Need a primer on professional attire? This 101 guide will help you learn some of the terms used throughout this post.
1. Wear Linen & Other Light Fabrics
Professional attire is often made with heavy fabrics unsuited for warm weather. Next time you shop for work wear, pay attention to the weight and weave of the fabrics in items that catch your eye, and aim to have a variety of weights or weaves to accommodate your needs throughout the year. You can always add a sweater in the winter, so making sure you have lighter, airy shirts and/or dresses will help your wardrobe remain comfortable in the summer. Fabrics like linen, silk, and light cottons feel cooler than others like denim while maintaining a professional look in chinos and button-down shirts.
Additionally, the Art of Manliness suggests lighter jackets, including unlined or partially lined blazers and sport coats, especially when made from cotton and other light fabrics. Speaking of layers, they also emphasize that an undershirt can assist with wicking sweat as well as protect your shirt from antiperspirant staining, which can more than make up for wearing two layers in the summer.
2. Play with Color & Accessories
White and other light colors can help to keep you cool in the summer. If you wear layers or longer clothes in the summer, such as an ankle-length skirt or a headscarf, these light colors can help to keep you cool in addition to the light breeze created by flowing fabric. Alternatively, wearing black or other dark colors can help to disguise sweating, though an undershirt is a preferable method.
When dressing business casual, workers of all genders are usually able to wear short sleeves in the summer, and in many workplaces it is considered acceptable for women and feminine-presenting people to go sleeveless. There are a variety of professional cuts in feminine styles with short sleeves or no sleeves, such as examples on this Pinterest board.
4. Try Capris, Skirts, Shorts, and Sandals (When Appropriate)
Nearly any summer clothing can be dressed up or down, such as adding a blazer to sleeveless dress. Even so, workplaces will vary drastically in how acceptable items like capris, shorts, and sandals will be. For women and feminine-presenting people, skirts and dressy sandals (such as these) can be acceptable in business casual environments, and even a skirt suit with closed-toe shoes can be acceptable in business professional environments.
However, many work environments still frown upon men and masculine-presenting people wearing capris, shorts, skirts/kilts, and sandals. If you do happen to work in a setting that will allow shorts, this post from DapperQ shows some examples of masculine styles incorporating shorts, and this post suggests unisex sandals and sandal alternatives.
5. When In Doubt… Ask!
Every workplace will have its own policies on dress codes and attire. Some may require a uniform, others will be entirely casual and even allow T-shirts and flip-flops. Therefore, if you ever wonder if a piece of clothing will be acceptable or not, including those mentioned above, just ask… and preferably before you wear it to work.
There are a number of different keys to success when it comes to interviewing, and one is to avoid easy mistakes. I should know, because as a former job seeker, I’ve made them all! Certainly, if you have spent time doing the research and preparing for your interview, you are setting yourself up for success. That being said, there are easy ways to trip up in your interview that you will want to plan for. Here are some common/easy mistakes to try and avoid in your next interview.
Rambling Answers. To quote the Allman Brothers Band, “I was born a ramblin’ man.” This is not just true for me, but many people. When we get nervous, sometimes it’s easy to start talking before we really know what we’re going to say. So you might take a deep breath, repeat the question to confirm you heard it correctly, and you might even take a minute to think about your response. In fact, depending on the type of question, you might use STAR method as a way to build your answer. What was the situation or thing you were tasked with doing? What action did you take to accomplish it? What was the result? This is great for behavioral based interview questions (Tell me about a time when… Give me an example of…. Etc.). For more information on STAR method, check out this great blog post!
Arriving Late or Too Early. As an agency recruiter, I always advised candidates to arrive at least 20 minutes early. The idea is that you spend the first 10 minutes finding parking, using the restroom, walking around the block, etc. and then you check-in for the interview 10 minutes early. Arriving early shows the employer that you are conscious of their time, you’re disciplined and thoughtful in your planning, and that this is important to you. Keep in mind however, you don’t want to check-in for your interview too early. If the employer knows that you’re there waiting in the lobby 45 minutes before your scheduled time, that would be a bit awkward. So, in short, feel free to get there as early as you want but try to check-in for your interview just a few minutes before the scheduled time.
