Tag Archives: careers

Do You Have the Experience Needed to Launch Your Career?—Get Started Today

MCC Career Fair
It’s that time of the year again! No, I’m not referring to the Super Bowl, rather the time of year when you can find the perfect internship to launch your career.

For me, my internship was a wonderful and helpful experience which allowed me to gain valuable skills along with the reassurance of knowing I enjoy my chosen career path. At the start of my senior year I began an internship with BrickHouse Books Inc., a small publishing press where I gained experience in different areas of publishing, including writing for social media and editing manuscripts. While I found my internship through my department’s website, I used many resources from the Career Center, such as a resume and cover letter review. After reflecting on my internship experience, I now realize how valuable it was for my career path. Not only do I now know what I want to do, but I also gained experience that makes me more marketable to employers.

There are many ways to begin searching for the perfect internship or job, and lucky for you, a major resourceMCC Logo is coming up…the MCC Career Fair Friday, Feb. 7, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Towson Center. This is an amazing opportunity to meet and network with over 130 employers from many different industries and organizations, including the Baltimore Orioles, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Northrop Grumman, Teach for America, and World Relief. To get the scoop on all the organizations attending the fair, check out the directory. There are opportunities for all majors, so don’t miss your chance to hand out your resumes and begin talking with employers about internship and job opportunities.

If you are reading this and start to freak out, don’t worry! Below are a couple of tips to help make sure you are prepared for the fair!

1. Make sure your resume is top-notch! If you haven’t polished up your resume lately, now’s the time to stop by the Career Center. You can make an appointment to meet with an advisor, or come in for a brief consultation during Express Hours (Monday- Thursday, 1-3 p.m.). Take an ample supply of resumes to the fair, and make sure they are perfect! You wouldn’t apply to college without looking over your admissions essay, so don’t apply for a job or internship without first looking over your resume!

2. Dress to impress! First impressions are critical, so ladies and gentleman make sure you dress in a conservative, tailored, well-pressed business suit. This isn’t the time for boat shoes, polos, and tight skirts. How you look will play a big part in determining employer interest, so make sure you are creating the best possible professional image.

3. Practice what you’ll say! Remember, employers won’t be able to talk to you for too long, so what you say in those few minutes really counts! Prepare an interesting summary of your background, achievements, and career interests to make a strong and professional first impression! For some great tips, check out the Preparing for a Career Fair video.

4. Social etiquette! Nothing kills a first impression quite like texting. Make sure your phone is off or on silent. This is your golden opportunity to build your network and land a job; not the time for Twitter and Instagram! Eye contact, a strong handshake, and a professional appearance really make a difference! Additionally, fresh breath is important, but make sure if you are chewing gum to spit it out before meeting employers. Remember, small things make a big difference.

I know searching for a job or internship can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! If you are prepared and use your resources, it can be a pretty painless process. For more help, visit the Career Center.

Shelby Hillers
Career Peer Advisor
Career Center


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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