Monday, March 12, 2012

Protect Yourself: Job Scams

As a college student, money and time are constantly in short supply.  So when emails promising huge payouts for minimal work make it into my inbox, it’s tempting to act on them.  Although it can be difficult to determine if a job offer is legitimate or not, there are several red flags to be on the lookout for:
  • An employer promises you a job.  Scammers word advertisements and emails to make it sound like a job is waiting for you.  In reality, they are only selling general information about finding a job— information that you likely can already access for free.
  • An employer asks for personal information such as social security or bank account numbers.  Regardless of the reason or excuse given by the employer, never give out social security, bank account or driver’s license numbers over the phone or email.
  • An employer requests money up front.  Be skeptical of job offers that require you to send or wire money in order to get the job, even if it guarantees a refund.  You’re applying for a job in order to make money; why should you pay the employer?  Legitimate employers won’t ask you to pay for the promise of a job.
  • The email contains several spelling and grammatical errors.  A majority of scam emails are sent by scammers located outside of the United States.  English usually isn’t their first language, so emails are filled with poor grammar and misspelled words. 
  • The pay seems too good to be true.  The adage holds true for jobs:  if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Scammers highlight high salaries and good benefits for little experience or simple jobs in order to lure job hunters into their scam. 
To learn more about the warning signs of scam emails and advertisements and for information about how to protect yourself, check out these links:
If you have any questions about a job email or advertisement and want to consult with someone, please feel free to contact Career and Employment Services.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Networking for Introverts

     Think networking is only for extroverts?  Think again.  Introverts can network just as effectively as the naturally outgoing by finding strategies that are comfortable to them.   In her article, An Introvert’s Guide to Networking, Lisa Petrilli outlines the networking strategies that helped her advance her career. 

Learn to appreciate introversion.
     There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert.  Introversion simply means you are energized by being alone and drained by being around other people.  Optimizing time spent alone can help introverts make networking opportunities powerful and beneficial.  Additionally, seek out one-on-one conversations at networking events rather than engaging with groups.

Learn to reach out.
     Reaching out to others can be intimidating.  Petrilli learned over time that when she extended her hand with a smile and an introduction, the effort was reciprocated.  Once you learn this, introducing yourself is much less daunting in the future.  Social media makes networking even easier these days.  Petrilli advises reaching out to individuals via LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook before events and conferences to let them know that you’re looking forward to meeting them.  Once you finally meet them in person, you’ll be more relaxed and able to have a more productive conversation.

Learn to re-energize.
     In order to present your best self, take time to recharge between networking opportunities instead of rushing from one event to the next.  For example, Petrilli suggests spending 30 minutes alone between cocktails and dinner.

     Networking is a necessary part of landing a job or furthering your career, so it’s impossible to avoid.  Using Petrilli’s strategies and developing your own will make networking a little easier and benefit your career.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Break Checklist

As the stress of final exams and projects starts to set in, I find myself dreaming of lazy days at home and watching the Cats beat the Razorbacks over winter break.  Honestly, the last thing I want to think about over break is doing anything productive.  But I know that as I prepare for my last semester of college, winter break is the perfect time for me to get ahead in my job search.  Once the spring semester starts I will be bogged down in assignments and exams once again, so I am making it my goal this break to get a good start on my job search.

This article has a great checklist for making the most of your winter break.  Even though I plan on customizing the checklist to my specific career needs and my schedule, it is a great starting point to get you moving in the right direction.
So, resist the temptation to lounge around all break and save yourself from stressing out before graduation by working ahead in your job search now.  Who knows, maybe you will even land a job before break ends!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cool Tools

If your classes are anything like mine, November means you are drowning in a flood of group projects.  It never fails that I am involved with at least one, if not more, group projects each semester.  And regardless of whether you like them or not, group projects are here to stay. 

One of the most difficult aspects of a group project is often finding a time when everyone can meet.  Since these meetings are often few and far between, groups generally rely on emails and attachments to communicate.  This often means that one individual is responsible for editing the paper or creating a presentation.  The individual then emails the paper to everyone to look over and they email back their suggestions and/or corrections.  While this method works, there has to be an easier way.  Enter the Zimbra Briefcase and Documents feature.  

Zimbra Briefcase
As part of the Zimbra email program that all K-State students have access to, the Zimbra Briefcase provides a place to store important files.  The files—including word processing documents, spreadsheets and photos—can then be accessed anytime, anywhere and then shared with select individuals (ie your group members). 

Zimbra Documents
Zimbra Documents lets you create and upload a variety of documents to allow for wiki-style collaboration and editing.  In other words, instead of emailing an attachment of your group’s paper to each member, you can simply upload it to Zimbra Documents.  This allows all editing to be done in one central location by multiple people.  

