Monday, July 7, 2014

Alumni Association Adds New Faces

If there is one thing in life that is constant, it’s change, a condition to which your USU Alumni Association is not immune.

Over the last few months, we’ve had some significant changes in our leadership and staff. Nothing life changing… but close. As an alum and/or supporter of Utah State, here is what you need to know about each of our new staff members.


DAVID CLARK

Associate VP, Alumni and Corporate Relations

Dave Clark is the new Associate VP, Alumni and Corporate Relations at Utah State University. He comes to the alumni staff from the university’s Commercial Enterprise department where he was both a Director of Business Development and the Executive Director of the USTAR Applied Nutrition Research team at USU. Prior to that, he served as the Executive Director of Entrepreneurial Programs in the Huntsman School of Business.

In his pre-USU days, Dave had experience as President and Chief Executive Officer of Prolexys Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical firm in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to Prolexys he was Vice President, Corporate Affairs at NPS Pharmaceuticals (Salt Lake City) from 1996 till 2005 and was involved in business development, funding transactions, investor relations and corporate communications. Earlier career experiences included senior management positions at AgriDyne Technologies, Clark Financial Corporation and UI Group.

Dave holds a B.S. degree in botany from Brigham Young University (1976), an M.S. degree in agronomy from the University of Illinois (1978), and an M.B.A. degree from the University of Utah (1980). He is an avid golfer and enjoys spending time with his wife, Christine, their six children and 13 grandchildren.



SHELDON BROWNING  

Director of Student Alumni Engagement

Sheldon Browning recently became our new Director of Student Alumni Engagement after working as the Community Service Coordinator in the Val R. Christensen Service Center at USU.

Sheldon has multiple years of experience managing student organizations and coordinating student-run projects and events. With the Service Center, he oversaw the processes and infrastructure for volunteer engagement and service-based learning at Utah State.

Prior to his work with USU, he served as an Independent Living Program Manager at San Joaquin Delta College and an Education Outreach Coordinator at University of the Pacific, both in Stockton, California.

Sheldon earned a B.A. degree in international studies from Utah State University (2005) and a Master’s Degree in Education Administration from University of the Pacific (2009). He enjoys the outdoors, spending time with family and being an Aggie.



KAREN ROUNDY

Alumni House Manager

Karen Roundy is the new cheerful face you’ll see when you visit the David B. Haight Alumni Center. She is the Alumni House Manager, and came to us from her role as a Gift Processor in the USU Advancement Services office.

Prior to working for Utah State University, Karen worked at Canyon Elementary School teaching early reading skills and techniques to children. Now she manages all of the events (i.e. receptions, weddings, banquets, parties and more) that happen year round at the Alumni Center. Karen also works with the Emeriti Executive Council and enjoys the interaction she gets to have with our loyal alumni. She is a fantastic contribution to our team and can always brighten a customer’s day with her smile.

On the rare occasion that she has free time, Karen loves to read, ride horses and go boating with her husband, Mike, and their two kids.


Now that you know a little more about our Alumni Relations staff, feel free to stop by and visit next time you make a trip to campus. We’re in the David B. Haight Alumni Center; the historical house just two buildings north of Old Main, at the top of the hill.

Our doors are open and we’re ready and willing to help make your Aggie experience the best it can be.

You can also reach us toll free at 1-800-291-2586, locally at (435) 797-2055 or alumni@usu.edu.


Stand Up. Get Involved. You’re an Aggie.    

Monday, June 30, 2014

5 Ways Showing You Care Will Help You Land a New Job

Article Originally Published on Levo League


5 Ways Showing You Care Will Help You Land a New Job | Levo League |
        career path, careeradvice
Photo Courtesy of Levo League


Any time you interview for a job, you know companies scrutinize your education, work history, manners, social media presence, wardrobe and more. (Hint: Don’t forget breath mints.) But did you know they’re likely screening for engagement, too?

