The Office of Career Services at UT Southern offers a number of different services for students. This is a critical resource for every student as they enter as a Freshman through their Senior year. See Mack Young’s story as he worked through this office to land his first great opportunity as a Supply Chain Manager at Pepsico.
Resume, Cover Letters, References, & Interviews
Career Exploration is more than declaring a major. It also involves:
- learning more about yourself – your interests, skills, values and personality – and using that information to identify professional options and paths as you research careers
- exploring broad career fields and specific careers within those fields
To develop a purposeful plan to explore how your skills, interests, values and personality align with majors and careers of interest, call 931.363.9854 to schedule an appointment with career services.
Job Search Tips and Career Services Resources & Info
Career Fair Navigation Strategies
Career Fairs are an opportunity to network with representatives and potentially apply for jobs and internships. Business professional dress (sometimes business casual) is encouraged; bring copies of your resume.
You market your academic training, skills, and personal traits to employers. Be prepared to introduce yourself to employers; communicate how you have demonstrated the following characteristics and inquire how you could be an asset to their organization:
Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
- Oral/Written Communications
- Professionalism/Work Ethic
Resource: What is Career Readiness
Dress the Part
Much like you would dress to attend an interview and arrive clean, pressed, and well-groomed.
- Pressed, button-down dress shirt (white or light blue preferred)
- Pressed, well-tailored suit (navy, gray, tan, or black)
- Dark socks (not white athletic) that cover the calf
- Belt and shoes to compliment suit (black or brown leather)
- Earrings are not suggested.
- Facial hair should be shaved or well-trimmed
- Pressed, tailored skirt/pants suit (navy, gray, tan, or black)
- Pressed, button-down shirt (should not be too snug)
- The skirt should come to the knees (avoid extreme slit)
- Wear minimal jewelry
- Shoes should be closed-toe with low to mid-height heels.
- Don’t smell—no smoking, perfume, or cologne.
- Brush your teeth and bring mints (if needed), but no gum.
- Eat a snack before avoiding distractions caused by hunger.
- Bring resumes in a portfolio; avoid carrying bulky bag(s)
- Know the schedule, as some recruiters plan next-day interviews.
Prepare to Talk to Employers
You do not want this to be you: “Hi, I’m Jane Doe. What does your company do?” You want to impress recruiters with your knowledge of their company, available positions and communicate your fit.
Prepare Your Resume
A resume should summarize your experiences showing relevant skills, personal traits, and successes that offer your fit to companies and available position(s). It should fit on one page, have no grammatical or spelling errors, and be printed on resume paper.
Prepare What You Will Say
Prepare an “Elevator Speech,” a 30-60 second introduction of yourself that you share with each recruiter. The plan is to…
- Introduce yourself, making eye contact with a smile.
- Offer a firm handshake and a resume.
- Tell what sort of employment you seek.
- Summarize your relevant education, experience, and skills.
- Close by reiterating your interest and asking questions
- Thank the recruiter, ask for a business card and leave.
Do not manipulate their time by talking about personal life. Stick to relevant details. Conduct individual research to develop your questions. Here are some examples to get you started:
- What career opportunities are available for individuals with my degree and skills?
- What activities would you suggest to me for your positions?
- What qualities are you looking for in new hires?
- Do you hire students for full-time jobs, co-ops, internships, or summer employment? How do I apply for these positions?
- What is the best way to apply for a position with your company?
- What type of opportunities do you currently have available?
- What type of training do you offer new hires?
- For what geographic locations do you hire?
- What makes your organization different from competitors?
- Could you describe the work environment at your organization?
- What characteristics describe successful people at your company?
- I’m very interested in the position. What is the next step?
Use Your Time Wisely
- Come early, as some recruiters leave the event early.
- Do not travel with friends, be an individual.
- Know with whom you want to talk, and visit those tables first.
- Wait your turn, not interrupting others engaged with a recruiter.
- Network with other recruiters, not missing opportunities
- Ask for a business card from each recruiter with whom you visit.
- After the event, send personalized emails to thank recruiters for their time and ask any questions you may have
- Attach your resume to the message.
- Mail a handwritten thank you as well.
- Check to see if the company (not the individual) has a LinkedIn and/or Twitter profile and follow it.
