Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 Things You Can Do to Prepare for a Successful Summer

Written by Lauren Lind

Summer break is fast approaching and perhaps you don’t have an internship or job lined up yet. If this is true for you, don’t worry! Here are five things you can do to prepare to have a productive summer and further your professional development.

1.  Continue applying for jobs and internships. Don’t give up hope if you have not found your ideal position for the summer. Those who give up will be sure to not have anything lined up compared to those who are resilient.

2.  Consider volunteering locally or abroad. Volunteer work is not only good for community at large, but it can also help you grow and learn things that you might not learn in an office setting. Not to mention, volunteer work is a great booster for your resume and can help put your life in perspective when things seem bleak.

3.  List out places you want to travel. No better time to travel for sun than summer. Once you have graduated, you will not have the luxuries of summer breaks so take advantage and see the world and even try to squeeze in a few informational interviews in along the way. This is a great opportunity to meet people that you might normally never cross paths with.  

4.  Think about taking summer classes. Taking a class or two in the summer can lighten the load for future semesters and you can better focus on specific classes.

5.  Find your creative outlet. Whether that is painting, reading, writing, singing, building websites, etc. do activities that keep your brain sharp and make you happy.

If you are still looking for an internship or job be sure to check out Career Buffs. There are tons of companies looking for great summer applicants! It’s definitely not too late.

If you need additional support, Career Services will be open all summer long to help you. From May 12 through August 22, our summer hours will be 7:30am-4:30pm. Call us to make an appointment at 303.492.6541 or make one online if you are an undergraduate student or an alumnus who has graduated less than a year ago.

Moving Across Country for a Job: How to Budget for Living on Your Own in a New City

Written by Lauren Lind

A few weeks ago I sat down with my dad to talk about moving to New York City after graduation. I was overwhelmed and nervous at first because I knew that he was not going to fund my move to New York. Being a broke college student, with the exception of a little in savings, I didn’t know how to start planning the move to one of the most expensive cities in the country. After laying everything out on paper, I discovered exactly how much I would need to earn per month to survive and I feel more comfortable knowing the salary necessary for living. Here is the step-by-step process that I went through to figure out my new budget for a new city and hopefully this will be of assistance to you too.

  Start your monthly budget by filling in this template. You may not need to fill out every area in the template depending on your individual needs. You may also need to add another category or two. This is just a starting point, so feel free to customize to your needs.

   When filling out the income taxes withheld, do some research online to find the correct numbers for your estimated tax bracket. Also be sure to look up or ask someone about any other specific taxes that the city you are moving to has. For example, New York has a 4% luxury tax.

  Next, add up all withheld tax percentages to see how much of your income will go to taxes so you can adjust your spending accordingly. When I added up everything, about 38% of my income will be withheld and this does not include any tax refunds.

• Rent can be tricky if you are moving to a new city by yourself. Luckily, I have friends who are moving to NYC as well and together, we researched thoroughly to find the best place for rent in a safe location. Decide what you are willing to sacrifice when it comes to rent. I will have a 35-minute commute to work everyday, but I will be saving $300 a month in rent by living further away in a larger space. For me, it’s definitely worth it.

• If you are moving by yourself, research sites that pair people together and decide what you are looking for in an apartment and a roommate. If you know someone in the city that you’re moving to, ask him or her for recommendations on safe areas of town.

  For transportation costs, add up the mileage and calculate your estimated gasoline costs to and from work. Personally, I will not need a vehicle and will be taking the subway, so I looked up the price of monthly metro cards and also budgeted in some money for cabs.

• Decide what items are needs versus wants. You might have to sacrifice things that are not necessities in order to fit your budget, such as Starbucks every morning or spending money eating out. Living beyond your means is a surefire way to get yourself in financial trouble.

The hardest part about making a budget is estimating costs, because more times than not, people don’t know exactly what they intend on spending. With that said, it is better to overestimate than underestimate. Knowing how much you will need to make in order to meet your monthly needs financially will make moving to a new city seem more manageable. You will know whether or not you will need to get another job to cover costs. I hope these tips will help prevent you from being blindsided by the costs of supporting yourself in a new city. Good luck to you!

Hat tip:

Monday, April 21, 2014

How to Negotiate Your Salary

Written by Lauren Lind

If you are interviewing for a new position or seeking a pay raise at your current place of employment there are a few things to keep in mind for a successful salary negotiation.

1.  Do your research. Search online at or or ask hiring managers what salary is to be expected.

2.  Prove your worth to the company. This is your time to show why you out of all employees deserve a pay raise, or why a company should hire you compared to your competitors. Companies will be willing to pay more for an employee that shows return on their investment. What will you bring to the table that justifies a raise?

3.  Find out who makes the final decision. Generally hiring managers make the final decision compared to HR representatives. Speak with them directly.

4.  Understand that there is not a ton of room to negotiate if you are applying for an entry-level position or junior level-jobs. The reason behind this is mainly because you have not gained a lot of experience yet. If you are not able to reach an agreement on salary, try to negotiate your work schedule and benefits or think about ways you could be compensated other than money.

