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Learn and practice networking skills at the Speed Networking Event April 27

Learn and practice networking skills at the free Networking Event on Wednesday, April 27.

What does professional networking mean? Many people think it’s only for job seekers, but networking—which basically means developing relationships—is an important skill to learn as we begin developing our professional life. This includes planning and learning about careers, gaining experience in our chosen careers, and searching for permanent positions. People who are most successful in finding jobs tend to use their network to gain more connections and advice.

Those connections we make in the early stages of networking may be the same connections we maintain throughout our careers. Plus, those early connections may lead to more and more connections, and thus our network expands. Therefore, networking is an important skill to use throughout our professional life. Our network contacts may help guide, advise, and mentor us. In turn, we can then help others.

On Wednesday, April 27, Speed Networking EVENT will teach participants how to network, explain the benefits of networking, and give participants the opportunity to practice networking.

Co-sponsored by the Career Center and Alumni Association, the Speed Networking Event enables students and alumni to meet and learn from approximately 50 networking mentors, comprised of alumni and local professionals from a variety of career fields. Along with speed rounds, there will be open networking and free food.

When attending this event or any other networking event, present yourself in a professional manner: dress professionally or, at the very least, wear business casual. This might involve wearing a suit (and tie), or dress slacks with professional shirt, or khakis with a nice polo; women may also wear a professional suit, skirt, or dress.

This event is free, but registration through JobTracks is required. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn and practice your networking skills.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

4:30 PM – 6:30 PM

Plaster Student Union Ballroom (3rd Floor)

Registration Deadline: Wednesday, April 20


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Meet the Career Center’s new graduate assistant

Written by Theresa Lydon-Lorson, career counseling graduate assistant, Career Center


My name is Theresa Lydon-Lorson, and I am a 2014 graduate of Missouri State University. I have my Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies, and I am currently pursuing my Master of Science degree in secondary school counseling.

I grew up in the suburbs of St. Louis and graduated from Eureka High School in 2010. I was involved in band for most of my educational experience, and I seriously considered pursuing a career in music education. I played bass clarinet from sixth grade until my sophomore year of college. I loved marching band in high school, and I was the drum major during my junior and senior year. My love of band continued through college, and I marched tenor saxophone in MSU’s Pride Band my freshman through junior year.

The time I have spent at Missouri State has been fantastic. In August 2010, I began as an undeclared major, but by the beginning of my sophomore year I had decided on a degree in religious studies. I was drawn to the department because of the professors and their intense knowledge and interest in the field. Whether I was taking a course on Apocalypses, Buddhism, New Religious Movements, or Suffering and Meaning, the professors made it clear that they cared very deeply about what they were teaching. They fostered my interest in world religions, cultural consciousness, and meaning construction/existential thought. This environment made the religious studies department so engaging, and I was very fortunate to have been able to get my bachelor’s degree studying a subject that was so fun, intriguing, and important.

After my time spent in the religious studies department, I knew that I would have to work toward a master’s degree that would aid in my employability. I knew several of my classmates in religious studies had gone on to pursue master’s degrees in counseling, so I looked into the counseling program at MSU and thought that it could be a good fit. What really drew me into counseling was the fact that I never had a great connection with any of my school counselors; for me, many of my teachers during my K-12 experience filled the role of a counselor and were able to help me through the difficulties that young adulthood provides. It is my goal to be a school counselor who is approachable, understanding, and empathic. I am looking forward to doing my school counseling internships next fall and spring and hopefully finding employment in the St. Louis area soon after graduation!

My career experience, up to this point, has included work in data entry, retail, and fast food. Working as a graduate assistant has been a dramatic shift from food service, but I love being able to work with students and not constantly smell like French fries. Doing career counseling at the Career Center is such an amazing experience in which I am becoming incredibly prepared for my future as a high school counselor. I am very excited for all of the things I will learn during my time here, and I know that they will be invaluable in my preparation to become a professional school counselor.

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12 LinkedIn etiquette tips

In-2C-128px-TMWritten by Amie Gant, Career Center Communication and Design Assistant, Bachelor of Science, Professional Writing.

Because having good etiquette on social media can positively impact your professional development, knowing what to do and what not to do on each social media platform is crucial. Actions that are completely acceptable (or unacceptable) on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms might actually be sinking your chances of making the connections you need on LinkedIn for that dream job.