Disengaged employees are a pox on all they touch — they kill sales, bum out customers and sap the morale of high performers. As employers become aware of this, it’s more vital than ever to display the characteristics of an engaged employee. Here’s how to do it:


1. Understand the concept

Employee engagement is more than good morale and camaraderie. (Click here to tweet this thought.) It’s about giving 100 percent at work. We’re talking time spent, ideas shared, knowledge gained and persistence displayed. It’s about finding meaning and feeling stimulated in your job, mastering a skill set, playing an important role in the company’s culture and taking pride in your work.


2. Share tales of engagement from your last gig

Research shows that only 30 percent of the workforce is truly engaged at work. Employees have checked out due to lack of interest or motivation. Does that include you? Differentiate yourself from other job candidates by offering specific examples of how you’ve engaged in the jobs you’ve had so far.

Did you take on an assignment to expand your abilities? Did you volunteer for the tough job no one else wanted, just to see if you could? Did you start a network for workers in similar roles to share ideas and best practices? Did you recruit a superstar to your team? If you answered “yes” to any of these, say it loud, with spirit, in your interview.


3. Display your commitment to commitment

Engagement at work rests on a sense of commitment — not only to your job, but also to the bigger mission. If you find yourself saying “That’s not my job” or “I don’t know how to do that” more than “I think I can help” or “I’d like to try,” there may be an engagement gap.
Dive in and take on new projects. You’ll learn and be ready to speak about how you do this in a sustainable way. It’s OK to share when taking on too much is a problem, too. Burnout is the biggest risk for hyper-engaged people.


4. Showcase how you’ve become stronger by overcoming challenges

Everyone has challenges in the workplace. Unfair workloads, bad attitudes, challenging market conditions. Truly engaged employees are quick to take ownership for both successes and failures and point to the lessons they learned. Be prepared to talk an interviewer through your trials-by-fire, your resilience and your ultimate success in the face of adversities great and small.


5. Show that you’re an intrapreneur

Intrapreneurs are engaged employees with an entrepreneurial mindset. They act like owners, developing innovative solutions to problems and adding value beyond their job description. Give examples of how you proposed a product or service idea that helped those outside your team, how you identified a specific problem and implemented a solution. Then get ready for that “welcome aboard” handshake.

Engage at work, volunteer, hustle, show intrapreneurship and land your new job. And who knows, if and when you go all in, you might create your own position within the company.
Or create your own company.

Article Originally Published on Levo League

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Job Search Advice You're Taking Too Far



As a job searcher, you’re doing everything right. You have your interview answers perfectly scripted out, you tailor each and every resume you send in, and your LinkedIn connections far outnumber your Facebook friends. Every piece of job hunt advice that you’ve ever heard or read, you’ve put into practice.

But that ever-elusive job offer still hasn’t crossed your desk. What gives?

While the job search advice you’re following may be on point, the way you’re using it may not be helping your cause as much as you think. For a lot of tips, there’s a fine line between using it correctly and going a bit overboard (or even in the wrong direction).

Read on for a few great job search tips—and how they may be working against you.


Good Advice: Make Connections on LinkedIn

LinkedIn can be a job searcher’s dream. Through your connections, you may find that you have a link—and an immediate in—to your dream company. So, creating and cultivating new connections is extremely beneficial.


Taking it Too Far

Blindly clicking “connect” on hundreds of profiles and sending the generic invitation might land you a few extra connections, but it won’t get your profile a second glance.

Instead, recruiting expert Jenny Foss recommends first searching for contacts from your email address book. “Then invite them—but make it personal. LinkedIn will give you the option of sending a default ‘connect with me, please’ message, but don’t use it—sending a personal note will set you apart right from the start.”

Casting a wide net is beneficial, but only if you truly have some sort of link to those target connections. This is where LinkedIn’s “People You Might Know” feature comes in handy—to suggest classmates, colleagues, and former co-workers that you might not have previously thought of.


Good Advice: Explain That You’re the Best Candidate for the Job

Obviously, you want your potential employer to fully understand that you’re a great candidate; that you have all the skills you need to succeed in the position and that you’re the best man or woman for the job. So, it’s important to convey confidence in those abilities at every step in the process, from your cover letter to your interview questions.


