Job Searching in the LGBTQ Community

The LGBTQ community offers many resources for members of the community, especially in regards to job searching. While job searching, it is important to understand what resources are available and how to use them. Recently, legislation has been changing to put policies into place to protect the LGBT community in the workforce.

Some questions may arise such as:

Should I disclose my sexual orientation on my resume or in my interview?

How do I know if my employer is committed to equal practices?

How do I read the culture of the workplace?

How do I decide which employer will be right for me?

Searching for a job that will be a right fit for you and provide a welcoming environment doesn’t have to be difficult. So long as you are able to identify your career goals, and you utilize the resources provided to you, you should be successful in your job search. Below are some links to pages providing helpful information for LGBTQ candidates actively on the job search:

 

 

Student Alumni Mentoring Program at USF

We met with Aubrey Knight, Director of Alumni Services, to discuss the processes and benefits of the Student Alumni Mentoring Program, also known as “SAM” at University of St. Francis. The program matches students of all levels and majors with an alumnus in the same field to provide guidance, networking opportunities, and career opportunities. It is an opportunity for students to build connections with their mentors, other students’ mentors, as well as other students in the program.

How does the SAM program work?

Student and alumni both submit applications at the beginning of the school year (student applications are due October 4th). The applications are then looked at from a career standpoint first to pair students with alumni who are in the field that the student is pursuing. Next, the applications dive further into interests, hobbies, aspirations, etc. and these are also taken into consideration when making matches. It is important that the pairs have qualities in common to create that connection that will be beneficial to both the alum and the student.

What can students gain from the program?

Both parties gain access to an extensive professional network by participating in the SAM program. Along with gaining access to the alumni mentors, by connecting with them, you also gain access to their professional networks. Students also get one on one interaction with their mentor in the form of monthly communication for discussions and guidance.

What are the requirements?

For anyone interested in joining the program as an alumni mentor or a student mentee, an application must be submitted, and the pairing process takes about a month. Once students and alumni pair, they are sent an email with information about the mandatory induction dinner, held in early November where they will become acquainted with each other in person. After the induction dinner, it is only required that SAM members attend the Career Networking Dinner in February. Also, the pairs of students and alumni are to converse monthly; whether it be via email, text, face to face meeting, etc. Every month, members will receive an email containing discussion topics and resources to help ease the process. This program designed for the busy worker as well as the busy student keeps requirements low and communication open to accommodate busy schedules.

What are some successful outcomes of SAM?

There have been many success stories from the SAM program. One international student paired with the CFO of In-N-Out Burger, and the CFO took care of the student’s flight costs to fly out to California and participate in an internship with In-N-Out, that this student may not have been able to participate in given the flight costs. Also, a student who matched with an alumnus in Washington DC was able to utilize the alumni’s network to get an internship in Washington DC. These are just a couple of the many students who have gotten internships, jobs, and otherwise great benefits from the SAM program.

For more information, contact Aubrey Knight at aknight@stfrancis.edu or visit stfrancis.edu/sam

Don’t Bring Your Phone to an Interview

In preparing for the big interview, you make a mental checklist of everything you need: extra resume copies, business cards, notepad and pen, keys, phone… Phone? Do you need to bring your phone to your interview? In short, no.

First and foremost, you definitely shouldn’t be using your phone during an interview, checking your phone, or have your phone on the interview table. It creates a barrier between you and the interviewer, especially if it is in plain sight or being distracting by chirping throughout your interview. It is best to be turned off or silenced, and tucked away out of sight in a pocket or purse, or not on you at all.

Bringing your phone to the interview can relay a message about you: you aren’t trustworthy, you are dismissing towards the interviewer and the position, or that you just don’t care. The interviewer is looking for a candidate who is genuinely interested in the position, not somebody who would rather check Instagram than set aside 30 minutes of time to have a meaningful conversation.