Asking The Wrong Questions. Part of your preparation process should be coming up with questions for you to ask the employer at the end of the interview. As you’re researching the job description, the company, and your interviewers you want to come up with thoughtful questions that will show your interest and level of engagement. While the worst thing you can do is ask nothing at the end, another bad mistake would be to ask questions that don’t illustrate your level of engagement in the job. Avoid questions about salary, parking, attire, benefits, etc.. Though these questions may be an important part of your evaluation of this particular job, you want to wait until you get an offer to ask about these things. It will be less impressive to the employer to hear you ask about parking logistics than if you were to ask about the company’s 5-year strategic plan or opportunities for interdepartmental collaboration. Use the research process as a way to identify engaging questions to ask, and you might also look at suggestions from Liz Ryan at Forbes.com on other great questions to ask.
These are just a few suggestions for a more positive interview experience. Additionally, you’ll be excited to know that BigInterview (a virtual and multi-faceted interview practice tool) will be available to DU students in the Fall. Ask your Career Advisor about it! For more information on effective interviewing, check out this Zoom In session on interviewing with guest facilitator Jason Berumen from Webroot!
Now that you have decided on a career path and you’re ready to start searching for an internship or full-time job, creating an effective search strategy is critical to your success in finding a job that’s a good fit for you. With all the different job titles and employer languages out there, how can you discern one job description from another and decide if you should apply?
Examine the Required and Preferred Qualifications and answer the following questions:
Can I do what the employer is requesting? Job candidates rarely fit 100% of the job description to which they apply for or are hired to do. Employers write job descriptions for their ideal employee and hope to hire someone who meets ~75% of what they list, with the hope of finding a great fit who is also teachable, so they can learn the parts of the job they don’t yet know. If you can fulfill all the Required qualifications and some of the Preferred, consider applying.
Do I want to do what the employer is requesting? This is where it can get tricky… Sure, in many cases you CAN do the job, but you have to ask yourself if you WANT to do the job. Are the daily activities such that you will be engaged and excited about your work? Is the company one that you will be proud to say you work for? Do the company’s mission, vision, and values align with your own? These are just a few questions to ask yourself as you consider each job description. Rule of Thumb: If you aren’t excited to learn about the company, tailor your resume and cover letter, it may not be an awesome career choice.
Do I have the technical skills to do this job? If the answer is YES, incorporate these skills into your application materials – resume and/or cover letter, writing samples, email communications with the employer, etc. If the answer is NO, ask yourself if you can learn it. With regards to the latter, be prepared to address your skill gap in the interview process by highlighting your complementary strengths, such as using behavioral evidence to tell the employer about a time when you went into a situation without a skill and quickly learned it to achieve a positive result.
Do I have the soft skills to do this job? Same answer as above – if you have it, let them know! If you don’t, be prepared to learn it or move on to another job description.
With millions of jobs available on “monster”-sized job boards out there – like LinkedIn and Indeed – try making a few lists before you get started and revise them throughout your search, as you learn more about yourself and your desired field:
My Top 5 Preferred Job Functions
My Top 5 Professional Skills (Technical and Soft Skills)
My Top 5 Industry Preferences
Key Job Boards for My Job Search (these could be industry- or geographic region-specific)
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra, Major League Baseball Player, Coach, and Hall of Fame Legend, New York Yankees
Like the old analogy of “eating an elephant”, oftentimes getting started on your job search is the hardest part. The key is to start early – yes, this means you too, first-year students – and continually work on it throughout your academic and professional careers. This process will repeat itself multiple times throughout your career, so understanding where to begin and the next expected step are critical to making it to your destination. Your University of Denver Career & Professional Development team has broken it down into four career achievement milestones to complete over your time in school, though it may help to take an even closer look at the tactical strategy underlying those milestones. In our search for a career path, it can be easy to lose sight of the activities that lead up to getting a job. Below is a 7-step graphic that outlines each step and the activities that accompany them. We all travel this road at multiple points in our career. As you get started in yours, consider allowing your team of DU career advisors help guide you through all steps of this process. Did you know that we can help you at every stage of career development – from deciding on a major and career path, finding internships, and all the way through salary negotiation? If that wasn’t enough, we have advisors for every DU major – undergraduate and graduate level – as well as advisors for specific student populations, including athletes, international students, veterans, Center for Multicultural Excellence student groups, non-traditional students, and students enrolled in the Learning Effectiveness and Disability Services programs.
If you haven’t met with your dedicated career advisors yet, it’s never too early – or too late – Call, stop in, or visit the Pioneer Careers Appointment tab to schedule your first meeting!
On May 11, Alumni Engagement, Career & Professional Development, and the Department of Geography & the Environment came together to host a Dine & Dialogue on Careers in Geography. Five alumni from across Environmental Science and Geography – from brand-new to retired professionals – joined 16 students to share insight on industry trends, networking in the field, and finding a job in sustainability and GIS. It was a great conversation; the event organizers truly enjoyed seeing the students stick around after the Dine & Dialogue to mingle with our alumni volunteers. It was exciting to witness nuggets of insight and business cards being exchanged!
