“Community Building” – It’s the New Networking

I am going to just go ahead and admit it. I hate networking. Hate it.social-networking-sites

You would think that someone working in the career services industry would have to love networking right?

Not really. I am completely an introvert. That being said, that does not mean I cannot network. If forced to, I can push down that giant ball of panic that begins to rise up in my throat and talk to one maybe two people (max) who I do not know. They have to approach me first, though.

If you are introverted (or even extroverted) and hate networking, you are certainly not alone. There are some things that you can do to make networking less of a challenge and more enjoyable.

First of all, let’s scrap the name, “networking” in favor of something less daunting. How about “community building?” After all, that is all you are doing when you talk to people about careers and interests. Better, right?

Second, let’s forget about making community building about you. If you go into a room with no expectation that you will have to rattle off your prepared elevator speech to impress as many people as possible, that takes off  the pressure. Instead, when you enter a room or meet someone new, ask them about THEM. Ask them about their career, where they went to school, what internships they did, etc. You get the idea. People love to talk about themselves. Inevitably, they will ask about you. By then, you will be much more comfortable. You can be honest about your career path, skills, and interests. Hopefully, they will then work with you to see if they can help you on your path.

Finally, follow up. Get their card. If they don’t have a card, get their name and email address. At the very least, go home and connect to them on LinkedIn (if they have a profile). Then, send them a message or email letting them know how much you enjoyed talking to them. If there were any action items, like if they asked for your resume, be sure to follow up on it.

Now, if you are an introvert, you can go ahead and curl up on the couch and sit in the quiet solitude for a while to recover. I highly recommend chamomile tea with honey and a good TV show.


Oh, The Places You’ll Intern (or Work)!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”


– Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!


Growing up, I had my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Hop on Pop. It was not until graduate school that I was exposed to Oh, The Places You’ll Go! I was babysitting for a friend and her child grabbed it off the shelf and begged me to read it. As I read it, I found it inspiring in a cheesy way and wished that someone had read it to me as a child.

Now that I am all grown up (sort of) and working here in the CDO, I am pleasantly surprised every single day by the various goals and aspirations of our students. We have students who want to go into nursing, run art museums, manage teams, work for the federal government, start nonprofits, work out in the field doing scientific research and everything in between. Students want to travel all over the world for internships, volunteer work, and jobs.

My job is to help them achieve those goals.

Much like the quote above, SPEA is equipping you with the know-how (brains in your head) to DO the things you want. You have feet or some other means of transport, and you really can steer yourself any direction you choose. Only you will decide where you will go, even if at times it seems like the current is sweeping you away and you have no choice in the matter.

There is just one thing that Dr. Seuss got wrong (sorry, Doc). You are NOT on your own. Your SPEA community is behind you. You have teachers, mentors, friends, colleagues, and advisers all here to help you out. Do not forget that as the chaos of spring semester begins to whip up around you. You are in control.

If you start to feel lost or overwhelmed by your job or internship search, reach out. Our team is here to help you navigate the waters. To make an appointment, you can log into http://www.speacareers.com or call our office at 812-855-9639.

Once you do get a job or internship, drop by the SPEA atrium to place a pin on our map (see picture above!). We would love to see where all our SPEA students are going when school lets out.

Congratulations SPEA December Grads…

The SPEA Career Development Office wishes you well for a successful and bright future.    Here are a few tips to help you get a great start in your first post-college job.   After you settle into your new career, please consider becoming a networking resource or mentor for other SPEA students.

Remember, if you still need help with the job search or have any career questions, the CDO is here to help you.     You can still access the SPEAcareers.com job board,  or e-mail speacare@indiana.edu         or call  812-855-9639  for career advising appointments. 

If you are away from Bloomington we can conduct phone or SKYPE advising sessions.

Again, congratulations on your achievement!

The CDO Staff:  Mark, Alejandra, Glenda, Katie, Marlene, Melodie, Rhiannon, Scott, and Susan

Do Employers Know You Exist?

Searching for a job or internship? How should you start? What is the process? Unfortunately, sending out tons of resumes into virtual limbo is not an effective strategy – sorry!
For success in today’s competitive job market a seeker must demonstrate action, initiative, and resourcefulness. In other words, don’t wait for an employer to publicize a job opening (for which you will compete with dozens if not hundreds of other candidates). Instead, reach out before those jobs are posted and let employers know who you are and what you can do.
One of my favorite career websites, Student Branding Blog, has termed this strategy “direct employer outreach”. Their article Do Employers Know You Exist? has helpful suggestions for taking an action oriented approach and distinguishing yourself in the job search.
The SPEA Career Development Office is ready to help you design and implement your own effective job search strategy. Make an appointment soon!

Observations on the SPEA Career Expo by Kevin King

Recently, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) held their first ever Career Expo at the DeVault Alumni Center on September 27th, 2012. This Expo, specifically for SPEA students, drew nearly 40 prospective employers to the Bloomington campus.

Hundreds of students took time out of their busy schedules to network and search for internships and full time jobs. The turnout was even better than expected because of the diligent advertising that the SPEA Career Development Office and its Student Partners did around campus during the weeks before the event.

The friendliness exhibited between students and employer representatives made the Career Expo a welcoming environment. The chance to network with professionals certainly helped students to improve their communication and interpersonal skills.

I am happy that I went to the Career Expo because I found a few internship opportunities that I can apply for soon. Hopefully I’ll get accepted for one in spring semester or next summer.

I could tell a lot of preparation went into organizing and staffing the Expo and want to congratulate all the individuals who played a part in making this event happen. All students should go to these career events as they provide excellent opportunities for professional career development and networking.


Photo by Catherine Teng  
Kevin King is a SPEA sophomore majoring in Management with a minor in Political Science. He is a member of the Career Development Office’s Student Partner Network and is also very involved with many IU student organizations and activities (Teeter Quad Student Government, Student Alumni Association, First Year Experience, Union Board, IU Dance Marathon). Kevin contributes to the WeAreIU student blog and has written about his observations of the recent SPEA Career Expo for the CDO. Thanks Kevin!