Back to School Time

The month of August ushers in the back to school season.  Students of all ages anxiously await their first day and spend fair amounts of time and money preparing for it.  Emotions run the gambit from excitement about new teachers and courses to apprehension about the challenges to come.  This year brings many new challenges to my oldest child.  She’s excited about them, but at the same time nervous about the added responsibility she faces.

As a Career Coach, I started to think about how the emotions and feelings about back to school time are similar to those felt by new graduates and job seekers.  They are excited about new possibilities and opportunities to come, but anxious about how long it will take to find the right position and the challenges involved with the job search.

I would encourage everyone to keep a positive attitude and look forward to meeting the challenges ahead—not an easy task but one that is most likely to help you succeed, either in finding that “dream” job or in succeeding in the classroom.

Posted on August 26th, 2014 by

Keeping Track of Your Job Search

One useful tool for your job search toolbox is a job search log. A job search log keeps track of the details of search including companies to which you’ve applied, dates, positions, and contacts within companies. You can use it to track you activity and actions, as well as your progress in the interviewing process and HR recruiter/hiring manager contact information.

Handwritten Database

Keeping a job search log, allows you to keep track of the positions you’ve applied for and the companies you’ve applied to. It helps you to identify where you are in your job search and how you’re progressing. Keeping one log over the course of your career will help you see  advancement and expansion in your job interests and aspirations.

You can use a template or form that has already been created, or create your own. By creating your own (using a table in word processing software, a spreadsheet, or a database), you have the ability to customize your job search log to suit your needs and the information that you want to track. Consider including a free-form notes section in your log to record comments and reflections you have regarding each position.

Some parts of a job search log to consider are:

  • Date
  • Position
  • Company
  • Company Website
  • Company Social Media/LinkedIn Addresses
  • Submission documents (formal application, resume, cover letter, references, letters of recommendation, work samples, thank you note)
  • HR Recruiter/Hiring Manager Contact Information
  • Interviewer’s Contact Information (Do to the proliferation of group interviews, you may need several fields for this information.)
  • Networking Contacts Within the Organization
  • Moving Forward or Declined
  • Feedback from Interviewer
  • Comments

These are just a few ideas for information you may want to retain. Of course, not all of these details are required. Pick the ones most useful to you.

One of the best ways to use a job search log is as a learning tool. Take time to reflect on each aspect of your job search whenever you look for new opportunities. Identify what you learn about organizations, about your field/industry, and about your growth as a professional. Record your thoughts in the comments or notes section of your log. In time, you’ll have specialized information documenting the journey of your career.



Networking is Still Your Best Bet

In the current job market a lot of people think if they apply for enough jobs online eventually one of them will pan out.  The problem is you can actually overuse the online databases with little to show for it.  Hiring managers will sometimes receive hundreds of resumes for a single opening through those databases.  Wading through all of them is overwhelming at best.

Networking is still considered one of the best ways to find a new job.  I recommend you still apply for jobs you are truly interested in online but find ways to network with representatives of those companies.  Ask for introductions to the appropriate people.  Seek them out on LinkedIn and request informational interviews.  Use your networking skills to get your foot in the door.  It will make a difference.

Posted on August 12th, 2014 by

The Internship

The Internship


The movie The Internship is about two unemployed salesmen who get internships at Google.  They are seen as “old” with skills that irrelevant to young tech savvy teammates.  The team must complete a series of challenges throughout the summer against other teams.  At the end of the summer, the winningest team will be awarded full time positions.

Their lack of technical skills is a challenge.  But, they have a lot of enthusiasm.  Throughout the summer, they teach the college students how to become a team and work together.  A prized quality is “googliness”.  The outspoken front runner never learns or understands how to work with his teammates.  While he excels at winning the challenges, he doesn’t understand “googlieness.”

This is a classic tale of the underdog, but I think it also shows the value of each individual.  What the salesmen did was pull together the group of mixed personalities and teach them the power of teamwork.  Being able to work as a team member is a skill valued by many employers.  My advice is to learn how to effectively work with others.  Being an effective team member also means being willing to serve in any role needed for the good of the whole.

Posted on August 5th, 2014 by

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site in the world. With over 300 million members, people use LinkedIn for more than just cursory networking. According to a recent survey by Jobvite, 93% of employers use LinkedIn to search for qualified candidates.


As having an online presence becomes more and more important in job searching, optimizing your LinkedIn profile is essential for job seekers. Below are some ways to strengthen your LinkedIn profile to make it stand out to recruiters looking to fill positions.

Photo Use a headshot. Make it professional and pleasant. Just you with no background distractions.
Headline Include keywords, strengths, thanks that make you unique.
URL Customize your LinkedIn URL.
Contact Info Indicate the method by which you want to be contacted.


Tell the story of who you are. Make it personal. Give it a personality—yours. Make it interesting. Use keywords.

Some questions to answer:

  • How did you get to where you are?
  • What makes you different from others who have a similar position?
  • What are your top professional accomplishments?
Experience Work History. Include achievements, accomplishments, and results. How have you saved time? Saved money? Solved a problem?
Skills & Endorsements This is the section in which you can identify what you’re good at and/or areas in which you have special knowledge.
Education List colleges/universities attended. List them in reverse chronological order (like a resume).
Special Sections Use these sections based on what will support the industry and career you want.
Pulse Stay updated in your field. Get information on trends, hot topics, advances, and disruptions.
Groups Groups allow you to interact with people who share similar interests. Join professional groups in your industry.
SlideShare Consider turning a class presentation/project into a SlideShare presentation and including a link to that presentation on your profile.
Details Grammar, spelling, punctuation all matter.
Activity Updates Find a way to share information, often within your industry, that helps others. Also, let people know what’s going on with you professionally. Update at least weekly.
Recommendations Make some. Lots of them.

Format idea:

  1. How long you’ve known the person? How you met. How you’ve worked together.
  2. Concrete examples (1 -3) of the person’s highest qualities.
  3. Your recommendation closing.
Using Messages

(Be of service)

Share information. Connect people. Ask for connections. Ask for recommendations. Set up informational interviews.

Personalize any messages.

Connections More is better. Dedicate 2 – 3 minutes per week to inviting new connections.
Privacy & Settings Move cursor to the small photo of you in upper right corner of your home page. Select Privacy & Settings. Decide what you want people to see when they view your profile.
Profile Views One Linkedin expert says you will get 1 job offer for every 300 profile views.
Stay Active Share updates. Recommend someone. Endorse someone. Share someone’s update. Like someone’s update. Connect to new people. Participate in groups. Introduce people to each other.
Revise Your Profile Keep track of your accomplishments on a weekly or at least monthly basis. Update your Linkedin profile at least quarterly.

To get ideas on what makes a great LinkedIn profile, take a few minutes to review the profiles of people you admire. Search for profiles of people in your industry. Notice the techniques and unique attributes of profiles that you like. Adapt them to fit your profile.

LinkedIn holds regular webinars on various aspects of the platform. You may also use the following link to find LinkedIn Resources for Students.

Would you like a Bellevue University Career Coach to review your LinkedIn profile? Send us an e-mail: careerservices@bellevue.eduMust be a BU student or alum.