Tag Archives: careercenter

Bieber and Grumpy Cat: The Art of Networking No Matter Who You Are

If you haven’t heard of Justin Bieber or the infamous Grumpy Cat, then you’re probably the only one.

Whether you like him or not, Bieber undoubtedly rose to fame when he shared his singing talent on YouTube, which has since led to his strong online presence and worldwide recognition.

Grumpy Cat – a cat known for its grumpy expression due to a feline dwarfism – became an Internet sensation after its picture was posted to a social network. This cat has been featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and the cover of New York Magazine, and now has a business valued at a million dollars.

Do you know what Justin Bieber and the Grumpy Cat have in common? Networking. Funny-Cats-Top-49-Most-Funniest-Grumpy-Cat-Quotes-2

Unlike Bieber and Grumpy Cat, it doesn’t take social networking to the world to make a name for yourself; however, networking does come in a variety of forms and can help you gain visibility, make connections, reach your goals, and ultimately land a job.

According to a survey by Manpower Group that analyzed 60,000 clients, networking is the single most effective way to land a job! Knowing the right person may not get you the job, but your resume could end up in the right hands, your credentials may get a second glance, or you may just be pointed in the right direction.

And networking is not as tough as you might think – it’s just being genuinely interested in others and building and maintaining relationships over time. It’s connecting with the people already in your life, who can then connect you with the people in their lives, and the system goes on and on.

Take a good look at the people around you and know that in some small way, they could potentially help you make great strides.

Faculty: They can connect you with former students, as well as to those in their own professional networks. By simply talking to your advisor, volunteering, or just getting to know faculty, you are networking and forming connections. Showing interest and staying connected with faculty can help you connect with potential employers.

Alumni: By connecting with TU alumni, you’re not only reaching out to someone who has “been in your shoes,” but you’re also finding out firsthand what it takes to network before and after graduation. You can connect with alumni via the Career Center Mentor Database through Hire@TU. Alumni volunteer mentors want to help you with your career, so take advantage of this great networking resource.

Associations: If you want to connect with future colleagues and established experts in your field, then your best bet is to volunteer on a committee. Every field has at least one professional association – most with state or local chapters. Students typically get a reduced membership rate while still gaining access to job/internship postings, mentoring programs, career information, and most importantly, networking opportunities.

Family and Friends: Don’t write off family and friends as networking connections just yet. You may know some of the most in-depth details about them, but that doesn’t mean you know who they know. Just asking if they know anyone in your field can help you connect with potential employers. Even the most random people you come in contact on a daily basis can have connections to other people who can help you.

LinkedIn: Move over Facebook; LinkedIn is the next big thing for networking, especially professional networking. By creating a profile and joining relevant groups, you can connect with alumni, professors and professionals in your field. They can then endorse you, giving you more connections!

Business Etiquette and Networking Dinner: The TU Career Center event you can’t miss November 5 from 5:30-8:30 p.m.! Enjoy a FREE, multi-course dinner while learning the “how-to’s” of professional networking and dining etiquette. Register by October 31 via Hire@TU.

Fall Career and Internship Fair: Get ready to meet over 90 employers who want to network with you October 21 from noon – 3 p.m. Dress professionally and bring plenty of resumes! Click here to view a complete list of Employers attending the fair.

Career Center Appointments: If you’re really unsure about networking, you can always schedule a Networking Appointment to help you expand your network, answer questions you have regarding professional etiquette in network settings, and give you experience with network conversations; or schedule a Social Media Consultation to receive guidance on developing a professional presence online.

Networking is not about asking everyone you know for a job. It’s asking for general job search advice, information, tips, and referrals. Start making connections today with the Career Center.

For more information about the Career Center visit www.towson.edu/careercenter or call 410-704-2233.

Sara Heilman
Career Center Marketing Intern

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Freaked Out by Networking? Join the Club

bag_people_networkingI have a friend named Mark. He’s a real entertainer, always at the center of any gathering.  Mark loves meeting new people.  Male, female, young, old—he doesn’t care. He’ll talk to anyone. He sometimes goes out on Friday or Saturday nights by himself, just for the thrill of it. When Mark encounters a room full of unfamiliar faces, you can just see him get all twitchy with excitement.

You probably know someone like Mark. (These people tend to have a lot of friends!) But let’s be honest: Most of us feel downright uncomfortable when we think about introducing ourselves to a bunch of strangers. Approach someone out of the blue? With no introduction? Without any friends for support? Nooooooo thanks.

In a structured college environment, it’s relatively easy to approach people for help. After all, a big part of the jobs of professors, advisors, counselors, and financial aid officers is helping students. But what happens when you need to start looking for internships or, especially, full-time jobs? You’ll need to seek help beyond the campus community—and that’s when things get complicated.

Networking is the art of initiating and maintaining relationships for the purpose of exchanging contacts, tips about available positions, and professional advice or opportunities. Nowadays that can involve online outreach through LinkedIn and resources like the TU Career Mentor Database.  Networking also involves getting in touch with everyone you already know. Relatives, family friends, and community acquaintances are all great sources of information about jobs.

Sooner or later, though, you’ll need to start networking within your professional community—strangers who work in your field of choice. And the best, most meaningful connections come from face-to-face meetings. As a student, you have many opportunities to meet local professionals. Some departments and student groups host alumni panels, and the Career Center coordinates all sorts of employer visits to campus, including Employer Mock Interviews on October 11 and the Fall Career & Internship Fair on October 24. (Keep an eye on our calendar of events.)

