Career Counseling

DSC_0037Choosing a major can feel like an overwhelming task. There are dozens of options available to you—how do you know which one to pick? The great news is that in today’s workplace, your major no longer defines you or pigeonholes you into just one career path. Your options are widely varied within any one major, so you don’t have to feel like you’re deciding your whole future when you declare your major.

Kentucky State University’s Career Counseling, Placement and Cooperative Education office has resources available to help you choose a major that’s a great fit for you.

Individual counseling sessions may be arranged to help students and alumni clarify career interests, values and work-related skills; explore potential careers and employers; and refine job seeking, interviewing, and resume preparation skills.


Mock Interviews

Experience a simulation of a real interview. Receive feedback and guidance regarding effective interviewing skills. Many of these interviews are conducted by employers.


Resume Critique

Your resume is a marketing tool created to market you. It may be your first contact with an employer, whether applying for an internship, co-op or job opportunity. Resumes may also be requested for leadership opportunities, graduate school, scholarship, and fellowship applications.

Employers often review resumes and cover letters in 10 seconds or less. Therefore, your resume must be well-written, concise, extremely organized, and easy to read in order to be effective. Customize your resume for the reader, looking for opportunities to match your accomplishments and interests to their needs. Tailoring your resume and cover letter to the specific employer is a key component of a successful resume and cover letter!

There is not one correct way to organize a resume. It depends on your unique education, experiences, and skills. It is a good idea to have different versions of your resume depending on the job type/industry that you’d like to target.

Drop by the Career Counseling, Placement and Cooperative Education office, Academic Service Building, Suite 303. Once we have received your resume, it will normally take three to five days to complete.


Internships

Internships provide meaningful work experience related to your academic studies.They allow you to experience and evaluate a potential career while you are still in school.An internship can also help you develop professional references and contacts for future networking. Internships are available for all academic majors.

A survey conducted by theNational Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) showed the following:

Students who took paid internships or co-ops were more likely to receive an offer of full-time employment and a higher salary offer from their employers than were students who took unpaid internships or co-ops, according to results of NACE’s Class of 2015 Student Survey.

Paid internships/co-ops with private, for-profit companies yielded the highest offer rate (72.2 percent). In contrast, just 43.9 percent of students who had unpaid internships/co-ops with private, for-profit companies received offers. (See Figure 1.)

The difference in offer rates between paid and unpaid positions is evident across employer types, including nonprofit (51.7 percent vs. 41.5 percent), state/local government (50.5 percent vs. 33.8 percent), and federal government sectors (61.9 percent vs. 50 percent). (See Figure 1.)

There was also a similar pattern in regard to starting salary offers. Having had a paid internship/co-op with a private, for-profit company yielded the highest median offer at $53,521, while the median offer for students who took unpaid internships/co-ops with a private, for-profit company was $34,375.

The same held true across industry sectors—nonprofit ($41,876 vs. $31,443), state/local government ($42,693 vs. $32,969), and federal government sectors ($48,750 vs. $42,501).

Overall, an employer was far more likely to offer a job to a student prior to graduation if he or she had an internship or co-op—especially a paid position. The gap in offer rates between students with internship/co-op experience and those without such experience grew from 12.6 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2015 (56.5 percent versus 36.5 percent).

The Class of 2015 Student Survey was administered to 39,950 students at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree levels through NACE’s college members from February 11, 2015, to April 30, 2015. The focus of the survey report is the 9,184 bachelor’s degree students who indicated that they would be graduating—or already had graduated—during the 2014-2015 academic school year (July 1 to June 30), and were thus members of the Class of 2015. The Class of 2015 Student Survey was sponsored by Enterprise.

Figure 1: Job offer rates and starting salary offers, by type of internship/co-op experience

Pay
Status
Employer Type Applied Received Offer Offer Rate Median Starting Salary Offers
Paid Private, for-profit company 1,015 733 72.2% $53,521
Nonprofit organization 178 92 51.7% $41,876
State or local government agency 101 51 50.5% $42,693
Federal government agency 42 26 61.9% $48,750
Unpaid Private, for-profit company 253 111 43.9% $34,375
Nonprofit organization 299 124 41.5% $31,443
State or local government agency 139 47 33.8% $32,969
Federal government agency 30 15 50.0% $42,501
No internship or co-op 941 343 36.5% $38,572

Source: Class of 2015 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers

Paid interns/Co-ops see greater offer rates and salary offers than their unpaid classmates.


Etiquette

Business Etiquette

Business etiquette is all about professionalism and appropriate behavior. You will never have a second chance to make a first impression. First impressions are often lasting impressions with a potential employer. Here are a few tips:

  • Do your homework. You’ll be more confident and prepared if you go into a business situation knowing what’s expected of you, and knowing about the company and the position you’re interviewing for. Bring multiple copies of your resume and references, and make sure they’re kept neat and unwrinkled in a folder, preferably leather bound portfolio.
  • Be on time! In fact, plan to arrive 15 minutes early. That way, you won’t be rushed and will give your interviewer the sense that you’re punctual and prepared.
  • Dress professionally. It’s always better to be overdressed and more traditional than too trendy or casual. If possible, find out the expected dress code. In an interview, a business suit is usually a safe choice. In most industries, conservative is better.
  • Send thank-you notes. This small gesture can make a world of difference when you’re being considered against other candidates. Anytime an employer gives you their time, whether it’s a formal or informal setting, be sure to email them within a day and follow up with a hand-written thank you note. You want them to know that their time was appreciated and valued, and that you enjoyed learning more about their company and the open position.

Dining Etiquette

If part of your interview or meeting with an employer includes a meal, good manners are essential. Remember to use utensils, working from the outside in if you’re faced with several forks or spoons, and eat slowly. A meal is a chance for your potential employer to see how you act in a more relaxed environment than the interview room, but that doesn’t mean you can be casual. Treat the meal as part of the interview process, and if you’re unsure about what to order or how to conduct yourself, take your cues from your host.

Check our website to see when the next etiquette seminar/dinner will be held or contact Ms. Annette Bruce at (502) 597-5948.

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Interview Tips & Guides


Careers and Majors

What can I do with this major? is a convenient website that helps you connect majors with careers. For each major that interests you, you can find an outline of common career areas, typical employers, and strategies designed to maximize career opportunities.


Other

Career Plan

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