Career Management

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The Department of Experiential Education & Career Management welcomes you to our blog. We oversee all Experiential Education courses and opportunities at LIM College and work with students to ensure that they are well prepared to jumpstart careers in the business of fashion. This blog will showcase tips and tricks related to finding internships and jobs, personal branding, perfecting your resume and cover letter, and excelling in a professional environment, straight from the EECM team.

TUESDAY TIPS – Tips for Planning a Successful Semester

Posted on Aug 10, 2016 2:04:09 PM

by Heather Wright, Experiential Education Assistant

Write Goals

Set_Goals.jpgMy grandmother always told me that I should write down all of my dreams, especially those that seem the most intangible. How can you achieve your wildest dreams, she’d ask, if you haven’t thought of them in the first place?

The first step to achieving success—in life, in your career, in your academics—is to define what success means to you. Create a list of goals for the semester.

What do you need to accomplish this fall in order to feel successful? Do you want to earn a 4.0 GPA? Do you want to make two to three new friends? Do you want to join a club, earn an award, or attend a networking event? Whatever your goals, be sure to write them down and post them somewhere you will encounter them often. (Refrigerators and bathroom mirrors work wonderfully!)

Manage Your Time

clock-772953_640.jpgJuggling coursework, an internship, and maybe even a club or a job can be difficult. To avoid becoming overwhelmed with deadlines, work, and engagements, put some thought into how you are going to manage your time this semester.

Find a system that works for you, whether that is a task management app (there are many!), a planner, a detailed calendar that lists important due dates and events, or a simple daily/weekly/monthly to-do list.

Whatever you choose, take some time to gather your syllabi, the LIM College academic calendar, and any important dates or deadlines from your internship, job, or personal life, and plan out your semester.

Gather Materials

childrens-hands-1052295_640.jpgThis one might seem obvious, but taking some time in the beginning of the semester to buy or rent textbooks, purchase school supplies, and identify your resources is crucial to academic success. There are so many materials available to you through LIM, the library, and the web, so taking stock of what you have and what you need is an important first step when beginning your coursework.

Learn how to use Blackboard, scroll through library databases, access your Symplicity account, and familiarize yourself with local resources as well: museums, the New York Public Library (NYPL just released an app that puts 300,000 books at your fingertips for free with a library card!), and local lectures and workshops are all great supplements to LIM’s long list of student resources. 

Find a Support System

Support.jpgSuccess does not need to be a lonely venture. Gather support from your family, friends, LIM peers, and mentors. If you are struggling, overwhelmed, or just need someone to talk to, visit the Office of Counseling & Wellness Services in Maxwell Hall. Form study groups, network with LIM students and professional contacts, and schedule in plenty of time for social activities—being a college student is hard work, but it can (and should!) be a lot of fun! 

Tags: success, time, goals, support

TUESDAY TIPS - The Professional Email: A Rundown

Posted on Jul 13, 2016 11:56:53 AM

by Caroline Burke, Career Advisor

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Tuesday Tips

First: What constitutes a professional email?

Any email that impacts, discusses, or introduces work contacts or content falls under the professional umbrella.

Writing standards are constantly evolving. From the telegram to the tweet, new practices become the rule while old conventions fade into obscurity.

Today, the digital space has uniquely impacted styles of communication due to its scale, stretching across all boundaries in space and time. How many professional emails in the world are written while in pajamas? How many on the train? In a plane? Riding a hang glider?

We communicate because we want to hear and be heard. We want to connect with each other.

We must ask: How do we most effectively communicate within the cross-section of digital and professional spheres?

There are two primary aspects of writing to consider. The first is language and structure, and the second is tone.

Grammar is often reported by employers as the most immediate criteria upon which they grade resumes, cover letters, and, inevitably, emails. Using a spelling and grammar check is crucial for any and all emails because it gives us the chance to practice and improve. Taking care of capitalization, punctuation, spacing, and proper syntax shows effort. Effort is competency; effort enables connection.

Tone encompasses etiquette, kindness, and character. Can a request be worded as a question, rather than a statement? Can a salutation be included at the beginning and ending of the email? Does the writing embody graciousness? Being understood depends on our ability to understand. And ultimately, mutual understanding engenders mutual work.