5.  Tell the truth about your current salary. If employers ask you what your salary is, you need to be honest because they can easily call your employer and ask them what your salary is. If you are going to estimate your total compensation you have more leeway to add more by a couple thousand dollars.

Know your value and use these tips when negotiating salaries. Also be sure to check out Career Services Salary Negotiations: What are you worth - Money Smart Week TODAY 4/21 at 5:00pm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Insider’s Guide to Writing Thank You Letters

Written by Lauren Lind
Thank you cards can break or make your chances of landing a second, third or final interview. It may seem like small thing to you, but to your interviewer, it shows that you appreciate the time they spent with you and you’re definitely interested in the job. A thank you letter can also be a great opportunity to reinforce your candidacy in case you felt like you might have missed anything or didn’t answer a question well. But how can you go about writing a good thank you? What else are you supposed to say besides thank you? Take a look at our tips to help you write a strategic and genuine thank you card that sets you apart from your competitors.

• Make sure to mention specifics from the interview. If they had concerns regarding XYZ being needed to be the perfect candidate and you were lacking in any of those areas, this is your chance to address those concerns. Sell yourself and show them that you are perfect for the position despite the weakness mentioned.

• If your response to a particular question got jumbled because of nerves, then this is a good time to elaborate on your response and tell them you would like to expand on your response after having time to think and would like to clarify your thoughts.

• If you feel the interview went fantastic and all you really want to say is thanks for your time, remember to still be specific. You can do this by connecting your top three qualifications with the job requirements and employer needs that were relayed to you during the interview.

• Show them you were paying attention to what they were saying by bringing up a point or specific information they shared. State how or why this sparked your interest and let them know that you appreciate them sharing that knowledge with you.

• Make a promise to deliver and keep that promise. This is the final moment to market yourself and leave the employers with a memorable impression.

  Keep it short and sweet. I have made the mistake before of elaborating too much, and the truth is, employers only have so much time to read your letter, so keep it short and to the point.

A thank you letter is yet another tool in your job searching process that you can use to prove your worth to the company, show that you are grateful for the opportunity to speak with them and that you are serious about working for them. Use these tips to craft a great thank you letter and leave a positive, lasting impression.

Monday, April 14, 2014

5 Things to Do to Prepare for The JIT Fair

Written by Lauren Lind

Are you looking for an internship or job and are starting to freak out a little since summer is right around the corner? Have no fear....the Just In Time Fair is here! Okay that was cheesy, but seriously if you are in need of an internship or job come to the JIT Fair this Thursday. The fair is in the UMC from 9:00am-3:00pm and ALL employers attending are hiring.

Here are 5 things to do show up prepared for this fair:

1.  Look at the list of employers attending before hand and decide which companies you want to speak with. Click here to see who will be attending the fair and their job categories.

2.  Research the companies attending and show up with well thought out questions for the recruiters. It will show that you are serious about working for their company and have done your homework.

3.  Step up your professional wardrobe. We have received feedback from employers that students dress too casual at career fairs. Always err on the side of overdressing than underdressing. You’ll make a much better impression this way.

4.  Make sure your resume is up to date. Bring copies with you and be able to discuss your previous work experience in detail. Career Services has drop-ins this week from 1:30-4:00pm where you can get a quick 15-minute review of your resume. Come by our office in C4C, N352.

5.  Be open to exploring all your options. There are many opportunities in industries that you might not have considered, so be open-minded.

Being prepared for the Just In Time Fair will set you apart from competitors. If you really want a job or internship then show up with confidence ready to make a good impression! Let us know how the career fair went for you by tweeting @CUCareerServ or posting on our CU Career Services Facebook wall. Best of luck in your job and internship search!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Power of Networking: Utilizing Your Connections to Make Your Dreams Come True

-->Written by Lauren Lind

This past November I decided that I wanted to move to New York City after I graduate in May. At that point in time I had no plans or ideas of how I was going to make that dream come true. A month later, I found out that the CU Advertising Collective was going to New York over spring break for their annual trip. I took that as a sign that my dream of moving to New York was, in fact, possible!

I began the networking process by talking to my advertising professor who ran a very large advertising agency in NYC before she came to teach at CU. I respect this professor a lot and she was very supportive of my aspirations. She told me, “Picking up and moving to New York was the best decision I ever made.” She then sent a message via LinkedIn to her former students who are living and working in NYC asking them if they would be willing to meet with me just to give me some insights and advice.

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of people who responded and were willing to meet with me! From there, I had 14 more contacts in New York than I had before. I met with these amazing people while I was In New York and had the opportunity to tour many offices including Twitter and Foursquare, and received tons of useful advice regarding job searching, interviewing, my resume, and moving to the city. I was in awe of how helpful and wonderful people were to me.

