Questions to Ask in an Interview

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“Now, do you have any questions for me?”

Wait, what? Yes, that’s right. At the end of most interviews the interviewer will open up the floor, giving you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. This may be nerve-wracking if you didn’t come prepared with any questions—but keep in mind that asking quality questions at the end of the interview can help you stand out against other applicants. Why you may ask? Asking questions not only shows that you’ve come prepared, but it shows that you have a genuine interest in the company and the position. It also lets the interviewer know what parts of the job are important to you such as culture, work-life balance, training, and topics like these. Asking questions is a great way to gain insight and become familiar with a potential career. Not sure what to ask? Fear not. Below is a list of questions that are free game to ask during an interview. Pick a few questions, relevant to you, to ask during your next interview.

What are the day to day responsibilities in this job?

Can you explain to me what the training process is like?

How would you describe the company culture?

What are the most important qualities for someone in this position to have?

Are there any opportunities for advancement in this position/company?

What are the most difficult or challenging parts of this job?

Are there any professional development opportunities offered?

Where do you see this company in a few years?

Who will I be reporting to?

What is the leadership style within the company?

Is there anything about my background or experiences that concern you or would make me less than ideal for this role?

How did you get into this line of work?

Is there any travel required for this position?

What is your favorite part about your job?

Are there any office traditions or team-building events?

In this position will I be working more individually or as a part of a team?

How will I know if I am succeeding in this position? Will I get any feedback on my progress or recommendations for improvement?

What is the most rewarding part of this job?

What makes this company stand out from others?

How closely related are the separate departments of the company? Are there any joint events or projects?

What are the next steps in the interview/hiring process?

 

HINT: While you should always come prepared with questions to ask the interviewer, there are some questions you should NEVER ask in an initial interview (or sometimes not at all).

 

  • What is the starting salary?
  • How often will I get breaks?
  • What type of benefits are offered?
  • What is the policy for leaving early or arriving late?
  • Will I be subjected to any drug tests?
  • Do you plan on making me an offer?

 

Keep in mind, these are just suggestions and are by no means an all-inclusive list. You may even find that some of these questions were already answered during the interview. Think genuinely about what you want to know about the company and what it’s like to work there.  For more tips on the interview process, click here! The CCPD website has so many great tip sheets and resources that can help you navigate the interview process with ease. Good luck!

 

 

 

5 Tips for Building a Resume with Little Work Experience

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So you’re starting to develop your resume and it’s….coming up a little short? Don’t panic! There is a lot more to creating a beautiful resume than having professional work experience. You’re definitely not alone in this either. A lot of students have little to no work experience, but can still craft a beautiful resume by highlighting other experiences.

Check out these 5 tips below for building your resume with no work experience—you got this!

1. Volunteer Work

Ah yes. Volunteering. The holy grail of character building AND resume building. Volunteer work stands out to employers because it shows that you can collaborate with others and that you care about a certain cause, no matter how small. Think about both formal and informal volunteer experiences you’ve had in the past and elaborate the tasks you completed. Don’t sell yourself short on this! Something that seems as simple as taking care of an elderly neighbor or cleaning up trash on a beach with your church youth group is all fair game, and can help you stand out to employers.

2. Extracurricular Activities

Landing a job or internship may not always be “fun and games,” so don’t be scared to add your own fun and games to your resume. Team sports, bands, and organized activities can be added to your resume to showcase transferable skills such as motivation, stress management, adapting to change, or showing support. Serving as a captain, performing at a show, or belonging to a team are all quality skills and experiences to have and highlight on your resume.

3. Skills, Skills, and More Skills

If you’re falling short when it comes to work experience, having relevant skills can be a great thing to expand on in your resume. Are you an expert when it comes to different programs like Microsoft Office, Adobe, or any statistical software? Are you learning new programming languages? Are you skilled in data analysis? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then go ahead and put that on your resume. Certain technical skills are highly sought after by employers and can without a doubt set you a part—even without work experience!

4. Clubs and Organizations

For those without work experience, emphasizing your involvement on campus is SO key. Any membership in a club, committee, or student organization can give you many of the tools you need to enter into the professional world. This includes Greek Life membership, Student Government, Air Rifle Team, or even the Robotics Club (just to name a few…there are MANY). Belonging to a group and collaborating with others who share your interests is a big plus when it comes to resume building.