Career Fair Dos
- DO dress professionally—career fairs require the same attention to apparel as interviews.
- DO greet the recruiter with a firm handshake and maintain eye contact
- DO prepare an elevator speech.
- DO prepare informed questions to ask before the Fair.
- DO stand alone and be independent—try not to constantly move in a “pack” with your friends.
- DO keep an open mind. Approach lesser-known companies—you might discover a lot of potential.
- DO have a sense of humor and be personable.
- DO bring a portfolio to hold your resumes, appointment book, business cards, etc. Keep it organized throughout the Fair.
- DO ask about the best way to find out about upcoming opportunities with the company.
- DO “close the deal” Don’t be afraid to take the initiative and ask what the next step is.
- DO ask for a business card so that you can follow-up.
Career Fair Don’ts
- DON’T be afraid of the recruiters; they’re here to meet you
- DON’T pretend you’re interested in a company if you’re not
- DON’T schedule an appointment you don’t intend to keep
- DON’T overstate your abilities; present yourself and your abilities in a convincing but honest manner
- DON’T monopolize the recruiter’s time, make a good impression, gather information and move on
- DON’T ask questions about salary
- DON’T complain about past jobs, bosses, classes, or professors
- DON’T just toss your resume on the table; take the time to market yourself
- DON’T insert yourself into a conversation a recruiter is having with another student; wait your turn.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who may attend?
- UTS Career Services invites all students, regardless of classification (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate student), and alumni to attend every available and applicable career event. Career fairs are excellent opportunities to network for internships and future employment! Before entering a career event, students and alumni must scan the QR code. At the registration table, participants are provided name tags identifying classification and major.
Should first-year students, sophomores, or juniors attend?
- Career fairs are a vital component in helping people achieve their professional goals. They can provide valuable opportunities to explore different careers and seek full-time employment or internship. There are many reasons to attend a career fair:
- Access to recruiters from a wide array of companies and industries in one location
- You can find out about available job openings and submit resumes in person.
- Explore different and even discover new career options and possible future areas of employment.
- Identify “what it takes” to land a job at various companies – what education, background, skills, and coursework are needed to succeed in a field or at a particular company.
- Practice interview and networking skills
- Gain job searching advice from recruiters who hire college graduates.
- Develop a network of business contacts.
- Learn about different industries.
How do I make a good impression?
- Print your resume on quality paper; don’t staple it to other documents.
- Bring a portfolio to hold your resume, pen, paper, and support documents, preferably one with slots for business cards.
- Have your schedule available in case you have the chance to set up an interview.
- Have a list of companies that interest you most, as you may want to add notes from your research
- Keep breath mints on hand to help counteract dry mouth and bad breath
When greeting recruiters:
- Make eye contact, smile, introduce yourself, and offer a firm handshake.
- Be personable; keep the conversation light and comfortable.
- Be prepared to present your elevator speech.
- Ask thoughtful questions specific to the company or industry.
- Leave a copy of your resume and request a business card from the recruiter to follow up with them later.
- Thank the recruiter for their time and for considering your resume; let recruiters know you enjoyed speaking with them and that you will be in touch.
Business and Dining Etiquette
How you conduct yourself and treat others in a business or dining setting speaks strongly of who you are as a professional. Research tips and strategies before traveling worldwide, as different cultures have different protocols.
- Use titles (Mr., Ms., Dr.), not first names, until instructed to do so
- Be on time or 5-15 minutes early; earlier than that can be awkward and invasive
- Prepare for the meeting, developing an agenda if you are leading
- Do not interrupt meeting agendas, but promptly, be confident in concisely sharing on-topic ideas/opinions
- Do not get intoxicated at work functions
- Do not use profanity or tell off-colored jokes
- Do not engage in office gossip
- Bring a positive attitude and leave the personal drama at home
- Do not air work-related frustrations via social media (for example These people make me sick. #ISITFRIDAYYET)
How to Approach a Group
- Present yourself with confidence
- Smile and extend your right hand
- State name (and company)
- Know how to introduce yourself (and your company) in 15 to 30 seconds.
- Avoid “closed” triads: two people facing shoulder to shoulder are likely having a private conversation.
- Do not fold your arms or put them in your pockets
- Hi, Hey, Yo, What’s up? What’s going on? are not appropriate.
