Networking for Introverts: Tips for Where to Start

Networking for Introverts: Tips for Where to Start

By Sarah Kovalesky, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach

Even now as a Career Coach, hearing the word networking makes my stomach flip over and makes me want to go hide. I have always liked small groups or been the quiet one with her nose in a book; and I have always preferred it that way. Networking is a reality of the world of work, and over time I have come to own my introversion and found strategies that make networking work for me in what is often an extroverted world.

Tips for Where to Start

Have a plan for networking events. These types of events can be really daunting and, as an introvert, it is best to have a plan!

  • Pick an event during a time when you know you are at your best. If you are not an evening person, maybe look into attending an event over the lunch hour or during the day.
  • Start with research to know who you can expect to be there, who you want to talk with, and the logistics of the event.
  • Once you have done your research, come up with a goal for how many people you want to talk with at the event.
  • Plan ahead for ways to recharge after the event. That might mean watching a movie, reading a book, going for a run, cooking a meal, or doing whatever you need to do to take care of yourself after networking.

Seek out 1/1 and online opportunities. These types of interactions are often much more comfortable because you are able to focus your energy on building a relationship with just one person.

  • Start looking for these opportunities through people you already know and learning who they know as a starting point.
  • Create and send messages through platforms like AlumniFire and LinkedIn where you might ask a connection several questions or do what we would call an informational interview.
  • If talking to someone sounds a bit much at first, start by emailing and then maybe move into a phone call, video chat, or informal coffee meeting.

 

Use your introvert superpowers! Introverts might live in an extraverted world, but our personalities provide us with a skillset that can be incredibly powerful when it comes to making connections and forming relationships. Some of these skills and superpowers are:

  • The ability to focus and concentrate
  • Superior listening skills
  • A reflective nature to develop well thought out questions

What are some of your introvert superpowers?

 

Challenge and unapologetically be yourself! It can be really easy to fall into the “act more like an extravert” or “talk more” advice that a lot of introverts will hear from extraverts in their life. It might take some time and practice outside of your comfort zone, but at the end of the day, be proud that you are an introvert! Start with my advice above and find what works for YOU and your introversion – you too can network!

 

Resources & References

The Benefits of Knowing Your Strengths Now, Rather Than Later 

The Benefits of Knowing Your Strengths Now, Rather Than Later

By Megan Randall, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach

When I was in college, I barely thought about or talked about my strengths. While I vaguely knew I was good at certain things, I avoided exploring and articulating my strengths. I feared I might sound like I was bragging or somehow implying I was better than others if I did. Sadly, I let this fear get the best of me for a long time. It wasn’t until long after I had graduated that I learned that the ability to name, claim, and aim your strengths is an essential skill to thrive in today’s workforce.

To empower you to avoid making the same mistakes I did, here are three reasons why it’s beneficial to start focusing on your own strengths NOW, rather than later:

1- Knowing your strengths will help you identify opportunities that would be a good fit for you. One of the best ways to determine the next steps in your career journey is to first understand who you are, which includes reflecting on your strengths. The better you know your natural talents, the more you can draw from them to search for and identify opportunities that will give you the chance to do what you do best every day, so you can then turn your raw talents into matured strengths and live up to your full potential.

 

2- Knowing how to identify and articulate your strengths will help you stand out to employers. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Career Management is one of the top 8 career readiness competencies employers want students to develop by the time they graduate (NACE 2019). Specifically, Career Management is the ability to “identify and articulate one’s skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals and identify areas necessary for professional growth” (NACE 2019). By learning how to showcase your strengths in a resume, cover letter, interview, and even a personal statement, you will demonstrate your value to recruiters and show them that you are career-ready.

 

3- Applying your greatest strengths will improve your overall quality of life and help you succeed. According to Gallup, the organization that administers the best-selling CliftonStrengths for Students assessment, “People who focus on using their strengths are three TIMES as likely to report having an excellent quality of life” and “are six TIMES as likely to be engaged in their jobs” (Gallup 2020). So the sooner you start identifying, reflecting on, and growing your strengths, the sooner you can experience these rewards for yourself.