For those of you who were unable to join us, here are three main takeaways from our discussion.
1. Networking is an important aspect of any job search, especially in Geography. Whether you join an Esri user group, attend a meetup in Denver, or head to a local conference, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation about your career goals and interests. Be sure to maintain your connections made at these events, too! The alumni guests shared stories about how they have leveraged their networks when laid off, in between projects, or launching their careers in GIS; while each story was different, the common thread of advice was to, “build and maintain relationships with others in the field.” Jeff Sloan, who works as Cartographer with the USGS, reminded students that networking can be a key factor for hiring managers as they move through a stack of resumes: “It helps when someone says, ‘you might want to take a look at that person.'”
2. You don’t have to be a Geography major to break into the industry. Anyone who enjoys complex problem solving, advanced mathematical modeling and/or applied mathematics, economic modeling and valuation, environmental social impact assessments, or coding (particularly R or Python) would be a great fit for GIS. Whether you are studying Business Information & Analytics, Computer Science, Economics, Mathematics, Physics, or something else, you should be able to find your niche if you can market your skills through the lens of the problems and industry trends in GIS. Since GIS is an ever-changing field, the alumni stressed the importance of staying current with industry trends no matter your program of study.
3. While continuing your education could be an asset, you do not have to jump into a graduate program right away. Much of the Dine & Dialogue centered around the important question of whether or not someone interested in GIS or sustainability should have a Master’s degree or higher. While the alumni volunteers agreed that graduate study teaches students how to conduct research, write well, and think critically, it is not necessarily essential to finding a job in the industry. Lauren Duncan, who serves as Abandoned Mine Restoration Project Manager at Trout Unlimited, encouraged students to not pursue graduate study “just to go,” but rather to first become familiar with working in the field, investigating knowledge gaps, and determining their goals for graduate study before applying. While on the job, however, be sure to take advantage of the opportunities that arise to become knowledgeable in specific content areas. This is a great strategy for advancing your career before deciding on continuing your education.
It was so great to host our five alumni volunteers and we hope to bring together more students and alumni from a number of programs and majors in 2018-19!
Do you have an internship, job, or another exciting opportunity lined up for the summer?
If you are wondering how to make the most of the experience, and set yourself up for success in the first 30, 60, or 90 days on the job, you are not alone. For many students and recent graduates, especially international students, this question can be puzzling to answer. The professional world, no matter your industry, may seem fraught with unwritten rules or unclear expectations. This is especially true for international students, because so much of what seems uncertain stems from communication and cultural norms. Here are some tips for success, adapted from “How Work Works” hosted by Daniels Career Services back on May 15. Thank you to Toni Phelan and DCB for coordinating such an informative event! The advice was great for any student interested in learning more about success on the job, but highlights and additional tips are below!
1. Be a learner, not a knower.
Nancie Halfmann, Talent Acquisition Manager at Slalom Consulting, gave a great talk on building your brand in the first 30, 60, or 90 days. One of the most important pieces of advice she shared was to, be a learner, not a knower. As a current student or recent graduate, you are often still in “student mode” when starting a new role. This can be an incredible asset. By adopting a beginner’s mindset – in other words, remaining both humble and curious – you can learn so much from your new coworkers or fellow interns. Keep a small journal with you to record key observations about the organization, your role, and your own career development.
While you’re still learning, be sure to ask yourself: How do I like to learn? How do I like to receive feedback? You will likely be given many opportunities to learn new skills and concepts, and you will definitely be given feedback on the job. Understanding what you need and how you need it early on in will make learning curves and performance reviews much easier to tackle.
2. Build relationships.
Whether you are starting an internship or a new job, networking is so important. Though this can be an intimidating subject for students, it’s a great way to practice communication skills and begin picking up cultural norms by talking to a wide variety of people at the organization. You never know, you may end up with a mentor or two!
Remember, your stellar performance in the interview got you the job; the spotlight isn’t on you in the same way when you are working. Don’t be afraid to practice professional communication, and especially your English! Invite your teammates and coworkers from other departments out to coffee or lunch and listen to their stories. This can help you to learn more about the organization’s culture, give you direction and ideas about your career, or leverage resources through your internal network later on.
