Posts Tagged ‘Job Search’

Welcome to start of a new semester.  The Career Center is here to help you Explore, Experience, and Launch  your career and the best time to start this process is when you first get to campus.  Each one of  our career consultants has shared their top tips for you and are featured below.  Check out our resources, meet the consultants who work with your colleges, and take advantage of the career and internship opportunities available to you through the Career Center.


  1. Connect to your interests

Nellie PhotoSet a goal of finding at least one way to connect with your career interest this semester. Make it a priority to attend at least one employer event on or off campus such as a job fair, a career panel or alumni mixer event. There are so many opportunities to get connected, and if you need some guidance with this, please feel free to connect with us. The earlier you start your career journey, the more successful you will be in reaching your goals.  Nellie Rochon-Ellis

Career Consultant: College of Applied Science & Arts (non health majors), College of Science nellie.rochon-ellis@sjsu.edu


2. Start your job search early

Catherine PhotoMany of the big-name companies start filling their summer-start positions in the fall.  Equip yourself for job/internship searching early.  We’re here to help! Catherine Voss Plaxton, M.A.Ed., M.A., PPSC

Employment Specialist: College of Business catherine.vossplaxton@sjsu.edu


3. Create a Job Search Agent

Donna PhotoYou can’t take advantage of all the jobs and internships available through SpartaJobs if you don’t know how to properly search and find them.  A job search agent will allow you to search by specific major or college and can help you identify the most relevant jobs/internships to your skills and field of study. Donna Gilmour

Employment Specialist:College of Engineering & Department of Computer Science

4. Learn to market your skills 

Denise PhotoStart practicing early in your college career to articulate and speak to your strengths and skills. You can use Big Interview to practice interview questions online without having to leave the comfort of your room.  Recordings can be sent to career consultants and we can give you feedback.  Denise Hamilton, M.A.

Employment Specialist: Colleges of Social Science, Humanities & Arts denise.hamilton@sjsu.edu

5. It takes more than a degree to land a job

Evelyn Photo

Know that a degree by itself doesn’t guarantee you a job after graduation.  In addition to your degree, getting experience while in school will increase the opportunities available to you. Meet with us early to increase your understanding of the job search process and to feel confident in your search! Evelyn Ramos

Career Consultant: Retention Services and College of Education Liaison

  1. Networking is key

aboutus_team_john_s_120Networking and getting internships are the best ways to find out what you want to do and land a job. John Salangsang

Internship Specialist john.salangsang@sjsu.edu

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Contributed post by Omaid Homayun


When it comes to negotiating salaries, the majority of people that I’ve met were unprepared when the recruiter of a prospective company asked them the almighty salary question. Negotiating an increase of $3,000-$5,000 in your salary could equate to the cost of a new car over five years, so why not put in the work to prepare to answer the salary question with confidence?

Do Your Homework & Network!

When I fly to LAX I jump online to see what the going rate is on multiple airlines. Although I usually book Southwest, I also use multi-search sites like Expedia or Kayak to cross-check flight rates because I want to feel comfortable that I’m getting a good deal. In the same way, when I applied to become an Account Executive in sales for a specific industry, I checked sites like Payscale and Glassdoor to determine the range of compensation for similar roles. But I didn’t stop there. People like helping people; remember when Google Maps didn’t exist and you’d have to ask a stranger for directions? I’d reach out to a current employee of a company on LinkedIn to ask if they could help point me in the right direction.

Initially, approaching a complete stranger can be intimidating. While you might be hesitant to seek some advice, remember that online networking can be mutually beneficial. You may have a need for some insider information, but you can also offer something in return (future connections or help with a project).

You can send the person a message on LinkedIn with something like:

“Hi Kate,

My name is Jane Doe and I’m a student at SJSU in the marketing program. I came across your profile on the alumni network on LinkedIn and wanted to see if you’d be open to sharing some feedback on a position at your organization that I’m very interested in pursuing. I understand you may have a full plate, if you can provide any guidance or point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it.

-Jane Doe”

Trust that your approach with humility and openness will be effective and the majority of people will spare a few minutes to help you. In my experience, when employees responded, I would ask if they’d be open to a 10-minute phone conversation. If the chat went well, I’d ask if they’d be open to submitting my resume (since most companies offer a referral fee and it only takes 5 minutes, they often say yes). Regarding the salary question, after you’ve done research on sites like Glassdoor you can frame up the question with something like:

“Through my online research I’ve found that the typical salary range for a role like this is $60,000-$70,000 based on experience, would you happen to know this range is similar at your company?”