If you aren’t sure where to start with your strengths, register for our upcoming FREE Virtual Discover Your Strengths Workshop – offered once a semester – to take the best-selling CliftonStrengths for Students Top 5 assessment at no cost, and delve into your strengths with Certified CliftonStrengths Coaches. Alternatively, you can take the assessment for $11.99 online anytime then meet with a Career Coach to debrief your results. Remember – it’s never too early to explore your strengths and start reaping these many benefits!

Turby Talks: Welcome to the Conversation

Turby Talks: Welcome to the Conversation

By Kayla Turbyfill, Career Ambassador & Intern, Career & Professional Development Center

I remember beginning college and feeling so sure of myself. I thought it would all come easily to me. The football games, finding my community, joining clubs, doing the readings and homework, understanding and pursuing my degree path. I imagined somewhere along the way I’d be offered an amazing internship and research experience, and I would feel prepared for that perfect job I was bound to get fresh out of college. I could see it all, and I thrived off that perfect picture. And then it cracked –shattered really – once I started college, and I felt adrift. I still do, to be honest.

Over the next few months, I will be heading a new column for our CPDC Peaks & Valleys Blog called “Turby Talks.” Alongside the blog, I will be utilizing the CPDC Instagram, @UofUCareers, to reach out to students to learn about your perspectives and share your stories. I created this conversation with students for all of you who have also spent hours feeling like you’re lost in a textbook wilderness, clawing and scraping to make sense of it all. “Turby Talks” is a nod to students who have gone through hard times of helplessness mixed with bits of triumph, when you’ve asked for help when you knew you didn’t want to ask. For the instances when your world turned upside down when another career or degree path caught your eye and disrupted your initial plans. And for those moments of humanness that remind us that life, and our career and professional development, are journeys full of ups and downs.

It can be tremendously difficult to find your way along this journey when you are simultaneously learning about yourself, what professionalism looks like for you, how to achieve the goals you’ve been dreaming of since you were little, and sometimes letting go of those dreams to find a better path forward. There are so many things that contribute to the peaks and valleys of college – career exploration, major selection, choosing to take time away from school or work, dealing with losses of all shapes and forms, and learning to be resilient through all of these things, just to name a few. In the coming months, you can look forward to discussions about many of these topics, featured on our Peaks & Valleys blog through the “Turby Talks” column.

If nothing else, I hope that “Turby Talks” will help you feel heard. I hope these posts make you feel seen and understood. I eagerly await the day that you celebrate yourself alongside your biggest fans. I long for the moment when you feel like you’ve made it and you manifested your dreams into reality, and I happily walk next to you as you make your way through your journey.

What to Consider When Considering Grad School

What to Consider When Considering Grad School

By Megan Randall, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach

When I first considered going to grad school, I had no idea where to start. I navigated the process by myself because I didn’t know what else to do. While I managed on my own, I’ve realized there are many things I would do differently now. Below are a few of the tips I’ve learned since, which I hope will ease your own process of considering going to grad school:

  • Ask yourself WHY you want to go to graduate school. At that time in my life, I was two years out of college. I had been applying for study abroad advisor jobs in Boston for months, with no luck. I kept seeing job descriptions that said, “Bachelor’s degree required, Master’s degree preferred”. The realization that getting a Master’s degree would make me more competitive for the jobs I wanted led me to apply to grad school. There are many reasons to go; this is just one. If you’re unsure about your own reasons, consider using our “Is Grad School Right For You?” worksheet or meeting with an Undergraduate Career Coach.

 

  • Reflect on your values & determine what you want out of a program. Before you start your search, reflect on the qualities that are most important to you in selecting schools/programs to which you want to apply. Also, ask yourself what you want to get out of grad school and how earning a Master’s degree or Ph.D. will help you achieve your career goals. Reflecting on these factors will help you compare and narrow down your options once you start searching. For example, you can consider each school’s/program’s location, student demographics, admissions requirements, cost, scholarship opportunities, reputation, size, networking opportunities, etc. Make a list of your top values and selection criteria and have it handy as you begin to search.

