Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Can You Do With A Biology Major?

Most students immediately associate biology degrees with medical school. But what if you don’t want to be a doctor? There are still many career options available to you.

For example, if you love both the arts and sciences, you could combine your passions into working with medical illustrations. Or maybe you love animals – you could double major with zoology and become a zookeeper. You could also become a marine biologist or a trainer. There are lots of unique career paths.

Do some research! All it takes is a simple Google search to learn what jobs people with your degree hold. Or, you can come in to our office to talk with a Career Counselor. They’ll be able to tell you more and even help get you connected with companies in your field. You can try a Job Shadow or Day in the Field program, where you have the opportunity to follow someone in the field you’re looking at to see what their daily work experience is really like. Check out our services at lssaa.wisc.edu/careers.

Aquatic Biologists, Inc. is one of many companies that hire biology majors. The work involves treatment with aquatic herbicides and algaecides to control nuisance weeds and algae in ponds, chemical applications on lakes for invasive species, installing aeration systems and fountains to improve water quality, installing aquatic plants for habitat, aesthetics, and nutrient adsorption, and performing fish quantity surveys.

Northeast Wisconsin Territory Manager Paul Leisten explains, “We are usually working out in the field for 4 to 6 days a week and the environment is always new and changing.” It’s a great alternative to a desk job, or to working in a laboratory.

But if laboratories are more in your field of interest, there are opportunities for biology majors.

Many graduates work in a research laboratory at a university or another institution, often while seeking a higher degree. A masters or doctoral degree can enable students to continue research work in a field of choice, or become a professor. The laboratory work while in school is a resume booster and helps students gain experience. Check with your TAs and professors to see if they know of any research work you could get involved in.

Idella Yamben, a scientific recruiter at Kelly Scientific Resources, advises, “Network! You are a whole person with unique capabilities and interests. All types of people are welcome in science and you would be surprised the opportunities that exist for the right skill set. You don't have to just be at the bench or be a teacher! However, making those transitions can be difficult if you are not knowledgeable about companies and skills. Your best way to help you stand out is by networking.”

Yamben also recommends exploring a wide variety of disciplines. “The most competitive applicants have a cross section of skills including biology, chemistry, business, training/teaching, and social/soft skills. If you can diversify your experiences in school (including research and internships) you will likely have more opportunities come your way once you graduate.”

There are many different options open for students with a biology major. You’re not stuck with going to medical school. You can get a job after graduation, without any higher education. Check out your options and find a career path that you love!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Being a Badger Has its Perks

Being affiliated with a university like UW-Madison has its advantages. One big advantage is using your Badger status to make connections with experienced alumni to gain valuable information about career paths and opportunities. Some of these contacts happen naturally as you attend events as a student. But you can be even more proactive in your approach to take control of your own career.

Here are just some of the ways to connect with alumni –

1. Search the Alumni Directory through the Badger Career Network

Our alumni have an alumni profile in our directory. They decide what information to make public, which may include email address, phone number, business address, job title and company. Students have access to this service, and can search the 30,000+ alumni who tagged themselves as a Badger Career Network participant. Visit http://www.uwalumni.com/studentcareer.aspx to register as a current student and start searching!

2. Join our Wisconsin Alumni Association LinkedIn Group

As a student, we welcome you to join LinkedIn and our group! LinkedIn is a great resource for those who are looking to connect with professionals in their industry or career of interest. Our group is open only to UW-Madison students and grads so you can more easily find people you’d like to contact. Here's the link to join the group: http://www.linkedin.com/e/gis/40224/0F2FEB0AA671

3. Stay connected with your career office

Your career office on campus organizes dozens of events each year, including informational sessions, career fairs and networking events — all of which feature or include alumni from UW-Madison. Attend as many of these great events as possible to start building your network.

Start using your Badger status today — check out www.uwalumni.com.

Gina Evans is the Career Development Specialist for the Wisconsin Alumni Association

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

In the Middle of a Job Search? Networking Pays Off!

Is hunting for a job really all about who you know? No, not all the time, but it sure does help.

In my role as a sourcing & diversity specialist, I often find myself stressing to job seekers how important it is to make appropriate connections that will assist in their job search. If you’re searching, I’d typically advise that, if you’re not already a member, it’s a good idea to join networks like LinkedIn or Facebook. Look for pages or groups devoted to the companies you’re interested in working with. On American Family’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages, I spend much of my time sharing information about our company, culture, position types, tasks/qualifications and other nice-to-know stuff, such as benefits and flexible work schedules.

So, you’ve done your research via social media. Will that help you get a job? Obviously, your skills and qualifications for the role need to be a good match, as well as your cultural fit with the organization and company values. Beyond that, who lands the ever-so-desired offer? Now, more than ever, landing an interview and then an offer is a competitive business. It’s a time when a job posting can produce upwards of 100 to 200 applicants within a few days or a week (not all qualified, of course). The way to rise to the top is NETWORKING. Know your skills and know how to network. I’ve witnessed this more times than I can count -- it really does produce job offers.