If you’re uncomfortable with that approach, politely ask the person if it would be okay to discuss the subject with something along the lines of this:

“This is helpful and I truly appreciate your guidance, would it be okay if I asked you a couple questions around the salary and incentives around this role?”

If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. If you ask politely and they decline, you can move onto your next question. From my experience I’d get my salary homework done and my resume on top of the pile since it was submitted to their human resources department by an employee.

Have a Plan & Don’t Give In

Have you ever thought of a situation where you theoretically knew what to do, but when you’re actually in that situation your mind draws a blank? That’s what happened to me with the consumer tech company I was interviewing with. There are primarily two questions you need to prepare for: How much do you make? AND How much are you looking to make?

Before delving in, it’s important to understand the purpose of these questions and why a recruiter needs to know. The reason they ask your salary is so there’s a baseline understanding that the salary expectations are within the range they’ve budgeted for the role. It’s a waste of everyone’s time to have several interviews if the numbers are too far apart. There is no one-size fits all answer, but what’s helped me in the past is approaching the subject with humility and respecting the person on the other side of the table.

My favorite salary negotiation book is Salary Tutor – Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You by Jim Hopkinson, it’s worth its weight in gold. Jim teaches that if you say a number first, you lose negotiation leverage. The goal is to deflect those two questions with questions of your own. It can go something like this:

Recruiter: How much do you make?

Candidate: My previous salary wouldn’t be relevant because I worked in a different industry, I would just expect fair market value for my skill set. Can you tell me more about what the job entails?


Recruiter: How much are you looking to make?

Candidate: I’d have to learn more about the responsibilities before I’d feel comfortable giving a number, can you tell me more about what the responsibilities entail?

While it’s Important to be a Ninja – It’s Not Always About the Money

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), states that the average salary for students out of college in 2014 was $45,473. Perhaps you’ve done your due diligence in the negotiation process and you have multiple offers in hand, one for $45,000 and the other for $50,000. You may be excited about the higher offer and the potential to make more, but as a student you should consider the value of the experience more than the money because the difference of a few thousand dollars is not going to change your lifestyle at this point in your career. Cover your expenses and make enough to survive, focus on the opportunity and upside of the learning experience. Sometimes the job that pays a little less in the beginning could be the right job that plants the seed for an outstanding career.

What Else Can You Negotiate?

There’s a misconception among students out of college that it’s not okay to negotiate. In fact, it is completely okay and recruiters will respect you for it as long as your approach is sincere. Besides your salary, there are a number of other benefits to consider. Most new hires at Google receive Restricted Stock Units that could equate to $10,000 which they account in your total compensation package. If you’ve applied at an early stage startup they typically include equity, and most organizations offer a retirement plan such as a 401K where they also match your investment to a certain amount per year. You can also ask for other benefits like an extra week of paid vacation or an allowance for additional courses you can expense each year.

The most overlooked benefit is healthcare. If the company is self-insured they will have several options, but they usually only provide a close look at their plans once you’re hired. Tell them that healthcare benefits are important to you, and ask if they can share an overview of their benefits package. If you are family planning, there can be a significant difference of the annual cost from one company’s benefits versus another.

Let me give you an example of what I mean by a sincere approach. During one of my previous negotiations there was a significant delta in the base salary between my expectations and what the company was willing to offer. My response was, “I’m thrilled about the opportunity and I’m open to making lifestyle changes to a more economical gym or doing away with cable. By making those changes I may still have to move in order to pay for my monthly expenses, I’m wondering if there’s anything we may be able to do for an increase in the range of $10,000? Again, I’m willing to make sacrifices but I don’t want to have to move.” The result was a bump in my base salary and a one-time signing bonus. Depending on the role, you can negotiate for a one-time stipend or ask them to cover your moving expenses if you have to relocate for the job. Every situation is unique and you have to take into consideration what is most important to you, leverage these tips and you will become a salary negotiation ninja.

omaid imageOmaid Homayun works at Gartner where he advises tech startups in the bay area to help them accelerate their growth. He’s also held various sales roles at BlackBerry and Google. He’s passionate about helping others navigate their careers, and he writes about inspiring career advice and leadership stories on his blog called How to Find a Job in 10 Days. Reach out to him anytime there or on Twitter @omaidh.