 

  • Thoroughly research & compare graduate programs to narrow down your options. I did a Google search when I started searching for programs, and I immediately felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of results. Instead, consider using websites such as Petersons.com and Gradschools.com, which are designed to help you research and compare programs and explore scholarship opportunities. Additionally, attend our Virtual Graduate School Fair today (10/1) to learn about hundreds of graduate programs across the U.S. and abroad! As you research, document what you learn in a spreadsheet so you can compare programs/schools afterwards. Especially make note of each program’s classes offered and faculty interests/research specialties that align with your interests. In general, we recommend narrowing down your options to a number that works for you, whether that is 3, 7, 10, or more.

 

  • Start early, know it’s a process, and know you’re not alone! Considering and applying to graduate school can be complex and time intensive. It’s never too early to learn how to chunk out these processes into small, manageable steps. Remember that you’re not alone! Our Undergraduate Career Coaches can help you narrow down your options AND complete your applications, for up to a year after you graduate.

 

Employer Advice: Tips to Succeed at This Fall’s Virtual Career Fairs

Employer Advice: Tips to Succeed at This Fall’s Virtual Career Fairs

By Lyndsey (Koch) Keiswetter, Talent Acquisition Specialist, Insight Global, LLC | Contact: Lyndsey.Koch@insightglobal.com

As you know, this career fair season will be different in more ways than one, but what’s important to remember is we are all going through this together. Employers are learning the virtual world just as students are. While we will not be physically face-to-face this career fair season, there are still steps you can take to optimize your experience, and make the most out of your virtual career fair season.

 

1- Resume / LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn has changed the game for both job seekers and employers. It is the number one tool employers use to seek new talent, and it is important to have your LinkedIn profile and resume updated before career fair season. Be sure to use a professional photo along with listing all of your involvement, including extra-curricular activities on-campus, and showcase your strengths and the value you can add to a company. Also, add preferences to your desired jobs/locations. Live chat in the CPDC’s Virtual Career Studio (M-F, 2-7pm) or email your resume to resumereviews@careers.utah.edu to get help with your resume!

 

2- Do Research: Prior to the career fairs, it is important to do research on the different companies that will be attending each one. Time is of the essence, and since you are not able to “walk by” companies that look intriguing, it is up to you to make sure you are optimizing your time with companies in which you are most interested. Make a list, do research, and prioritize which ones you’d like to spend the most time with/which align most with your desired career path. This will allow you to stay organized and maximize time with specific employers.

 

3- Test your technology!: We are living in a virtual world right now, and we need to do everything we can in order to prevent “technical difficulties”! So, TEST YOUR TECHNOLOGY! Download relevant platforms on your desktop/laptop (Handshake, Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, etc.) and trial run them with someone to ensure your video/audio work to limit any unexpected “surprises” on the day of the fairs. Feeling comfortable and confident with these different platforms will allow you to be fully present and engaged with employers.

 

4- Sell yourself, but don’t forget to have a personal touch: I’m sure you all have been working on an “elevator pitch” prior to the career fairs since time with employers is limited during the fairs, but I want to remind you that adding a personal touch to your “pitch” is so important. Building personal rapport with employers right off the bat will only help you stand out. So, before diving into what your major is, and everything you are involved with on campus, ask the employer, how is their day going? How has the transition to the virtual world been for them so far? As I mentioned before, we are all in this together, and employers are feeling the same types of nerves/uncertain feelings as you are. Starting off your meeting on a sincere note to connect with employers will allow both of you to be more comfortable and engaged!

 

I am confident that this career fair season will be just as impactful and beneficial as the ones in the past, and I’m so excited to meet you all next week! If you haven’t already, be sure to register in Handshake before the upcoming Virtual Career & Internship Fair & Virtual Social Impact Career Expo on 9/29 so you don’t miss them!

