Thursday, February 9, 2017

Let’s Explore our Global Experience!

“College is something you complete. Life is something you experience.”
–Jon Stewart, William and Mary 2004

This summer I had the incredible opportunity to co-lead a 3-week service trip to Peru. The trip was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. While in Peru, we served in the Amazon Rainforest for a conservation non-governmental organization (NGO), as well as in the remote community of Markuray in which we assisted in building a greenhouse.

I think about my experience in Peru on a daily basis. I remember the beautiful countryside and culture, the llamas and alpacas, and of course the food. I will never forget the day we embraced our fears and jumped right into the Las Piedras River in the Amazon Rainforest.

Most importantly, I will remember what I learned. My time in Peru taught me that in the end, you will not regret taking a leap, whether it is in a river in the Amazon, or building a relationship with those who don’t even speak the same language as you. No matter what, that leap will be worthwhile. There is nothing in this world that can stop you from meeting such remarkable people, trying new things, and making a difference. My experience in Peru shed everything that was clouding who I was and helped me to find my whole and raw self. I am more confident in my abilities and will continue to grow in my passion for service after graduation.

While abroad, I gained skills that I did not know I was capable of attaining, as well as ones that were tangible for my future endeavors. There are a variety of skills that you might have gained through your global experience. Those skills are highly desired by employers and should be highlighted on your resume. Some of those skills could include:

·      Teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others in a diverse setting
·      Ability to apply knowledge in a real world setting
·      An understanding of how global issues affect the future
·      Adapting to new situations and perform tasks that are unfamiliar


Be sure to take the time to reflect on the skills you gained after your experience, it will be most beneficial! Here is an example of a format for a resume in describing your experience:

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Minor in Green Engineering
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Overall GPA: 3.2             Expected: May 2015

Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Demark
June 2013 – July 2013
·      Completed summer unit operations lab
·      Conducted 7 experiments
·      Collaborated with students of various cultures to create and present on Danish Culture
·      Took excursions to world-leading chemical production site to see theories learned put into practice

Remember that your global experience can also be helpful and useful in writing your cover letter. Your global experience can also be a great talking point while you are in an interview. Remember to focus on specific examples, interactions, moments, people, or events during your time abroad. 

Global perspective is one of the six professional competencies that employers are looking for. In order to be best career ready, having a demonstration of these competencies can better prepare you for success in the workplace. Having that global perspective will allow you to appreciate, value, and learn more from other cultures to build collaborative relationships and communicate effectively. 

Some questions you may want to consider along your journey are:
·      What did you learn about yourself as a result of your international experience?
·      Why did you choose to study in (country name)? Why was it important to you?
·      Can you describe a time when you had to change your behavior to accommodate or adjust to different local conditions?

I hope you all consider a global experience during your time at Virginia Tech, because you never know where it will lead you or what you will learn about yourself! If you are interested in learning more about study abroad or service abroad, check out the Global Education Office and VT Engage's websites. 

Feel free to stop by the Smith Career Center for walk-in advising in regards to showcasing you global experiences in a professional setting. We have walk-in advising available Monday – Friday from 12-3. Hope to see you soon and around the world!

Monday, February 6, 2017


Tips from your F●R●I●E●N●D●S at Career and Professional Development
Source: WeHeartIt

Everybody has moments like Chandler, where we may not make the best first impressions, or make jokes when we’re uncomfortable. These qualities can make interviews that much more difficult, unless you properly prepare. That’s what we’re here for!!

Interview Do’s
Arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment time, dressed appropriately and conservatively.
Show up at the right place with the right person!!
                Some employers may have interviews at different locations, and have multiple people who may complete interviews. Make sure you’re showing up to the right place and know with whom you’re meeting. When you get there, listen to the interviewer’s introduction to make sure you’re addressing them correctly and with the right punctuation.

Be prepared
                Have a list of questions prepared for the interviewer. Many times at the end of an interview they will ask whether or not you have any questions for them- having these questions is GOOD! The interview is a two way street. Also have answers prepared for their questions, such as what are some of your weaknesses. Don’t be like Chandler:  
Source: Google

 If you need help thinking of questions or preparing for some, here are examples from our 

Be Enthusiastic, Be YOU.
Unless you’re Chandler Bing, then it’s okay to fight all your natural instincts.
In the end, the employer is interested in who you are and what you would bring to the atmosphere if you took up the position. If you’re going as far as to interview, you’re obviously interested in the position, so express that interest and how you appreciate the opportunity for the interview. Portray self-confidence- they thought you were qualified enough for the interview, so you need to believe and show that you ARE qualified, and you will be the best fit for the position.

