The Importance of Connections

Has anyone told you that it’s not what you know, but who you know? This is why networking is a very powerful tool in any industry.

You may think of networking only as connecting with professionals. However, networking includes everyone around you – teachers, students, co-workers, supervisors, etc. The more connections you have, the more valuable you become.

This is not to say that everyone you come in contact with is going to propel you to stardom. You should not only seek out people that you feel a connection with, but also those that will be able to help you in a professional sense. Here are some tips to improve your network:

  • Make an effort to establish relationships with one of your professors, your academic advisor, or a faculty advisor for one of the clubs that you are involved with. They will be more willing to give you a recommendation for an internship or job if they know you personally.
  • If you haven’t taken on a leadership role in a club or organization on campus, now is the time! Being a member of the e-board introduces you to members from other clubs and opens up doors to more networking opportunities.
  • Attend alumni events and make an effort to speak with the professionals at the event. Make sure to get their business card and send a follow-up email thanking them for their time. Most importantly, keep in touch.
  • Take part in the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) program. You will be paired with an alumni in your interested field and expected to keep a relationship via email throughout a semester.
  • Create and maintain your LinkedIn profile. In doing so, make sure that any information is 100% accurate. The purpose of LinkedIn is to connect with people that you know, but if you want to connect with someone you don’t know personally, make sure to send them a message other than the generic example given that explains your reasoning for wanting to connect.
  • Follow influentials in your industry on Twitter. If you want to connect with certain individuals, pay attention to what they’re posting and respond to them. Following someone isn’t enough; if you don’t express your interest, he/she won’t ever know who you are.

Looking for connections? Quest is coming up on Wednesday, April 15. Don’t miss out on a chance to network with students and alumni!

Spring Break To-do’s

Spring break is approaching at the end of the week. If you’re not going away on vacation, how do you plan to spend your time at home?

As transfer students, we may feel a little behind the rest when it comes to being involved on campus or taking advantage of opportunities. Now is the time to think about the things that you want to accomplish, whether it’s over the summer or next semester. But spring break isn’t about just taking some time to yourself, but also getting out and having some fun! Here are some suggestions…

  • Map out a plan. Using Excel or Word, list the different things clubs/organizations you want to become involved with. Maybe you want to be a teaching assistant for your favorite professor? Or become a peer advisor? If you write them down, you’ll have a higher chance of achieving them.
  • Reach out to prospective employers. If you applied for a summer internship, follow up with the person of contact and let them know that you are home for break and would appreciate the opportunity to come in, introduce yourself, and learn more about the internship position (this has worked great for me in the past).
  • Take a day trip. If you feel that the semester has you glued to your homework, find ways to let all the stress die down over break. You could go skiing or snowboarding, go to a city that you’ve always wanted to visit, or just get out of town and do something fun!
  • Do things you normally don’t do. No, I don’t mean do the most crazy, epic thing ever. It could be something as simple as doing some volunteer work. Take a few hours to go into your community and help an organization with an event or give an extra set of hands at a food kitchen. It will feel great to help those in need and will boost your resume!

Whatever you choose to do over break, make it fun and enjoy your time at home!

Importance of Balancing School and Exercise

As college students, sometimes the load of homework, combined with club meetings and other extracurriculars, can become overwhelming over the course of the semester. Exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, however getting into an exercise routine can be difficult for some students.

First off, you may be thinking, “Why should I take the time out of my day to work out?” Here are a few reasons:

  • help set a schedule and routine
  • reduce chance of getting sick
  • fight off stress and depression
  • reduce hunger and cravings

Second off, you must want to exercise. You have to think, “I choose to say yes to going to the gym.” Yes, it is somewhat corny. But it’s true! You need to have the right mindset. Working out shouldn’t be a chore; it should be something positive that you feel motivated to do.

For everyone, exercise means many different things. To you, this could mean cardio – running, biking, using the elliptical machine, etc. It could also mean attending Zumba or an ab strengthener group class. For others, it means lifting weights.

Additionally, find your purpose for exercising. Is it because you want to lose weight or build muscle? Is it one of the reasons listed above? Or maybe you simply want to feel healthy. Whatever your purpose, focus on it. It will help you get through the days when you feel like you’re just going through the motions in your workout.

Not sure how to find the time to go to the gym? Try to schedule in when you plan on exercising. Even if you can only get 30 minutes of a workout into your day, remember that it’s better than nothing! Keeping a consistent workout schedule will make it even easier to get yourself on track. Also, try your best to exercise on Mondays. If you start off the week with a workout, you will be more likely to exercise throughout the week.

