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  • Jennifer Carignan 3:20 pm on November 24, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Networking   

    Connecting with LinkedIn 

    When you’re looking for a job or internship, searching employment sites should not be the only action you take. It’s important to use all the tools in your arsenal, and that includes online networking.

    One of the most underutilized resources available to you right now is LinkedIn, a free professional networking website that boasts a membership of 85 million people in 200 countries. The premise behind LinkedIn is that “relationships matter,” and to back this up, the website allows you to create a network of professionals to connect and build relationships with. This can be helpful when you’re looking for work and even more broadly when you’re unsure what you can do with a particular major.

    (More …)

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  • Minna Scherlinder Morse 12:50 pm on November 22, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Networking, Thanksgiving   

    Talking Turkey: Making the Most of Your Break 

    At this point in the fall, students can feel torn between the desire to take a well-deserved breather, and (in some cases) severe stress over finding their next internship or gearing up for the daunting task of job hunting.

    Thanksgiving comes at a perfect time.  Just enough down-time to allow you to regroup, think through your plans and priorities, while also packing in the food and having some much-deserved fun.

    It also happens to be an EXCELLENT time to begin or ramp up your networking efforts.  Here are some tips for preparing on your way home:

    • * Make a list of everyone you’re going to see during this break, and (as much as you can recall) what they do for a living, where they work, where they live, what kinds of circles they hang out in. Then, of course, tuck that list away. It would kind of look mercenary if anyone found it.
    • * Think about something that you can say about your next career development goal: I’m hoping to explore careers in X in the next few months by talking to people in the field, OR I’ve decided to explore Y career path and am looking for a spring internship in that field, OR I’ll be job hunting soon, and am really interested in getting a foot in the door in Z industry.
    • * Remind yourself of some of your accomplishments. Folks will be interested in what you’ve been up to. Deliver the goods, with passion, and with just enough detail to let them know that you really sank your teeth into something.

    Then sink your teeth into your turkey (or tofurkey) and pumpkin pie, and have some nice, relaxed (and subtly goal-oriented) conversations with your nearest and dearest (or those of your family and/or friends)! They may know people who can help, or have ideas for you that you hadn’t considered. Keep your mind open, and…be grateful for all that you will have received.

    Happy Thanksgiving/Networking!!

    Note: This was such great advice, given by our former SOC advisor Minna Morse, that is being re-posted for this holiday break.

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    • Sue Gordon 4:12 pm on November 25, 2009 Permalink

      Great advice, Minna.

      Students should remember these tips when their assorted neighbors and relatives asks them the inevitable “So, what are you doing after graduation?” question. Talking about those goals and accomplishments is so much more effective than a blank stare or a mumbled “I’m exploring my options”. When the students share just a bit about their goals and accomplishments, those neighbors and distant relatives will undoubtedly come up with ideas and advice– some of which may actually be helpful! After all, the students don’t always know that Uncle Bill’s sister’s best friend works in the same field they aspire to be in!

  • Minna Scherlinder Morse 10:48 pm on September 21, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Networking   

    Networking Is Not A Dirty Word (Part I) 

    I often talk with students who seem to think that “networking” is a dirty word, that the whole concept suggests that who you know is more important than what you can do, that it smacks of privilege and is implicitly manipulative.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Let me ask you a question. Have you ever looked for an apartment or a roommate? A great place to eat? Did personal recommendations play a role at all? (I’m guessing yes.) Did you ever do a favor for a friend, or offer some advice? Did you feel used or manipulated as a result? (I’m hoping no.)

    A network is nothing more than a web of relationships with people who have positive feelings about you and/or the work that you do, and who may ask for or offer advice, opportunities or recommendations from time to time.

    Talent and hard work are essential. But if a tree (or a person) accomplishes something fabulous in the forest (or anywhere else), but no one hears about it, did it really have an impact?  You need ears in the forest. (And occasionally, you’ll need to remind them of what they heard, and even encourage them to share the story with others.)

    At its best, your network is an ever-expanding collection of people who want to see you do well, who know (or can guess) what you’re capable of, for whom you do nice things once in a while, and who may be inclined to do nice things for you. That’s all.

    Convinced? Then watch this space for tips on building and navigating your network, in Networking is Not a Dirty Word (Part II)…

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  • Minna Scherlinder Morse 10:00 pm on September 21, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Networking,   

    Networking Is Not A Dirty Word (Part II) 

    To further dispel the notion of networking-as-dirty-word, I may be forced to use the F-word. A number of F-words, actually,  none of them unseemly, and all crucial to career success.

    Let’s start with Facts of Life. The truth is that we all start our adult and professional lives with different networks in place (in part related to our family, how and where we grew up, etc.), and with different levels of skill and confidence in networking.  That’s just the way it is. But none of us are stuck with that starting point. Those who come into adulthood well-connected are still going to have to prove their ability and worthiness of those connections, and those with talent and fewer connections are going to have to build their networks on their own.

    For everyone, the place to start is with those already in your corner: Friends, Family, Family Friends, and (a key resource here at AU) Faculty (both full-time and adjunct).  Get in touch, tell them about your interests, your long-term and/or short-term goals, and see what ideas they have for you.

    If that goes well, it will soon be time to reach beyond that circle, to the strangers-to-you they recommend you contact, or to others further afield who may be helpful to you.  At that point,  you can no longer expect contacts to automatically want to help you in your career exploration or job/internship searching. (Not even if you’re talking to your Uncle Fred‘s oldest friend.)

