How to Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

       Introducing yourself to company representatives for the first time can be scary, especially if you’ve never been to an event like Business Horizons before. A key thing that you should bring with you to professional events like these is an elevator pitch. If you take the time to prepare and practice one, you will feel much more confident in making those first introductions!

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What is it?

        If you haven’t heard of an elevator pitch before, it is basically a sales pitch for yourself that would last about the same amount of time as going up an elevator. It is a great way for a company representative or recruiter to gain insight into your experience and determine why they should hire you. Using an elevator pitch is an important tool to have at the career fair because it allows you to showcase your strengths and abilities. Remember that it won’t make or break your conversation with the representative, but it can help things run more smoothly.

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How to prepare for it

The first step you should take to create an elevator pitch is to make a list of your experiences that you would want to tell a company employee or recruiter about. Try to narrow it down to a few of your favorite ones that are relevant to the work that the company you are interested in does. The goal is to share the experiences that would show that you are qualified to work for them.

Don’t forget to tie in your interests. Doing so will prove to the recruiter that you would be passionate in that role you are after. For example, if you’re talking to a technology company, you can talk about your appreciation for project management, familiarity with certain coding languages, or support for future innovative technology tools that are being implemented in that industry. Plus, when you talk about things that bring excitement to you, you will give off great energy, which is what you want to have during this first impression!

Next, make sure to do your research. If there are specific companies you want to talk to at Business Horizons, it’s a good idea to do some research about them so you can include aspects about you that best align with their mission. Recruiters will be impressed that you took the time to learn more about them because it showcases your interest in them. Also, it leads to better flow in conversation. It’ll be easier for you to ask meaningful questions and give exceptional answers.

Once you have finished compiling and organizing the important details of your pitch, start piecing it all together. Tell them your name, year and major at the beginning. Then, transition to the meat of the pitch. Whether you decide to talk about your experiences or interests first does not really matter as long as you touch on both and connect them appropriately. Lastly, end with expressing your interest in the positions that are open at that company.

Remember to keep it clear and concise. Since it’s supposed to be an introduction, there’s no need to go into details or explanations unless a recruiter wants to expand on something you’ve said. According to Deloitte’s Elevator Speech 101 Article, “the clearer and more articulate you are in delivering who you are and why you want a certain position, may result in your name being placed at the top of the call back list for a second or third interview.

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Once you have everything you want in your elevator pitch, practice in front of a mirror or a friend. Practicing will help you be more confident when the time comes to deliver! The way you deliver your pitch is just as important as the content discussed previously.

First, make sure you talk at a steady speed. Quickly reciting your pitch may make it hard to hear or understand certain things you say. Taking a deep breath before starting will calm your nerves and prepare you to deliver a great pitch. Second, make eye contact with the person you are speaking with because it allows he/she to stay focused on you. Plus, it is just professional. Lastly, avoid fidgeting with your hands or hair. Besides from being distracting, it also shows the recruiter that you are nervous. Practicing your pitch several times will allow you to build the confidence needed to say that pitch at the career fair!

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Engage the recruiters with your elevator pitch tomorrow! Photo source: VT Career and Professional Development

There you have it! An elevator pitch shouldn’t be something to stress about as long as you take the time to think about and practice what you want to portray to the representative or recruiter. It’s important to keep in mind that this is most likely going to be the given company’s first impression of you. Present yourself professionally, recite your pitch with confidence and energy, and emphasize that you are a perfect candidate for the job. You have a short time frame, so fill it wisely!

 

Good luck tomorrow at Business Horizon, everyone!

 

By: Abby Perkins

 

 

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How to Be Successful at Business Horizons

Business Horizons can seem intimidating at first, as hundreds of companies are in attendance, but it is nothing to stress about. These companies are coming to Virginia Tech because they want to hire Hokies like you! With a few tips and tricks from this article, you should be ready to fully conquer Business Horizons on February 6th!

Perfect Your Resume:

One of the most crucial components of a successful job, internship, or externship search is a resume that will catch someone’s eye. According to Forbes, a recruiter spends an average of 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate’s resume before deciding whether he or she is fit for the job. Your resume should contain a proper heading, your education information, job experience, activities or clubs, and accomplishments. It is essential that there are no irrelevant details, as the longer it takes for a recruiter to read it, the smaller your chances become of landing an interview. When attending Business Horizons, you should bring about 20 copies of your resume, give or take a few depending on how many companies you plan to approach. In order to look professional to the recruiters, it is also best to place them in a padfolio or neutral-colored folder. Companies want to hire organized, prepared employees!  

For an in-depth guide on what each of the resume categories entails, watch this Virtual Resume Workshop video provided by Pamplin Career Services. In addition, the Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development office offers free resume reviews. Learn more about it here.

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As you can see, hundreds of people attend Business Horizons, which is why it is important to stand out! Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Daily.

 

Make a Good First Impression:

Your first impression to a recruiter can be a make or break opportunity. You will be thankful you took the time to make yourself look presentable before heading to Business Horizons! First, your attire should be business professional. This means you may wear dress pants or a skirt and pair that with a dress shirt or blouse, and a blazer. You can also opt to wear a dress as well. No matter what outfit you choose, complete it with closed-toed heels or flats. Remember, everything must be modest! Heels should be 2.5 inches or less. Dresses and skirts should come to around the knee, and nothing should be too tight. Also, it is preferable to keep patterns and colors to a minimum. It is also best to keep hair, makeup, and jewelry simple. You do not want to distract the recruiter in a negative way. Finally, make sure you greet the employer with a smile, eye contact, a personable “Hello, my name is ____,” and a firm handshake. Acting and looking professional can go a long way! It will help give you the confidence you need to make a great first impression on employers.

