Bobcats In The Field: Graduate Gives 5 Tips for Navigating the Interview & Job Acceptance Process-Keep Your Seat Belts Fastened!

I hope you didn’t unfasten your seat belts!  Sara Stanton is back to finish navigating us through her job search process with 5 helpful tips on interviewing, juggling  job offers and researching company culture.   Sara, now a recent graduate of the Rhetoric program here at Georgia College, recounts how she juggled multiple job offers and landed her job with Altitude Business Group (Family Heritage Insurance) in Denver, Colorado.  Fasten your seat belts!

My Interview Process 

I probably applied for about fifteen jobs (side note: from what I’ve heard, this is very low, but because I gave myself so much time, I was very picky about what I applied for…not to mention, cover letters are very tedious…), so I went through the full interview process with 2 jobs.  The first job was a Director of The Fund for Equality (Human Rights Campaign) Denver; this interview process was pretty typical. It look a little over a month. First, I had a screening interview over the phone with another director. From my experience, phone screens are really in place so they can tell you more details about the position of the job, make sure you’re serious about the position, and answer any questions you may have about the interview process or position. The key here is to be enthusiastic; remember you’re on the phone, so you’ve got to pay attention to the way you sound (it helps to smile). From there, I had a phone interview with an executive member of the organization; this was definitely more traditional. They asked me personality questions, scenario-questions, and I had the opportunity to ask them questions too.

Tip # 1– ALWAYS ask questions! I had a list of 5-6 questions to ask the interviewer about the job/company/etc. It tells them that you aren’t just interested, but you’re eager, you’re curious, you’ve done your research, and you care about the company. Lastly, I had a Skype interview with the gal who would be my direct boss. She asked me more job-specific questions (so, scenarios that only a director would have to deal with/be part of), and then clarified the nitty-gritty details of the position (like salary). Again, ask questions if you are given the opportunity.

Tip #2 – If you have a video interview, make sure you are in an appropriate location! Don’t have your bed in the background and make sure there is are no distracting noises.  After this interview, they called me a few days later and offered me the position; I asked for an extension to accept or decline, so I had two weeks to give them my final answer. I worked part-time for this organization during all of December break in order to, one, get my foot in the door, and two, see if it was the right fit for me! This was extremely beneficial in the interview process because I could give examples that came straight from my experience working in the company, and they had insight into who I was, how I worked with others, and how dedicated I was to the organization.

Tip #3 – If you have ANY opportunity to volunteer, intern or work part-time with a company you’re interested in, I would highly recommend doing it! It helped me to make my final decision when accepting a job.  The second job was a Sales  representative for Altitude Business Group (Family Heritage Insurance) Denver; This interview process was a little less traditional; it only took two weeks. I applied for this job on a Sunday and got a call to have a phone screen, which we ended up doing on the spot, on Monday afternoon. After the phone screen, which was similar to the one I mentioned above, I had an interview with the President of the company about a week later. Before this interview, I had to watch a 40 minute video about the company, the job, and lots of nitty-gritty details about everything! After watching the video, I had to fill out a pretty detailed questionnaire/worksheet of basic interview questions to send back to the President before we spoke; my answers were then used as part of my phone interview with the President! The really cool thing about this was that the video and worksheet required me to really think about myself, the position, the company, and why I would be a great fit/how I would succeed/where I would struggle/etc. It was very helpful when the real interview happened! The phone interview with the President lasted for about an hour and fifteen minutes; we discussed most of the questions I had answered on the worksheet, and then any questions I had about any details that had been covered in the video or during the interview. The President called me back the next day to offer me the position, and I accepted!


Job Acceptance Advice

Tip #4 – Do NOT feel like you have to accept your first job offer just because you don’t have anything else on the table at the moment!  A little more info about job acceptance…so I actually had to juggle these offers at the same time. I was offered the job with The Fund for Equality right before I applied to work for Altitude Business Group (ABG). Because I had worked for The Fund during December break, I knew that it was a job I could absolutely do, but I also knew that it would be a very stressful, very time consuming position for very little pay. I kept it in the cards in case nothing else came along, but when an opportunity arose to interview for another position, I asked for an extension to accept or decline my offer. I ended up getting a job offer from ABG on the final day of my extension with The Fund for Equality. I bring all of this up to say  It is SO important to listen to your gut- if you aren’t that excited about an opportunity, it is okay to say no. You gained interview experience, negotiation experience, and you’re giving yourself an opportunity to find something better suited for you!