A Recent Electrical Engineering Grad’s Best Career Advice

A Recent Electrical Engineering Grad’s Best Career Advice

By Kassidee Shoemaker, Electrical Engineer, GRME, Inc. | UofU Alumna ’18 Electrical and Electronics Engineering

There are few things more valuable to engineering students than: FOOD, SLEEP and (probably) the MOST IMPORTANT – TIME. The decision of which priority to fill your time is a critical one – especially as graduation quickly approaches. There are homework assignments and labs to finish, studying for finals, and trying to get enough sleep to keep your brain from becoming mush. Throw job searching into the mix and it becomes difficult to align priorities.

My last semester studying electrical engineering at the U, I was taking 21 credits and felt I had no time for anything except surviving my classes so I could graduate. I had heard that Hill Air Force Base was coming to do an information session about the opportunities for engineers and was hardly interested. But it was a decent time to eat a salad from the café and give my brain a “break” for a minute and I decided to join in. The information they shared about the opportunities at Hill surprisingly intrigued me and I decided it might be worth interviewing for a position and seeing if it would be a good fit. Long story short, I set up an interview with a group I was VERY interested in, and another group that I was using as a ‘practice interview’ (seems terrible, I know…Just wait). Well, during the ‘practice interview’ I found my personality was a really great fit with the team and the project.

I later accepted a position with them and worked with that group for 1.5 years, then was ‘poached’ by another company that exceeded my salary expectations. Overall, I’ve reached my long-term career goals much faster than I had hoped I would. It’s all because I took the time to interview during the senior-year-chaos and took a chance on a group that I was using as a practice interview.

Below is my best advice to help you jump-start your own career:

  • Follow your gut when it comes time to pick a career path and job opportunity.
  • Practice interviews are okay! They will give you a better idea of what you really want out of an employer and career.
  • As a future engineer, know your worth, but do everything you can to make yourself valuable as an employee and engineer.
  • BE PERSONABLE!!!! Engineers SUCK at this sometimes, a lot of times. Make eye contact, be kind, personable and confident. Not arrogant, confident. Don’t fidget, just relax.
  • Don’t go out of your way to try to make yourself look smart. It just makes you look weird and awkward instead. Your intelligence will shine through – don’t force it.
  • If you are a Sophomore, get an internship ASAP. Get one in industry if you can. This is just as valuable of an experience as your schooling is. No joke. It’s crazy important. It shows you can work a job as a competent employee and this is valuable information to employers.
  • It’s worth your valuable time to attend a career fair, like the 2-Day Virtual STEM Career & Internship Fair on 9/21 and 9/22! Check out the internship and career opportunities to get an idea of what’s out there and where your interests lie.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY – Don’t give up. Engineering is tough and everyone else is struggling too. They just might be able to fake it better.

5 Tips to Write a Great Technical Resume

5 Tips to Write a Great Technical Resume

By Olga Kingsbury, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach

As a Career Coach that works with Engineering students, I see dozens of technical resumes every week. The main question most students have about their resume is, “What makes a great technical resume?”

While the fundamental principles of resume writing are consistent across all fields, there are a number of important points that STEM students should keep in mind when writing their resumes:

1- Include your GPA

Having your current GPA on your resume is very important for STEM students, as it allows employers to gauge your academic abilities. Even if your GPA is lower (below 3.0), STEM employers still recommend including it in your Education section. If your GPA is low, you can provide a brief explanation on your resume. For example, you could say that you had to work full-time while studying to provide for your family.

2- Prioritize technical skills

Including a “Technical Skills” section is one of the most important sections in a STEM resume, and it should go right after your Education section. This is where you can show off your technical ability to use programming languages, operating systems, and specialized technical tools. If you have a significant number of technical skills, feel free to create subsections like “Languages”, “Systems”, etc. to make your Technical Skills section more readable.

3- Class and fun projects matter

Your technical classes and side projects are as valuable of experiences like internships and paid work. Format your projects just like you would format your work experience: focus on your role in the project and frame your responsibilities through accomplishment statements. Many employers recommend including more complex and interesting projects and omitting the basic ones that all students do in your major.