Taking it Too Far

Overconfidence can actually be a downfall, as I learned from a hiring manager recently. I was in his office, talking about my writing experience. He asked me if I’m dissatisfied with my writing. “Of course,” I told him. “Sometimes I look back at things I wrote and wonder what in the world I was thinking.”

He chuckled knowingly and explained that he’d just interviewed a young man, fresh out of college, who answered the same question by asserting that he never wrote anything he didn’t like. And for the recruiter, that was actually a bad thing. You see, he wanted someone who not only had a realistic idea of the job (in this situation, that you’d have to write a lot of copy—quickly—and probably wouldn’t have time to make each piece perfect), but also had the desire and capacity to learn and grow. In the end, the somewhat over-confident graduate wasn’t deemed a good fit for the job.

While you shouldn’t discount your abilities (and you should certainly make a convincing case for yourself), there’s a big difference between showing confidence that you can do the job and conveying so much confidence that you end up coming across as arrogant or naïve.


Good Advice: Practice with Mock Interviews

Interviews are tough—and you want to make sure you’re prepared. So, asking a friend to help you run through practice questions is a great way to help you organize your thoughts, learn how to structure standout answers, and prepare yourself for the potentially stressful and awkward environment.


Taking it Too Far

Believe it or not, over-preparing for interviews can actually be detrimental to your chances of landing the job. As Foss explains, “It’s just as bad (or worse) to over-rehearse than it is to fly entirely by the seat of your pants.”

When you have too many memorized answers packed in your brain, you’re more likely to spend the interview trying to remember each scripted answer, rather than engaging in the conversation. The back-and-forth will seem unnatural and forced, and you’ll likely come across as insincere.

Instead, Foss recommends spending the majority of your prep time thinking over your career experience to date, jotting down a few bullet points about specifics you want to hit on. “Think about what you’re most proud of, what you struggled with, what you learned from the struggles, where you developed management skills, how you got to be so good at problem solving, and so on,” she explains. “When you’re confident with the specifics of your story, you’ll have a much easier time drawing from your experiences and articulating your worth, no matter what you’re asked.”


Good Advice: Use the Job Description to Tailor Your Cover Letter and Resume

When a hiring manager reads your application, you want him or her to immediately recognize how your background and experience make you the perfect candidate for the job. So, use the job description as a guide to fill your resume and cover letter with the right skills and experiences.


Taking it Too Far

Pulling keywords from the job listing and slapping them on your application materials probably won’t have the effect you’re going for. When you include every phrase from the job description, including generic staples like “hard worker,” “fast learner,” and “excellent communicator,” you’ll take up a lot of valuable space—but you won’t actually convey to the recruiter that you’re any of those things.

Instead, pull skill- and experience-based qualities from the job description (e.g., “hands-on experience with Google Analytics” or “experience with Object Relational Mapping frameworks”), and then show how (by using your past accomplishments and responsibilities) you meet those requirements.

Then, in the interview phase, you’ll have more opportunities to showcase those soft skills (like having a thirst for knowledge or being a quick learner) by telling anecdotes of how you've displayed those qualities in your past jobs.


As you can see, good job search tips can turn into bad advice pretty quickly. But by taking a step back and reevaluating your approach, you can get back on track in no time.


What other good job advice have you seen gone wrong?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How to Look for a New Job When You’re Already Employed

 Article Originally Posted on Levo League

How to Look for a New Job When You’re Already Employed | Levo League |
        job hunt, employer, social media, Networking
Photo Courtesy of Levo League


It’s time. You've weighed the pros and cons. You can check “yes” to all the items on those “should you leave your job” surveys, and you know you’re ready. Time to move on to bigger and better things.

The only problem is, you've still gotta bring in a paycheck until you can find that bigger and better thing. And job searching while still employed can be tricky business.

Here are some must-dos and don’ts to make sure you keep that paycheck while exploring other options:

 

Don’t job search on company time.

