Homework Over Winter Break? You Got That Right.

Ten Things Students Should Do In Between “Games of Thrones” Episodes
By Kate Szumanski

With finals approaching, now isn’t the best time for students – this means you – to think about your career and professional development is it? There are deadlines to meet, tests to study for, and papers to write.

But during winter break when free time’s a plenty, there is serious homework to be done, only this homework is ungraded and “counts” for much more than a grade on your report card.

There is career and professional development homework to complete, and winter break is the ideal time to focus on this area.

Here are the Top 10 things you should do during your winter break to be best prepared to hit those spring career fairs strong when you return to campus.

(And parents of college students who are reading this, you can help spread the word and encourage your son or daughter to take serious action before a new semester begins.)

  1. Create a killer résumé. It’s true: your résumé is your sales pitch. If written right, it has the power to convincingly “sell” your abilities, experiences, and skills to a future internship supervisor or employer. Review résumé samples. Identify what you like. Build your résumé to represent you.
  1. Memorize your elevator pitch. So we meet at a career fair and after we exchange pleasantries about the weather and if the Philadelphia Phillies will trade Cole Hamels, where does the conversation go? If you are asked about you – your interests, your focus, your mission, your purpose – what do you say? Write and memorize your elevator pitch, the 30-second introduction that will captivate and convince the person on the receiving end that you are a serious student with fascinating interests and tremendous value looking to build a career and contribute in meaningful ways to an organization’s mission.
  1. Google “common interview questions.” It might seem silly, but do it. Research the typical questions hiring managers’ ask during interviews and brainstorm compelling answers. Never be caught off guard again during an interview.
  1. Include an e-mail signature to all outgoing mail. After you sign your e-mail messages, do you include a professional signature line that directs recipient’s to your Twitter handle, Web site, or other relevant contact information? No? Do it moving forward. It’s like including a business card in an e-mail every time you hit “send.”
  1. Get a handle on Twitter. I’m consistently surprised by the low number of students who use Twitter to not only research industries, but also to build their personal brands. Twitter allows you to converse and connect with industry professionals, keep updated on trends in public discourse, and stay current on all things. Contribute to the conversations related to your emerging area of expertise by becoming active on Twitter.
  1. Write a cover letter template. Yes, all cover letters should be customized and tailored to each opportunity for which you apply. But that doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch each time. Build a meaningful cover letter that you can revise quickly.
  1. Create your Linked In profile. Perhaps you already have a Linked In profile, but you haven’t visited it in months. Or maybe you don’t have a Linked in profile yet. Now’s the time to edit it or create it. And with powerful resources like these at your fingertips, there’s no good reason to say you don’t know where to start.
  1. Cleanse your social media presence. Increasingly, employers, hiring managers, and interviewers will google candidates who’ve applied for positions before extending an invitation to meet. What does your public social media presence say about you? Does it convey a powerful image of a creative problem-solver and critical-thinker seeking to grow her professional career and take on the world, or does it convey an image of someone who’s been out too late at one too many parties? Remove inappropriate content. Enable the privacy settings on your Facebook page. Be smart about social media and understand its power to influence. It’s a hard truth: people will judge you without knowing you. Don’t give them any reason to judge you in an unfavorable light.
  1. Invest in stationery. When your Aunt Mary sends you a lovely holiday sweater, do you thank her in writing with a courteous and warm note? No? Well, you should. Rarely am I so forceful, but I encourage all students to be the one – maybe the only one – who sends a hand-written thank-you note to someone who has helped you, encouraged you, interviewed you, gave you a cup pf water while you waited for your interview to start, etc. Now, don’t go overboard and thank everyone for every common courtesy, but be smart and savvy. Express gratitude appropriately. If you are the candidate who sends the note, you’ll be remembered. And in our electronic age, those hand-written notes are all the more meaningful.
  1. Buy a suit. Are you comfortable in your interview attire? Right now, yoga pants and jeans are your staples, and that’s perfectly fine. But when you begin to interview for internships or jobs, you’ll need clothing that serves many purposes. You want to feel confident and comfortable in your skin. You want to send a professional message to the person across the table. For men or women, a suit that comes with its requisite component parts can help you begin to gradually build a professional wardrobe. Keep it on the conservative side. Black and navy blue are staples. Women easily can add a pop of color with an appropriate blouse, and men can add just a touch of color (again, think conservative here) with their choice of necktie. And you shouldn’t spend a lot of money here – there’s no need.