Pretty cool, huh?  Start using Zimbra Briefcase and Documents today to simplify your group projects!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Getting from Good to Great

Do you remember filling out venn diagrams in elementary and middle school?  You drew two or three circles that overlapped partially and then listed the similarities of each item, such as a story character, in the overlapping space.  It might seem unusual, but a venn diagram just might help you find a major or a career now.

I recently attend an informational presentation about an advertising and marketing company.  While the representative from the company went through the standard who we are, what we do, apply for our internship program routine; he also gave those of us attending some advice on finding a career we would love.

The representative referred to the book Good to Great by Jim Collins.  In the book, Collins says there are three questions that you must ask yourself.
1.        What do I love to do?
2.       What is in my DNA?
3.       What will someone pay me to do? 

Now here’s where the venn diagram comes in.  Plug each question into a venn diagram…and answer the questions about yourself.
1.  What do you love to do?  It doesn’t have to be career related necessarily, just think of things you enjoy doing...learn, watch K-State, anything outside if it's warm, design, help others, bake, being crafty, spend time with family

2.  What’s in your DNA?  Or in other words, what comes naturally to you.  Maybe you’re awesome at math or maybe you do not mind speaking in front of a crowd…it can be anything!  creativity, writing, design, detail oriented
3.  What will someone pay you to do?  Here is where actual careers come in.  Think of different jobs that interest you.  advertising, marketing, public relations, journalism
The middle portion of the diagram (outlined in black) is where the similarities from each question come together to give you an idea of potential career matches...creative marketer.  Be as specific as possible here.  For example, do not just say you want to be a nurse, but a pediatric nurse or a surgical nurse instead.
 The recruiter also stressed the importance in remembering that order does matter, so follow the numbers on the venn diagram.  When you are out searching for a job, seek something that will allow you to do what you love (circle 1) and what you are good at (cirlce 2) before focusing on money (circle 3).  Once you find something you are really passionate about and excel in, fortune will follow.  So get out your pen and paper and take your career from good to great!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Be an aspirin.

Sounds like some weird job-hunting advice, right?  I thought so too until I started to think about it more.  With graduation in my near future, I’ve been spending time researching companies that I may want to work for in the future.  As I tried to determine if I was interested in a company or position, I often decided based on a ‘What’s in it for me?’ kind of attitude…How would a company or position benefit me?  What experiences would I gain? 

 In case you’re wondering, that’s not being an aspirin.  Being an aspirin is all about digging deep into a company during your research in order to find out what the company’s pain is.  Find out what challenges or issues is the company facing currently.  Then be an aspirin.  Show the company how you, along with your skills and experiences, can be the solution to that pain.  

Still sound weird?  Think about this.  You don’t take aspirin for fun (at least I hope not), you take it because of some sort of pain.  In other words, you need it to feel better.  In the same way, companies don’t hire employees just for fun.  Companies hire employees because they need them.  As you go through your job search and interviews, be an aspirin and show potential employers why they need you!

Tara Pfaff is the marketing and communications intern at K-State’s Career and Employment Services

Friday, September 23, 2011

Finding an Internship

As the weather cools down, the search for summer internships is heating up!  Many companies and organizations start recruiting summer interns as early as September.  And while finding an internship may seem impossible, there are many internships available.   The current economy has actually led to an increase in intern positions as it provides employers with an obligation-free way to give potential employees a trial run.  So start researching and applying for internship opportunities today!

Identify Career Interests
Take time to consider what type of internship you want and what experiences you hope to get out of an internship.  Internships are a great way to test out new career fields you might not have considered previously.  Even if you land an internship that does not match exactly with your interests, it can still provide you with great experience and even more of an idea of what you want out of a career.

Let family, friends, professors, academic advisors and alumni know what type of internship you are looking for.  You never know who will have a contact with a company you are interested in.  Also consider scheduling informational interviews to gain valuable information on career options and companies that you can pursue for an internship.

Go online
 There is a huge array of internship listings available online.  You can find intern positions by logging into your CES Account or visiting the internship listing section of the CES website for links to several internship websites.  Also try, which specializes in only internship listings. 

Contact Employers
If you are not finding the type of internship you are looking for online, contact a company or organization directly to ask if they have any internship openings.  Thoroughly research the company before calling to show your dedication and drive to be a part of the company.  Be prepared to explain why you want to work for a particular company and what skills you can offer the company.  Remember, the worst the company can do is say no.

So do not wait for the weather to warm up before starting your internship search!  Starting your search now will help you find an internship you are really passionate about and help you avoid the stress of trying to find an internship a month before summer.