Wednesday, May 30, 2012

8 Week Job Search Group for 2011-2012 L&S Graduates

Now that you've invested in your degree, learn essential job search strategies proven to be far more effective than responding to job listings alone. Transitioning to the world of work after college can be daunting. In this eight week group, two experienced career counselors from L&S Career Services, Nell Weatherwax and Maureen Muldoon will guide you through the process for developing the necessary skills to survive in the current job market. Come ready to network with fellow freshly graduated job seekers and to learn about effective strategies and resources available to you as UW alumni (or soon-to-be-alumni.)

In the group format you will have the chance to connect with others, share ideas and resources, and further define your goals through discussion and activities.

Some of the weekly meeting discussion topics will include:
Ø      Creating your job search action plan
Ø      Boosting your online presence – using LinkedIn and other social media outlets
Ø      Interview skills building
Ø      Informational interviewing and other networking skills
Ø      Resumes and Cover Letters

Tuesdays, 4 PM6 PM
June 19 – Aug 7
Helen C. White Undergraduate Library
Third Floor, Room 3261
Registration info below.

Sign-up to secure your spot. Drop-in seating available as space allows.
Regular attendance encouraged for best results.

Email or call to sign up or ask questions:

Nell Weatherwax, Letters & Science Career Services,
(608) 262-3921

Group Coordinator Bios

Maureen Muldoon comes to L&S Career Services from Marylhurst University in Portland, Oregon where she was a Job Support and Outreach Coordinator. Maureen completed her Master’s Degree in College Student Services Administration from Oregon State University where she advised undecided students in academic and career exploration. Her BA is from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio in Communication Studies, and Spanish. This spring Maureen earned the public speaking Competent Communicator award as a member of Toastmasters International. She has past experience as a member of AmeriCorps, and as an assistant language teacher with the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) in Hokkaido, Japan. Maureen enjoys getting out on her bike, exploring forgotten ghost towns and old houses, and engaging in philosophical discussions.

Nell Weatherwax comes to L&S Career Services from Indiana University where she served as an academic counselor and career mentor to Studio Art and Art History majors. She completed her Master’s degree in Counseling and her BA degree in the Individualized Major Program both at Indiana University. She is certified as a Global Career Development Facilitator and is a seasoned workshop presenter. She has been serving as a career counselor for primarily liberal arts undergraduates at UW for since February 2011. Her career path has taken her from entrepreneurialism running her own educational theater company to working as a recruiter in Silicon Valley to private career counseling, corporate training and academic advising. She enjoys stand-up comedy, reading memoirs and hiking in the UW Arboretum.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recap of 2011-2012 Day in the Field Program

By Greg Iaccarino, Career & Internship Advisor, Coordinator of Day in the Field Program

The L&S Career Services Day in the Field (DITF) program, which occurred during the 2011-2012 academic year, is a program that gives UW-Madison students the opportunity to participate in an on-site visit to a local or regional employer in Wisconsin and the Chicago area. On the DITF, Students learn about careers, internships, and full-time positions at an employer by participating in networking sessions, panel discussions and tours of the employer’s facility and work space.   Students also acquire some key insights on the kinds of skills and experiences that are needed to be successful at the employer   They may hear about the description of a typical work day, how one can grow/develop in their position, as well as what the employer is looking for in a focused and tailored resume, cover letter, and interview for the position.   Perhaps what is most meaningful for the student participants is when the panelists will share about their own career paths and what got them to their present position.    In many cases, panelists/professionals started out in one career path, and then switched paths over time.   A number of these professionals were UW alumni with a variety of majors.

Employers often noted about the positive relations with students after the DITF visits, which has resulted in better chances for students to land interviews for available positions in a quicker fashion.  We thank the 85 students that participated in the program this year!