LinkedIn has its own set of rules. Here are 12 you may not be aware of:

  1. It’s not creepy to connect with individuals immediately after only talking to them for 10 minutes at a conference. While normally this might be perceived as being desperate, on LinkedIn you’ll want to send that request instantly so they don’t forget you.
  2. Turn off your activity when you’re updating your profile to avoid bombarding your connections with dozens of updates.
  3. Don’t ignore recruiters even if you’re not searching for a job. Leave that door open for future contact by thanking them for reaching out to you, and let them know you’ll remember them if your situation changes.
  4. Always customize each connection request, and never click on the blue “Connect” button while scrolling through a search or “People You May Know” list. The blue “Connect” button only lets you personalize your message when you are on someone’s profile.
  5. Don’t be afraid to connect with someone who either works at your dream company and or is in a position where you would someday like to be. However, make sure you double-check the person’s contact policy for any messaging requests.
  6. Don’t connect with a hiring manager even if your interview went well. It’s unnecessary and makes you appear overconfident.
  7. Endorse people only for skills you know for sure they have. If you endorse someone just to be nice, when you don’t truly believe the person is skilled in an area, you are reducing the effectiveness of the system.
  8. It’s okay to ask for endorsements from people who have worked closely with you or who have seen your abilities first-hand.
  9. Write awesome recommendation requests, and detail the specific highlights you are looking for.
  10. You’re not obligated to recommend people who are less than deserving. Don’t ignore their recommendation request, but instead, send them a private message such as, “I’m not the right person to give you a recommendation, but I wish you good luck.”
  11. Know when to use the “Remind” and “Withdraw” While it’s okay to “Remind” someone who you know won’t mind a friendly nudge, never “Remind” someone if you only know them professionally or if they are higher ranking than you. In those cases, use the “Withdraw” button after your request has gone unnoticed for a few months.
  12. Feel free to remove recommendations you don’t like, and don’t neglect to thank people who have recommended you.

To read more tips on LinkedIn etiquette, visit TheMuse or contact the Career Center to schedule an appointment with a Career Resources Specialist who can give you a quick review and tips for your LinkedIn profile.

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Everyday tips for the aspiring leader

Written by Amie Gant, Career Center Communication and Design Assistant, Bachelor of Science, Professional Writing.

Students raising hands
Students develop leadership skills simply by taking the initiative in class discussions and projects.

According to Job Outlook 2016 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), leadership is currently the most desirable attribute that employers look for in potential candidates.

While there are traditional and non-traditional students alike who have acquired years of leadership experience through jobs, volunteer work, and the military, there are many students who have not yet had the opportunity to gain leadership experience.

These students with little or no leadership experience are likely to be overlooked during the hiring process, even if they are viable candidates in other areas. There are many ways to build and strengthen leadership abilities. Here are a few suggestions to start:

  1. Raise your hand. When a professor asks for someone to answer a question in class, or to take charge of a group project, take initiative and snag that leadership position! It may not seem like much, but each time you answer a question or step forward to accept responsibility, you are building foundational leadership skills.
  2. Volunteer your time. A great way to gain valuable experience is to volunteer to a local cause that matters to you. Most volunteer-based organizations are short on paid employees, so don’t shy away from the leadership roles—there will be plenty of them! Learn more about volunteer opportunities through Missouri State’s Community Involvement and Service.
  3. Join an organization. Get involved with an organization you are passionate about, then take on positions within the organization that will push you to stretch your comfort zones. Learning to manage events and delegate tasks to a team are skills that will serve you well in the future. Learn more about campus organizations through the Office of Student Engagement.
  4. Gain potential in sports. Actively participating in sports can accelerate leadership potential. Sports instill hard work and perseverance that can inspire and motivate you as well as providing leadership roles along the way. For information on intramural sports, check out Campus Recreation’s Intramural Sports.
  5. Recognize the leadership qualities you already have. If you have ever planned a family event, babysat a younger sibling, taken care of a neighbor’s home and pets for a weekend, or worked at a summer camp, you already have leadership abilities. Reflect upon other areas in which you were in authority—you might surprise yourself with what you’ve already experienced.
  6. Complete a big project. Commit to a big personal project and see it through from start to finish. By learning to lead yourself, you will become more comfortable in that position and realize what it takes to inspire others.