Whew. By now, you’re exhausted. You’re hoping to find the remote to see if Mom or Dad DVR-ed “Sons of Anarchy.”

Remember, no one said winter break homework would be easy, right?

And newsflash! Did you know that there’s extra credit available, too? Yes, I said extra credit.

For the ultra-motivated and ambitious, take on these challenges:

  1. Send your first Tweet.
  2. Connect with someone you know on Linked In.
  3. Research potential internships and apply to those that most interest you.
  4. Buy a roll of stamps.
  5. Write a thank-you note and mail it. (See #4 for stamps!)

Got it? Excellent. I know you do.

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, and in the Office of Undergraduate Students, we teach our students – liberally educated young adults – to be adaptable, nimble, and flexible students and professionals who contribute powerfully to society.

We want our students to realize their full potential, to discover their passions and to pursue them with relentless determination. Maybe it’s through an internship. Maybe it’s through a professional development course. Maybe it’s through one of our many professional development events. Discovering who you are and what your impact can be should help define your Villanova journey.

When you return to campus in 2015, encourage our students to visit the Office for Undergraduate Students in SAC 107 often. Discover who you are and who you are meant to be. Let our office of dedicated professionals help you on your journey of discovery.

Kate Szumanski, ’95, ’97, is the associate director for experiential education in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Follow her on Twitter @KateSzumanski.    

With the Approach of Finals, Consider a Short Study Break: Focus on Your Future

By Kate Szumanski

With finals approaching, now isn’t the best time to think about your career and professional development is it? There are deadlines to meet, tests to study for, and papers to write.

But in these busy moments when you’re sleep deprived and swamped with work, I challenge you to take a deep breath, find a brief quiet time to reflect, and think about what all of this work is leading toward.

Maybe your dream is to become an emergency room doctor, triaging patients and saving lives. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, fighting for justice in a court of law. Maybe you’re fascinated by operating systems and software advances, and a career in computer programming is calling to you. And maybe you are a whiz with numbers and seek to apply your strong analytical skills on Wall Street in finance.

Or maybe, just maybe, you’re not sure what “you want to be when you grow up.” And you know what, that’s perfectly OK. What’s not OK is not talking about your options, your strengths, and your passions, for therein this discussion might possibly be your professional ambition waiting to be explored.

What are you doing know to lay the foundation for your dream to be realized? What are you doing now to help discover what that professional dream might be?

After you think about these questions, go back to the books. You have finals to ace. But during your winter break, think more deeply about these important issues. Discuss them with people you trust. Think about how you will return to the University in January 2015 with a renewed focus on your professional development.

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, and in the Office of Undergraduate Students, we teach our students – liberally educated young adults – to be adaptable, nimble, and flexible students and professionals who contribute powerfully to society.

We want our students to realize their full potential, to discover their passions and to pursue them with relentless determination. Maybe it’s through an internship. Maybe it’s through a professional development course. Maybe it’s through one of our many professional development events. Discovering who you are and what your impact can be should help define your Villanova journey.

I encourage students to visit the Office for Undergraduate Students in SAC 107 often. Discover who you are and who you are meant to be. Let our office of dedicated professionals help you on your journey of discovery.

Kate Szumanski, ’95, ’97, is the associate director for experiential education in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Follow her on Twitter @KateSzumanski.    

Penn Law Outreach Program “Applying to, and Succeeding in, Law School”

The Penn Law Outreach Program is designed to assist high potential undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds with their preparation for admission to law school. Students must be enrolled with sophomore, junior, or senior status in a greater Philadelphia area college when they apply to the program. The program’s objective is to help these students acquire the skills necessary for:

• Successful completion of the bachelor’s degree,
• Competitive performance on the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), and
• Successful entry into law school.

This program begins in the second semester of the 2014-2015 academic year, and concludes with the participant’s completion of a “J.D. Action Plan” and application to law school. Participation requires a one semester commitment during the spring 2015 semester. Attendance is mandatory in ALL classes and presentations. At the end of the program, one participant will be awarded a Kaplan LSAT Prep course scholarship. Participants must be in good standing (i.e. have attended the necessary events) to be eligible.