4- More technical details

When you write out the accomplishments you achieved in your roles, make sure to include the “how” component. Technical recruiters want to see what you did and why it is important, and also HOW you did it – what programming languages or technical tools you utilized in your work.

5- Showcase your personality

Employers do care about who you are as a person. You may doubt whether a more personal section like “Hobbies” should even be on your resume. The majority of industry experts what we hear from recommend including a line or two about your interests and hobbies, especially if they are non-traditional or really cool – and something that will catch attention like speaking a rare foreign language, having extensive travel experience, playing trombone as a hobby, etc.

The CPDC has your resume needs covered:

To see examples of technical resumes, look at our sample resumes.

To get your resume reviewed, email your resume to resumereviews@careers.utah.edu or chat live with a Career Ambassador Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on our website.

To have a STEM employer review your resume, come to our upcoming Virtual STEM Resume Reviews this fall. Register to attend Day 1 on September 16th from 10 am – 2 pm or Day 2 on September 17th from 10 am – 2 pm.

Recognizing & Reframing Cognitive Distortions

Recognizing & Reframing Cognitive Distortions

By Amanda Beardall, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach

Searching for a job or internship is already a difficult process. Add a pandemic and it’s even more stressful. When dealing with stressful experiences, it’s easy to be hard on yourself and fall into negative thinking patterns. These negative thinking patterns are called “cognitive distortions” and they can trick your brain into believing things that aren’t true. Sometimes you might become your own worst enemy and this may cause you to miss potential opportunities.

This post is designed to help you recognize cognitive distortions and identify some ways you can potentially reframe these thoughts. There are many different kinds of cognitive distortions. We will be focusing on five of them today:

 

1- Jumping to Conclusions: A thought pattern where you make up your mind without having all the facts. This could look like not applying to a job because you assume the employer won’t hire you, or assuming you’re not advancing in the hiring process because you haven’t heard back yet after an interview. If you find yourself jumping to conclusions, considering trying to gather more information and asking for clarification. This could look like sending a follow-up email after an interview, or speaking with a recruiter to learn more about what they look for in candidates.

 

2- All-or-Nothing Thinking: If you engage in All-or-Nothing thinking, you see things in extremes. It’s either this or that, with no room for alternatives or in-betweens. This could look like thinking that your only options are getting a specific job or going to a certain graduate program, and that the only other option is failure. If you recognize yourself falling into this pattern, considering making multiple plans and options. You can meet with a Career Coach to get help creating these plans and work together to create action steps for achieving them.

 

3- Negativity Bias: This is when you only focus on negative experiences, while ignoring positive experiences. This could look like only focusing on the application rejections you’ve received. Take some time to remember and celebrate times when you have done well and advanced, such as when you’ve gotten interviews or job offers, even if you didn’t take them.

 

4- Personalizing: We all take things personally sometimes, but personalizing goes a step further by blaming yourself for forces that are out of your control or that have nothing to do with you. Someone who personalizes may feel like everything is their fault when someone doesn’t get back to them or if they don’t get a position they applied for. It’s possible there are things you could work on to improve your application materials or your networking approach, but remember there are many factors that go into choosing a candidate. Just because you weren’t selected for one role doesn’t mean you won’t be considered for a different position if you choose to apply again.

 

5- Overgeneralizing: If you take one experience and assume it’s a pattern, you may be overgeneralizing. This may look like not getting a job at a company, and then refusing to apply to any other job at the company because you assume they won’t hire you at all. If you find yourself overgeneralizing, remember to treat each application and situation individually. A lot of different factors affect the hiring process. It’s likely that even if you’re applying to a role at the same company, the hiring team’s needs may have changed since you last applied.

If you find yourself frequently experiencing negative thoughts and getting down on yourself, please reach out to the University Counseling Center for support: https://counselingcenter.utah.edu/.

 

Finding My Way Through Planned Happenstance

Finding My Way Through Planned Happenstance

By James Christensen, CPDC Career Ambassador

Exactly one year ago, I felt lost. I wasn’t sure what major I wanted to study, I had no job, no professional experience, and I felt overwhelmed by trying to figure out how I was going to achieve my image of “the perfect life” that I had inside of my head. It truly was a stressful start to my first year of college.