The easiest way to get yourself sacked is to give your employer reason to believe you’re looking for something else when you should be doing what you’re paid to do. If you really need to communicate with a hiring manager during normal working hours (such as to do a phone interview), set it up for your lunch break, and take the call on your cell phone out in your car.

The same goes for interviewing. Whenever possible, see if an interviewer is willing to meet you early in the morning, on your lunch break or after work hours. Many will understand that you’re employed and will work to accommodate you if they’re really interested.

And if you absolutely need to claim a couple of faux “doctor’s appointments” to make an interview - keep them at a bare, bare minimum to avoid raising suspicions.

Also watch out for “My, you’re dressed up today!” remarks if your normal work attire isn't quite as fancy as your interview outfits. Be armed to meet such remarks with comments like “Oh, I just got some new work clothes and thought I’d start rotating them into my wardrobe. Do you like them?”

 

Be honest with potential employers—but not too honest.

You will inevitably be asked why you want to leave the company you’re currently working for. This is where many people get into trouble.

You don’t want to say things like, “They’re overloading me with projects,” because that makes hiring managers wonder if maybe you’re just not cut out to handle stressful periods. You also don’t want to complain about a bad boss or coworker issues, because that just makes you look like someone who has trouble getting along with others. You don’t want to imply anything that will make a prospective employer think you might eventually start looking for a new job on their time.

The best way to frame your response to this question (even if you are overloaded and you do hate your boss) is to say something like, “I don’t feel my abilities are being used well” or “I’d like a position that challenges me more”—something that demonstrates you’re a good worker who has simply outgrown your current position.

 

Keep it professional at the current job.

You may have already checked out mentally and emotionally, but don’t let it show in your performance. Remember that this job will become a potential resume reference, and you don’t want to burn any bridges by letting your results slide right before you quit. (You also want to avoid being fired before you quit.)

 

Tie up loose ends.

If you have unused paid vacation time, try to use it if you can do so without letting the cat out of the bag. In other words, don’t schedule all your remaining days in a row if you have an offer on the table, because chances are a) someone will wonder why you’re not saving a few days for later in the year, and b) your boss will probably not approve your being out of the office for two-thirds of the month.

Also don’t take two weeks in a row, then come in the following Monday to give your notice. That’s just inconsiderate, and you may need this employer as a reference down the line. (See above note on not burning bridges.)

If you work in a position that doesn’t have a specific handbook-designated job description (like in a small office where everyone does their own thing as needed), start making short memos detailing your job duties and any pertinent information your successor will need to know. This will make it easier to train them if your replacement is found before your two weeks are up—and if they’re not, it makes it easier for your employer to fill a new person in after you’re gone. Which, again, earns you some much-needed “you’ve quit, but we still like you” brownie points.

Searching for a new job while still employed can be tricky, but it is doable. Just make sure you’re careful and considerate, and you can find yourself a better position while still leaving your current job on good terms.

What other tips do you have for looking for a job when you’re already working?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

2014 USU Alumni Association Golf Tournament 


Get ready! It’s time to start signing up for the 2014 USU Alumni Golf Tournament on September 8th at the Ogden Golf and Country Club.

“I’m really looking forward to the tournament this year. It’s going to be a lot of fun and the proceeds go to student scholarships. There’s nothing better than golfing for a good cause,” said Dave Clark, Associate Vice President of Alumni and Corporate Relations. “And with the generous sponsorship support of so many wonderful businesses, this year’s tournament is sure to be one the best.”

Among those generous corporate sponsors is USU Credit Union, which recently became a division of Goldenwest Credit Union.

"USU Credit Union’s relationship with Utah State University students, faculty and alumni reaches back to the 1950s. We’re excited for this opportunity to sponsor the USU Alumni Golf Tournament, and to associate with alumni members and friends of the University,” said Kerry Wahlen, President and CEO of Goldenwest Credit Union.

Other key sponsors include Acura, Young Automotive Group, Allied Insurance and the Ogden Golf and Country Club.