Participating employers in the program were:  

Advertising agencies in Chicago and Milwaukee as part of trips with the Advertising Club of UW-Madison

City of Madison Mayor’s Office

City Year Milwaukee


Epic Systems

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Oxford Global Resources

Public relations agencies in Chicago and Milwaukee as part of trips with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) of UW-Madison

St. Luke’s Medical Center (Milwaukee) as part of trips with the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) of UW-Madison

We are pleased to share some student testimonials about the DITF program, which were drawn from student surveys about the program.   We look forward to building on the success of this program as we plan for the 2012-2013 academic year!    Please do not hesitate to contact us for any suggestions that you have or recommendations for employers to visit.   Meanwhile, please enjoy the testimonials!    

This is a fantastic program. 

I thought the presentations were very professional and the trip was a great opportunity to work one on one with a couple of Oxford Global’s employees.

It was very helpful in my job search, and the shadowing of the staff at Oxford Global was very enlightening.

The experience was great!  It was cool to be able to talk with Mayor Soglin on a more personal level and learn about him, what he does, and also about jobs available at the city.

It was really helpful and a lot of fun.  I got to learn more about a really cool company on a more personal basis than if I just looked at their website.  The question and answer session was very effective as well.

Listening to the recruiter talking about roles and the selection process offered direct information on what to expect.   It is more informative than reading the job postings.

It was my first time utilizing the College of Letters & Science Career Services, and I will continue to do so now.  

It was great to see Epic’s campus, as most people do not have the opportunity to see a potential workplace in a neutral setting.  It was definitely helpful in my search for a job. 

It was good to actually see the company work environment and explore the career options offered there.

It serves as an opportunity to explore career options in the company. Listening to the recruiter talking about roles and selection process offered direct information in terms of what to expect. It is more informative than reading the job postings.

It serves as an opportunity to explore career options in the company. Listening to the recruiter talking about roles and selection process offered direct information in terms of what to expect. It is more informative than reading the job postings.

I really enjoyed the session and found it very helpful. I really liked that we were able to discuss with City Year corps members in a small group environment and were able to ask questions.  It gave me a better understanding of what City Year is, the application process and responsibilities involved in City Year.

It was great to learn about how to get your foot in the door, so to speak, for a career in Journalism.

I really enjoyed being able to meet with the managing editor and publisher. I'm in this constant worry about finding a job and they gave me advice that the future of a journalist is really not just being a reporter but being someone who knows about the technological aspects of everything; how to make and manage a website, social media and search engine optimization.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

References and the Job Search

References are a vital part of the job search, but there are many misconceptions about who to use and how to give their information to employers. Here are the do’s and don’ts of references.


Have at least three references.

Make sure your references are willing to speak to employers about you before giving away their information.

Give your references a copy of your resume so that they can speak to your various accomplishments.

Tell your references about the positions you are applying for.

Include only professional references – professors, former supervisors, etc.

Bring your list of references with you to job interviews.


Include someone as a reference who can’t speak specifically about your skills.

State “References available upon request” on your resume.

Give a list of references to an employer unless they ask for it.

Include any references on your resume itself. References belong on a separate sheet of paper formatted with the same type of header as the resume. Include their information in the following order:

   Job Title
   City, State Zip
   Phone Number

References allow a potential employer to learn about you beyond your resume, and hear first-hand accounts of how you work with others. Employers take what your references say seriously, so make sure to follow these guidelines.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

RESULTS: L&S students' views on social media and the job & internship search

In the Spring 2012 semester, L&S Career Services in partnership with a undergraduate senior thesis candidate, sought the opinions of L&S undergrads concerning social media and its value in the the job & internship search.

Here are some preliminary results:

Of 2000 primarily Freshman-Senior respondents (70% female, 30% male)
  • 96% used Facebook
  • 45% used Twitter
  • 22% used Google +
For their job or internship search, only 11% were currently using social media AND LinkedIn dominated the usage results!

54% intended to use it in their future job & internship searches.

Do you believe employers in your area of interest use social media to look for an evaluate applicants? 85% of student respondents believe employers do!

So, what do your peers believe is the value of using social media in the job & internship search?
Getting your name out there
Accessing information quickly

Friday, May 4, 2012

How to Quickly Launch Your Job Search

by Nell Weatherwax, Career Counselor

You’re at the dinner table, your mouth is full, and your Uncle Buddy tosses out oh-so-casually, “So, graduation is days away – what are your plans?”