Some of these recommendations may be outside your comfort zone, but the more you practice leadership activities, the more comfortable you will become. The key is to start small and develop your leadership skills a little at a time. Be a #LeaderBear.

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Why December is a good time to job search

Written by Amie Gant, Career Center Communication and Design Assistant, Bachelor of Science, Professional Writing.

business woman in red dress smiling
image: GraphicStock

If you’re like most of us, the holidays are a time to slow down and take a good, long break from our hectic schedules. However, if you’re currently searching for a job, you might consider letting the holiday season help you kick-start your job search. While the holidays are notorious for their dramatic drop in hiring, don’t let this dissuade you from your search. The majority of job seekers consider the market to be “dead” during the winter festivities. Quite the contrary; December is actually the best time of the year to apply for jobs, and here’s why:

You’ll have less competition.
Because of the numerous job seekers who adopt an inactive, kick-back-and-relax attitude during the holidays, job seekers who remain active in their search will often find an open door with no waiting line. Because fewer people are applying for positions, it will be easier for you to stand out from your peers. The lull in applicants will allow recruiters to spend more time reviewing your résumé, and they will pay special attention to you in longer interviews.

Companies have left-over money in their yearly budgets.
There are open positions. In addition to the positions that naturally need to be filled, many companies have extra money in their budgets that they’re not aware of until the end of the year. This opens new positions and new hiring decisions. Generally, companies will post these new positions at the beginning of the new year, so getting noticed during the holidays will place you way ahead of other candidates.

The holidays provide excellent networking opportunities.
The holidays are an optimum time to network at company and community parties and events. Whether you are meeting new people or reinforcing your existing network, approach the topic of your job search lightly. You might mention the companies you’re targeting and that you would appreciate any thoughts or ideas at a later date, but then swing the conversation back to eggnog, and let it be. If they can help you, they will remember you. A lengthy conversation about your job search will only disrupt the holiday cheer. Be professional, but warm. Remember, although it’s a party, you’re on display, so minimize your alcohol intake and dress conservatively.

Reinforce your current network with holiday cards.

Write a heartfelt and appreciative holiday card to your professional contacts. While e-cards are definitely easier to send, taking the time to handwrite a personal note will make it more meaningful. Sending seasonal cheer to your professional contacts can have career-changing effects that may lead to internships, mentorships, freelancing opportunities, and job offers.

You should send cards to:

  • Current and former supervisors
  • Co-workers
  • Mentors and role models
  • Miscellaneous professional connections

In your card, refer to specific instances when your contact supported you. Don’t use the card as an opportunity to request a favor. Instead, express your gratitude for the positive influence they have had on your career. It will reinforce your relationship, and the next time you reach out for a favor, they will remember that you took the time to wish them happy holidays.

The holidays are a great time to slack off, and if you choose this route, you’re not alone. But if you’re interested in fast-tracking your job search, December is the time to do it. What better way to start the new year than with a new job?

Missouri State University Career Center holiday hours
By appointment only: Dec 14 – 18
Office closed: Dec 19 – Jan 3
By appointment only: Jan 4 – 8
Regular walk-in hours resume Jan 11.

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Feel the burn? How to recognize and overcome burnout

Written by Amie Gant, Career Center Communication and Design Assistant, Bachelor of Science, Professional Writing.

Burnout image
Burnout can negatively impact your academic performance and work.

Semesters are long and overwhelming. For many students, instructors, and professors, this Thanksgiving

break can’t come fast enough. Exams and large projects are due every week, and there never seems to be a moment to come up for air. Whether you are a first-year undergraduate, or this is your last year as a graduate student, burnout can and may have already happened to you.

Being burnt out can have serious effects on your academic performance, your work, and your personal life. If you’re not on the lookout for the symptoms, it might be too late before burnout hits you at full force, slowing your progress to a crawl, weakening your sense of happiness, and detrimentally affecting your academic and work success.

Burnout is natural and happens to everyone. Do any of the following sound familiar?

