University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
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Career Center for Science and Engineering

Announcements from January 2011

New CCSE Resume and Cover Letter Guides

January 23, 2011

Market your experiences to employers! Use our NEW Cover Letter and Resume Writing Guides to create professional documents that will leave a lasting impression!


Practice Interview Week - Spring 2011

January 23, 2011

The Career Center for Science and Engineering will be hosting their Spring 2011 Practice Interview Week Program - Monday, February 7 through Friday, February 11. Practice your interviewing skills with actual employers. Interviews will include a 30 minute interview as well as 15 minutes of feedback.

Sign-ups are now open.. To sign-up, login to GoldPASS.

Spots are limited so sign up EARLY!


Summer 2011 Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Science and Engineering

January 18, 2011

Welcome to the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program. The program allows undergraduates to gain hands-on experience in conducting original research and apply it to cutting edge applications in fluid power and related disciplines.

The program and center are funded by the National Science Foundation. Students come from all around the country to work at the seven universities that are part of the Center. Students have a diverse range of majors, experiences and interests. We hope that you will consider joining us this summer.

Students work in a university research lab on a project related to fluid power along with a faculty advisor with expertise in the field. Projects may involve background reading of technical literature and reports, computer-aided design, mathematical modeling, fabrication designs, experimental testing and group discussions and project team meetings. Every student has a project of their own with specific responsibilities and deliverables. At the end of the summer, every student creates a scientific poster and a project report. In addition, there is a program of professional development and social activities with other REU students.

REU positions are available at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, North Carolina AandT State University in Greensboro, Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

Application Deadline: Friday, February 25, 2011

For more information and to apply: http://www.ccefp.org/get-involved/students/research-experiences-undergraduates-reu.

CCEFP: http://www.ccefp.org.


Strategies for Professional Communication

January 14, 2011

Spring is getting closer and that means many of you are entering the job market upon graduation. Recruiters are saying one of the leading problems college students face upon graduation is a lack of professionalism and undeveloped professional communication skills.

Learn to develop effective communication habits in the workplace by following some of the tips below.

Email

  • Mind your tone: Never write an email when you are in a bad mood. When communicating via email, text is all you have to convey emotions, so choose your words carefully and always be polite.
  • Choose the right subject: The subject line of an email catches the readers attention, so keep it short, simple, and relevant. Never send an email without a subject or with a subject that does not adequately describe the content of the email, such as Hi, or Hello.
  • Attachments: Not everyone is comfortable receiving email attachments from people they do not know because attachments can carry viruses. Asking before you send an attachment is recommended, and be mindful of attachment sizes. Very large files can be difficult to download, so consider compressing files using Winzip or similar software, and do not send too many attachments in the same email.
  • Body of the email: Always proofread emails for spelling and grammar errors before sending. Providing links to relevant online sources is helpful in the body of emails, but avoid using html formatting and excessive graphics as some email providers do not support these features.
  • Signature: Always include Sincerely, at the end of emails followed by your electronic signature. It should contain your full name, position, organization, and additional contact information such as a phone number or address. It can also be helpful to restate your email address in the signature, as it can sometimes be difficult to find your email address from the address you sent
.

Phone Calls

  • Control the setting: Do not take professional phone calls from bed, in your pajamas, or with your friends. This is especially important for phone interviews. Go somewhere quiet and be prepared with a pen, paper, and easy access to email or important documents.
  • Be an active listener: Take notes, ask for correct spelling, repeat unclear details, etc.
  • Professional greeting: Be sure your voicemail greeting is clear, simple, and professional. Long greetings can be distracting.
  • Leaving voicemails: Do not be afraid to leave a voice message when you cannot reach someone. If you have a question that does not require immediate assistance, try calling the persons voicemail directly so they can address your concern at a convenient time for them. When leaving voicemails, maintain a professional tone of voice, speak clearly and slowly, and always leave your name and contact information.
  • Return calls promptly: This may very well be the most professional characteristic of all you can develop. Set a goal to return phone calls within 4 hours, it will make a positive statement about you and your image.