On a recent episode of 20/20 with Diane Sawyer, interviewers are unsuspectingly interviewing recent graduates that are actually actors. They do a range of different things with their phone in the interview from putting it on the table and not touching it to taking a phone call during the interview. After, the recruiters were questioned on their thoughts about the actors; they described the phones as distracting. They confided that this is an often occurrence, and they dislike giving interviews to people who are distracted by their phones. They advised job seekers to not be on the phone while waiting for the interview and to keep it out of sight as a sign of respect so that the candidate can maintain eye contact and engage in the conversation

Overall, bringing your phone (and sometimes even smart watches) can hinder your chances of getting a job after the interview. Leave them on silent, out of sight, or even leave them at home if you can’t resist the urge to look at it in an interview.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are the skills that will help you to be successful at any job you may have. These are sometimes called soft skills and they include skills like emotional intelligence, communication and working with others. These skills can be attained from experience in different jobs, clubs, extracurricular or cocurricular activities, and volunteering.  Written and verbal communication, teamwork, and workplace adaptability are all great examples of transferable skills, and these skills will give you an advantage in your job search.

Highlighting your transferable skills during an interview can make or break your chances of getting the job, no matter what your previous experience is. Employers look for these skills to know that candidates can excel in the workplace. Employers may still hire candidates that don’t necessarily have experience in the field but still have the skills to be able to perform the job well. What they are looking for is potential; talk about the skills you acquired from experience and how they will relate to the job for which you are applying.

When you search for jobs review the job description and try to match your skills to the position. According to Forbes, these are some of the most common transferable skills that you can begin developing today (Yate,2018):

  • Technical
  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Multitasking
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Leadership

We recommend that you improve these skills by taking more demanding roles at your current job, taking any classes or attending workshops that your company may offer, and overall being more aware of your interaction with coworkers and others. It may take some time and effort, but it will be worth it to enhance the transferable skills that you can take with you to any position.

Reference

Yate, M. (2018, February 09). The 7 Transferable Skills To Help You Change Careers. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2018/02/09/the-7-transferable-skills-to-help-you-change-careers/#756b21424c04

 

Finding Public Career Fairs

The University of St. Francis Career Success Center offers excellent opportunities from career fairs, career month, and other networking opportunities. These are all great resources to take advantage of, but it can never hurt to expand your network outside of USF. Public career fairs are a great way to do this. They are free to the public; all you have to do is register and show up! What’s stopping you? Get out there and build your network!

  • By creating a Handshake account, you have access to public career fairs as well as events at USF and other surrounding schools. Handshake is also helpful for tailored job searches, employer reviews, and connecting with your peers. Create an account at joinhandshake.com and use your MyUSF Portal information to log in and get searching.
  • jobfairsin.com is a great resource to find public job fairs not only in Illinois but other states year round.
  • nationalcareerfairs.com is another resource for finding career fairs all over the country, all through the year.
  • https://www.myemploymentoptions.com/register-for-virtual-job-fair/ offers online job fairs in addition to job listings open to all.

By attending multiple job fairs, you can expand your network, grow your confidence, and become a more marketable job candidate. Be sure to update your resume before every event you attend, and maintain a professional manner to be successful at any career event you may attend.

Dealing With Illegal Interview Questions

When interviewing for a job, you should understand your rights as an applicant. You have the right to certain privacies and by law, employers cannot ask you questions regarding specific personal information.

So what can and can’t an employer ask you in an interview? Specifics on age, gender or sex, religion, country of origin, disability, pregnancy, marital or family status, living situation, if you’ve previously applied for workman’s compensation, credit, and financial status are all examples of topics that should not be explicitly asked in an interview (“Illegal Interview Questions- What Not To Ask Candidates”, 2019). If the applicant offers the information on their own, that is at their discretion. The interviewer may ask around these topics in order to be sure that the applicant is available and physically capable of doing the job, but that is the extent that the questioning can go.

Why would an interviewer ask these personal questions in the first place? Some may ask because they want to get to know more about their applicants and they are unaware of what is appropriate and what is not, but applicants are still entitled to privacy rights. Especially in the cases of questioning that may have discriminatory motives, the applicant is not required to answer illegal interview questions.

So, what do you do if an interviewer asks an illegal or inappropriate question? Depending on your personality and comfort with confrontation, there a few ways to handle this situation respectfully and maturely. The simple one—answer the question. For example, if asked about your religious beliefs, you could answer “I attend church, but I prefer to keep my views separate from work” (Doyle, 2019). This way of dealing with the situation is much less confrontational, but still gives up the applicant’s rights to privacy. Applicants are also entitled to not answer these sorts of questions. If an applicant feels uncomfortable or like their privacy is being invaded by the questions, they could simply ask how the information relates to the job being discussed. If it doesn’t, redirect the conversation.

Furthermore, if a truly inappropriate or offensive question is asked, this is the time to decide if the employer is one in which you would like to work. IT is not a good sign if your interviewer is unaware of what questions can and cannot be asked. Pay attention to your impression of the culture at the workplace, and think about if it is one in which you would enjoy to work and thrive.

Although most HR personnel should be familiar with (and using) the appropriate practices for interviewing candidates, it may not always go as expected. If you are an applicant that is educated on your rights, and you communicate effectively, this should be of no issue.

References:

Doyle, A. (2019, March 14). Tips for How to Answer Interview Questions Employers

Should Not Ask. Retrieved from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-answer    inappropriate-interview-questions-2061334

 

Illegal Interview Questions – What Not to Ask Candidates. (2019, May 22). Retrieved from

https://www.betterteam.com/illegal-interview-questions

 

For more information, check out these helpful articles:

https://www.betterteam.com/illegal-interview-questions

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/job-interview-questions-that-are-illegal-1918488

https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-answer-inappropriate-interview-questions-2061334

What is Handshake?

Handshake is an online database that has become popular among college students and employers searching for college students or recent graduates to fill positions. Handshake is much like any job search database, but has some special features that are tailored to college students and employers.

This job board creates custom lists of jobs that you may be interested in based on your field, location, and other jobs in which you’ve shown interest. When you favorite a job, Handshake curates a list of similar jobs for you to browse. You can also view jobs based on if they require travel or not. This is helpful in finding a job that genuinely interests you and matches your skillset and career goals.

Handshake provides an events tab that includes events at University of St. Francis as well as other venues. This is a good place to find free public career fairs and other career related events that you can attend outside of USF. While USF offers great opportunities to meet with recruiters and find a job, it can never hurt to explore on your own.

In looking for a job, you might be wondering, “what’s it like to work here?” or “what’s the job environment like here?”. With job reviews, you can see what others had to say about their own experiences with employers, and get a better idea of the place you’re applying for.

In addition, Handshake gives you the opportunity to create your own profile to highlight your skills, experiences, and what makes you valuable to an employer. While this information is available via your resume, it makes the information easily accessible for employers looking for ideal recruits.

If you haven’t created a Handshake account yet, check out stfrancis.joinhandshake.com and use your USF portal information to login and get access to all the helpful job search tools they have to offer.

Keeping Up with Technology in Your Industry

It’s no secret how quickly technology has changed over the past decade. This has affected every industry imaginable: medical, business, art, education, etc. As an upcoming graduate or recent graduate, technology is key to understanding what’s happening in your industry and knowing it allows you to keep up with industry standards. Candidates with updated tech skills can put these on a resume and enhance their A2B (Applicant to Business) marketing.

Because technology is changing so fast, it may be intimidating to try to decode and understand all of the facets of what you should be familiarizing yourself with and learning. It is an unrealistic goal to know every system in your field, especially with no experience. Patience is crucial in keeping up with technology because there is always a learning curve.

            Research: A great place to start is to review some job postings to see what skill sets and technology are listed.  Go on indeed.com, monster.com, joinhandshake.com, or any other job search boards, and look through various entry-level and mid-level positions in your field. First, look at the required skills and then the preferred ones.  Take note of your findings, and be aware of the programs or technical skills that you see listed for multiple different positions.

Network: Professors, mentors, and other people you know in your field may be able to give you an idea of what technology you should know before entering the workforce. Reach out to recent graduates in your field and ask them what they needed to learn to be successful in their post-graduation positions. Not every position is the same, and will not require all the same skills. Focus on the ones that are being talked about most among your network and job descriptions, and build your skills around those programs or technologies.