5. Academic Experiences

Even if you find that you lack certain skills, or aren’t as involved as you could be, you can always elaborate on your academic experiences in your resume. Think back on creative inquiries, research initiatives, or academic projects you’ve worked on. Discuss your results, findings, and personal stake in projects you’ve completed or research you have done. You can also talk about relevant courses you have taken, especially electives that have helped to expand your knowledge.

At the end of the day, having little to no work experience to add to your resume is not the end of the world. Everyone has to start somewhere. Remind yourself to update your resume as you gain more experience. Keeping these tips in mind may be what gets you that work experience that you’re looking for!

Click here to download our Transferable Skills handout to get a better understanding of the different types of skills you may have gained from your experiences! (Transferable skills handout is located under the Career Development tab).

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop…Searching (Part 2)

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This blog post is the second of a series all about job searching! Jenna Figaro is currently a graduate assistant for the Career Development team at the Michelin Career Center. She is in her second year of her Master’s program at Clemson and will be graduating in May 2019. Through this series, Jenna will talk about how she is navigating the job searching process, in addition to tips and tricks she has found along the way.

To read the first post of the series, visit this link.

Hey y’all!

I’m excited to be back sharing more about my job searching process and more tips for job searching in general! Last time, we discussed work values and how to prepare our documents and social media presence for the job search. Today, we will dive into the application process, selling our skills, and asking for references.

Completing Your Application

Tip 1: Create a spreadsheet. This is the best way to keep all of your applications organized. Record the company, the position title, the location, the salary, a link to the posting, the date you submit the application, and the date you will follow-up with the company if you choose to do so. Here’s an example:

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Tip 2: Save the position description! Companies often remove the posting from the job board after the closing date has passed. It would be very unfortunate to receive an interview and not have access to the position description to prepare. Print it out, save it as a PDF, do what you need to do to make sure you have access to it.

Tip 3: Fill out the application completely. I have spoken with quite a few employers who say that filling out the application entirely is so important. Yes, you are likely retyping information into those boxes that is listed in your resume, but employers often review your application before they even view your resume. If you skip out on parts of the application or do not showcase your skills completely, it looks lazy. Take the time to fill it out.

Tip 4: If you are applying for a job that requires you have completed a specific degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D) and you have not graduated with that degree yet, you do not meet the requirements. This does not mean that you still cannot apply for the job! For example, I will graduate with my Master of Education degree in May. As I fill out my applications, I must say that my highest degree is a Bachelor of Science. If the position requires that I have a master’s degree, I likely will not even make it onto the employer’s desk. The system that I am submitting my application to will likely kick me out as a candidate, even though I will have my Master’s degree in a few months. For this reason, I’ve been advised to reach out to HR by phone or email to explain my circumstances. Often times, the HR department can manually input your application if you will meet the criteria at the time of hire. It is always better to ask than to assume!

Selling Your Skills

Students usually sell themselves short in their professional documents. As a counselor, I’ve looked at dozens of documents where students leave out so much of their involvement and experience because they don’t think it’s relevant. This is so not true in many cases!

Look at a position description and pull out keywords. What skills are they looking for in a candidate? Suppose you are applying for a recruiting position and one job duty is to plan and execute a networking event. Maybe you don’t have any formal event planning experience in the world of business, but have you ever helped run an event for your student organization? That counts! Our career competencies include some of the most sought-after skills from employers, graduate schools, and professional schools. As I started my job search, I have utilized this resource to assess what skills I’ve acquired through the years. This is a great way to start thinking about where you’ve gained these skills and how you can talk about them in an interview.

Think about group projects you’ve been involved in, student organizations you’ve been a member of, courses you’ve taken, part-time jobs you’ve had, and any other experience that provided new skills or growth. What did you take away from that experience? How can you connect that skill set to the skills needed for the job you want? If you’re feeling stumped, come by the Career Center in 316 Hendrix. We can help you realize how much you have to offer!

Asking for References

Asking for references can feel awkward. Consider the people in your life who can speak to your strengths. It could be a supervisor, a coworker, a professor, a mentor, or maybe an advisor. Do you have someone in mind? Make sure you ask for permission before listing them as a reference. When asking for a reference, mention your connection to that person. Include one aspect of working with them that you enjoyed. Let them know what position you are applying for, and consider asking if they’d feel comfortable speaking to a skill set you have.

When submitting references, make sure to include their name, title, business address, business phone number, and business email. Check out this helpful resource on what to include in a reference as well as sample email drafts.