  • constant fatigue or always wanting to sleep
  • tired of classes or hating work that previously interested you
  • no longer putting effort into assignments
  • procrastination
  • loss of interest in hobbies
  • never enough time to do anything
  • unorganized
  • difficulty managing stress
  • poor eating habits
  • lack of exercise
  • anger, cynicism, and uncertainty

If you answered yes to one or more, you may be experiencing burnout. Why is this happening? Burnout has numerous causes, but here are a few reasons:

  • an overload of assignments
  • a major life change (moving, starting a new job, getting married, death of a friend or family member)
  • monotony at work
  • constantly hanging around the same people (whether you like or dislike them)
  • doing the same activities repetitively
  • remaining in a high-stress environment for an extended period of time

You can conquer burnout and become focused and feel energized again. It won’t happen overnight, but keep in mind that you didn’t reach this point of exhaustion in one day, or maybe even in one semester. Here are six things you can do to alleviate the feelings of burnout:

  1. Eliminate the source. This doesn’t mean to drop out of college or quit work. Sure, a large portion of your stress may stem from classes and work, but they aren’t the only reasons you’re overwhelmed. Take a step back and really dig deep to figure out the additional stressors weighing you down. Sometimes a change of place is good, but don’t make a hasty decision and walk out in the middle of your shift unless you have a guarantee that doing so won’t create financial hardship or damage your work reputation.
  2. Reverse your routine. Change it up! If you normally rush to open your social media apps every time you’re on break, try drawing or reading a book instead. If you always eat out, find a cool recipe and make it yourself. If you use a tablet or a laptop for the majority of your writing, try writing with pen and paper once in a while. Constantly drive the same way to and from school and work? Find an alternate route. The point is to do something unusual in your daily routine.
  3. Make time for you. If you don’t have time to enjoy anything, try cutting back on your number of commitments. While putting others’ needs before your own is generous, doing it constantly can be exhausting. Being active and involved is wonderful as long as you’re not spreading yourself too thin. If an obligation is not a priority right now, try doing something to alleviate your stress instead, such as exercising or finally working on your long-lost hobby you haven’t picked up all semester.
  4. Prepare your own healthy meals. It’s often difficult to wake up 20 minutes early to pack a healthy lunch, or even to prepare a meal the night before. This may cause you to resort to grab-on-the-go, low-nutrient foods, which in the long run will only increase your fatigue and unhappiness. Eating food with the nutrients your body needs will increase your mental clarity and boost your energy levels to help you power on.
  5. Move, move, move. If you sit for hours in class, or have a job that doesn’t require much physical exertion, try to take frequent breaks. Walk for five minutes. Move! Smell the fresh air! Look up at the sky! If you truly do not have 30 minutes in a day to spare for exercise, try spending five minutes doing pushups or squats. Find something that you like and then do a little bit at a time. The more you move, the more energy you will have throughout the day.
  6. Get organized. Use a planner to write out your deadlines so you don’t have to keep track of everything in your head. Make a prioritized to-do list and cross off the tasks as you complete them. Be careful to keep the list achievable. Do only what you can work on today and schedule the rest for tomorrow. By prioritizing your day, week, and month, you can easily focus on one task at a time, instead of becoming overwhelmed and losing track of 20 different projects.

The semester is almost over! Keep your mind sharp and your attitude positive. It will make an enormous difference in your academic performance, your work environment, and your life as a whole. By learning to recognize when you are getting too exhausted, you will be able to re-strategize your way of life at school and work to prevent future bouts of burnout.

For help and advice for overcoming burnout, visit the Counseling Center.

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Terrified by job interviews? Overcome your fear and boost your interview confidence

Written by Amie Gant, Career Center Communication and Design Assistant, Bachelor of Science, Professional Writing.

What can be scarier and more stressful than Halloween’s haunted houses, ghosties, ghouls, and zombies? Job interviews. However, the more you practice and get familiar with the process, the less terrifying interviews may become.nervous interview

Mock interviews provide a constructive way to reduce your stress and anxiety about interviewing. The Missouri State University Career Center offers mock interview sessions to students and alumni. The benefits of these mock interviews are numerous and can dramatically increase your chances of acing your next real-world interview.

All interviews are stressful, and even though it is just a mock interview, it is easy to become nervous. What better way to work out your nervous tics than in a pretend setting? Thankfully, practice really does make perfect. Sign up for mock interviews, and keep practicing until you are comfortable with the interview process. You will be surprised at the enormous difference this will make in your performance. You will do things right, and you will do things wrong. Just take a deep breath, and be yourself. Remember, it is better to make a blundering mistake in a pretend setting than in a real-world interview.