Company Culture

Tip #5 – I highly recommend checking out the “About Us” section before applying to work anywhere! Something that I kept in mind throughout all of my job searching was that I wanted to work for a company or organization that aligned with my values. Basically every place you apply for will have an “About Us” section on their website, and within that section, they’ll most likely state their company’s mission statement and/or core values. A lot of times, we are so pressured to get on with the job search and find something as soon as possible, but we have to remember that these companies are made up of the people we will be surrounding ourselves with every day, and we want to make sure we are right for them and they are right for us! I accepted the job that I did because from the information about company values and through speaking with recruiters and the President, I could tell (and was told) that I would mesh really well with everyone I was going to be working with. You want to represent a company that could also represent you and who you are!

Contact  the Career Center for all of your job search and interview needs.  Appointments are available all summer!

Bobcats In The Field: Fasten Your Seat Belts and Take A Ride On This Student’s Job Search Roller Coaster!

Think the job search process is easy? For some that may be so, but for others like Sara Stanton, the process isn’t always cut and dry.  Sara, a graduating Rhetoric student here at Georgia College, recounts how she landed her job with Altitude Business Group (Family Heritage Insurance) in Denver, Colorado. Not only will you see that major doesn’t always equal career, but  she has some pretty great advice. Fasten your seat belts!

How was your job search experience?

I’m sure you’d all love for me to answer this with, “it was awesome!!” but we should be realistic here- the job search is not all fun and games! It was definitely a roller coaster of emotions. In terms of the not-so-great, sometimes it was frustrating to go through hundreds of jobs online that seemed to all want years of experience. Oh, and don’t even get me started on cover letters! However, there were always a lot of exciting moments- I loved when I would come across a really cool position or get stoked about the potential to work for a particular company or organization. I would always call my parents or friends to tell them about opportunities that I was pumped about, and then they would be excited for me too! Those were the moments that helped me get through the more tedious times.

I actually started job searching in October of 2017- the first semester of my senior year. I know it seems really early, but I would not change a thing about jumping the gun on the job search- if anything, I would have started earlier. Starting in October gave me an ample amount of time to search, write cover letters, change up my resume, or do extra research on companies that I was interested in, and best of all, I had a job offer by the beginning of January!

What types of jobs did you apply for?

Ah, the question every Rhetoric major a GC gets: what the heck are you going to do with that? Have no fear my fellow Rhetoric majors (and everyone else- yay liberal arts!)- there are SO many opportunities out there for you! I applied for a plethora of positions. I have experience in the nonprofit world, so I applied for a lot of positions with different nonprofits such as The Fund for Equality and Impact. In these organizations, I applied for director positions or field manager positions. Outside of the nonprofit spectrum, I applied for admissions counselor positions at a few universities, human resources positions, and sales positions!

I also want to throw this into the mix- I have wanted to move to Denver, Colorado for years, so I decided to do 95% of my job applications for positions in Denver! I applied for a couple of jobs locally, but getting a job in Denver was definitely a priority for me. If you’ve got a dream location- get out there and apply for jobs in that location! Now is the time to do it. Ps. If anyone reading this is looking for a roommate in Denver, let me know… 😊

How did you find your job?

If you read anything on this blog post- read this section!! I did all of my job searching online. I used websites like Indeed, Monster, WorkForGood, and Idealist. I found the most success on Indeed and Idealist (Idealist = the nonprofit version of Indeed). The best part about these websites was that you can save jobs to your account. As I mentioned before, I started my job search at the beginning of October, but I didn’t actually apply for a job until Thanksgiving. I really enjoyed using these websites to do a ton of research and really narrow down what I was most interested in pursuing. I highly recommend taking the time to learn about these sites, how to use them, and putting that knowledge to use; this made the job search much easier for me. In terms of time, if you start in your first semester of senior year, I would give yourself a few hours a week to work on searching/resumes/applications/cover letters. I don’t think people realize how time consuming it all is. I am fortunate enough to work for TapRide at GC, so if I wasn’t on call last semester, I was working on finding a job when I was at the office!