Nonverbal

  • Posture and space usage: Sit comfortably, stand up straight, and walk tall. These are all qualities that contribute to your first impression, show self esteem, and show a high level of energy.
  • The hand shake: A confident, comfortable person uses the hand shake as a positive nonverbal interaction. A limp hand shake signals low confidence and low self-esteem. An excessively strong hand shake may come off as overly aggressive.
  • Dress: Always maintain a professional appearance regardless of how informal your work environment is. Let others know you care enough to make a good first impression.
  • Voice: Intonation, volume, tone of voice, and rate of speaking are indicative of how well you listen and work with others.
  • Eye contact: Making eye contact at the appropriate times is a strong indication of confidence and comfort in interaction with others. It also shows you are attentive and want to listen.

Listening

  • Take notes: In meetings, and especially in interviews, taking notes shows you are listening and want to remember what is being said. It can also show you know how to pick out the most important pieces of information.
  • Ask questions: People naturally want to answer questions, so learn how to ask questions that others want to respond to. This is a good way to stimulate conversation and help others remember you.
  • Be an active listener: Reflect words and phrases back to the person with whom you are speaking to show you are really listening. This strategy also helps clarify details that may be confusing and ensures both parties are on the same wavelength. Non verbal gestures such as head nodding and proximity to the other person also shows you are staying engaged.
  • Follow up: Remember conversations or certain details to bring up in future interactions. It helps stimulate conversation, lets others know you care, and others will remember you better.

These are only a few helpful tips to get started developing your professional communication skills. These strategies can be applied in every setting, and utilizing them in a more casual environment can help them become lifelong habits.

Our counselors at the Career Center for Science and Engineering can discuss more strategies for developing professional communication skills. Schedule an appointment with a counselor today, or stop by our office to browse through additional resources in our resource library.


CCSE Freshman Focus Group

January 11, 2011

Attention Freshmen: The Career Center for Science and Engineering (CCSE) wants to hear from you!

CCSE is conducting a series of focus groups so we can better understand your experience as first-year students. What does career services mean to you and what are your expectations for a career services office? We want to hear from you!

Come by the Frontier Lounge for one of these sessions for some FREE FOOD and good conversation. (We promise, it will be fun!)

  • Wednesday, February 2, 2011
  • Thursday, February 3, 2011
  • Wednesday, February 9, 2011
  • Thursday, February 10, 2011

Each session will begin at 5:30 p.m. and last about an hour (You only need to attend one session).

Feel free to show up (but keep in mind it is first-come, first-serve). Space is limited! To reserve a spot or for questions, email Christine Giefer at giefe020@umn.edu.


Continued growth seen in Midwest

January 9, 2011

Feeling down about the economy? Things may be getting better! For all you graduating seniors looking for jobs: there is still hope!

Check out the article here.

U want a job? Help for 'Gen Text'

January 9, 2011

Check out this article from the Star Tribune for some helpful tips on developing professionalism upon graduation into the workforce.

Find the article here.

2011: A hiring boom, even at 9% unemployment

January 9, 2011

Even with the nation at one of the highest unemployment levels in years, this article sheds some light on hope for new graduates in the job market. A must read!

Check it out here.

Tips to Minimize Job Hunting Stress

January 3, 2011

It is that time of the year again: finals, holidays, looking for a job or internship. This time of the year can be stressful for a majority of people. To make your job hunting stress be as minimal as possible follow the 6 tips below. And remember to stay positive and good luck.

1. Reassess your job search goals and strategies

  • Take an objective look at your goals, strategies and tactics.
      -Are you sending out resumes and getting no responses?
      -Are you using your network?
      -Are you spending too much time on the online job boards?
      -Are you getting interviews, but no offers?