Tags: experiential education & career management,, career advisor, communication, email

Working or Interning this Summer? Here are Five Tips to Make the Most of It.

Posted on May 31, 2016 2:56:45 PM

100_Percent_Success.jpg1. Take on more hours – If you’re not taking classes over the summer, you might as well make some money! Summer is a great time to relax by the pool, sleep all day, and do nothing, but that’s not as cool as having money in your bank account. Plus, you will increase your value at your company!

2. With more hours comes more responsibility – Build up your skill set and expand your knowledge. The more time you spend at a company, the more responsibilities you’re going to have, so embrace them. Remember, the more responsibilities you have, the more you’re going to learn and the more marketable you are to employers.

3. Ask questions – Asking questions means that you’re serious about what you’re doing and want to know more. Your supervisor should welcome questions. After all, your supervisor was also once where you are, so he/she should understand. If both parties are open to it, you may want to have a mentor/mentee relationship.

4. Try a different area or department than what you’re used to – Become an expert across all domains in your field. E.g. Beyoncé is a triple threat – she sings, dances, and acts. Nothing is more valuable or marketable than someone who knows everything about the business. This is where leaders come from.

5. Is your boss attending industry events? See if you can tag along! – NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK! I hope this is clear. Yes, attending industry events gives you access to various people from different companies across the industry. This is prime networking time. Make a game plan, bring business cards, have mints handy, and just be yourself.

Barbara Lerman, Career Advisor

Tags: internship, networking, working

Converting Your Senior Co-op

Posted on Nov 9, 2015 12:00:00 PM

The Facts: 55% of students in the Class of 2014 received an offer for employment from the company where they completed their Co-op.

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The Co-op internship is the culmination of your time as an LIM College undergraduate. You’ve gotten a great position, worked hard throughout the semester, and want to stay following graduation.

Converting your Co-op from a full-time internship to a full-time job can seem intimidating, but many LIM students do it successfully each semester. How will you convert your Senior Co-op? Here are some tips:

  • Treat this internship like a full-time job and take it seriously.
  • Be assertive!
  • Go above and beyond.
  • Carry a notebook around with you at all times – take notes on EVERYTHING!
  • Build strong relationships by listening and learning.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions, it shows that you are interested and care.
  • Meet with your internship supervisor regularly.
  • Use your Co-op as a time to network, network, network!
  • Keep a record of the tasks and projects you complete as well as new skills you have learned. This will come in handy for your resume.
  • Finally, LET THEM KNOW YOU WANT TO STICK AROUND! Don’t assume that your supervisor and/or HR department can read your mind and that they know that you want a full-time position. Set up a time to meet with your supervisor to express your strong interest in continuing with the company as an employee following the end of your internship and ask what steps you should take to try to make this happen.

 

By: Taryn Garshofsky, Career Advisor

Tags: Senior Co-op, career choice, internships, experiential education & career management,

Evaluating an Internship Offer

Posted on Oct 26, 2015 2:37:00 PM

Receiving an internship offer is often a culmination of a lot of time, effort, preparation and hard work. It’s also just an all-around awesome feeling! For these reasons, it is easy to get swept up in the elation of the moment and just say “yes!” However, now that an offer is on the table, it is important to take a step back and really think about what you are being offered and what the opportunity really means for you and your career.

That being said, before rejecting or accepting, it is perfectly fine to ask for some time to “think about it” before giving an answer. In fact, you should be doing this so you can reflect on all the stuff I’m going to talk about below!

Perhaps you have a few more interviews coming up and you want to see how they play out. Maybe you’re waiting to hear back from your dream employer. Maybe you just need to think about it. Regardless, most companies will give you anywhere from 24 hours to a week to make a decision. You will want to ask when they need to know by so that you can respect their timeline.

Points to Consider:

Consider the relevance to your career path.

Ideally, the internship should be relevant to your career path. When considering an offer (or offers), ask yourself: “How does this internship help me move closer to my ultimate goal?” If it is for senior co-op, it is especially important to find out if the company is known for hiring their interns full-time after the internship is over.