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By Allison Jones, Editor at Idealist.orgidealist

Q: How would a student get started on their internship search within the nonprofit sector?

  • Be clear about the kind of work you’d like to do: One thing people tend to underestimate is the sheer size and diversity of the nonprofit sector. On the one hand this is exciting as there really is a place for everyone! On the other hand, this means there is no single path to landing an internship or building a career in this sector. Of course, you don’t have to have it all figured out, but there is a huge difference between “I want a nonprofit internship” and “I want to intern at an education-focused nonprofit in Cleveland where I can put my writing, research, and social media skills to work.”
  • Reach out to current interns: If you have a particular organization or industry in mind, find a few interns who are already there. Ask them about their experiences, what they’re learning, what their next steps are, and how they landed the opportunity.
  • Ask your network for introductions and guidance: Does your career center know about nonprofit internships? How about your alumni office…can they introduce you to grads who are hiring at nonprofits? Or outside of school—are there nonprofits you volunteer with or that your family and friends support? Let people know you’re looking for opportunities, you’ll be surprised by the advice and support you might receive.
  • Hop online: Idealist.org has over 13,000 (!!!) internships listed by nonprofits, government agencies, and social enterprises from around the world.

Q: When interviewing for a nonprofit internship, how can a student set themselves apart?

  • Do research about the organization before you arrive: In addition to understanding their mission, has the organization been in the news recently? Who are the organization’s leaders and what have they accomplished? Good research helps you craft better answers and questions and gives you a sense of how you might fit in.
  • Emphasize what you can contribute AND what you hope to learn. Yes, an internship is a learning experience, but hiring someone is a big deal. It can’t be all about what you want.
  • Ask smart questions: What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this internship? What are some of the characteristics of past successful interns? Do you have any concerns about my qualifications as a potential intern? Here is a list of job interview questions: http://idealistcareers.org/175-questions-to-ask-during-a-job-interview/
  • Prepare for common questions: Why this internship? What are your strengths and weaknesses? I recommend Jenny Blake’s interview spreadsheet, which helps you gather information to common interview questions.
  • Be nice and professional. Seems obvious, but I’m putting it here anyway.

Q: I’ve heard that many internships within the nonprofit sector are unpaid.  Is this true?  What might be the value of having an unpaid internship for a nonprofit organization?

  • It’s called the job-seeker catch 22: You need experience to get a job but how can you get experience if you can’t land a job? Internships give you a leg up in terms of getting the experience you need to land better jobs in the future. However, there is a big debate in the nonprofit sector about the ethics around unpaid internships, specifically how they exclude people who can’t afford to take on an unpaid opportunity and how it can be hypocritical to support social change yet not pay people for their labor.

Q: What makes an intern different from a volunteer in the nonprofit world?

  • Legally? You can learn about that here from the Department of Labor: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm and here http://form1023.org/what-are-employees-interns-volunteers
  • In terms of your career: How volunteer opportunities and internship opportunities look vary from org to org. Internships tend to be a bit more structured in terms of duties, title, support, and time than volunteer opportunities. The article I reference above from Nonprofit Quarterly also explores the difference between an intern and volunteer in terms of how they work within a nonprofit.

Q: What skills could a student focus on developing in their classes or activities that might be valuable to showcase on their resumes when seeking an internship in the nonprofit sector?

Two things:

  1.  A commitment or interest in the social sector, demonstrated through volunteering or praxis. Yes, courses are important, but getting hands-on experience is always best. 
  2.  The ability to start and complete a project that has compelling and successful results. You want to demonstrate that you’re a high achiever and can get things done.

Q: What are some tips that will help them have a successful internship with a nonprofit organization?

  • Make sure you get tangible accomplishments under your belt. You want to show future employers you can be successful so work with your manager on setting clear goals. Here’s how to keep track of your accomplishments at work http://idealistcareers.org/are-you-keeping-track-of-your-accomplishments-at-work/
  • Set personal goals. Outside of what you need to do on the job, are there skills you want to learn? People you want to meet? Leverage the internship to help you get there.
  • Learn how to manage your manager. Best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten, not just for internships but for work in general. This is likely the most important relationship you’ll have at work so getting a good sense of his/her needs and how you’ll best work together is key.