A mock interview will prepare you to answer tough questions, and it will give you pointers on how to present yourself professionally and personally. In a real interview, no one will tell you what you did wrong, and you may be left wondering why you didn’t get the job. At the Career Center, you will receive on-the-spot, constructive feedback. You will learn what you did well and what you need to improve. This is your golden opportunity to ask questions and to fine-tune your interview techniques before the real-deal interview that will make or break your chances of being hired.

At the MSU Career Center, your mock interview will be video recorded and put on a flash drive (please bring your own flash drive) so you can see first-hand how you appear in an interview setting. It’s sometimes painful to watch (who wants to see themselves mess up?), but the video can be an invaluable tool in helping you correct your errors.

You may not have realized that you were waving your hands as you talked, or that you kept touching your face, pushing your hair out of your eyes, making awkward expressions, or doing some other distracting movement. After watching the video, you will be more conscious of what you need to work on, and you will be more likely to succeed.

So, if you cringe at the thought of being recorded, relax. No one has ever died from watching their interview recording, and in the long run, you will be glad you did.

Set up your mock interview by calling the Career Center at 417-836-5636.


You can also practice phone and Skype interviews. To schedule a phone interview, please contact the Career Center. You can access practice Skype interviews via InterviewStream on your free JobTracks account. InterviewStream features virtual mock interviews with expert tips and advice to assist you with your interviewing development.


Mock Interview DayThe Career Center is hosting a Mock Interview Day for all majors on October 23, 2015, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the PSU Ballroom West (3rd floor).

This event is staffed with local employers to provide students with an opportunity to go through a 40-minute mock interview session.

If you plan to participate, make sure you dress professionally and come with your résumé handy.

Register for Mock Interview Day:

Students need to register for Mock Interview Day, but the event is FREE.

For students: To sign up, please upload a copy of your résumé to JobTracks and select a time slot. For more information, please contact the Career Center at 417-836-5636 or CareerCenter@MissouriState.edu.

For employers: To participate, please contact the Career Center at 417-836-5636 or CareerCenter@MissouriState.edu.

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“My internship experience revitalized my motivation”

Written by Amie Gant, Career Center Communication and Design Assistant, Bachelor of Science, Professional Writing.

computer-820281_1280This summer I completed my undergraduate internship as an assistant editor and graphic layout artist. I have noticed a positive change in myself after my experience; however, this change did not come easily.

Successful completion of this internship required a minimum of 135 hours of documented work. It was a summer of grueling hours spent sitting in a chair and giving myself migraines from focusing too hard on my laptop screen. My back and shoulders burned with fatigue, and my legs went numb more times than I could count. But, by the end of my internship, it was clear to me that I had learned several things I had not anticipated.

  1. I learned that I am capable of producing quality work on my own with little to no guidance. I have always had an instructor or a professor there to nudge me one way or another if I got stuck on a design, or if I didn’t know what to write. Since the majority of my internship was independent work, I had no one else to rely on but myself. At first, this was very intimidating, because I lacked confidence in my ability to design engaging, professional, and original work. As I pushed through my difficulties, my confidence grew until I was sure that with a little dedication, I could accomplish whatever project my internship supervisor gave me.
  2. I know without a doubt that I am in the correct career field. While I have always had a passion for writing, editing, and designing, there were times during my internship that I became frustrated with my computer and my projects. I was able to persevere through these rough moments until I began to see progress. Seeing this progress was worth every difficult moment. I loved seeing my work come together after long hours of struggle. My internship confirmed that I have made the right career choices. I proved that I am passionate about and capable in my career field.
  3. I proved that I am capable of managing a large project without guidance or encouragement. In my courses at Missouri State University, I have had large semester-long projects of similar difficulty and length as my internship projects. With my internship, the difference was not having my instructors and professors to act as a safety net. In class, my instructors and professors give me a timeline and project deadlines. They are there to encourage and enforce a proper working pace to eliminate procrastination. For my internship, it was all me. It was up to me to determine the rate at which I worked, how long I spent on each project, and how to best prioritize my focus. Without my courses at Missouri State University, I would not have known how to correctly manage my projects.
  4. I utilized every skillset I have learned in my courses at Missouri State University. I am sure this seems like a very bold statement, but it is true. This summer, I used everything I have learned in each of my major classes. This both surprised and encouraged me, for I never knew to what extent the information I learned in class would be used in a real-world situation. This summer, I discovered that even the classes I presumed to be unimportant were essential to my success. I had to muster every bit of wisdom my instructors and professors have instilled in me over the past several years. I am glad I did well in class and that I retained as much as I did. Had I not, I would not have been able to successfully complete my internship.

