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  • Felicia Parks 6:17 pm on June 24, 2016 Permalink
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    Evaluating Your Job Search

    You’ve basked in the glow of your graduation with family and friends. Had a two week vacation with your nine of your closest college buddies. Next, you spent part of the summer working in retail or for a local restaurant. Now, you’re faced with the reality of finding a full-time job within an industry or with an employer where you feel you can make a difference.

    Regardless of the status of the economy, many job seekers will proclaim that finding full-time employment requires a huge investment of their time. Whether you started your search weeks ago or it’s written on your calendar as a “to do” item, be sure to evaluate if you’re spending your time wisely. LinkedIn is a great way to begin networking, online, before you request a face-to-face meeting with a cup of coffee and your business card.

    As always, the advisors within the Career Center are more than happy to assist you with job search techniques, mock interviews, salary negotiations and of course, networking. Learn more through the various resources on our website or by scheduling an appointment with your advisor.

  • Sue Gordon 10:29 pm on April 27, 2016 Permalink
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    “Think Critically” by guest blogger, Robert Mack, SIS ’12 of PublicRelay 

    This post is the second in a series on critical thinking and analysis, one of the top skills employers want you to have.   Here, SIS alum Robert Mack tells  how the critical thinking skills he learned here at AU  have been important to his career at PublicRelay.  Robert is currently a Media Analyst and Recruitment Specialist. 

    Think Critically, by Robert Mack

    Analyze; problem solve; synthesize; think critically. To anyone perusing CareerWeb’s listings, these terms quickly become a dime a dozen. Yet these words appear often for good reason – employers need individuals who can come up with simple solutions to massively complicated problems. As evidenced by a recent survey, 93% of employers highly value critical thinking skills – so highly, in fact, that they value critical thinking skills more than an applicant’s undergraduate major.[i] Writing as an AU alum who now works in a recruiting role, I can attest to the fact that critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills are in demand more than ever and that AU is a great place to perfect them.       (More …)

  • Rachel Lindsey 4:22 pm on April 21, 2016 Permalink
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    More Than the Registration Fee: Reasons to Invest in LSAT Prep 

    There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about the best strategy for taking the LSAT – how long to study, how many times to take the test, and even about how “good” a predictor it is of anything at all. The one thing everyone seems to agree on? The LSAT is not just a test; it’s an investment. And it’s an investment that can significantly impact how much you palsy for law school down the line. One major theme that emerged for hopeful law students who attended The True Cost of Law School: Budgeting Beyond Tuition on April 6: Invest in a quality LSAT prep program.

    You’ve probably heard that law school admission is based on two things: LSAT and GPA. Of the two, many admissions officers will say the LSAT score is their priority in assessing how aid will be distributed. This is also true for merit-based aid. As the number of law school applicants has dropped, schools have begun to compete more actively for the best-qualified applicants – often using merit-based financial aid as incentive to attract those applicants. In this competitive environment, the higher your LSAT score, the better your odds not just for admissions, but also for scholarships. According to Benjamin Leff, professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, a three-point bump on the LSATS can mean the difference in thousands – or tens of thousands – of dollars in financial aid.

    Another reason to commit your time and your money to preparing for the LSAT? It’s an opportunity to spend small (relatively – compared to law school tuition down the line) early in the process and figure out if law school is right for you. Though it’s often debated, research suggests that the LSAT is a key predictor of bar performance. Law schools often claim that your score is the most consistent predictor of how well you will do the first year in law school and on the bar exam. If studying and then sitting for a test like the LSAT isn’t something you’re willing to do, consider how you’ll handle the three or four months of studying you’ll eventually need to commit for preparing to pass the bar and become a practicing attorney.