Good luck!

Allison Jones is the editor of IdealistCareers.org, a publication of Idealist.org that shares tips and tricks for people who want social impact careers. Join Idealist Careers on Twitter @IdealistCareers or on Facebook at facebook.com/IdealistCareers.

Upcoming Connect Event!  Allison’s colleague, Kara Montermoso, HR Manager at Idealist.org, will be on campus on Tuesday, March 18 to talk about How to Launch your Nonprofit Career.  Workshop will take place 12-1pm, Student Union Ballroom.  At the conclusion of the workshop, stay for the Nonprofit & Public Service Fair, 2-4pm, Student Union Ballroom, network with local non-profit and government organizations and find your next job or internship!

Feeling Inspired?!  Check out this video about using Idealist.org to find your new job with meaning.

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A student perspective by: Aryton Oliver

My Name is Aryton Oliver, and I’ve always wantarytoned to find a career that focuses on trying to make people’s lives better. I’m a recent SJSU alumnus of the Political Science department, and I chose that major because it naturally fit with my interests. Before I graduated, I knew it was important for me to get internships to make me more marketable for a full-time job after college.

During my time at SJSU, I worked part-time at the Career Center as a peer advisor. From my work there, I learned about the different type of programs and employer connection events.  That’s how I obtained my first internship with Justice Corps.  The Career Center was hosting Drop-In Interviews, where I was able to meet directly with the Justice Corp’s recruiter. As my internship came to an end, I was inspired through some of my government and politics courses to pursue another internship at San Jose City Hall.

Since my political science professor had a lot of strong connections in City Hall, I reached out to him to see if he could help me out. After sending him my resume, I still did not receive any responses. It wasn’t until my professor saw that I scored a 96% on his midterm, exceeding the class average, that he saw my potential. I finally received a response from City Hall, and scheduled an interview with one of the executives for the following week.  I polished up my interviewing skills with some of the career consultants at the Career Center and eventually landed the internship with City Hall. At that internship, I assisted with policy research and I was exposed to the powerful effects that nonprofit organizations have on the communities they serve. It was very inspiring, and the internship experience also helped me develop professional skills that I can use in future careers.

In my last semester at SJSU, my job search strategy was to talk with all my connections: professors, past supervisors, and professionals at networking mixers. I made sure that I tailored my resume to specific positions and had other people review my resume for feedback (professors, career center staff and friends). I also kept my options open by applying to government, nonprofit, and even some private sector positions too. My planning paid off– I landed a job with Teen Force , a local nonprofit that helps foster youth find jobs as well as promote work-readiness training and skills development.

My current job title is Staffing Specialist, and my experience has been nothing but spectacular.  My work is very hands-on and I enjoy working with foster youth in helping them succeed in life. The work I do with the foster youth includes interviewing them for the program, reviewing their resumes, and trying to help them get a job. I also talk with business owners in the area about their hiring needs, and try to match them up with the youth in our program.

I’m really having fun with life after college, and I don’t think I could have made a better transition because my daily commute hasn’t changed that much and working 40+ hours a week feels way better than staying up late doing homework (believe me). Though in all seriousness, I’m grateful for having a job that’s aligned with my interests, and I can confidently say that the work I’m doing gives me a great sense of fulfillment.

So, that’s my story, and I hope it gave you some ideas for your own career journey. Here are my top four tips for success in the job search. Work hard and I wish you all success!

  1. Seek internships early, especially at the freshmen grade level because those experiences are priceless.
  2. Don’t just apply to positions online. Network and find ways to use the side door rather than always trying to go in through the front. Maintain strong relationships with professors, because they can offer great career advice and connections.
  3. Have an open mind. Don’t just apply to one specific type of job. Have a Plan B and C.
  4. Utilize the Career Center’s resources.

Are you also interested in pursuing a career in nonprofit or government?

If so, come to the Nonprofit and Public Service Job, Internship and Volunteer Forum on October 8 in the Student Union Ballroom from 12:30pm – 4:30pm. There will be a panel from 12:30pm – 1:30pm about finding a career in nonprofit or government. Then from 2:00pm – 4:30pm, there will be 40+ organizations you can network with for information as well as job, internship and volunteer opportunities.