- Hello is appropriate
- It is your duty to introduce yourself.
- Look people in the eyes and smile to seem confident and approachable.
- Name tags should be placed high on the right shoulder.
- When should you introduce yourself?
- When you realize someone does not recognize you
- When attending a business or social gathering
- When seated next to someone
- When a person introducing you forgets your name
- When it is a friend of a friend
- Use proper titles when introducing others.
- Omit titles when introducing people of the same rank and position.
- Never introduce a co-worker/superior by the first name.
- Introduce the person lowest on the totem pole to the highest.
- The name of the person of greater authority is spoken first.
- When introducing others, you look at the most “important person” and say, “Ms. Important, I would like to introduce you to Mr. Student, an intern in our IT department. Mr. Student, this is Mr. Important, the director of technical marketing.”
- When dealing with people outside the company, clients are more important than company employees, and hiring managers are more important than job seekers.
- If you are seated while being introduced, stand to shake hands; have a firm handshake, but avoid death grips.
- Say something about the person whom you introduce.
During the Conversation
- Learn how to make small talk.
- Be current on domestic and international events.
- Know what events impact your company or client’s
- Ask questions that focus on the other person, not you.
- Do not interrupt and/or finish people’s sentences.
- Avoid conversations about health or diet habits, the cost of things, personal life, gossip, off-color jokes, and controversial issues.
- Don’t gaze around the room in a conversation—it’s rude and makes others feel insignificant.
- Only touch others if you know them well.
- Do not just walk away if you see someone more interesting— ALWAYS make a closing statement before moving on:
- “Please excuse me; it was nice talking with you.”
- “It was a pleasure to meet you; I look forward to seeing you again soon.”
- “I enjoyed talking with you; I hope to see you soon.”
- Summarize, “Oh, it looks like you have a fascinating job, and I wish you good luck on your project.”
- If graceful disengagement doesn’t work, be more direct: “I see it is getting late, and I really must go,” then back up physically. As a last result, say a parting statement while you are shaking hands and saying goodbye.
- Always have enough and carry in a case.
- Should not be wrinkled, written on, outdated or dirty
- Present the card with the print facing the recipient.
- Your name should be the largest print on the card.
- Don’t write on business cards in front of others.
- Don’t exchange business cards while dining.
- Never pass them out like you are dealing cards.
- It is polite to comment on the card before putting it away rather than immediately stashing it in a pocket without looking at it.
- If someone asks for a business card, offer yours in return.
- Before offering your business card, say, “May I give you my card?”
- Do not force your card on anyone or offer it too early in a conversation.
- Let senior executives ask for your card; refrain from offering it to them.
Meeting and Networking Events
- It is polite to offer to pay if asked to a lunch/dinner meeting; however, whoever extends the invitation typically pays
- Know why you are attending and who you want to meet
- Bring business cards; remember, you represent your company
- Do not carry a bag or notebook that fills your hands
- Step to the right when you enter a room, pausing first to observe
- Greet hosts first, if possible but do not monopolize their time
- Introduce yourself to others, not just talk to people you know
- Do not immediately head for the bar or food; don’t go hungry
- Avoid foods that are messy or can’t be eaten in one bite
- Hold food or drink in the left hand to leave the right hand open
- Write a thank-you note within 24 hours
Work Relationships: Co-workers
- Cooperate and develop a relationship of mutual support.
- Focus on positive qualities and potential of coworkers (strengths, not weaknesses)
- Be friendly, but do not join a clique.
- Spend time observing how people act, who performs well, and who positively views the job and organization.
- Beware of the gripers and avoid office gossip.
- Do not talk about coworkers behind their backs.
- Voice concerns, challenges, and accomplishments
- Remember that a peer may someday be your boss, or you may be his boss.
- Be nice, polite, and friendly to everyone, including those outside your department.
- Observe the organization’s gift-giving policy and be discreet when exchanging gifts, if only with a few coworkers.
Work Relationships: Supervisors
- Approach tasks with a willing attitude
- Enthusiastically complete “grunt” assignments
- Demonstrate poise and maturity in everything you do
- Ensure quality work is completed on-time
- Supervisors are your ally, not your enemy
- Supervisors train and develop; they aren’t best friends
- Do not ask a supervisor for personal and financial advice
- Turn your phone off during meetings.
