedIn has an algorithm that tailors suggestions to you, companies that you otherwise would not have thought of can be recommended to you.  The more you put into your page, the more you will get out of it.


Once your page has a focus you can start using LinkedIn to its full potential.  Based on your groups, connections, and experience that you have listed on your page, LinkedIn will suggest people with whom you may want to connect, and send you jobs that might be appropriate based on your previous jobs.  Currently, a lot of people who are suggested to me work at the same companies as me and, because I’m in retail, many of the jobs recommended to me are retail related.  I follow several companies and I get to see a lot of posts that interest me as a result.  The only thing I have yet to do is join groups and add causes to my page.  As I move forward, I’m hoping that my personalized suggestions will be more relevant to my future career goals than my past job experiences.  I hope to continue learning about networking and job searching as I continue to use LinkedIn.  After all I’ve learned, I have nothing but the highest of hopes for my future in networking on LinkedIn.

A CARS Success Story

Written by Jesse Sannicandro

3d small people - session behind a round table

Framingham State University’s office of Career Services and Employer Relations (CSER) held a networking event on October 26 called Career Advice Roundtables (CARS).  This was an opportunity for students to gain valuable information from professionals and FSU alumni employed at local businesses.  The best possible outcome for attending a networking event like this is to ultimately land a job offer.

Mavis Wong, a graduate student getting her M.B.A. who works as the Marketing and Public Relations manager in the CSER office, attended the event and managed to accomplish the best possible outcome.  I recently sat down with Mavis to ask her a few questions about her experience with the CARS event.  I was able to take away a lot of information based on what she told me.

How has working at CSER helped you develop skills in finding a job?

“It’s taught me a lot about what hiring managers are looking for in cover letters and resumes, especially, and being able to tailor it in terms of who you are and what you’re bringing to the table. The CSER events bring new opportunities to network with hiring managers and have conversations with them about the culture of the company, such as what the specific position entails, and how you can help.”

A big thing is knowing what you have to offer a company, and refining how to pitch yourself.

What was your experience with the CARS event?

“It was interesting because I was working it at the time and there were companies I was interested in learning about. After my official duties were over, I got to sit down, speak with hiring managers, listen to their conversations with other students, take notes on what they were looking for, and whether or not I could fulfill those roles.”

Talking and listening to other people can help you figure out what skills companies value in a potential employee.

Did CSER help with networking skills?

“It helps that they hosted the event so I could have the opportunity to network. I’d seen some of the hiring managers at other events and I was already familiar with some of the companies.”

Taking advantage of any networking opportunity that presents itself is important to help you practice.

Do you think you would have gotten a job offer without this type of networking?

“I definitely wouldn’t have met the hiring manager without the CARS event. I was able to speak with him in depth about a lot of things—where the company is going, what it’s looking for.”

Meeting with people in positions of power allows them to put a face to a name.

Would you consider returning to participate in future CSER events as an alumna?

“I’d love to talk to people about my experience with CSER and all of its benefits.”

All Framingham State alumni are encouraged to return to help students in their job search.

Do you have any final nuggets of wisdom to offer?

“At the CARS event, I was able to talk to multiple managers and open up different doors and possibilities for my career. But something I noticed was that a lot of students were wondering what the company would offer them, which is not what it’s about. It should be more about what you can offer the company.  Students should do more research into companies before attending networking events like this.”

Networking events like CARS are opportunities to tell employers what you offer. How do you fit in? How can you solve their problems? How can you make them a profit? How can you help them? Ask not what your employer can do for you, ask what you can do for your employer.

Events like CARS can be extremely useful for students.  It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities while they are being offered.  Once you’re done with school, you’ll have to network in less structured environments.  Really, you can only learn so much from instruction: the best way to develop these skills is to go out and practice, practice, practice.  Soon enough, you can end up like Mavis; with a job offer under your belt and be the next success story.