My internship experience has revitalized my motivation to continue to strive for excellence as I journey into my career field. I have grown and changed as a person and as a student. I have learned to think past my frustrations, to never stop trying until I am 100 percent happy with my work, and I have learned that I am perfectly capable of single-handedly producing professional, elegant designs.

Although I still have much to learn, after my undergraduate internship experience, I feel much more prepared for my future career. I highly encourage all students who are preparing for an internship to pay attention in every class, keep their text books handy, and enjoy their time as an intern because even though it is a fleeting experience, it can make a profound impression upon their personal, academic, and professional lives.

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ur hired—not! lol

Written by Amie Gant, Career Center Communication and Design Assistant, Bachelor of Science, Professional Writing.social media on your phone

Poor grammar and punctuation habits may be harder to break than you think, especially if you are practicing these poor habits daily on a social media site such as Facebook. Some Facebook users take their posts quite seriously, and you probably have at least one or two Facebook friends who fall into this category. These friends’ posts are well-manicured, carefully punctuated, and appropriately capitalized. They proofread everything from the ranting paragraph to the single-word update. Bravo to those Facebook users! Unfortunately, there is another category of Facebook users who are not as attentive; I fall into this category.

If you are like me, I rarely proofread my Facebook posts, and I give a casual la-dee-dah! to grammar and punctuation rules. Want to know the worst thing? I am an English Major. I should be a grammar nerd. All the time. Everywhere. While I do have a great fondness for diagramming sentences, editing, and proofreading, unfortunately, my inner grammar nerd visits me only when I am in an academic or work environment. That’s okay, I’ve always thought, I will pay close attention to my comma usage when I have a serious email to write. I can afford to slack off on Facebook. Wrong!

Correct grammar and punctuation usage requires constant practice even for the nerdiest of grammar nerds. Throughout my college years, I have noticed a decline in my own grammar skills. I have said, “Eh, I’ll worry about it when it’s important,” so many times that I have lost many of the writing skills I once took for granted. This seems terribly ironic, doesn’t it? I am a senior in college, after all! But, think about it. I have convinced myself that Facebook is my space to do with what I will, and while this is certainly true, what is it doing to my professionalism? Typing “ur” does nothing to remind me which “ur” I’m referring to. Is it “your” or “you’re” and how can I distinguish between these with “ur”? I can’t. And normally, I don’t care, because in the back of my mind I assure myself that, when the time comes, I’ll simply remember the correct usage.

Poor grammar habits follow me from the safety of my Facebook page to the academic and professional world. I don’t always capitalize the letter “i”, nor do I always use an apostrophe when it’s needed. Because my eyes have grown accustomed to this on social media, I don’t always catch it when I am emailing my professors (heaven help you if you email an English professor with a message full of “im”, “ive”, and “ill”). How can I expect a professor to recommend me for an internship or a Graduate Assistantship if I cannot maintain my credibility and responsibility through my writing?

Please, tell me I’m not the only one.

The truth is, I don’t always remember the finer points of grammar, and it usually happens in the most unfortunate circumstances. For instance, my office supervisor asked me to spellcheck and proofread the hardcopy of an email, but I did not have a spellchecker nor Google to back me up. My supervisor just stared at me, waiting for me to put pen to paper. This has also happened to me once when I applied for a job. Part of the pre-interview paperwork included a spelling test, a punctuation test, and a word usage test. I didn’t get the job.

How does incorrect grammar and punctuation in a professional environment affect your credibility? Everyone makes mistakes, but if your punctuation is rusty, to an educated eye, your repetitive errors may make you seem careless. Often, we are judged by our ability to write effectively, and whether it is fair or not, careless writing can make us seem unintelligent and irresponsible. Typos happen to the best of us, but whenever I make a mistake at work—it is embarrassing—and all I can think is, “If only I had been practicing all this time.”

I post to Facebook at least once every day. That is a chance to practice my writing skills at least once a day. I can check my spelling and ensure I have used apostrophes correctly. Have I properly used fewer or less? Done or finished? Then or than? If I don’t know the answer, someone else will, and they probably won’t take me seriously. I have also noticed that I do not always write in complete thoughts and sentences anymore. Do I have a subject and verb? Am I working with independent or dependent clauses? How do I punctuate them?