- Invest in a watch so you don’t check the phone for time.
- Avoid answering in restaurants; if expecting an important call, let those you are dining with know and leave the table to reply.
- In public, be aware of voice volume and move at least two arm lengths away from those around you (or out of the room)
- The people you are with should take precedence over calls.
- If you expect a call that can’t be postponed, alert your companions beforehand.
- Public phone conversations are not private.
- Craft a compelling subject line
- Treat email like a business letter; always be professional
- Keep it short and simple
- Use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation
- Never send an email when you’re angry
- Email is NOT confidential and can be forwarded
- Read your email and check your spelling before sending it
- Confirm attachment you intended to attach is attached
- Answer an email within 24 hours
General Dining Etiquette
- Pass food from left to right (counterclockwise)
- If asked for salt or pepper, pass both.
- Never season food before tasting it.
- Food is served from the left, and dishes are removed from the right.
- Butter spreads, or dips should be transferred to your serving dish before applying or eating.
- Do not ask for a “to-go box” unless it is an informal situation.
- Use bread, not your finger, to push things onto the fork for hard-to-scoop items.
- If hot food is burning the mouth, discretely drink something cool.
- Napkins belong in your lap.
- If you leave the table, loosely fold your napkin (do NOT refold it or wad it up) and place it beside your dinner plate.
- Meeting materials or briefcases should be left under your chair until it is time to discuss business.
- Do not ask to taste or offer to let others taste your food.
- Do not blow your nose at the table; politely excuse yourself.
Casual Dining Exceptions
- You may order foods that are eaten with your hands
- When sharing chips and salsa, you don’t have to transfer salsa to your plate but do not double dip.
Leaving a Tip
- Fifteen to 20 percent of the bill total is customary, but a more significant percentage is accepted for exemplary service.
- For poor service, you may ask to speak to the manager; still tip.
Place Setting Tips
- General rule: use silverware from outside – in as the meal progresses
- When finished, do not push the plate away; instead, place the fork and knife across the center of the plate, with handles to the right.
- Between bites, your fork and knife are placed on the plate, handles to the right, not touching the table.
Drinks are to the right of your plate, and bread is to the left. Tip: make an “ok” sign with both hands; your left-hand makes a “b” for bread, and your right makes a “d” for drinks.
Dress for Success Tips
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
You only need a few clothes for interviews, but what you have should be good quality, fit properly, clean, ironed, and reflect current business styles.
Business Professional attire is highly encouraged and recommended at the UT Southern Career Fairs.
- Conservative tailored pant or skirt suit or suit dress with jacket
- Blouse: frill-less; evaluate appropriate color for career field
- Skirt: hits the top of the knee; avoid extreme slits
- Shoes: shined, basic close-toed, medium/low-heeled pumps
- Jewelry: limit and select subtle options
- Nails: Conservative length and polish
- Portfolio or Handbag (small)
- Face: shaved or well-groomed facial hair
- Hair: well-groomed, professional-looking
- High-quality, dark suit
- Jacket: button American-cut blazer/jacket when standing
- Shirt: solid white or blue button down
- Tie: subdued, traditional
- Belt and shoes: match
- Shoes: shined black or soft leather shoes
- Socks: dark, mid-calf socks
- Accessories: conservative watch, avoid earrings and other jewelry
CAREER FAIR TIPS FOR EVERYONE
- Bring a folder/portfolio to hold resume copies and a pen.
- Have clean, manicured fingernails
- Don’t wear cologne/perfume, and don’t smell smoke.
- Wear well-maintained shoes.
- Iron/press your clothing
- Select clothing that fits, do not wear clothing that is too tight or loose.
- The limited chest should show.
- Look at yourself: Is your hair neat? Is your shirt tucked? Is your tie knotted properly?
Business Casual will vary greatly depending on the work environment. Remember to dress for the job you want, not the one you have, and that the goal is to be remembered for your contributions to the workplace, not your trendy wardrobe. However, if you work in fashion, for example, there are certainly exceptions. Also, there is a difference between business casual and just plain casual.