If you are not sure what you want your career path to look like yet, the internship should be in an area of interest that you would like to know more about. For example, maybe you took a Public Relations class at LIM and loved it on the academic side, but now would like to know more about how it functions in the real world. An internship is a great chance to get that first-hand experience and explore a new area of interest!

Talk to your peers.

Before accepting an offer (and even before you start interviewing), it is a good idea to talk with your peers who have worked with the company before. You might have read the job description, you might have interviewed (maybe more than once) and you did online research, but there is nothing like getting a first-hand account from someone you trust.

A peer can give you a realistic glimpse of what it is like to work as an intern at a company and may be able to touch on some things that were not covered in the interview or job description. Here are some things you might want to ask:

  • Are the hours fair? Are you expected to stay late?
  • What are the networking opportunities like?
  • What is the workload like? Did they learn a lot? Where they given a fair amount of responsibility and opportunity to grow?
  • Overall company/office culture? Positives and negatives? Challenges, if any?

Consider location and hours.

Where is the internship located? How many hours a week are you expected to work? Is it a reasonable commute from home and/or school? How much does it cost to commute? How does the commute and hours fit in with your school schedule (if taking classes)?

These are all important questions to ask yourself before accepting an offer. Maybe an hour (or more) commute is feasible if you are not taking classes, but consider how that would affect your school work and overall work-life balance.

Rejecting an Offer

Rejecting an offer probably isn’t anyone’s favorite thing to do, but it is a scenario that most people will probably encounter at one point or another. The first thing to remember in this circumstance is that the fashion industry is a small world and you never know how or when paths will cross again down the line, so you always want to act with the highest level of professionalism no matter what.

This means expressing gratitude for their time and for the opportunity and providing a response within the agreed upon timeline. Depending on the scenario, you will want to use your best judgment in deciding how you are going to tell them. Depending on the person or the company, you may feel a phone call is more appropriate, but there are times when an email makes more sense. Again, use your best judgment and go with your gut.

Rescinding an Offer

I’ll start off by saying that rescinding an offer after you have already accepted is generally a “no-no” and should be avoided. It is also important to note that after accepting an offer, you should STOP applying and STOP interviewing.

By accepting, you have made a commitment to that employer and should not continue to seek out other opportunities. If you accept an offer, and another offer comes your way that you decide you want more, it is usually in your best interest to keep your commitment to the accepted internship.

Not only is rescinding disrespectful to the employer, but it does not bode well for your reputation. Remember that thing I said about fashion being a small world? That is true in this instance too and rescinding can come back to haunt you! If you find yourself in a situation where you must rescind, you should always reach out to the EECM Department first, so we can help you assess your options and navigate the process.

 

By Kaitlyn Riley, Career Advisor

Tags: career choice, internships, experiential education & career management,

All About Executive Training Programs

Posted on Sep 28, 2015 2:48:19 PM

Are you interested in a career in buying, planning, merchandising, or retail management at one of the major retailers? If so, you probably want to take a closer look at an Executive Training Program (ETP) for after college. Major retailers such as Lord & Taylor, URBN, Inc., Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue are the types of retailers that offer such programs. 

What is an ETP? An ETP is a structured, full-time program that provides entry-level candidates exposure to all levels of a retailer’s business with in-depth guidance to prepare those candidates for roles in buying, planning, merchandising, or retail management at that particular organization. They are so structured and competitive that the application process typically starts two semesters prior to when a student graduates with their degree. For instance, retailers are recruiting for their summer 2016 programs right now.

There are two main types of ETPs: merchant and retail management. For those students that want to pursue a career in a corporate setting, merchant is the way to go. For those with aspirations of becoming a store or district manager, retail management is for you.

Both types of programs provide some of the best training in the industry in their respective areas.  In a merchant program, you can expect to learn things like reporting systems, how to manage your own open-to-buy plan, elements of financial forecasting, how a buyer buys products, and how a planner or allocator maintains store assortments. In a retail management program, you can expect rotations in all facets of store operations, including human resources, merchandising, marketing, receiving, and finance. 

What makes a good ETP candidate? Students that possess a very high level of retail math and Excel competency, are comfortable with numbers, and have typically some buying or merchandising internship experience are seen as good candidates. You also must maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at the time of your application, though some programs require a slightly higher GPA.  Some programs also require you to have interned at the company prior to even being able to apply to their ETP.  This is the case in particular for Saks Fifth Avenue. So if it is your dream to be a buyer there, please take a look at their summer internship program before you are a senior!

