Taking care of business–how to get your foot in the door

With a whirlwind of reality television shows such as “The Apprentice,” “The Benefactor” and “Making the Band” it seems that people will do anything to get themselves into the business world. The foundation of these shows lies in proving yourself to the boss.

While this is not so different from the real world, just interest and charisma will only land you at the receiving end of the infamous words “You’re Fired!” It takes initiative, persistence and enthusiasm along with these helpful steps to launch a student on the path to success.

In order to achieve your goals you have to be active and outgoing. The College offers many career resources for students. The first place to start is paying a visit to Career Services. Deb Kelly, assistant director of Career Services said, “Two things a student should know is be resourceful and start early. Leave no stone unturned.”

Starting early is key. If you start early you show that ever-important initiative for which employers look. “Some summer internships have a November 1 deadline,” Kelly said. Students should get their resumes together now in order to be prepared.

If students are uncertain on how to go about putting a resume together there are workshops provided by the College which can guide them. Laura de Zutter, senior communications major, said she attended the resume workshop offered by Career Services and based her resume off of the templates provided. “I also went to Career Services to have it reviewed,” she said. “The most beneficial resource, though, was to have professionals in the field actually review my resume.”

Also, Kelly suggests logging onto the College’s Career Services Web site and registering for LionsPro. This program is powered by MonsterTRAK and allows students to post resumes to potential employers. LionsPro is the College’s on-campus recruitment program and can serve to help the pursuit of internships or careers.

Getting involved and networking may be the most important step a student can take for finding internships and jobs. Kim Pearson, professor of English, stresses networking as an essential for any student to be successful.

“You must network,” she said. For every career interest you have there is a pre-professional organization – join it.” Networking allows you to access many open doors and contact people who know people. That is a basic way to hear about positions that interest you. According to de Zutter, “networking with professors, alumni and other students seems to be one of the best ways to find out about opportunities.” If a student joins and participates with communities based around his or her interests, he or she can more easily find out about a job opening or an available internship. “We all need to have the background and experience to do the job, but knowing people who can get you in the door is what really matters,” Zutter said. “If you can’t get in the door, the employer is never going to know that you can do the job.”

Giving a solid first impression should be the a priority for anyone seeking internships or careers. Deborah Field, independent doctor of optometry said, “It’s about initiative – if the person can tell me what he or she can bring to my office without me questioning them on it first.” As an employer, she said likes to see professionalism when interviewing.

“When they call for the interview, how enthusiastic and well-put together their thoughts are over the phone. When the person presents themselves at the interview, are they on time or a little before the scheduled time? Punctuality shows reliability,” she said. “Reliability will keep my office running smoothly and that is what I look for.”

Rebekah Detrich, manager of a local area business, agrees that it is important to make good and lasting first impression. It could very well result in your hiring. Three tips she gave during an interview are to be active – do not sit and stare, be prepared and carry yourself with intelligence and confidence. When meeting an employer, it is also vital to keep eye contact. “If you can’t look at me, then what makes me believe you’re able to look at customers you will be helping,” Detrich asked.

She looks for more than eye contact though. “I always look for upbeat personality, the way the person is dressed and I don’t just mean their clothes but their appearance and overall grooming, along with curiosity – if the person asks questions,” she said. Asking questions will show the employer your sincere interest in the job, position or company.

Dressing for success is also imporant. Your initial appearance and how you present yourself will give an employer a better idea of what you could bring to his or her company.

Kelly’s dress tip for both sexes: get a dark suit.

Take advantage of the College’s Career Day. There are over 80 employers attending Career Fair, which can be used as an excellent resource for students. Companies that attend include CBS News, Phillips-Van Heusen and Turner Construction, among many others. The College will be hosting its next Career Day on Oct. 5 in Brower Student Center.