Women may wear a collared shirt or sweater with pants or a skirt with dress shoes or boots. Some may also wear a conservative dress. Men may wear a polo shirt, collared shirt, or sweater with khaki or dress pants and leather shoes. A tie is not necessary.
NOT APPROPRIATE FOR JOB SEARCH
- Shorts/jeans/short skirts
- Tight or baggy fits
- Excessive perfume or cologne
- Missing buttons, stains, tears, or rips
How to Identify a Fraudulent Job
On Handshake, we strive to review employers and their full-time, part-time job, and internship postings to confirm that they are legitimate. However, on occasion, one slips through the cracks. You, the job searcher, must know how to distinguish legitimate job postings from scam attempts.
- When in doubt, get the job description from the company’s official website. Like phishing emails, scam job postings often capitalize on well-known companies’ names and images.
- Google the company’s employment page and read the job description directly from their site rather than click a link from a suspicious posting, which could take you to a cosmetically similar page. Viewing the job description on the company’s employment page will confirm the opening is legitimate.
- Call the company using publicly available contact information and ask questions about the job opening. If there is no phone number for the given company, do not pursue it.
Legitimate employers will not ask for personal information, so do not provide the following:
- Financial or banking information
- Copy of your driver’s license card
- Copy of your Social Security card
- Copy of your Student ID
- Driver’s license, Social Security or Student ID numbers
- Note: Before hiring, some employers will request your SSN to conduct a background check – make sure you are comfortable with the company before supplying this information and sign your Social Security Card, but do not carry it around; keep it in a secure location that you can access.
- If posting your resume online, where it can be accessed by anyone, omit personal contact information.
- If a job sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is not valid. Only pursue it with diligent research.
Signs of fraudulent emails and websites include bad grammar and spelling, requests for personal information, and difficulty contacting or identifying the person posting.
These are all clear signs of trouble:
- You are asked to give credit card, bank account, or PayPal account numbers.
- You are asked to send a payment by wire service or courier.
- You are offered a large payment or reward in exchange for allowing the use of your bank account—often for depositing checks or transferring money.
- You receive an unexpectedly large check.
- You are asked to transfer money via e-Bay, PayPal, or Western Union.
- You are asked for personal information, such as your Social Security Number.
- You are requested to send a photocopy of your ID, i.e., driver’s license to “verify identity.”
- You are asked to complete a background check before being considered for a position.
- The posting appears to come from a legitimate company or organization. Still, the contact’s e-mail address doesn’t match the company’s website domain (firstname.lastname@example.org rather than email@example.com), or the company’s website domain needs to be corrected (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The job posting doesn’t mention the job’s responsibilities but focuses on how much money you will make.
- The website includes information only about the job for which you are applying, rather than also including general company information.
What to do if Caught in Scam
- Immediately contact campus security
- Contact UTS Career Services so the posting can be removed and other students can be notified
- End all communication with the employer
- Get in touch with your bank or credit card company and dispute any fraudulent activity immediately
- Depending on what personal information was disclosed, monitor or close your accounts
- Depending on the situation, you may need to notify the three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
LinkedIn Profile Strategies
BUILD A GREAT LINKEDIN PROFILE
LinkedIn is one of the world’s largest professional networks, with over 722 million members from over 200 countries. Profiles that are 100% complete are 40x more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. You have space to include more than you can on a resume. Remember summer jobs, paid and unpaid internships, and volunteer and leadership roles.
- Customize LinkedIn URL. Set your LinkedIn profile to “public” and create a unique URL (e.g., linkedin.com/in/JohnSmith).
- Upload a professional photo. A high-quality image should be of you alone and in attire that aligns with your field of interest. No selfies, cropped pictures of you with others, or pixilated images. Your profile is 7x more likely to be viewed with an image.
- Add the #OpenToWork profile photo frame to increase the likelihood of getting a recruiter message by 2x.
- Align headline with career goals. The default headline is your most recent title. Replace with a statement or keywords relevant to your field of interest that are likely to be searched.
- Update contact information. Include a professional email address. Do not include a physical address or phone number.
- Show off your education. Include major(s) and minor(s), courses, study abroad, and summer programs. Share your GPA, test scores, honors, and awards. Remove high school after sophomore year unless incredibly relevant.