How do you apply to a program? In the fall semester of your senior year, you will have the opportunity to join that year’s LIM ETP cohort. By joining the cohort you will have access to personal advising and resume review in order to help you through the application process. You will also receive all information regarding deadlines and how to prepare for interviews, which are extremely challenging.  Since ETPs are not right for everyone, only students that join the cohort will have access to that information. You will receive details on how to join the cohort during the first or second week of the fall semester of your senior year.    

Any questions? Please feel free to reach out to me directly.

By: Todd Lotcpeich, Recruiting Coordinator

Todd.lotcpeich@limcollege.edu

Tags: experiential education & career management,, management, merchandising, buying, executive training program, planning

Welcome back!

Posted on Aug 27, 2015 1:16:56 PM

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Welcome & Welcome Back!

August is a time for both faculty and staff at the College to prepare for a new academic year. I have been thinking about what to write to all of you – to those students returning and to those just beginning. What can I write that is inspiring? What can I write that will excite the students as they either continue or begin on their career path into the fashion and related industries? Essentially, we prepare in the same manner, year after year, and not much changes for us. And then it hit me…

I had breakfast with a group of students this past Friday and as I looked around the room I realized I was wrong in thinking that nothing changes for faculty and staff as we prepare for an academic year. I was wrong in thinking it is the same-old, same-old drill as we prepare for your arrival. It can never be the same because each year we are challenged by and engaged with new personalities, new cultures, new life stories, and most importantly, new career ideas from all of you.

You think outside of the box. You want to explore things we could only have dreamed of when we were in college. You are the reason we are here because you inspire us. You teach us and we learn more from you each year than could ever be captured in a textbook or seminar.

As the Senior Director of Experiential Education & Career Management, I want to let you know how excited my department is to work with you. Your Career Advisor, as well as the entire department, is vested in your success. Introduce yourself to the professionals working in EECM; we are a critical part of your journey here, guiding you on your internship and career path for the next few years and hopefully for many years to come – even after you graduate.

Personally, I hope to meet each and everyone one of you. Please introduce yourselves if we are in an elevator, sitting next to one another at an event, or if you spot me on the subway – networking for your future begins now. Your dreams are important to me and to everyone at LIM College. I hope you all have an amazing semester and I look forward to putting names to your faces in the days and months to come.

Sincerely,

Ms. Bauer

PS - If you're looking for more information on our department, our section of the LIM website is a great place to start!

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By: Susan Bauer

Senior Director of Experiential Education & Career Management

Tags: welcome week, experiential education & career management,, welcome back

Everything You Need to Know About the Spring 2015 Career Fair

Posted on Apr 10, 2015 11:18:00 AM

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When is it?

Tuesday, April 14th, from 12:00pm-4:00pm

Where is it?

The Fifth Avenue Building

When can I enter the fair?

Graduate students and seniors have preferred admission. The schedule for admission is as follows:

  • 12:00pm-12:30pm - Graduate students may enter the fair
  • 12:30pm-1:00pm - Seniors and graduate students may enter the fair
  • 1:00pm-4:00pm - All students (including seniors and graduate students) may enter the fair

How can I speed up my entry to the fair?

Skip the "slow line" by pre-registering here: http://www.hirecanvas.com/user/sign_up. Simply select "LIM College" from the dropdown menu, enter your personal information, and click "Sign Up" to register. Please do not arrive earlier than your designated time (see previous question) even if you are pre-registered!

What employers will be at the fair?

You can see a full list of participating companies here: http://www.limcollege.edu/career-services/15649.aspx. To research a company and the open positions for which they may be recruiting at the fair, click each company's name for a link to their careers website. Note that not all employers will be seeking to speak to all students and that they each have their own requirements for eligibility. Further details will be communicated via email. The employer list is subject to change right up until the time of the fair due to employer cancelations.

What should I bring with me?

Bring copies of your up-to-date, proofread resume on bonded resume paper (this is available at any office supply store, including Staples and OfficeMax) and your LIM College business cards.

What should I wear?