While job searching can be time consuming and stressful, know that you have all the support you need right here in the Career Center! Even though I work here, I utilize the counselors all the time to help me navigate the job search and application questions. If you have specific questions that were not answered in this post, please comment below or stop by 316 Hendrix to ask a counselor. We’re here for you!

Stay posted for the next topic of this series… interviewing!

At Odds with an Internship?

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Landing an internship can be extremely exhilarating, leaving you feeling accomplished and excited for the future. We’ve all been told that an internship can be a foot in the door with the company you’re interning with…but what do you do if it’s not what you expected? Or even worse, you just flat out don’t like it? This happens more often than you may think. Check out the story below from one of our former tigers who had this exact same experience!   

Written by Ali Snover, former Clemson University student 

Hi! I’m Ali Snover and I am a senior Operations Management student here at Clemson University. I enjoy management because business strategy and organization have always fascinated me. I chose operations for my emphasis area of study because two of its key topics, efficiency and effectiveness, are concepts that I greatly appreciate and strive to further in any job setting. I’m very analytical and enjoy math and statistics so I’ve always found my in-major coursework to be both interesting and easy to grasp. I’ve understood for a long time that the most common jobs for operations management graduates are found in manufacturing industries and all of my in-class experiences at Clemson have led me to believe that I am well suited for one of those jobs. Everything about my coursework and intended career path felt right until last summer. 

This past summer, I worked as an Integrated Supply Chain Intern at a manufacturing company. Although this was not my first job, it was my first experience that is directly related to my major. I spent time creating standard work instructions, running reports on SAP, auditing power tools, creating poke yoke’s and 5S check sheets, and reporting out on daily safety, quality, and production metrics. If you aren’t a management or engineering student, most of those tasks probably sound foreign to you. To me they were familiar concepts from my classes. I was well prepared for the work I was doing… but I didn’t enjoy it at all. 

I quickly realized that the manufacturing setting is not for me. I got sick of my eyelashes getting squished inside my safety glasses, sweating in the hot plant, and regularly ruining clothing items with grease stains and tears. I realized that no manufacturing job is an “8 to 5”. As an intern, I worked exhausting 10-hour days that were far shorter than any full-time employee’s day. Throwing away my clunky steel toed shoes at the end of the summer was exhilarating and I discovered that, contrary to many of the people I was working with, I don’t mind sitting at a desk for hours during a work day.  

Finding out that you don’t enjoy the career that your major typically leads to the summer before your senior year when you’re almost done with college and about to enter the work force can send you into a bit of a tailspin. It did for me. I feared at first that the summer would be terrible. I overthought the situation, thinking that I should give up, change my emphasis area, and that I was stupid for not knowing what I was getting into. Ultimately though, I decided to stick it out. I don’t regret that choice.  

Over the course of the summer, I found many other reasons that an operations role in a manufacturing setting is not for me but I don’t want anyone to think that I was completely miserable as that was not the case. I was working for an innovative company that places a high priority on maximizing the potential of their human resources. I formed close friendships with the people I worked with and we shared a lot of laughs and made great memories at and outside of work. I learned how to communicate with the line workers, received mentor-ship from high-preforming young professionals and gained exposure with upper level management. Overall, it was a great experience. 

Going into this past summer, I had a mental disconnect between what I thought my role in operations management would be and what that role really looked like. I also had a disconnect between what I thought I would enjoy and what I actually do. I discovered that these disconnects existed and eventually realized that they were not because of some mistake that I had made or because I was lacking something. I am simply an ill fit for the role I was in and there’s nothing wrong with that. This does NOT mean that I am better or smarter than anyone in any role in the manufacturing industry. It does not mean that a career in a manufacturing industry is not a perfect fit for some people. It does not mean that I am not willing to work hard, put in extra hours to achieve goals, or don’t enjoy a challenge. It is just a combination of a bunch of personality traits, experiences, skills, and abilities that result in my best career fit not being in manufacturing. A psychology major could probably explain what all of those skills and such are and how they fit together to make me who I am but I just know that I like who I am and I am not ashamed that I am a bad fit for a certain career.  

To get something out of my story, you do not have to be an operations management student or really have anything in common with me. What you need to know is that you, like me, will discover that there are some careers that you would not be a good fit for AND that there are some that you will excel at and that will make you really happy.  

