August 21, 2014

The Career Fair Series: What to Wear

The Part Time Job Fair and the full time Fall Career Fair are right around the corner. It’s time to get ready, and we are here to help! The next few posts are going to make up a Career Fair series. Career Services’ August Newsletter was completely dedicated to making the most of the Career Fair. If you have any lingering questions, definitely check out that issue!

The Part Time Job Fair doesn’t have a required dress code, but Business Casual Dress is recommended. If you’re wondering what Business Casual looks like, the answer is, “I’ll know it when I see it.” Even Forbes magazine isn’t quite sure how to define it, so we’ll focus on what Business Casual is not. Business casual is not as formal as a suit or as casual as jeans—any jeans! Business casual is probably not khakis either, depending on who you ask. You’re safest in a dark skirt or pants and a collared shirt.

At the Fall Career Fair, business attire is required. Business formal is pretty self-explanatory, and there’s another incentive to wear your suit and tie: the LinkedIn photo booth is going to be at the Career Fair, and you’ll want to get a professional-looking headshot for your profile picture!

The Part-Time Job Fair is from 12-3 on September 4th. The Fall Career Fair is from 3-6 on September 18th. Save the date, and meet us in the Student Union Ballroom looking your best!

August 14, 2014

Get A Headstart


(It looks cute when Ikea does it, but maybe you should make your bed.)

Okay Pirates, how did your Self-Improvement Summer go? I did a great job of cooking at home every week, once I got back on track. Unfortunately, I never got back on track with my gym commitment! I guess that will have to carry over to my goals for the fall.

Classes start Monday, which means summer, whether you made it a Self-Improvement Summer or not, is officially over. I know a lot of us have huge goals and challenges ahead. Trying to make Dean’s List, find a job, ace the GRE or get into graduate school would be more than enough to keep you busy, even without all those other pulls on our time (clubs, friends, exercise).  An easy way to gather up momentum to take you through the day and even the semester is as simple as getting up a little earlier!

Getting up early means that:

  • You can finish all the little tasks (emails, reading) before you head out for the day,
  • No lines to battle when running errands,
  • You actually have your evenings for yourself or for fun,
  • You have time to look yourself over and make sure you’re presentable!

I love sleep. Luckily, I also love coffee. Right now, my alarm is set for 7:15 and I usually hit the snooze button until it’s time for me to fly out of bed in a complete panic and scramble to wherever I need to be. I’m gonna push my alarm back and start getting up at 6:15. Who’s with me, Pirates? Let’s get out of bed and get ahead!


August 7, 2014

The Fine Art of Small Talk

It’s that time of the year, Pirates! We’re moving into new dorms, starting new classes, checking out new networking events, and hopefully making new friends in the process. Some people are naturally good at small talk conversation. Luckily, everyone can learn to be good at it! Here are some tips that will turn you from wallflower to social butterfly, mingling with the best of ‘em.

  1.  Be prepared. If it makes you nervous to talk to people, come prepared with some knowledge. “Safe” topics of conversation, like the weather, the way the local sports team is doing,  or entertainment are great ways to get people talking, and a few one-liners from current events are enough to start an animated conversation. Be careful with this one: if you know nothing about football, ‘Did you hear that Ole Miss might go all the way this year?’ is a conversation starter that you may regret.
  2. Start with a statement, and follow up with questions. Laura Vanderkam from Fast Company writes about the worst case scenario, a conversation that flames out before it even starts. “You might ask about the one topic the person doesn’t want to cover: ‘How’s work?’ results in ‘They just announced huge layoffs’ or, more likely, an evasive answer and awkward silence.” Yikes! I like to start with a compliment and go from there. An “I love your keychain!” might be the in you need to make a new best friend.
  3. Keep your expectations low! I know I just said that you could make a new best friend, but going to a party to find your new best friend, boyfriend, or employer can make a stressful situation that much scarier. Be ready to relax and enjoy yourself, nothing more. Interestingly, the more relaxed and confident you are, the more likely you are to set those foundations for relationships in the future.
  4. Know when and how to bail. A lull in conversation is a great time to introduce a new, deeper topic of conversation, introduce your conversation partner to someone new, or offer to refresh someone’s drink. Troy Patterson, who writes a gentleman’s etiquette guide on Slate, points out that going to get a drink for yourself and offering to get one for your conversation partner is a great way to get out of a conversation without seeming rude. Note: Do not lose sight of your drink at a party. If someone offers to refresh your drink, you can always politely refuse!

Let me know! How do you start conversations, social butterfly Pirates?