    You’re swimming with the big fish now. But don’t panic! This is simply where another layer of “f-words” comes in:  Fact-Finding and Face-Time. (More …)

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    • Alex Priest 8:48 pm on September 22, 2010 Permalink

      Great, great, series of posts. I’m constantly amazed by how amazing my network has been for internships and job opportunities–already, even though I haven’t graduated yet.

      Glad to see you mention LinkedIn, but to be perfectly honest, Twitter is a far more powerful networking tool! 😉

    • Minna Scherlinder Morse 2:07 pm on September 28, 2010 Permalink

      Ah, yes, but Twitter is for those who need not be convinced that networking is somehow tainted! LinkedIn can be a nice first step on the social media food chain, leading folks to take bigger steps later, don’t you think? That’s the thought, anyway 😉 Thanks for reading–and for weighing in!

  • Travis Sheffler 4:56 pm on August 27, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , Networking   

    Tips for the Unprepared SPA Senior – What to do this year 

    So graduation is less than a year away and you don’t believe that you’ve had those relevant internship or work experiences to make yourself a marketable entity to potential employers.  Furthermore, to many, finding a job is often a job in itself, where you need to commit several hours each week toward the process.  Still, there are several things that you can do now to make the transition from student to employee smoother.

    First off, start the job search early; your senior year will go by quicker than you think, and you don’t want it to be a month before graduation without significant job search progress.  (More …)

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  • Travis Sheffler 6:12 pm on August 26, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , Networking, , SPA   

    Tips for the Prepared SPA Senior – What to do this year 

    So you’re an SPA senior who’s had several internships related to careers of interests.  You’ve gained valuable leadership experience through student activities.  You’ve excelled in your coursework and even completed several class projects and papers specifically relevant to your career interests.  Now it’s your senior year and you are asking “what do I need to do next”.  Well, there are several things that you can do to make the transition from student to employee smoother.

    First off, start the job search early; your senior year will go by quicker than you think, and you don’t want it to be a month before graduation without significant job search progress.  (More …)

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  • Minna Scherlinder Morse 9:17 pm on August 23, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Networking, ONA, Online News Association, professional associations, , Volunteering   

    Volunteering + Networking = Career Traction 

    Here’s a general principle for all students to take note of:  engaging as a volunteer in work that matters to you can pay off tremendously for your career.  Whether it’s an on-campus organization, or an off-campus cause or professional association, if there’s a “world” where you want access, you can get it by being an active, dependable  volunteer, building a track record, and leveraging your involvement to best effect.

    Here’s an upcoming opportunity/case study from the world of journalism. This October, the Online News Association (whose simple domain name, http://www.journalists.org, pretty accurately reflects the organization’s significance in the changing industry) is holding its annual conference in Washington, DC.   If you are interested in building a career in journalism, ONA10 is the place to be, but registration costs are pretty steep for students. If you volunteer before, during or after the conference, however, you can attend a part of the conference for free, learn about trends in the industry and skills you’ll need to know, and shmooze with industry pros. (Note to non-journalists: what are the professional meetings that you might want to attend? Google them now!) (More …)

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  • Minna Scherlinder Morse 2:24 pm on August 10, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , Networking,   

    Downtown Networking Events on Wednesday 

    The National Press Club Young Members Committee is hosting a Speed Networking event for grad students (and undergraduates over 21 years of age) with representatives from media companies and PR firms across the region (Discovery, Bloomberg, etc.) on Wednesday night, Aug. 11, that begins promptly at 6:30 PM.  If you’d like to attend, RSVP ASAP to Tim Young at timyoungjd@gmail.com.

    Also Wednesday night, an opportunity for those under and over 21 to explore the resources that public access television provides, and how it can enhance their media production experience, expand their film-making network, and contribute to a collaborative and creative film community. Arlington Independent Media, a leader in the field, will be represented, along with other stations from DC and Maryland. Gibson Guitar Gallery, 709 G Street, 6-9 PM. For more info and to register, see the DCFilm.org event listing.

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  • Felicia Parks 8:08 pm on July 26, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Networking, research   

    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.  (More …)

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  • Chris Hughes 2:55 pm on July 20, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Networking   

    Leveraging Internships 

    One of the great benefits of an American University education actually takes place outside of the classroom. AU’s location in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC provides students with a multitude of internship opportunities. Through internships in the government, nonprofit and private sectors, students have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience that supplements what they are learning in the classroom and provides them with some of skills needed to begin a career in their field of interest.

    Often students are able to effectively leverage their internship in order to gain their next internship, or perhaps a job. Here are some tips on how to make your internship move you towards your next step in the career development process:

    When finished with a project, ask for more: This is an excellent way to prove your worth. Employers like interns who go the extra mile in helping to get the work of the office done. By working hard and contributing one’s skills to that office, an intern will become more likely to receive a strong recommendation for his or her next position. In some select instances, if a full-time position with the organization is open upon an intern’s graduation, this could lead to the intern being hired for that position.

    Keep in touch with past internship employers: There is often a tendency for one to move on after an internship is completed and not look back. Big mistake. It is always good to maintain contact periodically with past internship supervisors, especially if you have left that position on very good terms. Former supervisors and co-workers can serve as a very valuable resource in helping you network for future job and internship searches

    Conduct informational interviews: Informational interviewing is one of the most important forms of networking. It entails talking to people employed in jobs or fields that interest you. Identify people who work at your internship site who would fit these criteria. These individuals would be able to provide you with valuable advice about their career path, skills needed, and the employment outlook for the field. They may also be able to provide you with the names and contact information of other individuals who could provide you with information about potential careers.

    Utilizing these strategies, in addition to meeting periodically with your Career Center advisor, will start you on your path to a successful and very satisfying career.

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