Some advice: Don’t freak out if you find yourself in a job you don’t like! It isn’t the end of the world and you won’t hold that role forever. Don’t be quick to throw in the towel because giving up and quickly leaving a job can leave a blemish on your employment history and burn bridges. Give everything a fair chance and be honest with yourself and your boss about your satisfaction in your role. Assume that those around you want the best for you and if you must, get them on board with helping you transition into a different role that will be beneficial and satisfying for everyone involved. I am proud of myself for giving 100% in my intern role despite the fact that it wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for and my effort paid off in the end. I received multiple job offers at the end of the summer and have accepted a role that will be a great fit for me. If I hadn’t made the best of my situation and worked hard, I wouldn’t be going through senior year with a job already secured.  

Gain experiential learning ASAP! It’s really hard to know for sure if you’re going to enjoy a job that you have learned about but never actually done. I am so thankful that I learned that I don’t want to work in a manufacturing facility before I graduated. Without the knowledge that I now have, I likely would have sought out and accepted a job similar to the one I had this past summer. I now have a much clearer and more confident plan for my future and only wish that I knew what I know now sooner. Never think that you have plenty of time left in college (it really does fly by) or that internships can wait until the summer before senior year. The sooner you gain experiential learning (this could come from on & off campus internships, co-ops, shadowing, creative inquiries, or many other options) the better you’ll know yourself and what kind of career will make you happiest.  

You can do so much more than what you think you can with the degree you are currently earning! Don’t feel like you have to change your major because the stereotypical jobs that graduates with your major have secured aren’t what you want. Explore less common options. Talk to professors, professionals, and potential employers to get advice on how to get where you want to go with what you have. You may have to do some research and a little extra work but you are not locked into a career because of your degree. You will always have the opportunity to learn and grow in ways that will make you a qualified applicant for whatever career you want as long as you know what that is and are willing to go the extra mile.  

The Best Career Advice You’ve Ever Received

career-adviceThere are countless ways to receive advice. You can ask your mom/dad, your professors, the internet, or read one of the many self-help books and blogs, just to name a few. In this modern age, you can do a quick Google search and find 846,000,000 search results concerning career advice. When you are thinking about your career, it often feels like you need as much advice as you can gather!

You have to start somewhere and you may be considering how to choose the career for you or excel in the one you currently have! There is always more to learn so how do you know that you are getting the very best recommendations and guidance?

One way you can gain some meaningful advice is to hear it from our career professionals, who counsel students every day! We have interviewed a few of our wonderful staff about the advice that was given to them during their career search to help you out!

“Gladly take on projects that other people don’t have time for or don’t want to do.” –Julie Newman, Director of Career Development

“Pursue what you’re passionate about, the money will follow.” –Olivia Fallen, UPIC Graduate Assistant

“Treat every day as an extended job interview.” –Lisa Bundrick, Assistant Director of Events and Employer Relations

“Do your research and ask around about a company’s/department’s/supervisor’s reputation before ever accepting a job. Don’t base a decision just on the interview/interview process.” –Troy Nunamaker, Chief Solutions Officer

“No one else knows what they are doing either.” –Kelsey Wilkins, Graduate Programs and Off-Campus Internships Graduate Assistant

“For starting a new job, listen, observe, and ask questions.  We all come into a new role having an idea that we know a lot about a position or organization – hence why we said yes to the offer!  It’s important to take time to learn about your new environment and colleagues.” –Kristin Walker, Associate Director of Analytics and Initiatives

“Always be willing to be a learner. You are never fully an expert in all things, so if you get the chance to learn something new, take it!” –Bri Berry, Employer Relations Graduate Assistant

These are just a few pieces of advice to help you get started. Remember to ask your own network for advice too!

 

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop…Searching

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This blog post is the first post of a series we are starting all about job searching! Jenna Figaro is currently a graduate assistant for the Career Development team at the Michelin Career Center. She is in her second year of her Master’s program at Clemson and will be graduating in May 2019. Through this series, Jenna will talk about how she is navigating the job searching process, in addition to tips and tricks she has found along the way.

Hey y’all!

If you are anything like me (and maybe close to graduating too), you may have mixed thoughts and feelings about the job search. One day I’m excited and the next day I’m terrified, and so far, I’ve learned that it is all part of the process!

I am both a Career Center insider AND a fellow student! While I have the theoretical knowledge to navigate the job search, now is my time to put it into action. So, if you’re thinking, “I have no idea what I’m doing!” – welcome to the club. Me too. The average job search takes 6-9 months. Let that sink in. Job searching takes time, so be mentally prepared to put in the work required to land your first job!

