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Job Shadowing

The importance of higher education has progressed to a point where internships and pre-graduating experience has become a necessary element to the path of employment and graduation. Some departments within Ball State have internships as a requirement to graduate. The  importance of preparing  students with the necessary skill set to graduate is great but how do you know what internship or company is right for you. A job shadow is the quickest and simplest way to get a feel for a company.  Going on a job shadow is a great way for students within their sophomore to senior year to get a feel for what profession they want to do after graduation.

What’s a job shadow?

A job shadow is basically what it sounds like. You choose a position within an industry you’re interested in (job) and set up a time to follow someone around and observe their daily routine (shadow).


Benefits of job shadowing

It’s a positive experience that can lead to great networking and contacts that you can use during your job search. Most importantly you show the will and desire to learn more about a area your really interested in and employers look for candidates with these qualities. Lastly, if you’re on the fence about what area within a profession to choose, a job shadow allows you to way those decisions.  Personally, I went on a job shadow this week with a lobbyist for Insurance Institute of Indiana. This experience allowed me to get a feel if lobbying or public affairs would be for me.  I networked and made some great contacts in one day and it allowed me to focus on my future.

How do you get started?

First, you should look for jobs that interests you , match your degree, and try to think about your future. Make a list of companies within your state or nearby states that interest you.  Next, once you have made your list, contact them,  make the conversation personable, and then try to schedule a job shadow.  Another option that worked for me was using my contacts of friends; family or professionals that would be able to help. Networking is the easiest way to gain contacts for your job shadow and possibly your career.

Have fun and take advantage of job shadows because they allow you to get an idea of what a company or area of your field is like. Being proactive and professional about your career makes you stand out for the crowd.



Job Fair Success

How job seekers approach a job fair can affect the outcome. Having a positive attitude, a smile on your face, and a professional image can help job candidates with their confidence during the job fair. Confidence can be the key for employers remembering you after the job fair. Candidates need to prepare themselves before attending the job fair. Listed below are 5 job fair strategies that will not only increase your chances of success, but will also give you the confidence and security you need before going to the job fair.

1. Do your research

Take time out of your busy schedule to look up the businesses that will be attending the job fair. After you have found out which businesses will be attending, select companies that are looking for majors within your field. Once you have narrowed a list down, do more in-depth research about what the companies are like and how they run their business. You want to sound intelligent and that you understand what they actually do.

2. Dress professionally to create that lasting first impression

You want to look like the professional “Mad Men – Don Draper” when talking to the employers. You do not want to be the guy or gal that employers are talking about because you wore wrinkled pants with a tight shirt that obviously does not fit you. However you want them to notice that you do care about talking with them because you’re in your “Sunday Bests,” nice suit, clean shirt and ties, with shoes that match your belt. Also, make sure that you shower, take out the piercing, and guys—shave!

3. Bring Résumés, lots of them

Bringing a polished well-written résumé to a job fair is very crucial to your confidence and your success after the job fair. You want to showcase your talents and accomplishments while using correct spelling and grammar. For some majors you will need to use different styling formats. For example, journalism students should use AP style throughout their résumé, while most other majors will use APA or MLA.

4. Networking

Job fairs are all about networking. More than 80 percent of jobs are found through networking. By meeting employers, you can increase your personal connections and improve your chances of getting a call back for an interview.

5. Don’t forget to follow up, with a letter

Getting employer’s business cards and information is very critical to the job seeking process because you need to follow up with them after the job fair. Sending a hand-written letter, thanking them for their time is a great way to restate your interest and desire within their company. Also, it sends out a great image for you as you try to build up your own brand within the business world.

Remember that there are no guarantees in life and that you might not get a job by attending a job fair, but you are taking a positive step towards finding a future job through the contacts you made.


How to Prepare Before a Job Fair

In a couple weeks, the Cardinal Job Fair will be at Worthen Arena from noon to 4 p.m. on February 17. To prepare for the job fair, you should make a list of things that can help you when talking to an employer or recruiter. My list contains my resume, work samples, a one minute speech about myself and my accomplishments, and my goals for the future.

My resume is at the top of my list because it is the most important. I want to showcase my accomplishments and talents that I have developed and tailored over the past four years. The important thing to remember is, make sure there are no typos or grammar problems. I have made the mistake before and it wasn’t my  best experience.

You should have work samples or leave behinds because it is important to have something to showcase your work to the employer or recruiter. I have my resume stapled on top of two or three work samples. For some majors, you might not need work samples.

Next, is my one minute speech or elevator speech. You will not have much time to talk with an employer or recruiter; you want to talk to them about your accomplishments and why you would be a benefit to their company. A good tip to try is practice in the mirror; polish what you are going to say and how to say it, so when you meet an employer at the job fair it is quick and easy.

Last, some employers or recruiters might ask about your goals for the future. This is a difficult question to answer and prepare for. We all have passions and desires that motivate us, so use those passions and desires to shape your answer.

Going to a job fair can be overwhelming, but understand that the employers and recruiters are already there and are looking for the next confidant student who can contribute to their companies. For more information on top skills a job candidate should have visit


Networking…it works

Students are told each year that they need to do research on finding the right internship that fits them. I am not disagreeing, research is very important, but sometimes the best opportunities are right in front of you. Networking and being passionate about your career might be the answer you are looking for.

My brother is a college recruiter and he tells me that he does not need to see that you have a 3.7 GPA or that you’re the best student in your classes. He wants to be able to communicate with you and see that your passion matches your determination of being successful. Also, having good grades and being involved in extracurricular activities only helps your chances.