So, how does networking really work? The key to networking is finding the right people to connect with and then sharing some brief information about who you are, what you can do and what your interests are, in hopes that you can create a memorable impression. Finding commonalities with people will help them remember you and even cause them to recommend you to someone else – and that someone else may be just the person you need to know. I see this happen every day as I’m making connections for job seekers with our recruiters (staffing specialists), who in turn work with our managers, who hire for positions within the company. I’ve seen several job offers extended and accepted as a result of connections made through our LinkedIn Careers group and inquiries over the American Family Careers Facebook page, for example.

I know there are so many variables that come into play regarding career opportunities, from the type of position you want, whether or not you’d like to relocate, and most importantly, how the timing works out. Networking can help you spread the word about the type of work you want, where and when. And you never really know when it might pay off for you.

Here are a few of my favorite networking tips. When having a conversation with someone:
• Be brief. Avoid too much small talk and make your points.
• Set an agenda for your conversation, if only for yourself. You’ll stay on point.
• Keep yourself in front of your connections. Don’t forget to thank people for meeting with you.
• Search online groups or discussions to find industry professionals you might meet.
• Pay it forward – help others and they will help you.

Lisa Beauclaire is a sourcing and diversity specialist with American Family Insurance who also uses social media extensively to connect with potential job candidates. American Family is a Fortune 500 company specializing in property, casualty and life insurance with operations in 19 states. Connect with AmFam via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and The Family Room Career Blog.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Announcing the L&S Career Services Winter Break Job Shadow Program for January 2012!

No plans for winter break?

Looking to explore your career interests and goals?

Wanting to learn more about, and observe, various types of job functions at an employer?

Wanting to build a network with professionals and learn about their career backgrounds and interests?

Interested in possible internship and job opportunities at an employer?

If you have these questions and more, then consider doing a job shadow experience!

You are invited to participate in the Letters and Science Career Services Winter Break 2012 Job Shadow program. Job shadowing will help you with your career exploration, goals and options. This fantastic and unique opportunity will engage and connect you with seasoned professionals and often UW-Madison alumni in many different career paths and from a variety of educational backgrounds.

You may be visiting various offices, conducting informational interviews with staff to learn about their career background, attending meetings and events, observing certain job functions of staff members, participating in an office activity or program, and also learning about potential internship and full-time opportunities. Typically, the job shadow day is a one-day experience, although there may be opportunities to participate for more than one day, based on the availability of the employer.

In summary, there are many key benefits that make the Job Shadow program one of our most successful programs that has attracted a few hundred students over the past two years. Some of the benefits for students and employers include:

Benefits of the Job Shadow Program for Employers

• Fosters and enhances an employer’s connection among the well-rounded and talented students in the College of Letters &Science.

• Provides an opportunity for staff members at an employer to be a resource about their career paths and share insights and a snapshot of what their typical job is like.

• Enables early identification of potential candidates for internships and full-time positions.

Benefits of the Job Shadow Program for Students

Students get a better sense of a typical day at the organization, as well as certain job functions and tasks.

Students have a chance to develop a professional network of individuals.

Students acquire an understanding of the organizational culture and professional etiquette at an employer.

Students learn about the various types of internship and career opportunities available.

The Job Shadow program will occur between January 5 and 20, 2012, during time frames that mutually work for the host employer and the student. Participating employers are from around the U.S. and Wisconsin, and represent a variety of career interests and sectors. Organizations include: American Field Service (AFS), Brunswick Group LLC, Coyote Logistics, Direct Supply, Gateway Middle School, Google, GRAEF, Her Exchange, Kohl’s, LaSalle Investment Management, Madison No Fear Dentistry, Milwaukee Public Library, Starcom Mediavest Group, Summit Commercial Finance Group, and Teach for America.

Student testimonials from past Job Shadow programs include:

“I shadowed at Starcom and it was a wonderful experience. I learned so much about a career I didn't even know existed. The person I shadowed was so down to earth (a recent Wisconsin grad). She introduced me to friends who had different positions and responsibilities, so I had a conceptual as well as physical tour of the company. I don't know how the shadow could have gone smoother or been more beneficial. I loved how they kept two shadowers together, so it was a little less intimidating and easier to keep conversation flowing. From this experience, I keep think­ing how beneficial more job shadows would have been. I guess it's never too late. Thank you again for providing this exceptional learning experience.”

“The program was really helpful because I am graduating in just a few short months and it gave me a glimpse into possible future careers.”

“I enjoyed this program because it gave me a chance to get a good look at the duties and responsibilities from professionals. I received direct feedback about their jobs and valuable advice. I thoroughly benefited from my job shadow at Direct Supply in Milwaukee. They were very welcoming and informative.

If you are interested in participating in the Winter Break 2012 Job Shadow program, and would like more information, including detailed descriptions of the opportunities available at the employers, please contact Greg Iaccarino, Career and Internship Advisor, at gjiaccar@wisc.edu to fill out an interest survey for placement within the program.