Interview Don’ts
Don’t say anything negative about previous employers, professors, or other positions in the organization.
                You should portray a positive atmosphere, because if you are bashing your previous employers, then your interviewer will simply begin to wonder what you might say about their organization when you are speaking to others. In addition, if they think you’re only interested in one position, they may be less inclined to hire you over someone who is enthusiastic about the organization as a whole, not just one position.

Don’t lie
                This goes along with being yourself. If you falsify any application criteria or answers to questions in the interview and still get hired, they’re going to realize that you aren’t necessarily fluent in 12 languages like Joey said. Lying may somehow get you the job, but it doesn’t mean you will keep it.

You have already made a major step by gaining this interview, so congratulations!! If you employ these tips, you have the chance to knock it out of the park, and grow that much more in your career journey. Here at Career and Professional Development, we have advisors that are more than willing to work on your interviewing skills, in addition to even having a mock interview for practice!! So if you want to knock those nerves out, make sure to come and visit us. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jumping into Graduation

In all of your time at Virginia Tech, you have been entering Lane Stadium to jump to Enter Sandman. It is what you have always known. This year however, in the back of your mind you are reminded how much closer and closer each jump is bringing you to graduation. Soon enough you will be entering Lane as a student and leaving jumping as a graduate.

It can feel as if you are driving down a long road and all you can see is this giant, flashing, obnoxious sign flashing “GRADUATION” right at you; almost as if it were reminding you that you still haven’t figured out what you are doing next year. Take a deep breath. Remember that you are not alone in this situation and there many students in the same situation as yourself right now, including me.

Remember that graduation is not a deadline for finding a job, internship, graduate school, or really anything you want to do. We want to remind you that career development is a life-long journey without deadlines and there are a variety of paths for you to take.

Our office has a variety of resources for you to use, so be sure to utilize them!

The Post-Graduate Report is a self-report by Virginia Tech graduates. Students answer questions like the ones below:
  • Who are graduates working for?
  • How did they find their job? 
  •  If they are attending grad school, where are they going?
    • What programs or degrees are they in?
  • What advice do they have for students in their majors?
  •  What do grads wish they’d done differently?
This resource can be very beneficial for students in seeing what their peers are doing and how they got to where they are today. Be sure to check it out and see what fields students in your major are going into.

Our office also provides advising for students who are considering graduate or professional school. Ask yourself:
  • Does what I want to do in the future require graduate school?
  • What is the best path for my career goals?
  • Do I have interest in research?
  •  Do I need more experience in my field before attending graduate school?
Maybe you have not thought about it before, but are considering the possibilities now. Feel free to make an appointment with an advisor to talk more about the graduate school process.

Additionally, look at things beyond your major by talking to faculty in your department or connecting with Alumni on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the largest professional network with over 200 million members. In fact, 70% of jobs are found via networking, so be sure to check out LinkedIn.

If you feel that you still have a lot of questions and need more direction, feel free to stop by our office or make an appointment with a full-time advisor. We want to provide you with the most support and resources in order to get you jumping in the right direction for your post-graduate goals. 

Here are a few 100 Days ‘til Graduation Events coming up:

Graduating? Tips to Start Jumping on Your Job Search
Wednesday, February 8th, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Assembly Hall, Holzman Alumni Center
Claire Childress -
Sponsored by Career and Professional Development

Connection Career Fair
Tuesday, February 21, 10 AM - 4 PM

Squires Ballroom
Claire Childress -

"The Final Piece: Evaluating and Negotiating Offers"
Wednesday, March 22, 5:30 - 6:30 PM
Assembly Hall, Holtzman Alumni Center
Claire Childress,
Sponsored by Career and Professional Development

The Gap Year Experience
Monday, April 3, 5:30 - 6:30 PM
Assembly Hall, Holtzman Alumni Center
Claire Childress,
Sponsored by Career and Professional Development

Adulting 101
Thursday, April 20th, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Assembly Hall, Holtzman Alumni Center
Claire Childress -
Sponsored by Career and Professional Development