In this first post, I highlight some steps I’ve been taking to prepare for starting the job search. This is the “behind-the-scenes” work that happens prior to applying for jobs and includes tips I’ve been using to make sure I’m ready to go! Whether you are graduating in December, in May, or not for a year or two, I’m hopeful you’ll feel more at ease and prepared to click “Apply for Job” after considering these ideas.

Reflect on your work values.

What’s important to you? Location? Salary? Work environment? Think about what you have to have in a job as well as what would be a deal breaker for you.

For me, it is so important that I work with other people in a positive work space. I value being part of a team and having a variety of tasks. My current job allows me to juggle multiple different projects at once, and I love that! As I start job searching, I need to pay attention to the duties and responsibilities in a job. These will be some of the first indicators of whether or not I will be a good fit in that work space.

Also consider location. How far do you want to be from where you consider home? Is that important to you? Do you mind having a commute? Do you need to work in a fast-paced environment? Start thinking about your “must have’s” and your “I can do without’s”. For me, an “I can do without” is making a good profit. I really value finding purpose in my work regardless of what number is written on my paycheck. Work-life balance is a “must have” for me too, so I will definitely be asking questions in my interviews to decipher what work-life balance looks like in a given office. Think about what might be a deal-breaker or deal-maker for you! Here is a “work values” resource we have to help you start thinking about what you value when it comes to the world of work.

Continuously update your professional documents.

It’s easy to forget that you need more than just a resume to apply for a job! Have you thought about your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile? In this section, I break down how I’ve prepared these documents, as well as some resources that have helped me along the way.

Have you abandoned your resume for a little too long? Now is the time to check in on that document regularly! I have been trying to update my resume weekly, and at the least, monthly. Yes, I review resumes for other students, but I also have other counselors in the center look at my resume. It never hurts to ask for feedback from a lot of people! Start with the Career Center, then check in with your professors and people in your industry. Every person I’ve met with has given me different feedback, but it has all been so valuable. At the end of the day, your resume is your document, so keep what works for you!

Does LinkedIn terrify you? That’s understandable, but it’s a good place to get started! Chances are that an employer is going to search for you online – wouldn’t you want their first find on you to be a professional one? Check out the LinkedIn resource here for more tips on how to set up your LinkedIn page. I just made my LinkedIn a few months ago, and I’m trying to be a more active user as I start searching! The more up-to-date my profile is, the more searches I will appear in. More searches = more potential jobs! (Hopefully?!)

Get ready for the cover letter. At best, the cover letter will get you the interview. At worst, the cover letter is never read. It is always ideal to put your best foot forward and submit an amazing cover letter with your job application! Learn the ins and outs of the cover letter so that it seems less intimidating when it comes time to write one for real!

I’ll be honest – I’d never written a cover letter until I started working here. Since working here though, I’ve learned how to navigate the cover letter and feel much more prepared to tackle it in my job search! Here is our cheat sheet for how to write a cover letter if you’d like some helpful tips too. I always refer to this resource! Remember to tailor your cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for as well! A generic letter will not help you stand out. Always feel free to stop by the Career Center (316 Hendrix) for a drop-in from 1:30-3:45pm Monday-Friday to receive feedback on your professional documents too!

Start searching.

Learn what tools will be relevant and useful to you for your job search. Create a CareerShift account using your Clemson ID. Start looking at jobs that interest you to see what skills you need to do the job. This is a great thing to start doing early on so that you have time to build those skills before applying! For me, a skill that I see come up from time-to-time involves outreach programming. This is an area that I have minimal experience, so I’ve been trying to gain that experience over the last few months to make myself competitive and ready for the job! Be aware of what will be asked of you generally for the jobs you are applying for.

Consider key words. Job searching can be like a puzzle. Sometimes searching the right words is what it takes to find what you want, not necessarily searching a position. Use industry specific language and responsibilities you may have in order to find more opportunities. For example, if you are searching for a job in Accounting or Finance, you could search for “money,” “budgeting,” “lending,” “loans,” “consulting,” or “auditing.” These are just examples! Pick and choose what is relevant to what you want to do.

Starting early also makes you more comfortable with the process and format of position descriptions. When you actually start applying, the process of searching is less intimidating!

These are some hints and tricks I’ve been finding useful as I start my job search process! Throughout this series, I’ll share about how I’m finding jobs, staying organized through my search, selling my skills, and providing useful tips for applying. Know that I am learning how to do this for the first time too. It’s all a learning process, but know the Career Center is always here to help you every step of the way!

An Essential Guide to Office Etiquette

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Written by Alexa Sebestyen, UPIC intern for Career Development

Office etiquette is an unwritten code for employees to follow in order to have a comfortable and productive work environment. Whether you are a new employee or have been working for the same company for a while, here are the TOP FIVE basic guidelines that everyone should follow:

  1. Learn how the office works
    1. Ask your colleagues and observe norms in the office such as dress code, decorating your desk area, how long lunch breaks are, etc. Learning about the office functions and culture can help you transition in smoothly.
  2. Arrive early
    1. In case there is traffic or some kind of delay, leaving your home a few minutes early will allow you to still be on time to work. Arriving early every day will help improve your personal brand and show your coworkers that you are respectful and considerate of their time.
  3. Leave your phone tucked away
    1. Unless you require your phone for your job, it should be tucked away so that you are not tempted to text, maker personal calls, or constantly check your social media. It’s counterproductive and reflects negatively on you when you constantly use company time for your personal matters. Also, make sure that your phone’s volume is on vibrate or silencecd to avoid distracting others.
  4. Keep emails (and other written correspondence) professional
    1. Include a proper subject line, greeting and signature, and keep the message clear and concise. Remember to check your grammar, spelling, etc. Email may be the only or even the first way you contact someone, so it is important that you are portrayed as professional through how you write and format them. Remember – this too is a way to positively present your brand!
  5. Dress appropriately and pay attention to personal hygiene
    1. Every office has a dress code, so make sure you dress accordingly. If they have casual Friday, remember you still want to remain profession, even if you are in jeans. It is also important to come to work well groomed so you look and feel your best.

Here are some other helpful tips to ensure that you are contributing to a good environment at your office.

  • Always be respectful of others (that includes personal and company properties too!)
  • Think before you speak
  • Don’t interrupt your colleagues when they are speaking
  • Share/give credit when necessary
  • Be mindful of how your lunch smells and remember to clean out the refrigerator
  • Make some friends, but remember to remain professional
  • Don’t come to work sick
  • Be mindful of your body language and look engaged during meetings
  • Learn co-workers’ names quickly
  • Keep your desk neat and help to keep the whole office tidy
  • Remember that the internet never forgets so don’t make negative comments about your work or colleagues

 

The best way to get used to following these guidelines is to practice, practice, practice! Repeating actions helps build habits and soon enough, it will all come naturally. If everyone follows these rules, or even most of them, you and your office are sure to be successful! Good luck, professional.

 

 

For Love or for Money?

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Written by a former career center intern

It’s a tough question right? Do I pick a major because I love the subject and think that I would really enjoy the day to day of the career or do I pick my career based on the average salary range so I can ensure financial stability and am able to afford things and experiences that I really love?

Sorry to say it, but there is no simple answer to this question and there are no one size fits all solution! Your decision must be the best fit for you and your current life needs. You may be struggling right now to pick a major because you are not sure which major is going to lead you to the “right career”. You may need to know a little bit more about yourself and gain a higher level of self-awareness to determine what career will be the best fit for you. You may even have to ask yourself some difficult questions, such as:

  1. Who am I?
  2. What do I need to do for my family?
  3. Where do I want to work?
  4. Do I have student loans that need to be paid immediately?
  5. What are my true career goals?
  6. Am I willing to live paycheck to paycheck while I pursue my dream?
  7. In what environment do I really want to work?

And those are just to name a few. You may also want to consider your work values, like how much autonomy, challenge, creativity, prestige does this job entail? Is it important to you to work near your home, or that the company is a specific size? Do you think that you will need job stability and security when choosing a career? The list of these questions can go on and on.

When we were younger, the choice of a career was based on what we loved to do, who we liked to spend time with, and what our favorite superhero was doing while not in costume. For example, when I was little, I wanted to be a journalist because Clark Kent made it look so exciting (maybe it was because he was also Superman and wrote a lot of his stories about alien attacks and store robberies). However, as I got older and started taking classes in high school, I realized my talents may lie in another realm of study. Perhaps I wasn’t willing to make a career solely out of my writing, but I could major in psychology in college, which could open a lot more doors for me in the future. As I devoted myself to my psychology classes, completed internships, and conducted informational interviews of various professionals, I learned that I was also very passionate about the counseling field and could see myself in that role later in life. Luckily, I found a job that I love that also helps me pay the bills, but I still occasionally wonder what my life would have looked like if I had pursued the childhood dream of becoming a journalist. Ultimately, the decision is yours and you are free to pursue any career that will provide you exactly what you want and need (love or money, love and money, etc.). All I can tell you for sure is that there are endless possibilities for you and there are unlimited definitions of success.