    For the budget-conscious law school hopeful, investing $1500 or more in an LSAT prep program might seem like a lot to ask. Be creative, and use all of your resources. Above the Law suggests online options like podcasts and videos, which may cost nothing. The Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) makes available (for free) Official Prep Materials, including sample questions with explanations, old tests, and videos. There are even free apps you can download to practice exam questions, connect with instructors in a community forum, and more. However, even if your hope is to get your LSAT prep for free, Above the Law still recommends that you invest in real LSAT materials to use for practice. At a minimum, take your LSAT prep seriously. Don’t try to take the test cold, or with only minimal preparation. Look for high quality test prep materials with strong reviews from actual test takers at every price point.

    If you decide to enroll in a commercial preparation course, do your homework – before and during the class. Talk to others who have taken the same course at the same location, ideally with the same instructor. Be skeptical of any course that makes outrageous claims about raising your score. Commit to the program – showing up for the classes is not the same as participating and will not be enough to improve your score. You’ll need to devote significant time outside the classroom to master the material. And lastly, ask about discounts or scholarships. Though not widely advertised, some of the larger prep companies provide discounts to students with demonstrated financial need.

    Most importantly, remember that becoming a lawyer is embarking on a career, not just finding a job. Taking the LSAT is one of the earliest steps in beginning your legal career on solid ground. Take it seriously, and invest your resources accordingly.

  • Anna Litman 9:55 pm on April 11, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: analytical reasoning, , , ,   



    According to the annual survey of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, one of the top skills sought by employers is a combination of critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Our own sample of 162 employers who attended the Job and Internship Fair in March 2016 has confirmed this finding: 89% of them were looking for candidates with this particular skill combination. These employers range from not-for-profits and businesses to government agencies and international organizations in various fields and industries.

    What do the employers mean by “analytical” and “critical thinking” skills? Why are these skills so much in demand? Do you possess these skills? If you do, how would you demonstrate that to your potential employer? What activities would help develop analytical reasoning and critical thinking?

    Find out this and more in my two part blog. (More …)

  • Marie Spaulding 8:55 pm on February 10, 2016 Permalink  

    Skill Series #3: Written Communication 

    writing scrabbleWhy is it important to write well? What does ‘writing well’ mean, anyway? Every day I read resumes, cover letters, personal statements, essays and email and text messages. So do you.

    Have you ever gotten a text that made no sense? Was the verb or subject missing? Maybe you thought that you knew what the person meant to say, but you had to guess.

    Let’s start with some examples….

    • My courses in History and Philosophy taught me strong critical thinking skills.

    Your courses taught you? YOU had nothing to do with amassing these skills? Don’t you think that YOU learned or developed critical thinking skills by taking courses in History and Philosophy?

    • Other responsibilities include progress toward degree meetings every semester.

    What does this mean? Who made progress? And, what did this person do to advance the progress of these meetings?

    • I have developed a valuable database of employer relationships that get results.

    Have you known databases that get results? I have not. I thought that people used databases and the information in databases to get results.

    • My educational experiences and my work experience have allowed me to develop exceptional interpersonal, clerical, analytical and leadership skills.

    Your educational and work experiences gave you the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills – how did that work? Would it be accurate to say that while you pursued your education and gained work experience, YOU strengthened your interpersonal…..skills?

    • I am the daily liaison between coaches and instructor’s.

    Your turn….what is the issue?

    • Young Democrats of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah May, – June 2006

                   Volunteer Champagne Manager

     Have you spotted the typos?

    • I am interested in applying for the position of with you organization.

    Did this person read the sentence out loud? How many problems do you see?

    • One who will make a positive contribution to your college.

    Is this a sentence? Does it include a complete thought OR do you feel something is missing?

    • All of these experiences have shown that children and animals are forever bonded and the stories arising from that relationship inform us how to approach and respect

    Be clear about what and who you are referencing. WHAT RELATIONSHIP is this person talking about? And WHO exactly are we approaching?

    Whether you are writing a resume, an email or an academic essay, writing skills are critical.

