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Archive for the ‘Advice Column’ Category

Marissa’s Keepin’ it Cool

Marissa McNees, 2012 EMU graduates shares her advice about the tough job market and staying positive. She currently works as  a Staff Writer for Pakmode Media and Marketing and is still on the look for her dream job.

When I started my senior year at EMU about a year ago, I pictured my current life after graduation a bit differently. In my mind, I envisioned walking off the stage at graduation and into a fabulous, life-long career that pays well and lets me put my degree to good use. Ok, fine, I wasn’t that naïve, but I sure didn’t expect that five months would pass since graduation and I’d still be at home jobless.

 When I put it in perspective, being jobless for a few months after graduation is not the worst thing, and I’m definitely not the only one experiencing the wrath of a tough job market. It is, however, enough to drive a person crazy searching for jobs all day, every day with virtually no success. So, while I haven’t found a dream job in all this time, I have learned how to keep my cool in the midst of rejection. It’s not easy by any means, but it’s necessary if you want to keep your sanity.

 First things first, perusing the job listings non-stop is the best way to want to pull out your hair. I took this approach for the first few months and I’ve got to tell you, it was not fun. Day after day of rejection doesn’t bode well for a person’s ego. The best way to maintain composure is to set aside two or three days a week for job-hunting. You’ll still be informed of all the latest job postings but you’ll have a few days to regroup before diving back in.

 In all my five months of being jobless, I have to say, the most important thing I’ve learned is to maintain perspective. Every single person I talk to has a story about how it took them one, two, even three years to find a job after they graduated. They’ve told me to relax, take a step back and breathe. One day, hopefully soon, it’s going to fall into place. All you can do is take the steps to make that happen.

But try to keep your cool along the way!

~Taylor Maguire

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Andrea Kenski, 2011 & 1999 EMU graduate shares her experience with student organizations and her second time around at college. She has found herself right where she wants to be, and has great advice!

When I was in college the first time around, I went to my classes, studied and took exams. I never paid attention to the copious amounts of fliers pinned to the bulletin boards advertising the different student organizations. It’s not that I didn’t have time to go to meetings or afford the yearly dues. I didn’t see the value of being part of a student organization. Flash forward 11 years later to college 2.0. I decided to go back to school and study public relations. I was a little older and a little wiser.

I went to classes, studied, took exams and became involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). This set the stage for life after graduation. I met people working in an industry that I wanted to work in. I became a student member of International Association of Business Communicators (IABC). I was able to network with like-minded professionals. The best part was having access to job opportunities that weren’t posted on Monster.com.

 All of this wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t seen that PRSSA flier in the student center. You’re probably thinking that if you weren’t involved in a student organization, that it’s too late to join a professional organization. I’m here to tell you that it’s not. Do a Google search on professional organizations and the results will amaze you. There are many organizations for different industries, fields and careers. Find which one suits you and the benefits are endless.

The first thing that comes to mind is the networking with the right people. Keep this phrase in mind, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” And it’s true. Knowing the right person can be the difference between getting an interview and waiting around for the HR manager to call you. Once you get the interview, it’s up to you, your education and skills that will land you that dream job. Being part of a professional organization can help you with continued education in your field. Often, professional organizations hold workshops or seminars for their members to assist them in their career. Take advantage of these! There are many industries that need keep up with technology or emerging trends. Be the employee who’s knowledgeable about what’s going on. You may get that promotion or salary increase because of your continued education.

 If you are a recent college grad and a new professional, having a mentorship opportunity is the best part of a professional organization. Speaking to an experienced mentor who’s working in your desired field is priceless. They can walk you through tough situations, give invaluable advice and help you as you make your way up the ladder. They’ve been in your shoes and know what it takes to make it. I found tremendous value in a professional organization. I landed my dream job at my dream company all because of my involvement with PRSSA and IABC. Do you belong to a professional organization? What benefits of the organization have you found useful in life after college? Drop me a line and let me know at akenski@earthlink.net.

 Andrea Kenski is on the Board of Directors at IABC. She received a Bachelor’s of Art in communications (’99) and a Bachelor’s of Science in public relations (’11) from Eastern Michigan University. She currently is an account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. Follow her on Twitter: @detroitcitygrrl.

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 2010 graduate, Chris Puzzuoli shares studying abroad advice with our readers.

We all know that going above and beyond is how you become successful in life and it’s also helpful in setting yourself apart from the competition.  Chris Puzzuoli, a 2010 Eastern Michigan University graduate recognized that, and he wanted to set himself apart and grow personally and professionally. It was obvious that attending class was extremely helpful and a great learning experience.  It allowed him to understand the foundation of his studies. Chris graduated in 2009 with a bachelor degree in Arts and the German language and later graduated in 2010 with a second degree in Business Administration.  

From September 2007 to July 2008, Chris ventured overseas to Germany.  He took a risk and tried something that most people do not seriously consider; he looked at this experience as a way to expand his knowledge on the German language and culture. This experience forced Chris to fully commit, and to adapt to changes, which in the long run paid off.  With that risk Chris took, he set himself apart from the competition and proved to himself and employers that he can adapt within a business. 

When asking Chris what’s the best piece of advice he could provide to students or recent graduates he said, “Make the commitment now to transform yourself into someone better. Do not do it just to make a ton of money or to have a big house and fancy clothes; do it because it is challenging, demanding, exhausting and, above all, rewarding. And if all goes well, you will probably end up with a ton of money, a big house and fancy clothes anyway. And nothing is wrong with that!”

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