More Research: Once you gather a list of technologies and skills you would like to learn, start a preliminary search among others who already possess this knowledge. Look for YouTube How-To’s, Reddit threads, and Google. You need to conduct a cost-benefit analysis.  Is this software worth the price to learn because it will lead to more employment opportunities, or can I use a free trial to gain some experience and evaluate my plan after the trial?  Any experience with technology can help build your resume and land you an internship where you can gain more skills or even a job.

Every industry is changing due to technological advances, and keeping up with them makes you more marketable as a potential employee. Your A2B Marketing Plan will benefit from your technical skills, and so will your resume.

 

Dress to Impress

When interviewing for a potential job, it’s important to look your best and make a good first impression. All you will need is a few staple items that can work for any interview or professional event you have. For women and men alike, it is important to take care of your professional clothes to make sure they’re always clean, free of wrinkles, and properly fitting.

Men’s Professional Dress

When considering what to wear for an interview, consider clothing that is professional but comfortable. If you are comfortable in your clothing, you are more likely to be confident and do well in your interview. Wear a pair of nice pants, a shirt and a jacket that fit well.

In addition to fit, your ensemble should match. The shirt, pants, jacket, tie, and shoes you wear should all coordinate and go together seamlessly. For example, men should have a black, grey, or navy blue matching pants and jacket that could easily pair with a white or light blue collared shirt, and a plain tie. Shoes, usually black or brown, should be polished and match the color of the belt you wear as well.

Your attire is only the beginning: you must be well groomed. Men’s hair should be well kept, and facial hair should be properly groomed.

Women’s Professional Dress

Women’s professional clothing can be very simple to create a wardrobe that is timeless. Women have an array of choice for professional looks. Women can wear sleek dresses, slacks, blouses, blazers, heels, flats, scarves, and multiple combinations of these to create a professional look. Like men’s clothing, these items should match or be coordinated to look put together, and well kept. Clothing should fit properly (not too tight, not too loose) and be able to conservatively cover chest, stomach, legs, and bottom. For an interview, a conservative look is recommended.

Women should be sure to keep a basic look, with neutral colors and clothes that aren’t distracting. Bright colors and prints shouldn’t be worn to an interview, nor should eccentric jewelry, makeup, nails, and other accessories. You can still be expressive, but keep flashy and dramatic pieces away from the interview.

Overall, as long as your clothes are pressed and well put together, and you keep your look simple, you should be ready for any interview. After all, the interview isn’t about your clothes, so you don’t want to outshine your personality with your clothing choices. Remember if you think maybe something you have on is inappropriate or not a good fit, you are probably right. Update your appearance and land the job.

Keeping it Real (On Your Resume) with Kellie Wujek

Our Career Success Center’s new Career Advisor, Kellie Wujek, is a resume expert. She has shared some basic tips on achieving resume success:

Q: How should recent college graduates organize their resumes?

K: For college students and recent grads, education should always go towards the top, and under your name and contact information. It should remain there until you’ve gained a couple of years of experience in your field.

Q: How can I add personality to my resume?

K: That’s a tough one. It’s better to focus on customizing your resume for the job in which you’re applying. Save your personality for the interview.

Q: What are some tools to help me create my resume?

K: Your Career Success Department and YouTube. Avoid paying “resume builders”.

Q: What are your top 3 do’s and don’ts of resume writing?

K: You will get better results with quality over quantity. Take the time to customize your resume. Use keywords from the job posting.

Q: How do I tailor my resume to the job in which I’m applying?

K: In your profile summary, and by using keywords in the entire document.

Q: Can I add non-job related experiences and achievements to my resume? Where?

K: Volunteer and clubs/cocurricular activities can often fit under “Leadership Experience”.

Q: What are some formatting tips to help me make sure my resume works well with resume review scanners?

K: Avoid odd fonts and the use of italics.

For more resume or job search help, or to make an individual appointment to discuss your resume further, stop into the Career Success Center in N204 in the Tower Hall and meet with one of the advisors.