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

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.

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.

Internship Search Resources

Close-up Of Businesspeople With Files Sitting On ChairUSF Internship Resources

Are you stuck on where to find an internship? Here you’ll find all the resources that the University of St. Francis Career Success Center offers to help you find and apply for internships in your field.

Handshake: A field-focused database that helps you find internships based on your major, your interests, and other jobs and internships to which you’ve applied. Log in with your USF portal credentials. https://stfrancis.joinhandshake.com/login

CCCI Free Job Board: To gain access to the job board, please visit collegecentral.com/iscpa  to set up a FREE account. College Central Network is a web-based employment/internship job posting system. College Central Network is a job board that reaches 18 colleges/universities throughout Illinois as part of the College Career Consortium of Illinois (CCCI).

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a great resource for job and internship searches as well as networking. You do not need an account to search for jobs and internships, but a quality LinkedIn account is a great asset to students of any major looking to enter the workforce. www.linkedin.com
Click the jobs tab and search internships.

Indeed: Indeed is a commonly used database for job searching.  You can also find internships on Indeed. Create an account to quick apply to positions and keep track of jobs in which you have an interest. indeed.com

Your connections:  Who do you know in the industry in which you are seeking an internship?  Reach out to them and ask who manages their internship program.  If they do not have a program yet, provide the name and contact at the firm and the Career Success Center will reach out with educational information on how internships work with our University.

If you need further assistance or would like to make an appointment for a resume review or mock interview, contact Betty Kohl in the Career Success Center at (815)740-3384 or bkohl@stfrancis.edu.

 

LinkedIn Jobs: It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

Guest blog by the LinkedIn Careers Team

Your soon-to-be awarded degree is likely a requirement for your dream job. But what is going to set you apart from everyone else who just graduated college with the same qualification? Your network! 

Harness the power of your network, providing you an edge in your job search

Do I even have a network?

LinkedIn is helping soon-to-be grads from around the country tap into their professional community—whether they realize they have one already or not.  LinkedIn has the power to uncover 1st and 2nd degree connections that will boost your chances of getting hired for highly sought-after jobs in a competitive market.  We found that 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection.

One of the easiest ways for students to make connections is through the LinkedIn Alumni tool. It’s a simple way to explore and create alumni connections from your school.  You can lean in on where they work now and in what cities. Simply search for your school and select “see alumni” to get started. You can access career paths for more than 23,000 colleges and universities worldwide.

Your First Job is a First Step!

Even if you land your dream job right out of college, the most successful professionals will warn you about complacency and how it may negatively affect your earning potential over time.  Searching for jobs can seem like a daunting task, especially right after you’ve just landed one. It’s ideal to continue interviewing and keep an open mind for your next career move.  LinkedIn has made it easier than ever to keep your options open even when you’re not actively seeking alternative employment.  It’s called Open Candidates and it’s as easy as updating your LinkedIn career interest preferences.  By flipping the switch, you privately signal to recruiters that you’re interested in new opportunities.

What Now?

Create or update your LinkedIn profile today.  There is no other place where you can access such a wide range of knowledge, skills and resources to help you reach your goals!

 

Begin networking today!

Social network

Networking is the act of building relationships and partnerships with business professionals that are capable and interested in helping you further your career goals.

Believe it or not it is never too early in your college career to begin networking and the earlier you begin making connections, the better.

In an article for immigration and education reform advocacy website FWD.us, contributor, Joshua Rodriguez, wrote about struggling in his classes and having a hard time finding an internship the summer after his freshman year of college.

He writes, “Never in my life had I gotten C’s before, and it was difficult to understand why I was struggling in college.” Going into his sophomore year, he realized that he had to take a different approach to his studies and job search. He states this hard truth in the article:

“College shifts the responsibility of education from the teacher and institution to the student. You are in charge of educating yourself and making sure that you are getting what you need”.

The fact of the matter is that whether or not you need assistance in your job search or your classes, this is assistance that you’ll need to seek out yourself.

Who can you include in your network?

  • Past employers
  • Past and current professors and high school teachers
  • Family friends

You can begin forming these connections by asking yourself this question: What do I aim to achieve through my network?

According to Rodriguez, if you’re looking for assistance in your college courses, then your goal might be to build professional relationships with your professors that enable you to feel comfortable asking for their help.

If you’re looking to acquire an internship over the summer, your goal might be to build professional relationships with people that can serve as a reference for a job application.

However, don’t limit your network to people in your immediate social circle. Emily Bennington, owner of Professional Studio 365, an organization that helps students transition into careers post-graduation, suggests, “checking out conferences in your field or your local Chamber of Commerce.”

Don’t be afraid to go out and seek mentors! Start making connections today! Contact your professors or visit the USF Career Success Center for help researching job and internship options.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References

Grant, A. (2011, 28 September 2011). 6 ways to network while you’re in college. U.S. News & World Report

Rodriguez, J. (5 April, 2015). Your network is your net worth: Using your network to succeed in college. Retrieved from http://www.imfirst.org/2015/04/networking-in-college/

Can I have a moment of your time?

Businesspeople in the office

At some point in your professional life you’ll have to give an elevator speech. Elevator speeches are roughly 30 seconds long and explain to a potential employer why you’re the right person for the job. The speech is essentially your personal mission statement.

While employers want to make sure you are properly qualified for the position, they do not have the time to listen to a detailed and drawn out description of your job background.

So, it is important that your message is clear and concise. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Define the purpose of your elevator speech: Obviously, the main purpose of an elevator speech is always to land the job. However, in order to do that, you must know what the job requires and how your qualifications and career goals fit the job description.

2. Briefly explain your current job position and previous industry-related work experience and success:

This helps to show that you have drawn comparisons between previous skills that industry-related work has required of you and how those skills relate to the position you’re applying for. It also confirms to a hiring manager that you have the necessary amount of experience for the position.

3Keep your audience in mind: Choose every word carefully. Stay away from industry-jargon that would confuse anyone, even a company CEO. Also remember, that the most important thing piece of information an employer wants to know about you is how you can benefit their company.

4. Practice: While you are trying to initiate a genuine dialogue with a potential employer you’re still essentially making a sales speech. You want to exude confidence and ensure at the end of the speech a potential employer has learned everything that you want them to know about you.

 

Remember, the elevator speech is a window that can open to a more in-depth conversation regarding your job strengths and weaknesses. So, simplify now and elaborate later.

USF Career Success Center

Tower Hall N204

MWF 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

References:

Collamer, N. (4 February 2013). The perfect elevator pitch to land a job. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/02/04/the-perfect-elevator-pitch-to-land-a-job/#4073e3e01b1d

Doyle, A. (13 April 2017). Elevator speech examples and writing tips. Retrieved from https://www.thebalance.com/elevator-speech-examples-and-writing-tips-2061976