I will also add- I never touched LinkedIn to search for jobs, but I know some people really love it and benefit from it. If you love LinkedIn and know how to use it, go for it, but if you don’t, you can easily get connected in similar ways (or sometimes even more directly) by using the search engines I mentioned! If you want to learn how to use LinkedIn- go to the Career Center! They are so helpful in teaching us how to utilize it best!

In the end, I probably applied for about fifteen jobs (side note: from what I’ve heard, this is very low, but because I gave myself so much time, I was very picky about what I applied for…not to mention, cover letters are very tedious…), so I went through the full interview process with 2 jobs.

Stay tuned and look out for our next blog post to read more about how Sara navigated through the job search process to juggle multiple interviews and job offers! 

Job Search Strategies: How to Land Your First Job !

Congratulations!! You are now an official alumnus of Georgia College. Whether you’re searching for your first full time job or applying to graduate school, we’ve got you covered. This entry will discuss strategies to broaden your competitive advantage while looking for that J-O-B!

JOB Searching

Graduating from college can be a stressful time in your life, because we feel the pressure to figure out what we’re going to do with “the rest of our lives.” The good news? You don’t have to know! You just have to be prepared for the next step, which for many of you will be the job search. It’s important to start this search during your senior year, and it can sometimes feel like taking another class. As someone who has graduated two different times with two different degrees, below are some tips that helped me and hopefully will help you navigate the job market.

Strategy 1: Assess Yourself

My first time job searching out of college was a stressful event. What jobs do I look for? What am I qualified to apply for? These questions that began occupying my mind are certainly important when you are beginning your search. But it’s also important to think about to ask yourself: what do I bring to the table? Answering this question has not only helped me be selective in the jobs I was applying for, but it provided me with knowledge of how much of an asset I am to any organization I joined.

Strategy 2: Set Goals and Be Organized

Want to know a secret about the job market? The job search process will take about six to nine months, which means employers are looking to fill positions months in advance. Remember that the early bird gets the worm. Setting a goal to apply for a certain amount of jobs per week, and creating an Excel spreadsheet that outlines the job, position, and date you applied can help you stay organized and keep you on track.

Strategy 3: Diversify your search

It takes multiple methods to find the job you want. Just posting your resume on a website will probably not produce the results you want. Not all jobs are posted online! In fact, research states that 80% of jobs are never posted. So how do you gain access to those opportunities? Make sure you take advantage of networking opportunities like LinkedIn.

Hopefully these strategies will help you navigate the search process. If you’re hitting a roadblock, please stop by the Career Center 110 Lanier Hall so we can help you out!

Three Things Every GC Senior Should Know Right Now

Ah, your senior year. Bittersweet. So many wonderful college memories that it’s hard to consider that this is the final hoorah – that last chance to do all the things that you’ve been saying you wanted to do. You also want to focus on finishing the final year of classes. But, I bet this is also a time that’s forcing you to consider what you’re going to do after graduation. Maybe your family is asking you about your plans and you keep dodging the question. Or, maybe you’re torn between several different choices. How can you decide? Maybe you’re graduating in May, so you have plenty of time to figure it all out. Right?
Here are three things that every GC senior should know right now in September while the Fall semester is young:

1. It’s OK if you don’t know. 

Our society makes us feel guilt or shame for not knowing what we’re “going to do for the rest of our lives”. It gets worse because we all have that one friend who constantly brags about how they’ve known they’re going to be a [insert nurse, doctor, lawyer, teacher, or any other career we’ve all heard of] since they were born. So, if you’re feeling doubtful about what you want to do, what’s wrong with you? Here’s the truth: nothing is wrong with you. Actually, I argue that most people have NO idea what they’re going to do next let alone for the “rest of their lives”.  Most American workers change jobs over 11 times throughout their working life. There’s even growing research that suggests that most Americans will change careers multiple times throughout their lifetime. How can that be? It’s because careers are evolving and constantly changing. At any given time, we have limited amounts of information of which to make career decisions. Consider the career paths of the 57,000 people who work for Google. Although it might be hard to remember a time before Google, it really hasn’t been that long. Google was founded just 18 years ago! That means those graduating from college any time before at least 1998 did not think they were going to graduate from college and work from Google!
So, how do you figure it out? Focus on narrowing down the possibilities by considering the immediate options in relation to the tasks you like to do, your skills, and your personality. Tools like the Focus2 career assessment offer insight especially when combined with meeting with a professional career advisor, who can help you develop a strategic career plan.