Plan to dress in business professional attire. You should dress as if you were going to an interview, not to class.

If you have any last-minute questions prior to the fair, please write to careermanagement@limcollege.edu. Happy networking!

Tags: networking, experiential education & career management,, career fair

Getting a Great Reference or Letter of Recommendation

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 11:22:00 AM

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There are many ways to ask past supervisors for a reference or a letter of recommendation. Here are some tips!

  • Make sure you ask your direct supervisor. This is someone that has worked directly with you and can speak about what your skills and talents are.
  • Get up to three references. Once a potential employer is in the process of checking your references, having three can set you apart from other candidates.
  • Call to set up a meeting with your supervisor to ask for a reference. Never do this through email. Ask your supervisor if they feel that they know enough about you to serve as a reference or to write a letter of recommendation about your work.
  • If your supervisor agrees to act as a reference or write you a letter of recommendation don't forget to send a personalized thank-you note.

It is possible to ask your supervisor for a recommendation through LinkedIn as well. While getting a tangible letter of recommendation is suited more for a portfolio, some students find that getting a recommendation on LinkedIn attracts employers’ attention and can increase their chance of getting hired for an internship or job.

Students are encouraged to get as many LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements as possible. This is a new way to get a letter of recommendation because it can be seen by anyone you are connected to on LinkedIn. In addition, don't forget to give recommendations to others on LinkedIn! They also appear on your page and can be a way to display your professionalism and writing skills, but be sure to keep them brief (one to two short paragraphs), specific, and error-free.

By following these guidelines you'll be prepared whenever you need to provide evidence of your skills and work ethic!

 

By Taryn Garshofsky, Career Advisor

Tags: experiential education & career management,, career building, career advice

Networking Makes Even the Best of ’em Nervous Sometimes

Posted on Mar 24, 2015 11:18:00 AM

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Let’s face it, networking can be nerve-wracking. Attending an event alone…Walking up to strangers…Everyone is in groups chatting but you... If any of these situations give you a bit of anxiety, don’t fret. This article will help you break down networking barriers and hopefully alleviate some of your unwanted fears.

Step #1 - It’s important to do your research so that you are clear on the mission of the event, the backgrounds of featured professionals and the event logistics (host, time, venue, date). Based on this information, put a game plan together so that you know what to wear, what time you should arrive, who you want to speak with, and what your overall objective is for attending the event. The goal is to come with a boost of confidence because you are prepared. My personal rule is this: If I get dressed, put on makeup and swipe my metro card, I am challenging myself to meet at least three new contacts. Seriously, I stick to this rule. Perhaps this challenge will work for you. Feel free to steal it! Ok, so the first step is complete. (Great job!) Now let’s move on to…

Step #2 - You’re at the event and probably thinking, what do I do now?! Here’s the game plan: the goal is to comfortably circulate the entire room and get face time with the professionals you have identified as those you want to meet (based on the program details). It can be intimidating to strike up a conversation with people you don’t know, so you could always give a compliment, start up a one-on-one conversation in the restroom, introduce yourself at the bar/food area, ask an open-ended question, such as “Are you part of this organization?” or “How did you hear about this event?” or simply introduce yourself. After all, it is a networking event and professionals should expect to have conversations with new people. Use these icebreakers to engage in a real conversation (obviously, have your elevator pitch prepared) and come with business cards. You may want to write notes on the back of the business cards you collect so that you can remember the personalized conversation you had and send a tailored message after the event. So, you prepared for the event and met at least three new contacts, awesome! Now, there is a…

Step #3 - “Follow up.” After attending the event, be sure to deliver on the promises made, such as sending an introductory email, emailing your resume, connecting on LinkedIn, or sharing a resource. This is actually the most critical piece. If you meet great professionals and you never follow up, then Step #1 and Step #2 served no purpose and you’ve wasted a metro swipe. Time is money nowadays. Make sending your introductory email a priority. (And never expect the other person to send an email first.) Always take it upon yourself to take charge and make initial contact. And lastly, work hard to turn that business card into a meaningful and fruitful relationship. Networking is simply the first step in achieving your goals. It’s what you do with the connection that makes all the difference!

By Jessica Styles, Career Advisor

Tags: networking, experiential education & career management,