2. Set smaller goals - and celebrate each achievement
  • The most successful job seekers have long-term career strategy developed with smaller, short term goals to assist them in achieving their long term goal
  • Focus on the smaller steps it takes to obtain a new job
      -Create daily hunting goals (e.g. following up three job leads, talking with three people in your network, etc.)
  • Once you achieve your daily goals, REWARD yourself with something that will take your mind off your job search temporarily

3. Surrounded support
  • Seek out emotional support from family and friends
  • Join a interest group in LinkedIn
  • Join professional or student organizations

4. Increase Marketability
  • When you are seeking a job, you are basically marketing yourself to prospective employers
  • Marketing is not just about having a great product, but also having the right packaging, distribution, price, and promotion:
  •   -Your product - Review your accomplishments, education, training, and other elements that make you, or can make you a strong candidate
      -Your promotion - The three most important elements in promoting yourself to employers are cover letter, resume, and interviewing technique
      -Your distribution channels - Job seekers tend to utilize a small part of their job search distribution channels
      -Your pricing - Use industry salary information as well as salary website information to determine salary expectations.
  • Additional training/education- showcase improved skills on resume

5. Seek out other alternatives to regular employment
  • Consider temping- good way to build skills, get your foot in the door, and boost self-esteem for other interviews
  • Consider volunteering a few hours a week to get experience and make new networking contacts

6. Stay Positive
  • Pessimism will come out in the interview, employer will be able to feel the vibes
  • Candidates who come across desperate are quickly eliminated
  • Employers seek candidates who are confident and specific about the jobs that seek and the impact they can make

5 Effective Ways to Passively Network

January 1, 2011

Do you ever find yourself wondering how or when to effectively network? Well, here are five ways you can approach networking on a regular basis without having to take too much time away from your busy schedule; and at the same time make it fun!

1. Attend a Yoga Class or Fitness Center

Whether you are looking to get a jump start on a New Year's resolution or looking to strengthen your Warrior or Crescent Moon poses, exercising can help unite your spirit, mind and body, and create an atmosphere for great networking and conversation. These comforting and relaxing environments create happiness...and when people are happy, they want to share with everyone. So take the opportunity to share your story...and maybe, just maybe, one of your classmates might just know the right person or opportunity you've been looking for.

2. Ride the Bus

If you have ever taken a ride on the #16 Bus on-campus or any metro bus for that matter, you know how crowded it can sometimes be. We all know of folks who are avid bus-goers, but did you know that their bus-mates are in some ways considered acquaintances? It is true, the more you ride the bus the greater the likelihood that you will strike up a conversation with some random stranger who just might have insight to a potential career opportunity. So, instead of hoping your car will start or being able to afford gas this week, take the bus and an opportunity may be waiting onboard.

3. Dress up, grab your laptop and head to the nearest Starbucks

Okay...you may be asking yourself...why should I break out my professional attire and head to the nearest coffee shop? Well...believe it or not, looking the part of a business professional that is taking the time to enjoy a grande, non-fat, no-whip, white chocolate mocha while perusing the Internet for your next job may just blend itself into a random conversation with a Starbucks frequent-club member who would be willing to offer some direction regarding your next career move. Don't be shy...strike up a conversation and you never know where it might lead.

4. Attend a Social Gathering (i.e. Holiday Party)

The holidays are a great time to get together with friends and family; a time that is filled with holiday cheer, good food, and an opportunity for you to spread the joy of your career wishes. When striking up a conversation with Uncle Fred or your friend Betsy, ask them who they know related to your area of interest. If they happen to not know anyone in that area, my guess is that they will send you Cousin "the one who knows everybody" Vinny. So put on your best holiday sweater, grab a class of some potent eggnog and share your goals and aspirations with those close to you. Happy Holidays!

5. Call Mom and Grandma

What is the one thing that Mom and Grandma have in common (besides the obvious)? The answer is they thoroughly enjoy talking and telling stories about their kids and grandkids. So give your Mom and/or Grandma a call, maybe even pay them a visit and tell them your story. You will be amazed how far they would be willing to go in order to help out their precious son or daughter. Whether it is at the fore mentioned yoga class, grocery store, book club or at the shopping mall...they both have this innate ability to strike up a conversation with just about anyone; and believe it or not...it works. Oh, and don't forget to send them flowers after they help you land an interview...just make sure you go to the interview alone!

For additional tips on effective networking, visit: https://umconnect.umn.edu/networking/.