The program’s academic-year components will consist of:
• A briefing by Penn Law Dean of Admissions on the application process
• A briefing by Penn Law Director of Financial Aid on financing a legal education
• A panel of current law students discussing the law school experience
• A mock class incorporating writing, analytical thinking, and logical reasoning
• A personal statement writing workshop led by a Kaplan representative
• A mock LSAT and exam review by a Kaplan representative
• A panel of alumni discussing different legal paths and careers
• Invitations to student of color events
• Mentoring with current Penn Law students
• Goal-setting and planning for academic success

The deadline for application is January 20, 2015. The program will commence on
February 7, 2015 and will end in mid-April 2015.
For more information, e-mail Allanté Keels at pennlawoutreach@gmail.com

Download and review the full application here: Outreach Program Application_2015

Communicating Your Value as a Liberal Arts & Sciences Student … in 30 Seconds or Less

By Kate Szumanski

Knowing your professional value and worth, and communicating powerfully about them in a very short amount of time, are two important skills liberal arts and sciences should master.

You need to write, memorize, and “own” your 30-second commercial, which is designed to sell you!

Let’s say you’re attending a career fair and approach a representative from a particular company. What do you say by way of an introduction? And after you exchange pleasant hellos and chit chat about the weather, what’s next? When you’re asked about YOU, what do you say?

This is where a carefully created and memorized elevator pitch or personal brand statement comes into play. You want to create something compelling, memorable, and brief that helps to describe you and your abilities.

Careers coach and author Susan Chritton shares these tips to get you started.

  • Your unique promise of value: This is the promise you make to your target market that your brand will fulfill. It clarifies and communicates what makes you special. You must be able to live up to this promise. What important abilities can you uniquely offer a company or organization that might be hard to find in the marketplace? This is your USP: unique selling point.
  • Your personal brand statement:You use your unique promise of value to write the all-important personal brand statement. When you work on your statement, envision your best self. To begin your thought process on what your brand might include, answer the following questions:
  • What three or four keywords describe your essential qualities quickly and clearly?
  • What is your essence factor, the core of who you are? “I know I am in my element when __________.”
  • What is your authority factor, the knowledge that you hold and the skills that you possess? “People recognize my expertise in _________.”
  • What is your superstar factor, the qualities that set you apart? (This factor is how you get things done or what you’re known for.) “People comment on my ability to ___________.”
  • How can you convey all of the above with energy, enthusiasm, and passion?

To help you get started writing your statement, use this fill-in-the-blanks template. Don’t be constrained by this language; simply use it as a starting point.

Hello. I’m _____________ _________________, and it wonderful to meet you. I am a __________ student at Villanova University, studying _____________ and _____________. I’m looking for _____________so that I can apply my ____________ skills and help you achieve your _____________ goals. I use my ___________ and ___________ for ___________. Known for ___________, I ___________. Using ___________ (key trait), I ___________, by providing ___________. Through my ___________, I ___________, when I serve ___________. I can make powerful contributions at ____________, an organization that I deeply admire because of ________________ by contributing my _________ and _____________ abilities.

Kate Szumanski, ’95, ’97, is the associate director for experiential education in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Follow her on Twitter @KateSzumanski.    

Morgan Stanley Operations Division is seeking College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students!

Morgan Stanley is seeking College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students for a Summer Analyst position in their Operations Division. This is a prime opportunity for Villanova CLAS students to grow their career and professional development potentiality. The accompanying training program includes networking opportunities, professional skills training, team projects, and much more.

The full posting details may be found on the Operations SA Program PDF, and students must apply online HERE. Don’t procrastinate; build your future!

Achieving Professional Success With a Degree in the Liberal Arts and Sciences

By Kate Szumanski

Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University are often told that they can do and be anything, that with their excellent liberal education, they can work any job, excel at it, and be paid well for it.

Strong evidence suggests that this and more are true.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) released a report in January 2014 on earnings and long-term career paths for college graduates with different undergraduate majors.

In How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment, authors Debra Humphreys and Patrick Kelly analyze data from the 2010-11 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and provide answers to some common questions posed by students, parents, and policy makers who are increasingly concerned about the value of college degrees.

Their findings are reassuring:

  • Liberal arts majors close earnings gaps—earn more than professional majors at peak earnings ages
  • Unemployment rates are low for liberal arts graduates—and decline over time
  • Liberal arts graduates disproportionately pursue social services professions
  • Many liberal arts and sciences majors also attain graduate and professional degrees and experience significant earnings boosts when they do
  • Graduate and professional degrees provide earning boosts for all; largest boost for science and math majors and smallest boost for professional majors

The report argues that “whatever undergraduate major they may choose, students who pursue their major within the context of a broad liberal education substantially increase their likelihood of achieving long-term professional success.”