3. Get to know your manager.
Building relationships within your organization goes beyond scheduling lunches with your coworkers and attending as many meetings as you can. Be sure to intentionally spend time getting to know your manager both as a person and a professional. Set up meetings with them early on to learn about any, or all, of these topics:
Their expectations for you;
Their goals, both for your role and for the department or organization;
How they prefer to give and receive feedback;
Communication style and preferences (Would they rather you stop by, call them, or email them with questions? Should questions be limited to 1:1 meetings, or can they be asked any time?);
How they define success and how they respond to setbacks.
We hope this helps you prepare for your new role! Seniors: don’t forget, Career & Professional Development is here to support you up to one year after graduation. If you want to discuss success on the job further, we are happy to help!
Like any other industry, networking matters, and with the vast number of University of Denver alumni who have found career success in Government, Policy & Law, building those strategic connections can make all the difference.
Though none of this is easy, there are tools to make this experience a bit more palatable. Pioneer Connect offers students the opportunity to network with alums on an interactive platform, and there are a number of DU alumni waiting to hear from you. Alumni working for USAID, State of Colorado, US Department of Labor, National Conference of State Legislatures, and many others are part of the database of people in Pioneer Connect here to connect with you. In addition to that, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to leverage LinkedIn as a way to make connections. The DU Alumni page offers a data set of over 73,000 DU alums. This is not only a great tool to research the career paths of alumni, but also to build connections with those working in careers that also interest you!
Ultimately, the benefit of building connections is that it will give you an advantage in pursuing positions where you already know someone connected in some way to that job or that organization. Though your resume/CV/cover letter, virtual brand, and interview skills also have to be strong, building connections can be the most effective tool of getting you in the door.
For more questions about building connections in Government, Policy, or Law, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your Career Advisor to discuss further.
As a faculty member, are you feeling like you are teaching the same way with the same content quarter after quarter? Are you wanting to add engagement into the classroom in a no cost and convenient way? DU has an easy way to do this in the Innovation Floor right on our own campus!
The Innovation Floor has been up and running since the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science has opened its doors in the fall of 2016. Michael Caston, the Innovation Floor Faculty Director, explains “We make ideas into real things. We provide an experiential learning environment for students, faculty, and the community that allows folks to explore a different perspective to experiment in a low risk atmosphere where you can succeed or fail without consequences.” Michael stated that he sometimes feels like Santa Clause as he gives to other disciplines the tools, equipment, and technology that they may normally never get to use. He loves to see other faculty outside of engineering and computer science disciplines encourage students to be creative and collaborate with diverse majors as this is where hands on learning can take place. Students can develop additional skills that help explore the options to connect the dots between different disciplines.
For example, chemistry professor Erich Chapman encouraged his students to create protein molecules in the Innovation Floor for extra credit. By using the 3-D printer, chemistry majors learn a new skill and technology while seeing a molecule come to life! Biology teaching professor Barbekka Hurtt, printed anatomy anomalies to use in the classroom. Anthropology professor, Bonnie Clark, added an experiential learning component with her class using the 3-D printers to create replicas of museum pieces. Faculty can access this welcoming learning environment where their creativity and ideas can come to fruition with help from Michael and his team of 30 student workers.
Don’t have time to take advantage of the Innovation Floor? You can always encourage your students to create prototypes and projects, learn how to work a 3-D printer, and all the other equipment the Innovation Floor offers. Michael has seen students from across campus extend themselves outside of their comfort zone by building prototypes for case competitions and new products. As the Innovation Floor website states “If you can IMAGINE it you can MAKE it.” The ideas that spring from the Innovation Floor are really unlimited.
So how can DU faculty take advantage of this unique and engaging real world lab? Contact Michael Caston, Michael.Caston@du.edu, to learn more, tour the facility, and find ways to further engage your students in the classroom.
As a veteran you may face many challenges as you transition from active duty or reserve status back into civilian life. One way to reintegrate is to network and over the summer as there are many opportunities to connect. The key to being successful is to expand your thinking and consider networking as something that you do on a day-to-day basis. Here are 5 suggestions:
–Connect with DU alumni and learn about their careers at www.pioneerconnect.du.edu This is a good way to get personal advice, ideas for professional development and career insights. A good way to expand your DU network!
–Attend a DU sporting event and start a conversation with someone sitting by you. That’s networking!
–Volunteer for a cause that interests you. Check out Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning (CCESL) www.du.edu/ccesl/ for ideas. A fun way to network and give back!
–Send an email or connect on LinkedIn to someone that you met in class, career fair or at a conference. Update them on what you have been doing. Stay in touch with those you have met!