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

HIRE ME!- Job and Internship Searching

Can you believe it is already time for Fall Break? As the leaves begin to change into the beautiful colors of maroon and orange, you may be thinking about ways to change your career journey! As our office always says, “It’s not just about the job, it’s about the journey.” We are here to help you in the process of finding experience, and there are a variety of paths for you to take.
 So where do you start?
There is simply no “one way” of searching for a job or internship; but the key thing to know is to start early! The job and internship search can seem to be intimidating and difficult to approach. However, you have no need to worry because this is a process you can go through with our office.
You can begin by simply doing your research first. You want to have a focus and do research on how to get to where you want to be. Keep in mind that your search doesn’t have to be limited to just your major. Look at things beyond your major by talking to faculty in your department, alumni, or checking out the Post-Graduate Report of students in your college.
With your variety of options for experience, you want to be sure not to put all your eggs in one basket; this simply means that you don’t want to simply use one type of job search method. If you limit yourself to just one method, you are limiting your options. Below are a few of our resources you can use for job and internship searching.
Hokies4Hire is a database that lets students search for co-ops, internships or full-time positions that have been posted by employers specifically looking to hire Hokies. The database also allows you to participate in the On Campus-Interviewing program, and post your resume to the online resume database.
A comprehensive online resource that allows you to bring everything together to search for jobs in once place and you can save your searches. Great for location specific or industry specific searches and you can find contacts at a particular organization.

If you are looking to broaden your horizons overseas, this is a great place for you to start. This resource allows you to search for international job postings and tips on relocating to a new country, as well as over 40 major U.S. cities.

LinkedIn is a way for you to professionally connect with employers, alumni, and organizations. You can check out the jobs section, get connected, and learn more about the job and internship search.

You are READY!

Visit Career and Professional Development sooner rather than later! We are excited for you to go through the process and would love to help you along the way. Visit our website for more tips, as well as to check out those awesome resources at: Enjoy the search process, because you never know where it is going to lead you. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tips for Bettering your Resume

Tips for Bettering your Resume

Header: Who are YOU?

In your header, it’s important to make sure that your name is the biggest thing on the page. You don’t want to put all this work into your resume, and have the employer forget who it was even for by the end. Who you are and how they can contact you are what’s MOST important in your resume, because without it, it’s just a bunch of random information about a stranger.

Objective: What are you LOOKING for?
Your objective is more like a goal: what type of position are you looking for? When do you want to start? What field do you want to work in? These things matter to employers, to make sure you’re not just trying to take any job that you can get (which you may be doing, don’t tell them that), but that you’re genuinely interested in the field.
When applying for one particular position, specify that position in your objective: To obtain the full-time research assistant position for Coca-Cola, starting Spring 2017.
When handing your resume at career fairs, you can keep it general: To obtain a Summer 2017 internship in the field of Architecture.

Education: What do you KNOW? What are you LEARNING? Is it RELEVANT?

Your education section tells a lot more about you than you may think. First, put your degree that you’re working towards. This is currently your full time job, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly. IT MATTERS! It tells the employer where your interests lie, and what you’re spending 3 hours a day on. Then, putting your graduation year shows them how far along you are, and adding your school is the cherry on top. Feel free to add GPA, Dean’s List, and other honors here too.

Experience: What have you DONE?

Most people are worried that if they haven’t held a big time related job or a bunch of positions, they don’t have anything to include on their resume. NO NEED TO FEAR! Any experience is good experience. In this section, you can include anything from Girl Scout Projects to Class Projects to Research Experience to Waitressing jobs or Internships. If you DO have relevant experience, make sure to include that first, and then as space allows add more experiences.
Each experience should specify your role, where it was, and the dates under which it happened. Dates include month and year- month and year, if it is currently ongoing, then write – present. These dates should be in reverse chronological order: the most recent, the most relevant.
Under each header, you can use bullets to describe your experience. Try to stay away from “responsibilities included” and move more towards what you did, and why that makes you the best candidate for the position. If you’re having trouble, try to think about your bullets of what skills you gained, and what you did to get them.

Activities: Because you can’t ONLY study.
Activities section is the place where you can exhibit your role in the community, which can show that if you don’t have a ton of work experience or the best GPA, that you’re still making contributions to society, and not sitting there doing nothing. These can range from Greek life, campus ministries, to volunteer work with children. Basically here you just need to think: what do I do in my free time? You can also elaborate on your activities if you think that your contribution has led to you being a better candidate for the position.

My Biggest Tip? Make it your own!!
Always remember that your resume is you on paper. Make it represent you! Recently a student said they brought two resumes to recruiters: one styled, and one not. The recruiters actually said they like looking at the styled resumes. I don’t suggest putting it on pink, lightly scented paper like Elle Woods, (Although she DID get the job) but a little flare sets you apart from the crowd.

Written By Kathryn Rappold, Peer Career Advisor