At a Bolder Young Professionals event, a networking group in Boulder, I met networking guru Nancy-Chin Wagner. I did not know who she was before being introduced to her, but soon found not only is she one of the coolest ladies around, but she grew up in the Bronx and worked in New York for many years. I explained my goal to her and she whipped out her phone and gave me the phone number of a former CU alumnus who moved to NYC after graduation four years ago. I called the alumna and we scheduled a time to meet while I was in NYC. Once I was there, she gave me many tips regarding apartment hunting and introduced me to another CU alumnus. He has been so helpful with job searching and connecting me with people who are looking to hire in the city.

Nancy also put me into contact with her niece who lives in Chinatown. When I was there she showed me where I could get authentic Chinese food (which was delicious!) and she also sent me some media-related job openings. It amazes me that I met all these people just by simply approaching one person at a networking event.

Another event that greatly helped my networking process was Career Services Executives Tell All Panel in February. I listened to executive, Cathie Black’s, story of graduating college and moving to NYC with friends. I felt inspired to see someone who started off just like me and has now accomplished so much. Cathie is the past Chairman/President of Hearst Publishing, an author, past President of USA Today, a former NYC schools chancellor, and many more accomplishments. I approached her after the panel and although I felt a bit intimidated, I asked for her contact information and told her my goals and that I would be in New York over spring break. She gave me her contact info agreed to meet with me while I was in NYC.

Not only was she willing to meet with me, but she also was willing to help me connect with people in New York! Cathie introduced me to her friend who is the founder of a fantastic PR firm and I was lucky to be able to discuss their internship program! I was also awestruck by the fact that such an accomplished businesswoman was willing to help me find job and internship opportunities. Cathie at one point told me that “following up is key,” and it definitely has been an important piece of advice. Following up with Cathie led to me finding out about this wonderful internship opportunity!

The power of networking has changed my life and has turned my dreams of moving to NYC into an actual action plan. Following up and thanking everyone for his or her time is also very important when it comes to networking. Networking can happen anywhere at any time, so be prepared. You never know how the people you meet can change your life!

If you are unsure about where to network in Boulder, Bolder Young Professionals hosts great networking events every month, and I would highly recommend joining this group as a current student or even as a seasoned professional. I have learned to be open to talking with as many people as possible and learning as much as I can because wonderful opportunities can arise from the most unplanned meetings!

Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Retain the Best Employees, and Yourself

Written by Shari Harley 


The fear of saying what we think and asking for what we want at work is prevalent across organizations. We want more money, but don’t know how to ask for it. We want to advance our careers but are concerned about the impression we’ll make if we ask for more. Instead of making requests, many employees assume they won’t get their needs met and choose to leave their jobs, either physically or emotionally.

Questions Managers Should AskThe key to keeping the best employees engaged and doing their best work is to ask more questions and make it safe to tell the truth.
  • Do you know why your employees chose your organization and what would make them leave?
  • Do you know your employees’ best and worst boss?
The answers to these questions tells managers what employees need from the organization, job, and from the manager/employee working relationship. Can your manager answer these questions – that I call Candor Questions – about you? For most people, the answer is no. Most managers don’t ask these questions. And most employees are not comfortable giving this information, especially if the manager hasn’t asked for it.

It’s easy to mistake my book, How to Say Anything to Anyone, as a book about giving feedback. It’s not. It takes me nine chapters to get to feedback. The first eight chapters of the book are about how to create relationships in which you can tell the truth without fear. You can read all the feedback books you want and take numerous training classes on coaching, managing people, giving feedback, and managing conflict, and you’ll still be hesitant to speak up, because a formula for giving feedback is not what you’re missing. What’s missing is being given permission and knowing it’s safe to tell the truth.

How to give feedback

Managers, tell your employees:
“I appreciate you choosing to work here. I want this to be the best career move you’ve made, and I want to be the best boss you’ve had. I don’t want to have to guess what’s important to you. I’d like to ask you some questions to get to know you and your career goals better. Please tell me anything you’re comfortable saying. And if you’re not comfortable answering a question, just know that I’m interested and I care. And if, at any point, you’re comfortable telling me, I’d like to know.”
ManagingQThen ask the Candor Questions during job interviews, one-on-one, and team meetings. We’re always learning how to work with people. So continue asking questions throughout your relationships. These conversations are not one-time events.

If you work for someone who isn’t asking you these questions, offer the information. You could say:
“I wanted to tell you why I chose this organization and job, and what keeps me here. I also want to tell you the things I really need to be happy and do my best work. Is it ok if I share?”
Your manager will be caught off guard, but it is likely that she will also be grateful. It’s much easier to manage people when you know what they need and why. Most managers want this information, it just may not occur to them to ask.

If the language above makes you uncomfortable, you can always blame me. You could say:
“I read this blog and the author suggested I tell you what brought me to this organization and what I really need to be happy here and do my best work. She said I’d be easier to manage if you had that information. Is it ok if I share?”
Yes, this might feel a little awkward at first, but the conversation will flow, and both you and your manager will learn a great deal about each other. The ability to tell the truth starts with asking questions, giving people permission to speak candidly, and listening to the answers.