    Here are some tips for writing as clearly as possible to convey what you mean to say:

    • Use active tense: Experiences do not teach you. YOU learn skills by engaging in experiences and completing projects.
    • Be specific and include details: As a senior majoring in Anthropology, with a minor in History, I have traveled to WWI battlefields in Belgium and worked with forensic anthropologists to uncover the remains of soldiers who died in the trenches.
    • Use a font that is large enough to see. No one will read your work, no matter how excellent it is, if the person can’t see the text!
    • ALWAYS read what you have written out loud to yourself. That is the only way you will notice if you have left out a word or used the wrong phrase.

    Resources in the Career Center Library:

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The zero tolerance approach to puncuation, by  Lynne Truss

    On writing well: an informal guide to writing nonfiction, by William Zinsser

    Get to the Point!  by Elizabeth Danziger

    Writing That Works, by Kenneth Roman and Joel Raphaelson

  • rsangeorge 9:47 pm on January 19, 2016 Permalink  

    Dealing Effectively with a Temp Agency – and What to Expect 

    Image result for temp hiring“A temp agency – are you kidding me?”  That’s the understandable reaction of many upcoming or new BAs when someone suggests  going to see a temp agency.  But for upcoming graduates or unemployed recent graduates, it may be one of a number of options to consider, especially if some of this applies to you…

    • You are very unclear about the career path you want to pursue, or even the employment sector that most interests you – government? non-profits? private sector? start your own enterprise?
    • You worked your way through school in a retail job, nannying, etc. – and this limited your opportunities to do internships.
    • You are facing financial pressures and need to start earning money asap, but working in a hardware store is not an appealing career path.

    (More …)

  • Anna Litman 7:07 pm on November 3, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: competencies, , ,   

    Skills Series: Skill #2 – Teamwork skills are Essential at the Modern Workplace 

    Our second blog in the series on the key skills that employers seek is about teamwork.  Most of the projects/tasks at the workplace, be it in the field of business, science, communication, arts, etc., are carried out nowadays by teams. Based on employers’ surveys, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) has concluded that employers search for candidates who have the teamwork skills defined as the capacity to “Build collaborative relationships with colleagues and customers representing diverse cultures, races, ages, genders, religions, lifestyles, and viewpoints. The individual is able to work within a team structure, and can negotiate and manage conflict.”   What do you need to do to make sure that you are ready to be a productive and successful team member at your future workplace? How would you market your teamwork readiness to your potential employer? (More …)

  • Sue Gordon 8:15 pm on October 1, 2015 Permalink  

    The #1 Skill Employers want YOU to have… Oral Communication 

    This is the first in a series of blogs that will highlight the key skills that employers seek. Each month, an AU Career Advisor will share insights into each skill– how do you develop the skill while at AU, how do you demonstrate, and why is it important?  First up: Oral Communication.

    skills wordleMust have strong oral and written communication skills.”

    If you’ve searched for a job or internship, you’ve seen this requirement in one form or another. According to the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the ability to communicate orally is the number one competency sought by employers. So, what does it mean to have strong oral communication skills, and how does your degree prepare you to use oral communication skills in the workplace?  The good news is that your American University degree and campus experiences do develop this skill- whether you’ve majored in the liberal arts and sciences or business. (More …)

  • Anna Litman 10:19 pm on September 8, 2015 Permalink
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    Anna’s Pondering the Question of the Week Series, Fall 2015: Tweaking a graduate student resume 

    Greetings and welcome to the 2015-2016 academic year! As we all embark on our new academic and professional experiences, I’m resuming my blog series to reflect on most interesting, challenging or typical questions that students ask me during our individual appointments. I hope that this will help those who may have similar questions but haven’t had a chance to visit the Career Center yet. (More …)

  • rsangeorge 3:08 pm on August 21, 2015 Permalink  

    Writing a Knockout Cover Letter 

    The biggest challenge to overcome in landing the job or internship you want is the first level of applicant screening. Often this means getting a very bored, junior person to sit up and pay attention to the cover letter and resume you have sent in. Today we’re going to focus on cover letters.

    Most people will admit they have difficulty writing cover letters; what they usually mean is that they have a lot of trouble starting cover letters. Here’s a formula for overcoming the writer’s block and anxiety of doing cover letters. (More …)

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