In addition to raising funds for student scholarships, the Alumni Golf Tournament also provides an opportunity to play with fellow Aggies and win some fantastic prizes along the way. Some of which include:
  •     a one year lease on a 2015 Acura
  •     a trip to St. Andrews, Scotland to participate in the OLD Course Experience
  •     a chance to represent Utah State University at the National Acura College Alumni Team    Championship at Pinehurst, NC. (only available to Best Ball tournament winners)

Who doesn’t want a free golf trip to Scotland?

According to past participant, Martin Reese, the Alumni Tournament not only gives people a chance to play golf on a quality course, but it is often entertaining as well.

“Acura was the primary sponsor and had area dealerships provide a couple of Acura vehicles to be parked on the course.  We were short one player and asked the fellow who drove the car if he wanted to play.  Not sure if he called in sick or what, but he stayed and played with a big grin on his face,” said Reese. 

Spots for the tournament are limited, so don’t miss your chance to sign up. You can do so by following the link below:


Golf legend, Gary Player, once said, “Golf is a puzzle without an answer. I’ve played golf for over 50 years and I still haven’t the slightest idea of how to play.”

Add another piece to your puzzle and help give someone the quality education they deserve at this year’s USU Alumni Golf Tournament.

Good luck and Go Aggies!

Monday, June 16, 2014

7 Things to Remove From Your Resume ASAP

Article Originally Featured on The Muse.com

Photo of keyboard courtesy of Shutterstock.


We all talk a fair game about what needs to be on your resume, but there’s also plenty of stuff that should be removed. The fluff. The blabber. The full-on oddities. And even some of the details you think are important.

Here’s the thing: If you want a shot at grabbing your target audience and showing them what you’re made of, every section of your resume needs to be thoughtfully constructed, and every word carefully placed.

So, let’s all get out our big red markers. We’re going to start marking that baby up. Here are seven things that you absolutely must drop-kick from your resume.


1. An Objective

The vast majority of objectives say nothing. Oh, so you’re seeking a challenging position with a growing corporation that will allow you to make a positive contribution, are you? How groundbreaking.

 

Instead

Craft an executive summary or “Who I Am” section that showcases your overarching value proposition (or, as I call it, your “So what?”) and speaks directly to the stuff you know the target audience is going to care the most about. This is your chance to make it clear you’re a strong fit.


2. Weird or Potentially Polarizing Interests

Do you practice witchcraft, preside over your local gun club, or spend endless hours practicing your extraordinary mime routine? Terrific. But unless you are applying for jobs that will specifically value these interests (or they’re flat-out amazing conversation starters), leave them off. Decision makers will judge the heck out of you if they spot hobbies that fly in the face of their own personal beliefs or seem odd.

 

Instead

Include interests only if you feel they support your overall professional message and brand. If you’re a dietician who maintains a recipe blog for fun, yes. If you’re an accountant who enjoys photographing people’s feet, absolutely not.


3. Third-Person Voice

The fastest way to sound like a pompous goof is to construct your resume in the third person—à la “John raised more than $70,000 for the organization.” Every single time I read a resume in which the author does this, all I can think of is someone sitting around in a smoking jacket, with a pipe, pontificating on and on about himself. Don’t do it.

 

Instead

When you write a resume, your name and contact information are at the top of the page. For this reason alone, the receiver will most assuredly deduce that the document he or she is receiving was, indeed, from you. So write the resume in the first person, minus the pronouns (e.g., “Raised more than $70,000”).


4. An Email Address From Your Current Employer

Nothing says, “I job search on company time” quite like using your current work email address on a resume. Unless you own the company, it’s poor form to run your job search through your company’s email system.

 

Instead

Easy–use your personal email for all job search business. And, ideally, your own time.


5. Unnecessarily Big Words

Why “utilize” when you can “use?” Why “append” when you can “add?” It’s not “analogous;” it’s really just “similar.” Using non-conversational words doesn’t make you look smart; it makes you look like someone who spends too much time in a thesaurus.

 

Instead

Run the “would I ever say this in real life?” test on every phrase and sentence in your resume. If you find words or statements that don’t read like something you’d say? Change ’em up.