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Congratulations!  You are almost finished with the semester.  Some of you will be graduating and starting the next step in your career journey and others of you are getting ready for summer internships or other adventures.  Wherever you are in your journey, check out this roadmap with tips on how to navigate the job or internship search and links to key resources to help you launch your career!  If you would like to get even more details on how to manage the job search process as a new graduate, check out our Graduated, Now What?  Webex workshop for specific tips on resumes, job search, and networking.


New Grad Tool Kit! (1)

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Synopsis by Sheree Pettigrew, Employment Specialist Intern

For those of you who missed Grad Blast 2012, we wanted to share insights that employers from, Enterprise Rent a Car, Plantronics, Robert Half International (Accountemps), Sybase, Target, and Volt Workforce Solutions, made about five key questions on successfully landing a job in a competitive environment.

What makes a resume stand out?  It was agreed that skill set, experience, GPA (if it’s above 3.0), format, no errors and honors etc., were all very important but what puts a candidate over the top is showing your personality.  They look at the whole person, personality/character 80% and skills 20%.   Give examples of your uniqueness, perhaps by mentioning the volunteer work you do.  In addition, update your resume every six months, create a master resume, (use the most relevant information to the job description) and keep a professional journal including tools you used, projects and continuing education. Check out these additional resume examples.

Should you use an objective or subject line on your resume?  If you are applying for a specific job or sending it to the hiring manager, then yes.  It’s not needed if you include a summary statement listing your skills that are related to the role you are applying for.  Or just leave it out altogether and write a rockin cover letter.

What key things are you looking for in a phone interview?  First is accessibility. An employer schedules a select  time out of their day to contact candidates.  For example, if  35 posted positions will bring 2,700 applicants (out of 2,700 applicants, typically 1500 are viable candidates) it is imperative that the recruiter be able to contact viable candidates efficiently.  If an employer can’t reach you, it is possible that you will get cut off the list given the volume of candidates that must be contacted.  Always leave a specific time for them to call!

Be prepared; choose a quiet place to talk, no pets, kids or chewing. Stand up and smile, they can tell.  Practice by being able to answer questions with specific examples (like the time you led a team, gave a presentation, resolved a client issue etc.) and be able to elaborate on your experience.  Be ready to describe the role you applied for and research the company so you can ask great questions.

Student Questions for the Employer Panel:

  • What attire do you expect a student to wear to an interview?

 A dark suit, professional dress, jacket, ladies cover up!  Dress for the position higher than the one you’re applying for.  Take out piercings, cover tattoos, no big jewelry, purses, and conservative nails.  Fit into the culture, when in doubt, ask.

  • Should I disclose a disability in an interview?   Wait until an offer is made. (You can learn more about disclosure and requesting accommodations through the Workability IV program at the career center)
  • What are the key things you look for during the interview?

Be present, listen carefully and answer the questions, don’t say what you think an employer wants to hear.  Bring a note pad and pen, a positive attitude, enthusiasm, and good communication.  Be human, the conversation goes both ways.  Treat everyone in the vicinity with respect, the interview starts as soon as you walk into the organization.  If English isn’t your first language, speak slow and clear.  Be prepared to answer common questions like:  Tell me about yourself,  Describe your greatest impact or contribution to a project.

  • Should you send a thank you after an interview?

Yes, within 24 hours.  It also helps branding and builds a relationship–a hand written thank you is appreciated.  At the end of the interview, ask what the time frame is to follow up or what the next steps are.  Do join social networks, 80% of jobs are found through networking and by word of mouth.  *All employers on the panel checked LinkedIn but not all checked Facebook.  Bottom line is, don’t write, say or do anything you don’t want made public!

All Grad Blast employers are currently hiring and they agreed that the job market in Silicon Valley is looking up!  Check SpartaJobs to apply. 

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by Moira Srago, M.A.

As we get closer to the end of the school year, you may be wrapping up your job/internship search, or you may just be getting started. Regardless of where you are in the process, it’s important to maintain your reputation with the employers with whom you are interviewing – Silicon Valley is a small place, and you never know where you might bump into that recruiter or hiring manager again! With that said, here are the top 5 ways to ensure that whatever the outcome of your job search you come out the other side looking great! (more…)

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