2. You have more options than you realize.

Remember at freshman orientation when you were told that Georgia College will give you a well-rounded liberal arts education that intentionally exposes you to a wide range of subjects and teaches you diverse skills needed to tackle the biggest problems plaguing our society?
Don’t worry. Let me remind you that you intentionally sought out a different college experience. One that offered you opportunities to engage with faculty, experts in their subjects. One where you were more than a number. One where you were challenged to apply what you’re learning inside the classroom to experiences outside the classroom like doing undergraduate research, internships, student leadership roles, studying abroad, and any number of other experiences.
So, what’s all this got to do with your career? You have more options that you realize. We try to force every major into one specific career path. Like, aren’t all history majors teachers just like all nursing majors are nurses? All business majors work in business, right?  Well, out of the nearly 500 GC history graduates on LinkedIn, 105 cite that they work in education, whereas over 190 state they work in business areas such as sales, operations, human resources, finance, project management, and marketing. Twenty-eight of those 190 even started their own businesses! Also, in case you’re curious, 187 GC business graduates report that they are working in education.
The truth of the matter is that your major in combination with all the experience you’ve had, paid and unpaid, inside and outside the classroom, gives you skills that can be applied in many different career paths. You must learn how to see these skills and communicate that you have them. A 2015 survey found that employers want to hire college graduates who are leaders that can work in a team, communicate effectively in writing and verbally, and solve problems.  And, the best news? You have these skills. Own it and practice sharing examples that prove you have them both in writing (hello, resumes and cover letters) and verbally like in an interview or at a career fair. Challenge yourself to start exploring the wide range of current career options where you can apply your skills. If you’re thinking about going to work after graduation, it’s time to figure out what employers are hiring right now. If you’re considering graduate school, make sure you’ve thought through the financial return graduate school will offer and if a graduate degree is even necessary for the job you want to pursue. For a look into what others have done with their Georgia College degrees, search by your major for the career paths of GC Alumni inside of LinkedIn. For ideas on possible career paths, check out What Can I Do With This Major or scan some of the 300 job and internship postings the Career Center receives each month in Career Connection, GC’s job and internship database. You will be surprised because you really DO have more options that you realized.

3. Get started now. 

Procrastination gets the best of us. At the root of procrastination is simply an instinctual desire to avoid the tasks that seem like too much work. Maybe that’s because we’re afraid of what’s going to happen. Or, maybe it’s easier to put your time towards simpler tasks first, telling yourself “I’ll get to that harder thing later.” Regardless, when it comes to planning for your next steps after graduation, waiting can be costly. In 2015, by January, nearly 2/3 employers reported that they had already made offers to their open entry-level positions to be filled with a soon-to-be graduate following December, May, or August graduations.
I’ve also talked with many employers and they all have one thing in common: they don’t just want to hire any college grad. They want to hire top college grads. Top college grads are usually the ones who start early, create and implement a strategic career plan, and use the Career Center’s events and resources. Finding a job can sometimes take 6 to 9 months from when you start your search. Pursuing graduate school usually means starting the process at least a year in advance, especially if you want to get access to the best financial packages, like assistantships and scholarships.
No need to worry. Georgia College makes it easy for you. You need motivation. So, your Career Center brings you Senior Picnic. In a casual and fun environment, kick off your senior year right by not only enjoying lunch with your classmates, but also networking with sponsoring employers and exploring the possibilities.  This year, seniors will schedule a Senior Check-In at Senior Picnic. A Senior Check-In is a 15 minute meeting with a career advisor who will help you start getting organized and prepared for your next steps after graduation. Even you have 15 minutes. So, see you at Senior Picnic on September 7th, 11:30a – 1:00p, in Magnolia Ballroom. Yeah, the first 400 seniors to attend get this year’s Senior Picnic t-shirt, but a t-shirt won’t get you a job. Can’t make it to Senior Picnic? No problem. Contact the Career Center and we’ll get your 15 minute Senior Check-In scheduled. Start seeing yourself as a “top” college graduate and take this one step. One step is how we all start our career journeys.
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Collaborating with your Mind and Heart to Find a Passion

What would you want to pursue if there were no restraints put on you?