I’ll leave you with this final thought: What is the job, career, mission, or life purpose that you are currently pursuing? More importantly, why are you pursing it? If you can begin to answer these questions, it may provide you will a clearer career direction and a major that will help you achieve that goal.

Six Clemson Success Spots

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As a Clemson student, you’ve probably explored campus in some way or another…but have you seen it all? There are seriously so many places on campus that can help you tremendously in both your academic and professional career. Lucky for you, I’ve crafted up a list of “success spots” on campus that can provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to jump start your career!

  1. Academic Success Center
  • The name says it all. The Academic Success Center exists solely to help you succeed. The ASC offers student services such as academic advising, coaching, and tutoring. What you may not know is that the ASC also provides a variety of workshops that can help you not only in your academic life, but in your professional career. The ASC offers workshops on both college AND life skills including finding a career path, time management, budgeting, credit, goal-setting, stress and way more. Browse available workshops and sign up for them by visiting the Academic Success Center website or by clicking here.

Key competencies: Communication, Self-Awareness, Leadership

  1. Clemson Libraries
  • Believe it or not, there’s more to the library than Starbucks and late night Jimmy John’s orders. The library has a wide variety of services available to students that you can access by doing a little research. Speaking of research, the library offers tutorials and workshops upon request on everything you need to know about research. This is especially helpful if you plan on pursuing a postgraduate degree, or want to go into field that is research heavy. These tutorials cover topics like writing proper citations, creating a literature review, and using specific research engines. They even offer research tutorials specific to your college whether it be humanities research or science research. For more information about these services, you can explore the Clemson Libraries website, or click here to browse and sign up for upcoming workshops.

Key competencies: Analytical Skills, Technology, Integrity & Ethics

  1. Communication Lab
  • Located on the 4th floor of Daniel Hall, the Communication Lab serves as a great resource for undergraduate students who want to work on their oral communication skills. Whether you need help writing a speech, or need more assistance with your overall presentation skills, the Communication Lab is here to help. The Lab has tutors on site available to help students develop their public speaking skills including speech delivery, the use of visual aids, and conducting research for presentations. No matter what career path you decide to stroll down, developing your presentation skills will help you craft your brand and succeed in the professional realm. Click here to visit the Communication Lab website and explore the different tip sheets and resources they have to offer.

Key Competencies: Communication, Brand, Adaptability

  1. Writing Center
  • Once again, the name really says it all. The Clemson University Writing Center, located on the 3rd floor of the Academic Success Center, aims to help all Clemson students grow into the writer they want to be. The Writing Center helps all undergraduate students, no matter how advanced (or maybe not) you are as a writer. Tutors at the center are student-focused, and able to help with a wide variety of writing topics, including but not limited to dissertations, personal statements, academic essays, resumes, cover letters, lab reports, and more. Even if you feel confident in your writing, there is always room for improvement, AND professional development. Learning how to analyze your own writing as well as others is a skill that is transferrable across a multitude of professions. I recommend visiting the Writing Center to gain insight on how to develop your writing skills to prepare yourself for a future of professional writing. Click here to check out some Writing Center FAQ’s or to make an appointment with the Writing Center.

Key Competencies: Communication, Self-Awareness, Adaptability 

  1. Adobe Digital Studio
  • Located on the fifth floor of Cooper Library, the Adobe Digital Studio provides Clemson students with the chance to enhance and craft our technological skills to keep up with the constantly developing digital job market. The studio includes both an audio and video production studio, a full Creative Cloud suite, and workstations equipped with large, high resolution monitors and other modes of technology that allow for high levels of creativity and collaboration. The Adobe Digital Studio has highly trained interns available throughout the week to help you develop your ideas and bring your visions to life. Visit the Adobe Digital Studio to gain technical knowledge you can use in your professional career. Becoming more proficient in these skills will give you an edge when applying for jobs and will be a fantastic addition to your resume! Visit here to learn more about what the Adobe Digital Studio has to offer, or click here to reserve a room in the studio.