Fast-forward a year, and today I am starting my second year as an Electrical Engineering student here at the University of Utah. I recently married my best friend, and I have a wonderful job working as a Career Ambassador here at the Career and Professional Development Center.

Back when I started my first year, I figured the best way that I could find some direction was to attend my first-year orientation. The orientation went well and I learned many important things about the University, but I still had a lot of questions. That is, until I took matters into my own hands. I started talking with some of the faculty present, and by happenstance, I learned about an engineering major that helped specifically lead me to study Electrical Engineering.

By chance, I found myself in an information session with the Career and Professional Development Center. At the time, I was hoping to learn more about on-campus jobs that I could pursue, along with get help writing my resume and such. However, at the first part of the meeting, they mentioned that they had a Career Ambassador program in which they hired students to join their team. My interest was piqued, and I stayed after the information session to talk with the presenters to ask them about this opportunity.

They shared a lot of great information with me, and even offered to bring me to their office so I could chat with some of their other staff about the program and my own career goals. They were extremely helpful, and I learned about a lot of resources that helped me end up settling on the major that I’m doing today. I talked with the head of the Career Ambassador program and learned how I could apply. After some spit and shoeshine on my own resume, I submitted my application, and they then hired me to be a new Career Ambassador!

During my time as a Career Ambassador over the last year, I’ve met a lot of really great employers who are hiring in the very field that I’m studying. I’ve even gotten the chance to talk one-on-one with employers about the positions they offer. Though I am still nervous about what the future holds for me, I know that if I keep putting myself out there like I did during orientation, and proactively engage in conversations with people, I’ll find my way to my dream career in no time. You never know whom you might meet and what opportunities you can discover, if you take the time to start a conversation or ask someone a question!

What I Learned From My Part-Time Jobs in College

What I Learned From My Part-Time Jobs in College

By Crystal Cory, CPDC Undergraduate Career Coach

During college, I had two vastly different part-time jobs. One wasn’t more important than the other; one wasn’t more valuable than the other. I know I wouldn’t be who I am today without having had these part-time jobs.

My first job was at a soil research lab for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). At the time, I was a Biochemistry major, so getting lab experience seemed like a good thing. However, my biggest takeaway from that job had nothing to do with my day-to-day role.

The biggest lesson I took away from my time at the soil lab was to always, always, ALWAYS ask my supervisor questions if I was unsure about something. Some of the experiments I helped with took a long time to run and get results. My supervisor much preferred I ask questions to confirm something, even if I was 95% sure of the answer, than have to re-run an entire experiment over again because I made a wrong assumption. In more than one instance, this saved my butt! I very quickly got over my fear of asking my supervisor questions while I was there.

Another job I had during college was in the Wellness Office on my campus. I ended up switching from majoring in Biochemistry to Human Services, so again the job seemed to make sense at the time. Yet again, the biggest lesson I learned was more than what I did there.

My biggest takeaway from my time in the Wellness Office was to suggest an idea if I had one. While there, I ended up working with the condom distribution program. They had just changed their model from a bowl of free condoms to having different package options that students could pick up. Because it was a new model, and because I’m a millennial, I had the idea to create a webpage specifically for the new program. I suggested it to my supervisor, and she loved the idea! I developed many new skills by building a website, and adding features like a box for students to submit questions around sexual wellness so we could email them back the answers. If I had kept my original idea to myself, the program would not have grown as much as it did that first year.

The two biggest lessons I learned from my part-time college jobs, to always ask questions and suggest any ideas, are skills that I still use today. While one of the jobs is more relevant to my current role, both positions taught me lessons that I still use every single day in my role as a Career Coach. Overall, part-time work can teach you a lot of really useful lessons that you can take with you long into the future.

If you’re interested in getting a part-time job during your time at the U, check out our upcoming Student Job & Volunteer Fair with Off-Campus Employers and explore On-Campus job postings in Handshake. Your future self will thank you!