–Take some time over the summer to contact Damon Vine/DU Veterans Coordinator to learn more about resources and events at email@example.com or by phone at 303-871-2074.
By expanding your views about networking you will start to build meaningful relationships and connections. Networking is not just about going to scheduled networking events, it is a lot more. It’s an effective way learn more from your community, your fellow students and alumni!
In the year 1482, Leonardo da Vinci was looking for a job and documented his work history on a piece of paper for an employer he was pursuing. Handing in what is documented as being the first résumé in history, I am sure da Vinci never imagined the importance this critical piece of paper would come to play in the American job market. Today, the résumé has become standard currency among job seekers and employers. But as history will reflect, there is a new and much stronger currency on the horizon, and that comes in the form of social media. Your social media brand, how you interact with employers and the level at which you engage will influence your success in the job market.
Social media is a big and scary world. Today, there are over 400 registered social media sites on the internet. So as a student, how do you navigate this influential job search tool? Let’s break it down.
The Big Three
To avoid becoming too overwhelmed, I recommend putting your efforts and energy into mastering the big three for your job search: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. As you may know, Social Media ranks as the fourth highest sourcing tool, beating out the corporate website. You will also note referrals are the number one source for finding good candidates. Social networks, in and of themselves, are tools that generate conversation and create referrals. With 92% of employers using social media to recruit talent, why wouldn’t you engage?
Engagement and Your Personal Brand
Social media runs on engagement. Being an active participant in conversations and contributing useful content is how you build your personal brand and become known by employers. As an employer, it is our job to evaluate your skills and expertise against the position to which you are applying. Having a personal brand which recognizably sells who you are will set you up for success in the interview process. Social media allows you create that brand and share it with the world.
Start Early:It is never too early (or too late) to build your brand. Define your employment goals and build the brand that represents the employee you want to become. I could write a book on how to build your brand, but here are four simple steps to get you started:
1. Create a Twitter account with a handle that represents the brand you are looking to sell. If you are a finance student, create a handle that references terms or concepts in the financial industry (i.e. @FinanceFinatic, @ExpertNEconomics). Having a handle that represents your brand lets the potential employer know who you are and what you do. Now, engage! Connect and share information relative to your brand. Follow employers and experts within your chosen field. The best way to learn is to read and study. Share links to articles that you find useful or insightful; start a blog and share your thoughts and opinions on your Twitter feed; and retweet and share content from others who share your point of view. As an employer I follow, tweet and engage with students who share an interest in fields of study which align with my business and our hiring needs.
2. Use Facebook to follow employers with which you are interested in working. Create a target list of employers and friend them on Facebook. You can learn a lot about an employer who is active on Facebook. Employers who use Facebook to promote their jobs will share content on culture, job posting and much more. Engage and respond to posts which resonate with your values and interests. I believe that Twitter is a marketing tool and Facebook is more personal. Lock down your profile so only your friends and family can view your information if you do not want potential employers looking at your content.
3. Get on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social network dedicated to connecting professionals with one another. Build your profile and start connecting today. As an employer I have the ability to search and locate talent using my networks on LinkedIn. LinkedIn also has over 1 million groups dedicated to sharing and collaborating on topics specific to every industry. Join those groups and start engaging in the conversation.
4. Be Creative. A few years ago I interviewed a candidate for a social media coordinator position. Since social media was the focus of the interview, I decided to look at the candidates Facebook and Twitter accounts when the interview was over. The first thing I noticed when I looked at his Twitter feed were Tweets leading up to the interview about his excited he was to interview with our company and a couple links he shared with his network about our company. This demonstrated the candidate’s interest and excitement for our company. Upon further research, I viewed the candidates Facebook page. His profile picture had been changed to a photo of him, standing in front of our building with a sign that read ‘Jeremy, I am ready to work with your company. Social media was founded on expressing yourself and yields creativity. Think outside the box when pursuing your future career.
Employers and job seekers are consistently looking for new ways to use social media in the job search. I know a company in the market that throws out résumés and requires that each applicant express their interest in a position through 140 characters. (This may be a little extreme but has been quite effective for them). Don’t be afraid to engage! The secret to finding the best jobs is doing your research, casting a wide net and selecting the position and company which best represents who you are and where you want to be.
Guest Blogger, Jeremy Edmonds, is the Senior Manager of Human Resources for Vail Resorts. He has worked for Google, Facebook, and assisted with the startup and success of three companies in the Denver market. Jeremy loves social media and has been recruiting in the University space for 11 years.
Did you know…Students have their own Career Advisor specific to their major. To make an appointment: