Strategies for Success
Starting or continuing a part-time, full-time job or internship search? The Career Management Center offers professional guidance, tools, and support for ODU students and alumni.
In this job market, starting and continuing a search can be a daunting task:
- Identify several industries where you are most likely to find your desired occupation
- Consider employers, companies, businesses in this industry regardless of location
- Target similar organizations that are in your geographic region
- Look for competitors, companies smaller than the initial list
Job Application Strategies
- ODU CareerLink and On-Campus Interviews
- Newspaper Want Ads
- Professional Journals
- Internet job banks such as USAJobs, Simply Hired, Career Connections, and Monster
Use various sources, apply directly to job openings that are posted. You will need an excellent resume and cover letter.
- Develop good cover letters
- Address specific company representatives
- Target desired jobs whether or not the job is currently open
The key is to target a well-researched list of companies based on your company research.
- Career Fairs and Information Sessions
- Informational Interviews
Talk to people you know and develop a list of contacts. Utilize Informational Interviews to meet with contacts to gather industry information and to develop more contacts.
Let the Career Management Center provide personal coaching (via email, phone and in person) to help you with this difficult process.
- Evaluate your progress and manage your expectations
- Analyze your results, talk to a CMC coach
- Modify strategies, change inputs
- Inventory your own job search skills
- Get help from Career Management Center where needed
Job Search - Online Seminar
Job Banks - Use your Monarch Key Login
Job Choices Magazine
Job Choice Diversity Issue
Looking for an opportunity to make a difference?
The United States Federal Government hires over 44,000 entry level hires in locations across the United States and overseas. In the next few years the federal government anticipates hiring tens of thousands of new employees to replace retirees.
Federal pay grades are based on level of education and location. There are numerous paths into the Federal Government; however there are three main Pathway programs for college students and. alumni.
- Student loan repayment assistance
- Flexible schedules and generous vacation and sick leave packages
- Competitive health and retirement benefits
- Training and professional development
- High levels of responsibility
- Excellent advancement opportunities
The Pathways Programs offer clear paths to Federal internships for students from high school through post-graduate school and to careers for recent graduates, and provide meaningful training and career development opportunities for individuals who are at the beginning of their Federal service. As a student or recent graduate, you can begin your career in the Federal government by choosing the path that best describes you and where you are in your academic career.
- Currently enrolled college students
- Paid opportunities to intern at federal agencies and explore different career paths
- Eligible for conversion to full-time employment upon successful completion of the program (640/320 hours of work)
- Current students in qualifying educational institutions and programs
Recent Graduates Program
- Undergraduate or graduate degree within the last two years
- Dynamic, one year developmental program
- Participants go to an orientation, receive 40 hours of T&D, complete an IDP and are assigned a mentor
- Eligible for conversion to full-time employment upon successful completion of the program
Presidential Management Fellows Program
- Qualifying advanced degree within the last two years
- Government's most prestigious two year leadership development program
- Participants go to an orientation, receive 80 hours of T&D, complete an IDP, are assigned a mentor, and have at least one rotational or developmental assignment
- Application generally opens in early October
Diversity in the Job Search and the Work Place
The ODU Career Management Center strives to provide all students with the resources that are necessary to succeed professionally. We understand that students come from diverse backgrounds with unique experiences and needs. We are sensitive to the concerns students may face in making a successful and comfortable transition from education to employment.
Valuing individual diversity means reaching beyond stereotypical views of individuals and using the strengths and different perspectives that each person offers as a result of his or her culture, religion, ethnicity, gender, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, and age.
When it comes to the job search, diversity can play a role in identifying resources and opportunities. The CMC can help you navigate the job search process and identify organizations that appreciate and value individual differences. CMC teams are committed to supporting students, alumni, and employers from all backgrounds and perspectives. We recognize the complexities of identity and career development.
People with a visible disability or accommodation may not have a choice. If you need to ask for reasonable accommodations for the interview, you should request it through a separate administrator who is not involved in the interview process, and the request should be kept confidential.
Whenever the interviewer is aware of a disability apply the strategy of discuss and dispel. Discuss the disability's impact on your professional life and dispel any misconceptions. You can use your disability to your advantage by showing the employer how you can effectively use that awareness. Highlight the opportunities present in the job and show how you can use it to your and the organizations benefit.
Before disclosing a disability in an interview consider the following:
- Do you have a choice?
- If there is a choice, does disclosing strengths you have developed as a means of working with your disability increase your likelihood of getting the job?
Legal implications of disclosure are part of the decision. As an applicant you are not required to disclose a disability at the time you apply for a job even if you need workplace accommodations later.
Women & Family Friendly
Your Personal Network is the best resource for discovering whether a company is women-friendly. Develop a strong network of trusted and credible contacts who can tell you what it's like to work in a company - or connect you with someone who can. Don't be afraid to tap them when you need to know. When using your strategic network for career success, focus in on what "women-friendly" means to you:
- Is that a company with formalized, company-wide flexible scheduling?
- Is it the availability of nursing rooms and onsite day care?
- Is it a management structure that pays women and men the same?
- Is it an employer who treats women with respect?
