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.    

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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.  

ACS on CAMPUS at University of Pennsylvania

The Chemistry department has generously offered to cover the cost of round trip tickets on the R5 for any Villanova Undergraduate or Graduate students who wish to attend the Friday session of this event. To take advantage of this wonderful perk, students will need to RSVP to Peggy Kivitz no later than noon on Wednesday, June 26  (Registration for the event itself is separate, and a link to do so may be found below).

ACS on Campus is an outreach program dedicated to helping students, post-docs, and faculty advance their careers. The program brings leaders in chemistry, publishing, research, science communication, and career development to university campuses to present seminars and workshops. University of Pennsylvania will host ACS on Campus on Thursday, June 26 for a networking Science Café, featuring a special presentation on science and policy. The event continues on Friday, June 27 for a full day of sessions at the Carolyn Hoff Lynch Lecture Hall (Dept. of Chemistry). Students and faculty are invited to learn about the basics and ethics of scholarly publishing, writing a superior meeting abstract, and finding your career pathway. Complimentary food and drinks will be provided for all registered attendees each day. This event is not just for chemists. Sessions are appropriate for researchers in all fields of science. Register now for the event on the ACS on Campus website.

Please visit the website for location and speaker information as well as additional details. The event is free, but registration is required in order to attend. Questions can be sent to acsoncampus@acs.org.

Share your thoughts and pictures with the ACS on Campus community on Facebook and Twitter. Give us a shout-out with @ACSonC and use the hashtag #ACSatUPenn.

We look forward to seeing you on campus!

Links

Event page: http://acsoncampus.acs.org/events/philadelphia-pennsylvania-06-26-2014/

Registration: http://acsoncampus.acs.org/event/?ee=116

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ACSonC

Turner Broadcasting Site Visit for CLAS Students: Friday, April 25th

Here’s a SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY for Liberal Arts and Sciences students! Turner Broadcasting in NYC is hosting a site visit exclusively for Liberal Arts & Sciences students on Friday, April 25th from 8:30am to 5:30pm. You will learn about the work of the Advertising Sales areas and meet Villanova alumni who work at the company. OUS Intern Jeremy Menninger, who interned at TurnerBroadcasting in NYC last summer, will be leading this site visit.

brand_stackTO REGISTER:

To register for the site visit, you need to email bridgesocietyevents@gmail.com with the following information:

  • Name
  • Villanova email
  • Year
  • Major/minor (or intended major/minor)
  • Cell phone number
  • Emergency contact – name, relationship, cell phone number

This is a first-come, first-served sign-up. Students of all years are welcome to participate. On the morning of Tuesday, April 15th, we’ll share the list of students who have registered for the site visit. You will need to submit a deposit of $20 by Wednesday, April 16th to SAC 107 to hold your spot. The deposit will be returned to you on the trip.

Questions: Please email bridgesocietyevents@gmail.com.

Internship Open House: Propulsion Media Labs

Propulsion Media Labs is looking for Spring and Summer interns for the 2014 season. To that end they will be holding two Internship expo and open house events, which should provide learning experiences for Villanova students even if they do no end up working for the company.

The events will be held on October 30th and November 20th at 1:30pm at the Propulsion Media Labs campus in Malvern. Students will be able to tour the facilities, get face time with the company owner and GM, meet the production staff, and gain insight into this internship experience.

Those interested will need to reserve a spot in advance via phone call or email to: (610) 640-4040 or Promotions@promedialabs.com

Event Preview: Women’s Professional Network Industry Roundtable preview

A panel of professional women, covering a broad swath of careers including engineering, corporate recruiting, accounting, economics, real estate, television producing, and law, will converge Dougherty West Lounge this Thursday the 24th at 5:30. The event will serve as an excellent networking opportunity and allow students to learn more about working in various industries.

This isn’t a lecture event though; rather it will take the form of group dialogues, with each professional answering questions and leading discussion. The hope is that everyone will have the chance to chat with each of the speakers present. Networking sessions will serve to bookend the proceedings, occurring at the outset and again at the conclusion.

The full list of guest speakers includes:

  • Patricia Wood – engineer (NAVSSES – Machinery Research and Engineering
  • Lisa Catania – engineer (Catania Engineering)
  • Jessica Scully – real estate (Scully Company)
  • Carolyn Conroy – business recruiter/human resources (KRB Associates)
  • Elizabeth Joyce – Lawyer (Pinckney, Harris & Weidinger, LLC — women-owned firm)
  • Meaghan Delaney – accounting (KPMG)
  • Tina DiCroce – economics/finance (ESOP Economics)
  • Mara Taffe – communications (ABC television producer)

For more information, click here.

Virtual Career Fair Event: IBM Career Exploration…Make a Difference

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For students attempting to venture beyond the template offered by standard career fairs, IMB brings a virtual career exploration event (that just so happens to be tablet friendly as well). The event will take place next Tuesday, October 22 from 1-5 PM. Attendees can expect to gain a better understanding of IBM career opportunities, may actually sharpen their technical expertise, and learn more about properly grooming their social media prescience. The details are listed below for your edification, as is a link with even more specific information.

On behalf of IBM North America University Recruitment, we cordially invite you to participate in IBM Career Exploration…Make a Difference, a virtual event experience, which will be held on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, between 1:00 PM EST to 5:00 PM EST.

Students can expect an exciting environment that will fully unleash their potential and help build the career they want. By participating in this experience, attendees will have the opportunity to join a tablet friendly, easy to navigate, online platform will allow students to engage in conversations with current IBMers (executives, experts, recruiters) and explore Information Booths, Careers Fairs and network with other students.  

  • Hear from and interact with leading experts in a wide range of fields
  •  Explore career development and continuing education programs at IBM
  •  Understand how to build and apply expertise and expand their networks
  •  Learn how to best position themselves in a highly competitive job market

Attendees will be given the opportunity to apply for open positions and internship opportunities at IBM and learn how they can build their digital eminence in social media. We do encourage you to sign up even if you are not able to join this live event, so you can access the content at your leisure.  

For more information about the program, click HERE.