I have often wondered if I would be comfortable friending a future employer on Facebook, and the answer is absolutely not, never in a hundred years, no. Why? Because that employer might scroll back and see my desecration of the English language.

I am not saying don’t relax on your own Facebook page; I am simply offering up my own errors for your consideration. Of course, this can apply to your text messages and other social media outlets just the same. No matter how grammar savvy you may be, nurturing bad habits of carelessness day after day can deteriorate your skills and spread through the different facets of your professional life. Regardless of your career field, you should practice proper grammar and punctuation until you form professional habits that will make you marketable, not laughable. Aristotle said, We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit. Don’t let your writing habits be anything less.

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Looking for a Job in Education? Here are 10 Tips for EDUCATION DAY

If you’re looking for a job in education, then don’t miss Education Day on Tuesday, April 7. An annual career fair for individuals seeking jobs in education, Education Day provides candidates the opportunity to meet with several school districts in one day. Many administrators also plan to conduct interviews during this event, so come prepared.

Education Day photo
One of the representatives at Education Day
9:30 AM — 12:30 PM

Following are 10 tips to help you make Education Day a success. These tips are adapted from the 2015 AAEE Job Search Handbook.

  1. Before Education Day, visit the Career Center’s website to identify registered employers and research your top districts: http://bit.ly/1G8D4UK. Here you’ll see a list of more than 60 school districts and organizations that are registered to attend.

If you click on each employer’s name, you can read more details. You also can access the URL to their website. Give yourself plenty of time to do this research; don’t wait until the day of the event to look at the list and start your research.

  1. Bring several résumés. Even though you need to apply online for teaching positions, market yourself at Education Day by bringing several copies of your résumé. Be prepared to discuss your experiences, skills, and abilities outlined on the résumé.
  1. Bring your portfolio and completed applications. Portfolios provide evidence of your skills and experiences. If you have a portfolio for job interviewing, bring it to Education Day.

If you don’t have a portfolio, the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) provides some guidelines for creating one: http://bit.ly/1xySct3. The 2015 AAEE Job Search Handbook also discusses the portfolio. (Copies of the handbook are available in the Career Center in Carrington 309, but supplies are limited.)

Another reason to research the school districts ahead of time is so you can complete their application forms. Some districts may have applications at their table, but completing the form ahead of time and bringing it with you to Education Day will avoid the stress of having to fill out the form in the middle of a career fair.

  1. Introduce yourself and ask questions. Employers come to Education Day to talk to students, so don’t hesitate to initiate the conversation. That can feel intimidating, but if you review the Career Center’s handout on the “30-Second Commercial” http://bit.ly/1xyUUP1, you’ll be ready to approach employers.
  1. Meet with a variety of employers. Even though you may have selected the specific employers you want to meet, be open to learning about those employers who aren’t on your top list.

Every job fair brings at least one story of a student who accepted a job offer or internship from an employer the student hadn’t originally considered. Network. Meet administrators and develop contacts. This can lead to jobs later.

  1. Emphasize your strengths. Come prepared to talk about yourself and experiences. Employers at Education Day want to see your passion and hear about your classroom experiences, teaching strategies, technology you’ve used, differentiated instruction, classroom management, and other relevant knowledge, skills, and experiences.

Show your interest and enthusiasm not only for teaching but also for the district. This is another reason to research the participants ahead of time. After all, how can you show interest if you don’t know anything about the district?

  1. Be prepared to interview. All employers will ask questions similar to interview questions, but many representatives also will be conducting more formal interviews during Education Day.

Be prepared. Practice interview questions ahead of time and do a virtual practice interview with InterviewStream on the Career Center’s website. (Log in to JobTracks at https://www.myinterfase.com/missouristate/Account/LogOn and select InterviewStream at the bottom of the left navigation bar. Then select Conduct an Interview.)

  1. Dress Professionally. Dress as you would for a more formal interview. Many administrators will be wearing business attire, so wear professional attire, too.
  1. Stay Organized. Collect business cards from the employers; keep track of those you meet and take notes about the discussion—application procedures, information about the district, and other information that you want to remember.
  1. Follow up. Send thank-you letters or emails to the employers that most interest you. In addition to thanking them for their time, also express your interest and remind them of your conversation. The majority of candidates fail to send thank-you letters, so writing a thank you will make a positive impression.
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