In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University, and in the Office of Undergraduate Students, we teach our students – liberally educated young adults – to be adaptable, nimble, and flexible students and professionals.

We want our students to realize their full potential, to discover their passions and to pursue them with relentless determination. Maybe it’s through an internship. Maybe it’s through a professional development course. Maybe it’s through one of our many professional development events. Discovering who you are and what your impact can be should help define your Villanova journey.

I encourage students to visit the Office for Undergraduate Students in SAC 107 often. Discover who you are and who you are meant to be. Let our office of dedicated professionals help you on your journey of discovery.

Kate Szumanski, ’95, ’97, is the associate director for experiential education in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Follow her on Twitter @KateSzumanski.  

Villanova History Department inducts 2014 Phi Alpha Theta members

Sunday, November 9th may have seemed the same as any other around the Villanova campus, but a short jaunt away something special was occurring at the Overbrook Golf Course. That’s where the History Department celebrated the induction of new members into the Tau Phi Chapter of the national history honor society, Phi Alpha Theta. Sixteen undergraduates and one MA grad student joined the illustrious rank of scholars at this delightful brunch event (11 additional undergrads, and 2 additional MA grad students were unable to attend).

Craig Bailey, Ph.D. featured as the introduction speaker, kicking off a ceremony which included individual recognition for exceptional achievements. Caitlin Flessate was awarded the Procko Prize for best undergraduate paper, and Shane Sprandio was awarded the Carroll prize for best graduate paper. In addition, the Richard Bates Memorial Award for Outstanding Service was granted to Mary Katherine Hickey (who could not attend the event).

Photos from this tremendous event were provided by Dr. Rebecca Winer:

PAT inductees.JPG Dr. Winer with student and parents Dr. Rosier with parents

Think Internships and Join the #InternNation

By Kate Szumanski ’95, ’97

Internnationtag

Career-building, mentoring, networking. You’ve heard the terms over and over again. How can you as a student –right now – actually “do” these things?

Think internships.

Now more than ever, internships provide you with tremendous value. From gaining real-world experience in a variety of fields to collaborating with diverse professionals and expanding your network, internships allow you to experience the workplace as an insider – a true participant.

The value of an internship cannot be denied. You can experiment and test the waters. You can learn how to apply your academic experiences to a variety of careers, and begin to understand where you fit, what you like, and what you don’t.

In addition, many employers consider their own interns ideal candidates for full-time positions.

Where should you start your internship search? Visit GoNovaJobs. Here you’ll find opportunities and application instruction.

If you seek to earn academic credit for your internship, please visit me, Kate Szumanski, in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in SAC 107. I look forward to discussing with you everything you need to do to secure credit for your internship.

In the coming days, our office will host a series of Internship Workshops designed to fuel your passions and ignite you on your professional journey. Be on the lookout for those dates, times, and locations.

Kate Szumanski, ’95, ’97, is the associate director for experiential education in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Follow her on Twitter @KateSzumanski.    

Center for Peace and Justice Spring ’15 course offerings

The Villanova Center for Peace and Justice has kindly shared the full listing of their Spring 2015 course offerings with us, for perusal during the coming class selection window. For those so inclined, you can view their full offerings at this link: Peace and Justice Spring 2015 Courses.

Virtual Career Fair for People with Disabilities – 11/13

Virtual Career Fair Date: Nov. 13, 2014
Are you a person with a disability…
looking for a career opportunity or internship?

This Virtual Career Fair is FREE for students and alumni with disabilities to attend. This is a great opportunity for College Students & College Grads with disabilities to meet online with employers across the nation including American Transmission Co., ANSYS, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Enterprise Holdings, Epic, Genentech, KLA-Tencor, Lexmark, Verizon, & other Excellent Employers!

Students and alumni are invited to interact with employers via chat sessions.

CONNECT WITH EMPLOYERS LOOKING TO HIRE
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

  • Access opportunities within a wide range of careers.
  • Chat with employers across the nation
  • Public and private sector opportunities

INTERVIEW WITH EASE

  • Participate from the comfort of your home,
    your dorm room or your favorite coffee shop!
  • Discuss careers and internships with multiple employers
  • End-to-end accessible technology platform

CAREER FAIRS WITH LESS HASSLE

  • Save time and money.
  • No business suit or travel required
  • No printed out resumes necessary

Register at www.careereco.com/register/disability