Key Competencies: Technology, Collaboration, Leadership

6. Center for Career and Professional Development

  • Last but certainly not least—the Career Center! Located on the 3rd floor of Hendrix Student Center, the Center for Career and Professional Development offers students an extremely wide range of resources and services. The center offers career assessments, general counseling, document reviews, Co-op information, job and internship search assistance, interview assistance, workshops and MORE. Whether you’re not sure what major to choose or need advice for the first day of your new job, the career center will help you with it all. Pretty much anything that has to do with professional development, the career center has a tip sheet for that. Come by the career center for our drop-in hours Monday through Friday between 1:30pm- 3:45pm or call (864) 656-0440 to make an appointment.

Key competencies: Self-Awareness, Communication, Adaptability, Leadership

 

Opportunity is knocking and the key to success is in your hands!

Knowledge is Power: 5 Tips for Informational Interviewing

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Ugh. The age-old question. You’ve probably answered this question multiple times. If you’re like me, you’ve changed your answer plenty of times throughout your life (and maybe even changed your major once or twice). The real answer to this question is that you don’t know until you find out. What’s one of the best ways to find out, you may ask? Informational interviews!

With the career fair behind you and the semester in full swing, you probably have some places of employment on your radar. Or, maybe you’re brand new to the job search world and have absolutely no idea where to start. Either way, you’re in luck! Informational interviewing is the HOLY GRAIL of job and internship search. An informational interview is a purposeful conversation with someone in a field that interests you, to help you gather more information about that field.  After your interview, you may have a better understanding of the career you are pursuing or you may decide it’s time to explore different career options. At the very least, you had the opportunity to speak with a professional who is now in your network. Below are 5 tips for navigating your own informational interview and how you can make the most of it.

Stay in the know!

  1. Know how to get in touch
  • You can’t have an informational interview without…you guessed it…someone to interview. Speak with friends, family, coworkers, professors, or anyone you know personally who would be a good candidate (or who knows someone that would be).
  • Use the internet. We live in a digital age, we might as well take advantage of it. Search for a candidate by googling companies or industries you’re interested in. Explore employer directories, LinkedIn profiles, and company websites for who you might want to chat with.
  • Utilize CareerShift to help you find potential candidates as well. Through CareerShift, you can search for contacts within a certain company. You can also look to see if any Clemson alum are currently employed at where you’re looking at. Clemson alum are great candidates for informational interviews considering you are both members of the Clemson Family!
  • When it comes to actually asking this person to meet with you, both a professional letter and phone call is the way to go. Check out this CCPD tip sheet for detailed examples on how to ask for an informational interview.
  1. Know your stuff
  • Even though this is not a formal job interview, it’s still important to come prepared. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Learn as much as you can about the person, position, or company by doing your own research before the interview. Know the official title of who you are speaking with and have a general understanding of what their job entails. Don’t stress out about knowing all of the “ins and outs” of the job, you can find out all the pertinent details during your interview.
  1. Know that this isn’t a job interview
  • Yes, you are interviewing someone in a field you are interested in. No, you are not asking them for a job. This is important. Keep in mind that you are conducting this interview for informational purposes. I mean hey, it’s called an informational interview for a reason. However, it never hurts to mention that you are in the process of job searching especially if this is a company that you’re interested in working at. You never know, this could be the first step to getting your foot in the door!
  1. Know what you’re going to say
  • Prepare your questions ahead of time. The questions you ask are what’s going to guide the interview, so definitely put a lot of thought into them. What do you want to know?
    • “How did you get into this field?”
    • “What does a typical day look like for you?”
    • “What are the most important qualities to have when holding this position?”

These are just a few of the types of questions you may want to ask to get your conversation started. Click here for even more examples of great questions to ask during an informational interview. Keep in mind that you should use this time to ask for advice or seek answers that the internet can’t give you. Take notes, be yourself, be polite, and go with the flow.

  1. Know how to follow up
  • It should go without saying that you should thank your interviewee for meeting with you. Let them know that you appreciate their time and that this was a helpful, learning experience for you. Don’t forget to ask for any extra contact information, and ask if you may contact them in the future if you have questions. Connect with them on LinkedIn and keep their contact information in a safe place. You can also ask your interviewee for the names of other people you could contact for even MORE insight. WRITE A THANK YOU NOTE. Showing your appreciation will never go out of style. Check out this tip sheet for detailed information on writing a professional thank you letter.

Phew! You did it! Not only have you gained valuable information, you’ve successfully expanded your network through this experience. Keep at it, and the opportunities will be endless!