But what if you hate talking to strangers? How do you even begin to feel comfortable in a networking situation?

1. Figure out what you want in advance. Better still, practice concisely describing what you want. A job? What kind of job, specifically? What kind of employer do you envision yourself working for? Be ready to talk about it!

2. Know how to describe yourself. What interesting things have you done, or characteristics do you have? How might they relate, even loosely, to the career you’re looking for? (Contact the Career Center if you need help.)

 3. Don’t underestimate the obvious. “Smile, shake hands firmly, look ’em in the eye.” That is your mantra.

4. Start small. At your very first networking event, maybe you don’t try to win over everyone in the room. Maybe instead you chat with two or three people, then call it a day.

5. Ask lots of questions. It’s always easiest if the other person does most of the talking, am I right? Additionally, most people love talking about themselves and their career. They’ll be flattered that you seem so interested.

6. Instantly forgive yourself for mistakes. Did you stumble over your words or accidentally interrupt someone? Laugh it off, or just ignore it. No one cares if you’re a master networker. They want to see a good attitude and a little bit of personality.

7. End conversations gracefully. When you sense that the chatter is winding down and it’s time to move on, it’s fine to reach out for another handshake, make eye contact, and say warmly, “I’m so glad we had the chance to meet. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon!”

8. Embrace the awkwardness. Yes, some pauses will linger just a bit too long. Yes, your face will hurt from smiling too much. Don’t worry about it. Almost everyone else is quite literally feeling the same way you are—some just have more practice at hiding it.

Let’s say you take a chance and attend a networking event. Will you be nervous? Probably. Will it be worth it? Almost definitely—if only to experience those sweaty palms, those awkward pauses, and that feeling of relief when you realize this networking thing isn’t all that bad.

Kacie Glenn, Career Center

(October is Career Month! Check out our many cool upcoming events, including the fair. Attend three events to automatically receive a free, faux-leather business portfolio debossed with the TU logo.)

Terrible Excuses to Not Get a Part-Time Job

It’s that time of year. Whether it’s an on-campus desk job, an off-campus restaurant gig, or maybe even an internship, it seems like everyone i1303747612_192194727_1-Pictures-of--free-of-cost-online-jobs looking for a job. Everyone except… you.

There are definitely some good reasons NOT to be looking for a job. (See the bottom of this post.) But make sure you’re not telling yourself one of these terrible, awful, no-good excuses:

“I don’t have Federal Work Study!”

It’s a common misconception that you need work study (a financial aid award) to work on campus. But many student employees, such as TU Phonathon callers, don’t have it. It’s just a matter of checking Hire@TU, the Career Center’s online database of full-time jobs, part-time jobs, and internships. By using the advanced search option, you can pick what you want specifically. And as a Towson student, you automatically have a Hire@TU account. While you’re there, check out other useful features like favorite-ing job posts, adding profile information, and posting your resume for employers to see.

“I don’t have a car!”

While it is easier to drive to off-campus jobs, don’t ignore the option of using the shuttle. By showing your Towson student ID, you can use the Tiger Shuttle for free. Check the schedule to make sure you catch the bus.  There are also on-campus jobs, plus plenty of off-campus jobs within walking distance. If you have a job in mind and do need to drive, you can always utilize Towson’s Zip Car service.

“I can’t even put it on my resume!”

Wrong! While it’s great to have a career-related experiences on your resume listing all your experiences that relate back to your degree, it’s almost important to show you have general professional experience—and  yes, that means working at restaurants, in retail, or desk jobs. Experience is experience, and it’s how you describe what you did that counts. By showing you gained valuable skills in customer service, working as a team, or time management, you’ve proved that the job was useful.

“I don’t know where to find one!”

This is the big one. As a student, you have tons of resources available to you. As mentioned before, Hire@TU is great starting point for finding part-time jobs. Don’t forget about the informative bulletin boards located in buildings around campus. Definitely check out the ones in the 7800 York Road on the second floor!2013-09-12_0805

While most of us visit our department’s web page solely for academic reasons, some departments will post the names of local employers that have hired students with your major. This applies to internships, of course, but you might also be able to find part-time work that’s related to your field.

Of course, a part-time job isn’t for everyone. Here are some pretty good reasons NOT to get a job right now:

You’re a freshman or transfer student. Before you take on a job, you may want to wait and make sure you can adapt to the coursework and new environment.

  • You have a heavy course load. Maybe this is your hardest year. You might be taking a ton of tough upper level courses, and your spare time might be dedicated to studying. That’s OK! Wait to get a job next semester, or whenever your classes are more manageable.
  • You’re a member of 572 student groups. If you’re overloaded with extra-curricular activities, it’s OK to focus on those experiences and make them be the best they can because You can put those experiences on your resume, too!
  • You’ve got family obligations. There are only so many hours in a day and you can’t stretch yourself thin. Focus on what’s important: family and doing your best in your classes!

Let’s say you’ve considered your situation, gotten rid of those excuses, and decided to start applying for jobs. Do yourself a big favor and get your resume and cover letter checked over by the Career Center! And if you have questions about job searching, feel free to call 410-704-2233 or drop by during Express Hours: 1-3 p.m., Mon.-Thurs.

Shelby Hillers
Career Center Student

Kacie Glenn
Internship Coordinator, Career Advisor

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