That is one of the questions you should ask when trying to figure out what you would like to do in life. The pursuit of finding your passion can happen at any time in your life, but everyone should really start that search in college. One of the first things that probably went through your head when thinking about starting college is what should be your major. This also probably led you to think about possible careers. Most likely, you had an idea about what career you would like to pursue, but thought to yourself, “is this career really my passion? Will I enjoy it for the rest of my life?”  As time goes on, you will want to pick a career that is a passion for you so that you will look forward to going to work every day and not dread it.

Did you know that there is a myth that says what you major  in college determines what your career is after you graduate? This is one of the reasons why finding your passion can be difficult. If you thought about that for awhile, you could probably think of several people you know that what they studied in college might have little to do what they actually do in their career. Let’s take for example students who major in History. Most people think that the only job for History majors is teaching. But, according to the GC Alumni page on LinkedIn, recent graduates that majored in History are actually pursuing careers in Business like Sales and Operations. Interestingly, the graduates in Business careers actually make up more of a percentage than those that chose to pursue a career in Education.  About 5% of History majors even opened their own businesses pursuing entrepreneurial career paths! How is this possible? It is possible because they transfer and apply all the skills they learned from their entire liberal arts education including those skills gained by studying history.   Check out the “What Can I Do With This Major?” resource for ideas of the numerous career paths available to every major. So, if you are having a difficult time trying to find a career that uses your major or worried that picking a specific major that you know you’d love won’t help you get a job because you assume that each major only has one or two career options, try thinking about how the skills you learn in that major can transfer to any career that you would enjoy. Transferable skills, like time management, critical thinking, research, teamwork, communication, or organization transfer to any career.

Another thing to remember is that careers change. The average American worker will change jobs up to 11 times and careers 2-4 times throughout their working life. The chances of you picking a major/career now and having to do it for the “rest of your life” is actually quite slim.

Need help figuring it all out? What careers and majors are out there? Here at the Career Center, we utilize a tool called Focus 2 that can help you start thinking about what your values and interests  and how they correlate with Georgia College majors and future careers. The Focus2 consists of 5 career assessments that help you better understand yourself and possible majors/careers that you might like. After taking the Focus 2, you can discuss your results and next steps with a professional career coach at the Career Center. You can make an appointment over the phone or by coming in to our office located in Lanier Hall 110.

I know it can be frustrating sometimes when you don’t know what you like to do and then having to decide on a major and eventually a career. Finding your passion does not happen overnight, so give yourself time to explore every possibility. Your dream job may end up being one that you’ve never heard of before!  But, whatever you decide to study or do for work, make sure you enjoy it! After all, this is your life; live it the way you want.

Preparing for Career Expo – 4 Easy Tips

Hello Bobcats! I hope you all have been taking advantage of our events so far, like Internship Week and Resume Review Day!

We have another big event coming up that we are very excited about. It’s the  Career Expo on March7th! It is open to all grade levels and majors, and will be hosted in the Magnolia Ballroom. There will be over 50 companies and employers looking to hire GC students for full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities. Career Expo is the largest campus career fair of the year! The complete list of employers can be found on Career Connection under our events schedule. If there is an employer you are particularly interested in, you might be able to interview with them during the second-half of this event! You won’t want to miss this event; it is a wonderful opportunity to network and to give your career path a boost!