For more information on exercise, here is an article from Harvard School of Public Health.

 

On campus students: for information regarding SUNY Oswego Fitness Centers, click here.

Off-campus students: for information regarding Planet Fitness in Oswego, click here.

 

 

How to Land a Summer Internship

Internship, internship, internship. For many majors, this seems to be the biggest advice your professors stress to you. Internships can help you gain new skills, get a taste of the real world, and network with professionals. Most importantly, it can serve as an important stepping stone into a career. Many times, interns receive a job offer from the company after graduation (that is, of course, if they do an amazing job).

When I heard how important internships were as a public relations major, I jumped headfirst. The first semester I was here, I interviewed for two positions, and I luckily got an offer from one. I was so proud to be a second semester sophomore and have an internship. That was the stepping stone to my summer internship, my former job with Campus Recreation, my current internship, and one I was offered for the summer. There are many things I have learned over the past year about obtaining an internship…

  •  Think about the big picture. Do your research ahead of time and find what companies and internship programs look most intriguing. You can either do a Google search, use internship search websites,  or utilize Lakerleads, a free system for SUNY Oswego students. There is no such thing as Inquiring too early. Some companies have their hiring done by December or January for the summer season, whereas others don’t start interviewing until March. However, it’s much better to stay on top of the game and apply as soon as possible.
  • Call the company’s office and ask for more information or make an appointment to come in to shadow a professional. When it comes to the hiring process, you will stand out and since they will recognize your name or know your face and how you interact with others, you will be more likely to get a call back.
  • ALWAYS send a cover letter with your resume, unless the company’s page says specifically not to. It shows that you went the extra mile.
  • Once you send in your resume and cover letter, don’t wait for them to contact you. Follow up within a week or two either by email. If a week later, you don’t receive a response, call the office and ask for an opportunity to come in for an interview. This method has worked for me multiple times, and it is one of the reasons I landed my past summer internship.
  • Before the interview, make sure that you have a considerable amount of information about the company. The interviewers may ask what you know about the company. Additionally, have a list of questions prepared to ask towards the end. If you don’t have anything to ask, it may look as though you’re not interested in learning more about the company.
  • For the interview, show up 10 minutes early and look the part. I would recommend a suit because the more professional you are, the more seriously they will take you.
  • Nerves are almost always an emotion before an interview. But don’t let them take you over to the point that you feel your mouth dry up, your palms get sweaty, and your heartbeat thumping out of your chest. Take a deep breath and try to let all your anxiety go. Interviews are not a one-way communication process; they are supposed to be a conversation, so let your personality come out and be yourself.
  • ALWAYS send a thank you note. No, I am not referring to a quick and boring email. I am saying the old fashioned method – a hand written thank you note mailed to the office of the person who interviewed you.

Although internship hiring is done for the current semester, think about the future. What skills do you need to gain and what experience is recommended for the internship you want? Look for the internships that will give you what you want, and go for it.

My mom always tells me, “You don’t get in life what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” In other words, you have to fight for what you want. If you’re applying for a prestigious internship program, think creatively and make yourself stand out from the rest. Perseverance is key, and when employers see how badly you want something, that might just be your winning ticket.

Just remember, you win some, you lose some. You might have an amazing interview and feel great afterwards, but don’t get the offer. Keep your head high and continue on. It’s true that when one door closes, another opens.

What Can Employers Dig Up on You?

Career Services PR intern and Director of PR for PRSSA, Kaitlyn Rajner, giving a Digital Dirt presentation to PRSSA members

Do you love using social media? Do you freely post on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram?

It can be very easy to tweet about something you think is funny, yet offensive or post a picture of you at a party with a beer in your hand on Facebook and think nothing of it. You may think that what you post has no effect and will not harm you in any way because who else would view your profiles besides your friends, right? Wrong – a possible future employer could be looking at yours at this moment.

Although employers are not supposed to search your online profiles because it can form a bias or they can find someone with the same name, many still do it. A recent survey found that as many as 90% of companies hiring for a position viewed social network profiles as part of the screening process (Hays, 2013). This is why it’s important to create and maintain a positive online presence. A tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram picture can be the difference between getting a job and having your resume put in the “no” pile.