Whatever your definition of women-friendly is it is important to ask as many women as you can how their employer measures up against your criteria.
Public Recognition: You can look at the featured winners of awards like "best places to work for women", however, it is important to recognize that most of these competitions charge a large fee to participate so smaller organizations may not be included, and results are based primarily on self-reporting.
Self-Reporting: Companies promote themselves as women-friendly in a number of ways. They advertise in diversity-related publications or place diversity-related ads in mainstream publications. They sponsor women-oriented pages on websites such as Monster.com and they sponsor websites that serve business women.
To find companies to avoid, you can do a web searches on search terms such as:
- lawsuit "gender discrimination"
- settlement "gender discrimination"
- lawsuit "sexual harassment"
- settlement "sexual harassment"
- lawsuit "wage discrimination"
- settlement "wage discrimination"
While university communities tend to be nurturing and supportive of LGBTQ students, employers and organizations vary in terms of support and acceptance. We hope to provide resources to assist students in preparing for the challenges they may face during a job search and upon entering the professional workforce by:
- providing a list of LGBTQ-friendly organizations
- educating students on how to prepare a resume that genuinely reflects their abilities and how they want to be perceived in a work environment
- teaching students about their rights and how to exercise them
- constantly educating ourselves through the interactions we have with our students
Out for Work Links, Video, Publications:
- Username: outforwork
- Password: cccp2013
The CMC provides a multitude of resources to help students find jobs and internships. Using ODU CareerLink or other websites, you can identify a range of opportunities in government, not-for-profit, and the corporate sectors.
Once you have identified positions of interest, it is important to research the organization before applying. Begin by visiting their website where you will typically find the types of benefits and activities in which employees are involved. If the exact details of their anti-discrimination policies or list of employee benefits are not provided, don't let this dissuade you from applying. But what you see or don't see on the website should give you an impression of the employer's LGBTQ friendliness.
You can also check to see if this employer made the Human Rights Campaign list of Queer Friendly organizations. This nonprofit does extensive research on many businesses and presents its findings in its annual report. If an LGBTQ employee group exists within the organization, you may want to find a contact person for that group and inquire about the organization's culture. As out employees they may be willing to share their unique perspective.
While there is no federal law protecting employees from discrimination based on real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, some states do offer basic rights to targeted groups. It is important that you research the area in which you will be living and working in order to have a sense of the laws in place to protect you.
When deciding whether or not to be out on a resume, job application, or in an interview, it is important to consider what is most comfortable for you. Some individuals may choose to use their resume as a way to screen out non-supportive employers, and therefore may explicitly list their affiliations with LGBTQ related organizations. Others may prefer to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity once they are hired, if they choose to do so at all.
There are ways to list your skills and experiences while still not naming the organization with which you worked:
- Disguise the fact that it is an LGBTQ group. Instead of writing out "Queer Alliance," use "QA"; however be prepared to be asked in an interview what QA stands for.
- Describe the nature of the organization rather than naming it. For example if you coordinated all of the publicity for your LGBTIQ organization, you may represent this with an entry such as "Marketing Coordinator for an anti-discrimination group"
- Consider a skills/functional resume format in which you emphasize your strengths and skills without necessarily disclosing where you gained them.
No matter what approach you take, remember that employers ask questions during an interview about items listed on your resume. Anything you list on your resume is 'fair game' for an employer to ask about. Your level of disclosure in answering is up to you. However, it's important to anticipate the types of questions you might be asked in an interview and practice your answers.
You can use the interview to further assess the organization's policies and climate. You may decide to ask the following questions:
- Will my partner be covered by my health insurance?
- Are there company policies on discrimination?
Or you may choose to be more discreet and rely on your own research to get information about the employer.
Considering graduate or professional school to earn a competitive edge?
ODU Graduate Program
Graduate school is a major commitment. Fields such as law, medicine, and college or university teaching require education beyond the baccalaureate level, other fields have no clear-cut guidelines. Some students go to graduate school directly after finishing their undergraduate degree. Others take some time off before continuing their education. Many enter the workforce for a few years before returning to the classroom. Some fields, including nursing and business, recommend gaining work experience before beginning graduate a graduate degree.
Admissions requirements vary according to field of study, individual graduate programs may specify:
- Application forms
- Test scores
- Official, sealed transcripts
- Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Admissions Exams
Exams are commonly scheduled one year prior to entrance date. Popular examples:
Letters of Recommendation
A recommendation letter is a detailed discussion of the personal qualities, accomplishments, and experiences that make you uniquely suited for the program to which you have applied.
Who do I ask? Consider one or more people from your professional network such as faculty members, mentors, administrators, advisors, or internship supervisors who have known you long enough to:
- establish a high opinion, personally and professionally
- describe the quality of your work and positive character
- understand your educational and career goals
- write a compelling, articulate letter
How do I ask? Request permission and provide appropriate information to get them started, then follow-up to confirm letters were sent on time:
- A cover note that includes your contact information
- Admissions essay/personal statement
- Copies of graded assignments from the course you took with them
- A list of schools to which you are applying and the due dates
- Copy of the application recommendation forms
- Addressed and stamped envelope