From personal experience’s networking and being passionate has helped me land my last two jobs and internship. I don’t have 3.7 GPA but my grades do match my determination in the classroom. When networking remember—be excited, smile, ask follow up questions, and ask when is the best time to reach them.

Also, check out this link for more information that some students need to consider for a career.


Homecoming Week and Professional U

Now with the Fall Career Fair over, we all are looking forward to the week of Homecoming. This year’s homecoming offers students great opportunities to have fun together as the entire student body. While students enjoy the festivities throughout this week, the Career Center will be continuing the “Professional U” programs. The “Professional U” programs are running all year and are ways to assist students and alumni with their professional development and needs.

The Oct. 4 – Interview Basics – BL Schwartz Complex at 4 p.m.
-Students will learn proper strategies that will help them stand out in job interviews

. Oct. 6 – *Surf and Seek: Your Pipeline to Internet Job-Search Resource – BL 225 at 3 p.m.
-Students will learn about using the Internet as a resource for researching companies, finding jobs, preparing for interviews, and more

. Oct. 7 – Find your Fit – WB 216 at 4 p.m.
-Students will get tips for finding careers that match their interests

Also, during the Bed Race on Friday at 12:30 p.m. students can get visit the Career Center’s table for information on upcoming programs and events. Support the Bed Races and the Career Center.

on Riverside Ave.

Have fun going to all the homecoming events and don’t forget about the “Professional U” programs offered this week, too. Last year, homecoming was a great time but this year is going to be even more fun!


Fall Career Fair

Our time in college is short or unless you’re going to med school very long. But if it is short, we should take advantage of the opportunities that we are given. Our main goal is to get good grades, find a major that fits us, and hopefully find a job that we can succeed at.  The biggest opportunity that I personally took advantage was going to the Fall Career Fair.

Last year, I was going into my junior year and knew that I wanted to major in public relations but did not have any connections. I went to the Fall Career Fair with my resume, professionally dressed, and some writing samples. At first, I was a little scared to talk to employers but I realized that they were there to talk to me and other students. After walking pass all the employers and thinking about walking away from the fair. I talked to one company; felt comfortable talking to them. Only talking to one company gave me the courage to talk to more employers.

After Fall Career Fair, I felt more comfortable talking to employers and gained some great experience by just being in that type of setting. Some advice that I can share is:

  1. Bring a Resume– Employers want to see a resume that matches what you’re telling them. Also, if you do not have a resume, stop by the Career Center and set up appointment, and it’s really easy!
  2. Dress Professionally– First Impressions are very important when meeting with employers. So you want to look your best because they will be expecting it.
  3. Be Positive– Employers’ are excited when they talk to students that are really positive and passionate about talking with them. You are going to make yourself standout from the crowd.
  4. Practice your Routine– Practice what you are going to say to employers. You want to have a routine and expect what they are going to say: My classes have prepared me bc…, I am very passionate about…., I have faced adversity during…., My biggest strength is…..
  5. Don’t Be Afraid– The employers are already there and are looking for students to talk too. So why be afraid because they have to make the tough decisions. Employers want to see someone that is very comfortable in tough situations while having a positive attitude. Just breathe, have a smile on your face, and everything will be fine.

The Fall Career Fair is Wednesday (Sept. 29) at Worthen Arena from noon-4pm on Ball State’s campus. Have fun and I hope everyone good luck at the fair!

P.S. You need your Ball State ID in order to get in the fair.


An Introduction From Someone Far From Home

Hi all. My name is Claire, and I’m a graduate student in the Student Affairs Administration and Higher Education Program here at Ball State – SAAHE for short. And I am in totally unfamiliar territory – for a few reasons.

I’m a native southerner (born in Mississippi, grew up in South Carolina and attended undergrad there) who still has a taste for boiled peanuts, collard greens, and fried okra even though I relocated to Portland, OR about a week after I graduated from Winthrop University and have been there ever since. About 8 years, for those who are counting. (And no, there is no proper southern food in Portland, even though it is indeed a mecca for foodies. They try hard, but it’s just not the same).

When I graduated in 2002 with a degree in English Lit, I assumed I would follow the natural path for English majors: take a few years off, work as a server at some cozy restaurant somewhere, and then head back to graduate school for my PhD and eventually become a professor. However, life took its twists and turns and landed me in a totally different, albeit rewarding, career path – I became a recruiter. It was a perfect fit for me in a lot of ways; it fed my desire to help and connect with people, and there was rarely a dull moment.

Yet during this time I had longings to reconnect with a college campus. My father was an English professor all of his life, and I essentially grew up in a classroom. There is a part of college culture that will always be a part of me. At the age of 29, I began seriously thinking about heading back to school to use my skills gained as a recruiter to help students in college find their way. I began researching programs and applied to Ball State. In fact, it was the only school I applied to. It fit all of my criteria: it has a great reputation, it provides tons of financial assistance for graduate students, and it is a one year program – something important to me since I am now 30 and returning to school.

So here I am in Muncie, IN, working as a graduate assistant in the Career Center. I packed up my car and my dog and spent 5 days driving out from Portland at the beginning of August for a college campus in the midwest, a place I’ve never even visited before. To say I’m feeling a roller coaster of emotions would be a gross understatement. Changing careers at 30 isn’t something to take lightly, but I am thrilled to be here. Nervous? Nah. The only thing I’m nervous about is braving my first midwest winter. Other than that, I’m taking each day as a great new adventure and loving every minute of it.