Never been to a Career Expo before? Not sure how to prepare for the upcoming Career Expo? No worries! On March 2nd we will be hosting a Career Expo Boot Camp in A&S 155 at 5:30PM to help you prepare and knock the Career Expo out of the park! Mark your calendars for the Boot Camp, but in the meantime, here are 4 Easy Tips to review as you prepare:

  1. Review the list of employers on Career Connection so you can update and cater your resume accordingly. You will want to bring plenty of copies of your resume to pass out to employers as you network. The best way to do this at the Expo or any Career Fair is to have a padfolio to keep your resume and other materials handy, such as your business card to pass out or a notepad to take notes! Need your resume reviewed? Come see us today, February 29th for our Resume Review Day. You don’t need an appointment! Just your resume and a smile!
  2. What does networking even mean anyway? The best way to learn how to network is practice! Before the Expo, you will want to rehearse your elevator pitch, or introduction. Your elevator pitch should be about 30 seconds, and explain who you are, a little about your background or your passion, and what you hope to pursue. This is the perfect introduction as you walk up to employers and get the conversation started to network effectively. Still a little unsure about to practice your elevator pitch? Check out this cool video for some further direction and examples!
  3. Dress for success! This is the fun part, who doesn’t love to dress up? Ladies, this means you have the option of a pant suit, skirt suit, or dress with a blazer. Nothing should be too tight, and skirts/dresses should be finger-tip length. Also, make sure your blouse or shirt is not low-cut and wear heels of appropriate height. Fellas, this means you have the option of dress pants, a dress shirt, sport coat, tie, belt, and dress shoes. Please note that boat shoes do NOT equal dress shoes and your socks should match the color of your pants. We recommend a tie to make a more professional first impression. Have fun mixing and matching with the pieces you already have in your closet! If you are not sure about a piece or an outfit, feel free to take a pic and come show us at the Career Center at Lanier 110! We are happy to give you feedback to help make sure you look flawless!
  4. During the event, as you meet different employers and pass out your resume, don’t forget to ask them for a business card or their contact info. This will allow you to follow-up with them after the event with an email, thanking them for coming and taking the time to talk to you. In this follow-up email, you should also attach an additional electronic copy of your resume. This is the perfect way to make another memorable, professional impression. You’ll also want to apply online if the employer instructed you to do so.

At this point, you have rocked the Career Expo Event! You did your research [check], you updated your resume [check], you had a fluent elevator pitch [check], you looked like a boss [check], and you have sent a professional follow-up [check]. Sit back, relax, and just wait for those call backs! 🙂

“Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?”

The first month of a fresh semester is already coming to a close and I am still trying to get used my new schedule. I went from morning classes every morning last year, to actually being able to sleep in for a little bit. Unfortunately, I barely get to sleep in. During the morning, I’ve been using that time to do all the homework I forgot to do the night before or to get a head start. It came to my advantage because over the weekend, I wasn’t as productive as I should have been and this gave me a chance to mull over some things that had been on my brain since the beginning of the semester. Maybe I should start from the beginning…

This past Saturday and Sunday, I relaxed and binge watched Netflix, but Monday was a full work day for me. I set up my agenda with all the major events I had going on for the following weeks, and in the midst of planning ahead, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life. It was one of those random thoughts every college student has on if they ACTUALLY will be successful with their future career choice. This led to me pulling up the Google search engine and literally typing the phrases “Will I make money doing this?” as well as “How successful will I be as a Mass Communication major?” Before I knew it, I was searching for hours on websites pointing out internships, open jobs, and statistics on the job I wanted.

While I was searching all these websites, there were so many questions I was asking myself.. still. Most of these websites were confusing! Remembering that I worked at the Career Center for a brief moment, I asked a career advisor for help. He recommended that I use Career Connection, GC’s #1 job and internship search tool. It helps students and alumni find internships, jobs, employers, and I can even get help with my interviewing skills. I was relieved that I could see internships and current job openings that catered to ME in my major. After talking with the Career Center, I learned that Career Connection posts between 300-400 job postings a MONTH and has an employer database of nearly 4,000 employers. These are employers that want to hire Georgia College students specifically. There is no reason why I can’t find a job or internship that I like and fits me. I LOVEEEE IT!

CC (Career Connection) has helped me so much, and keep in mind, I’m only a sophomore. It’s geared for everyone and anyone on our campus, and even if you aren’t looking for a job in your field right now, you can still find part-time jobs on campus if you’re a little low on cash. That’s how I found out that SNAP was looking for golf cart drivers at night, and the pay is pretty good. Regardless, every student should check it out! Trust me: Career Connection will be beneficial now and in the long run!

Jai Fitzgerald
Sophomore Mass Communication Major