- Develop a professional summary. Your summary statement describes your qualifications and goals in a bulleted format. It should be keyword rich to align yourself with your field of interest. You may even list specialties after the bullets.
- Fill in “Skills & Expertise” with keywords. View job descriptions, O*Net, and profiles of people with the roles you seek to identify relevant keywords.
- Share your work. Attach writing samples, design work, and presentations; unlike your resume, you can tell AND show your successes on your LinkedIn profile.
- Update your status. Post regularly, mentioning projects, books/articles you’re reading, or events you’re attending.
- Connect. Follow UT Southern and join industry groups, volunteer organizations, and professional associations of interest.
- Collect diverse recommendations. Strive to have at least one recommendation for each position. Recommendations from people who have directly managed you are most significant.
- Edit. There should be NO grammatical or spelling errors.
NETWORKING THROUGH LINKEDIN
After your profile is complete, send personalized connection requests to your network: friends, family, neighbors, faculty members, advisors, classmates, and supervisors; then, ask for job search help and ask questions like these:
- What advice do you have as I pursue a job in the XYZ industry?
- Do you know anyone in my field of interest, and would you feel comfortable connecting us?
- Could I meet with you to talk about your day-to-day activities?
Join groups to learn industry terminology. Also, answering questions builds credibility. Follow industry channels as well.
LINKEDIN COMMUNICATION TIPS
- Be authentic. Communicate the same way you would in professional interactions. Do not be overly formal or change your style – be real, be you, but be professional. Avoid clichés.
- Customize your connection requests. Do not use the generic LinkedIn message. Remind them where you met/explain why you want to connect. They will be more likely to respond.
- Be responsive. Reply within a few days to connection requests, personal messages, or comments on group discussions you post. Current responses will keep your LinkedIn site in people’s minds.
- Research before reaching out. Review profiles before contacting on LinkedIn. The connection is stronger if you highlight what you have in common and want to discuss.
- Target and personalize. People are more likely to respond to personalized messages. Use a status update for mass updates.
- Be careful with introductions. If you are asked to introduce someone, remember that your reputation is on the line. You should know the connection well; it’s okay to refuse politely.
- Keep it short and sweet. No one wants to read long, dense paragraphs in today’s busy world. Keep summaries, messages, discussion postings, and recommendations clear and to the point. Bulleted lists should include five or fewer bullets.
- Proofread. A broad audience can see everything you post on LinkedIn (even private messages could be forwarded or saved)—Double-check spelling, grammar, style, and tone.
- Give more than you take. In addition to updating your status and asking for help or connections, comment on other people’s updates, send a job listing, and help with requests.
- Always say thank you. When people answer a question you post, provide an introduction, suggest a job, or help you, send them thank you messages.
Follow up online networking with phone calls, attending events, and mailing notes to people you interact with.
Connect with employers who are actively recruiting for part and full-time jobs and internships.
Log in: joinhandshake.com – Handshake provides a centralized opportunity for students and alumni to view internship and job opportunities posted by recruiters. Additionally, students are able to apply and sign up for interviews through Handshake.
Internships & Info
An internship integrates practical experience with education in a structured, supervised work environment. Internships are available year-round and typically last one semester. They can be paid or unpaid; for class credit (consult faculty advisor for approval) or not. Contact Career Services with questions: email@example.com.
The benefits of participating in an internship are vast. When you intern, you have the opportunity to do the following:
- Enhance your resume and be more marketable for the full-time job search
- Build your professional network
- Expand your understanding of your chosen industry or field
- Develop general work functions and workplace etiquette
- Gain exposure to organizational culture, the latest trends, technologies, and practices
- Develop transferable skills: communication, time management, report writing, customer service, and so much more
Below is an example of the BBA Internship Guide. Your faculty will have a guide for your field of study.
With over 38 areas of study, UT Southern has the degree you need. Utilize the following resources to help you purposefully explore your career paths.
Achieving More Together
Your memories and experiences at Martin Methodist College will remain part of your history and ours. Those footprints you left behind have helped create a pathway for the next generation of students and alumni at UT Southern.
Log in: joinhandshake.com – Handshake provides a centralized opportunity for students and alumni to view internship and job opportunities posted by recruiters. Additionally, students can apply and sign up for interviews through Handshake.