Read this blog post if you think these are your only choices for an answer:

  1. Fake choking until an ambulance comes to take you away.

  1. Say you have some interviews “in the works” but don’t want to jinx them by talking about it.

  1. Admit you are clueless, then quickly mention you got an A in French.

If you are like many Letters and Science seniors, you have been working hard on your classes, doing good things in your student organizations and volunteer jobs, and possibly working a part-time job. Now, maybe your business-major roommate has a job offer and you’re thinking, “Oh <<bleep>>, I not only don’t have a job offer, I don’t have a clue what I want to do!”

Good news!  The UW Letters and Science Career Services office is available to help you now, all summer, and for at least a year after you graduate!

More good news:
You can start where you are. And that is not just a wise Zen saying.

Career development and job searching requires learning and practicing a set of skills – skills you will use your whole life long. You know you can learn new skills or you wouldn’t have made it this far!

Here are the bare-bones basic steps to quickly starting a successful job search:

Step One: Know Yourself
When you know your top skills, interests, values and experiences, you are more likely to target jobs for which you are qualifed. Start this process by doing some self assessment exercises in books like What Color Is Your Parachute by Richard Bolles or Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. Check out resources online at  or . And of course – talk over self assessment with a career counselor at your friendly L&S career services office where you may choose to take some additional career self-assessments.

Step Two: Research Fields and Occupations
Start to find out what kind of jobs fit your interests, skills, experience, etc.
Great resources are available on the Letters and Science Career Services page:  Also, use the search tools on to learn more about many common occupations that use the skills you want to use.

Step Three: Network and Gain Experience
Use your personal, family and UW alumni network to connect with people who are doing some of those occupations that interest you. (LinkedIn has UW Badger Alumni groups all over the country. Create an “elevator speech” to effectively communicate your skills, interests and work focus to your network. Meet with professionals and do “informational interviewing” to learn more about careers and potential openings. Use to create a profile and make yourself easy to find by your new professional contacts and potential employers. Learn more about informational interviewing at

Also, continue building your resume and experience by doing the work you want to do – in any way you can think of - volunteer, freelance, part-time, internship, etc. Want to do communications? Volunteer to write press releases and help with communications at a non-profit. Love Art History? Volunteer at an art museum or gallery. Want to be a computer programmer? Create a program and publish it on a blog. Keep your hand in your work and your name in the minds of your network.

Step Four: Market Yourself
Combine networking with creating a strong resume tailored to market you well for specific job listings. Find listings through variety of sources. Start with BuckyNet our web-based event & recruiting software that offers students and employers a way to connect. Other job listing sites include:,, See this page for a few more:
Search specific company websites for the “careers” link such as this site for Trek Bicycles:  Find your favorite field’s association career sites such as Public Relations Society of America: Notice the link to “Employment” on their home page. ( I found this organization easily by Googling “Public Relations Madison WI” ). Create a list of job listing sites to follow, join listservs and LinkedIn groups for the fields in which you want to work. 

Remember: Job listings alone are believed to account for about 5% of job offers. Targeted networking is believed to account for 80% of job offers. So don't put all your eggs in the job listing basket, or you might be working at that barista job for a long, long time.

How Career Services can help:
Letters and Science career counselors can help you launch and follow-through on your job search. We can offer you support, resume advice, guidance and accountability. Our office offers career fairs and workshops, interviewing practice, on-campus recruiting and much, much more.

The biggest mistake job seekers make is not job seeking.
Important to a successful job search is consistent daily actions using methods known to work. Plan to make the job search your job. When you are not doing things related to your job search or working your "pay-the-rent-but-not-a-career-job", be sure to do fun things that rejuvenate you so you come back to the job search fresh, rested and positive. Staying positive and consistently applying yourself are the keys to a successful job search.

So you don’t have to fake choking when you are asked about your post graduation plans. Now you can say, “I’m glad you asked, Uncle Buddy! I have a four part plan in place. Know anyone in the fill-in-the-blank industry that I could meet with for an informational interview?”