There are many things you can do to monitor what other people can see. Check your Facebook privacy settings, log off your account, and Google search your name to see what comes up. On Twitter and Instagram, you can make your profiles private. However, it is important to keep in mind that if you are a PR/communications/marketing major, companies are expecting to see that you have a public profile.

Personally, I have two Twitter profiles – a private one that I use to communicate with my friends and a public one I use to interact with professionals in the field and share industry news articles. I’ve found that it to be very helpful to have these two different accounts. The purpose is not specifically to “hide” any photos of me having fun with friends on weekends, but rather to establish my professionalism online.

Do you need help cleaning up your social media profiles, but not sure where to start? Talk with Career Services in the Compass located in the Marano Campus Center. You can sit down with one of the interns to do a Digital Dirt on your social media profiles.

For more tips, click here.

Struggling with Roommate Issues?

roommate

Photo cred: SUNY Oswego Residence Life

It’s true – you always remember your college roommate. To make a new environment away from home feel like a comfortable atmosphere, it’s important to have relational harmony with your roommate. If you’re not happy with who you’re living with, it can have a bigger effect than you realize. Studies have shown that avoiding conflict with a roommate is integral to a student’s happiness in their first months on campus.

Many times as transfer students, we haven’t had the “college experience” before, meaning that dorm life and living with a roommate are completely new concepts. Unless we request to live with someone we know, we are placed in a room with a complete stranger. It can be an awkward and uncomfortable experience at first becoming accustomed to living with someone in the same room.

Boundaries and issues aren’t always talked about in the beginning of the semester, and later on, it can create a problem. So how do you address a conflict with your roommate? Whether you’re someone that doesn’t mind bringing up a sensitive topic or someone who avoids conflicts at all costs, it is important to speak up. If you don’t address the problem, then there isn’t a conflict. Here are some steps to take:

  1. Pick the right timing to address the situation
  2. Use “I” statements when describing the conflict, such as “I feel upset when…” instead of “you” statements, such as “You make me so angry when…”
  3. Explain your needs and consider your roommate’s needs
  4. Come up with a solution that satisfies both you and your roommate
  5. Implement the solution
  6. If it doesn’t work, address the continuing conflict and create a new solution

For more roommate tips, click here.

Housing Search – On Campus or Off Campus?

It’s that time of year when students try to figure out where they want to live the following year. It can be a tough decision having to choose who to live with and the specific arrangements. After a year on campus living in Seneca Hall, I moved to an off campus house. I live with four other girls, and I have to say it has been a really great experience! However, there are pros and cons to every situation. Let’s take a look at both sides…

OFF CAMPUS HOUSING

Pros – You have your own bedroom, which means more space and privacy. If you’re able to live with your closest friends, you have the luxury of getting to hang around them a lot. It’s also much cheaper living in a house compared to living in the residence halls or the Village, and you can live there for the full 12 months of your lease.

Cons – You typically need a car, unless you live very close to campus and can walk. Parking can sometimes be an issue, so check with your landlord about designated parking areas, especially in the winter season. Around dinnertime, everyone is scrambling for the stove or oven (unless you make big house dinners). Also, the dishes don’t always get done and calling people out for their dirty dishes may not be the best method to address the situation. At my house, we make weekly dish duty schedules, and it helps a lot!

**Although some studies suggest that GPA decreases when you live off campus, keep in mind that it is not true for everyone. It depends on your drive, commitment to school, and your priorities. My first semester off campus, I earned the highest GPA I’ve ever had, so it is possible to balance your social life, work commitments, and homework! 

ON CAMPUS HOUSING

Residence Halls

Pros – Living in the dorms includes dining hall privileges and easy access to the bus service to and from classes. Also, if you like a sense of community or love being surrounded by others, you don’t have to look very far!

Cons – You continue to share a room with someone, therefore there’s limited privacy and space. You have to be considerate of their needs, such as sleep schedules and noise level when doing homework/studying. You also have to respect your neighbors, which means you can’t be too loud when friends are over.

The Village

The Village shares pros and cons of both living in the residence halls and off campus. You have your own room, plenty of space for cooking, and you pay a fixed price, which means you can crank the heat as high as you want and won’t get billed.  You can catch the bus, and parking is almost always available. You also have a sense of community with fellow upperclassmen peers living around you.

The cons, however, are much higher prices and not being to stay in the house over the summer or holidays.

Either way, whether you choose to live on campus or off campus, your housing situation is what you make of it!

For on campus housing options, click here.

For off campus housing options, click here.

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