6. Tiny, Unimportant Jobs From 15+ Years Ago

Your resume is not an autobiography of every job you’ve held since you graduated; it’s a marketing document. So, unless something you did more than 12-15 years ago is vital for your target audience to know about, you don’t need to list the entry-level job or internship you held in 1994. It’s totally OK to leave some of the life history off.

 

Instead

For each former job, think about what you did or achieved that will be required (or will hold significant value) in your next role. Showcase only that stuff. If your first job out of college does nothing to support this overall message? It’s probably not needed.


7. Lies

If you’d like me to, I’ll launch into the story about the field engineer I worked with who was this close to landing a great job—until the employer conducted a degree verification and discovered that, while he’d taken courses at that university, he didn’t graduate. The kicker? He didn’t even need a degree to qualify for that job. But because he got caught in a lie, he didn’t get it.

 

Instead

Strategize. (In this case, I would have suggested that this engineer load his education section with professional development courses and certifications, which would have made an equally great impact.) Whatever you do, do not lie.


Editing a resume can be tough. People tend to be quite attached to the things they’ve done or accomplished professionally, and passionate about their outside interests. But the bottom line is this: You need to have everything working for you on your resume. Be brutally objective, cut the fat, and for goodness’ sake, leave off all details of your vast collection of clown figures.


 

Article Originally Featured on The Muse.com

Do you have any additional suggestions of things to remove from your resume?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How To Deal With A Difficult Boss

Article Originally Featured on Levo League


How to Deal With a Difficult Boss | Levo League | Career Tips
Photo Courtesy of Levo League




 































We've all had to work with that person: The clueless colleague who keeps putting her foot in her mouth because she can’t read the tension in the conference room. Or that strange boss who latches onto an idea as “the next best thing” when everyone else agrees it’s a walking disaster.

If your day at work regularly plays out like a scene from “The Office,” you’re not alone. A whopping 94% of managers surveyed by the authors of “Toxic Workplace! Managing Toxic Personalities and Their Systems of Power” said that they worked with a “toxic” person. And the behaviors that drove them crazy weren’t necessarily as obvious as bullying or harassment; acts like passive hostility or team sabotage were among the causes for stress.

Want More?
It’s possible that the executive who constantly gives you backhanded compliments isn’t just being Ms. Insensitivity. She may lack emotional intelligence, or EQ, defined as the ability to read the social signals around you and react appropriately. Those with a high EQ have greater self awareness; better control over their emotions; the ability to motivate themselves; show greater empathy toward others; and have good interpersonal skills, which is useful in areas like conflict resolution and team building.

This means saying what you mean, without the frills. In other words, don’t use sarcasm; the coworkers you’re trying to reach aren’t going to pick up on that. And always tell the whole story; 
organizational psychologist Sigal Barsade explains that emotionally unintelligent people need to know what data or information they are missing.


Give constructive criticism.
As awkward as it may be, people with low EQs need feedback, and even in real-time, if possible. And you should always give it with a calm demeanor, because they are more likely to mirror that behavior back. If you need to schedule a time with your manager for a more sensitive conversation, read author and consultant Judith Glaser’s seven tips for how to prepare for the talk at Fast Company.



Remember, however, that a high EQ doesn’t necessarily mean you are virtuous (as Fast Company’s Drake Baer points out, both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Adolf Hitler had high EQs)—it’s more about whether you can read your environment and react accordingly. Still, those with high EQs are more likely to be successful in their jobs. And those with low EQs can make others feel like they are talking to a brick wall.

So how can you get across to your emotionally unintelligent bosses and coworkers who can’t seem to get a clue? Follow these tips to improve communications:

Don’t condemn them.
Most people want to vilify low-EQ coworkers, but don’t fault them for skills they don’t have. “Emotions are information,” Barsade tells Fast Company. “In essence, people who are low in [emotional intelligence] are lacking the ability to take in, understand or process a really critical part of the way that we communicate in the world. If they can’t read your emotions, they won’t be getting all the info you’re naturally sending them.”

Be as clear as possible.

Now about that coworker who won’t stop clipping his nails in the office …

Article Originally Featured on Levo League