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Members of the New York City trek pose in perfect examples of business professional attire. Photo by of Gigi Jones

 

Prepare For the Big Day:

In order to prepare for Business Horizons, view the different companies registered to attend right here! What companies do you want to prioritize? Where is their booth? How many companies do you want to see? These are all important questions to ask yourself to ensure you are prepared to walk through the doors of the career fair. One of the most impressive characteristics of a potential employee or intern is that they are knowledgeable about a recruiter’s company in advance. Know your information about the companies you are targeting! This information could include the history of the company, the culture in their office, popular projects the company has undertaken, or important business deals. It is also essential to know the current situation of companies you are interested in, such as expansions to the company. Additionally, have questions ready to ask certain companies. That is a great way to show how you are prepared. Remember, you should want to learn about this company if you strive to work there!

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A Virginia Tech student chats with a GE job recruiter at a previous Business Horizons fair. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Tech Daily.

 

Practice Beforehand:

A great way to prep for the business fair is to start networking early by attending the company day on Tuesday, February 5th, from 10 am to 2 pm in the Pamplin Atrium. Hajoca, Select Group, nCino, Future Housing Leaders, IBM, CIA, and Accenture will all be there! Even if you are not interested in these specific companies, it is still a great opportunity to practice networking before Business Horizons. It will also benefit you to practice what you will say to the recruiters with a friend, teacher, or fellow CWIB member. This will help release nerves! Practice using the information you have researched while incorporating different components about yourself. This is also a great opportunity to practice your handshake, tone of voice, and eye contact. Rather than spending time worrying about what to say to recruiters during the careers fair, you will be relieved and confident that you practiced ahead of time!

 

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Any member of the CWIB leadership team pictured above would gladly help you prepare before Business Horizons! Photo courtesy of Collegiate Women in Business

 

Follow up:

During your time at Business Horizons, ask for business cards. It is important to have an email, address, or the phone number of the company or recruiter to ensure that you can follow up with them after meeting. As stated before, there are hundreds of people who attend the career fair. Therefore, recruiters may unintentionally forget your name or what you discussed. In order for the company or recruiter to remember who you are, you should follow up with them within 24 to 72 hours. It is best to email or send a thank you card, but if neither of those are possibilities, you can call them on the phone. Thank them for their time and consideration of your resume, reiterate your goal, remind them why you are qualified, and highlight that you would love to work for their company. These follow-ups should not be excessive in length or time. Also, make sure to be polite, rather than forceful, when you are contacting the recruiter.

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Following-up reminders! Photo Courtesy of The Balance Careers

 

Good luck at Business Horizons, everyone! You all are well-qualified individuals and with the right preparation, you will do fantastic on Wednesday. If you need any help with resumes or need any further assistance with preparing for the career fair, feel free to reach out to a CWIB leader!

 

By: Allison Wood 

Back to School: Spring Semester Edition

Starting a new semester can be hard, especially after a long, break. Whether you’ve been working, traveling, relaxing, or doing a combination of these activities, it’s time to get back into the mode of busy, school schedules. By returning to the right mindset and taking steps to prepare, you can go from falling into that Spring semester slump to feeling motivated and ready to take on another semester! Here are some pieces of advice I have to start the semester off right:

  1. Get comfortable with your class schedule – Make sure your class schedule is all set for the Spring semester. I’ve definitely been in the position of constantly checking add/drop during the first week of classes to see if a spot has opened up in a class, so I could take it with a different professor or at a different time! Of course, it’s not always possible to do this, but it’s worth a shot! Talking to friends who have taken the classes you’re about to take can also be very beneficial. They will have an opinion about the professor they took the class with and may offer some tips for success. In addition, going to class the first day and getting a feel for the professor’s lecture style and course policies is necessary to solidify your opinion about a class when there’s still time to add/drop. Another tip to think about is, if you want to make a good first impression in a class, go up and introduce yourself to the professor or stop by their office hours to talk about the course and your goals. This is a fantastic way to start building a good relationship with your professors when you still have some free time the first week of classes.
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    PScheduler is a schedule builder created by a VT student!
  2. Start planning – The new year is a great time to revamp your planning system. Planning or journaling is a great way to organize your schoolwork, club obligations, internship tasks, or work schedule as well as lifestyle things, like meal or workout ideas, books you want to read, friends you want to spend more time with etc. Bullet journaling is a great outlet if you’re looking for freedom and customizability. It’s like brain-dumping your life into a journal! This Medium article offers helpful tips about bullet journaling if you’re interested in learning more about how to start one for yourself! It also explains how writing by hand engages multiple senses (visual, kinesthetic, and tactical) which helps to better commit tasks and goals to memory and signals to your brain that they are important. Personally, pairing my calendar on my laptop/phone with a traditional planner has helped me a lot with the organization in college!

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    Planning will help you organize your school, work, and social activities! Look out for all of our exciting CWIB events this semester! Photo credit: CWIB
  3. Be open to new opportunities – The Fall semester isn’t the only time to get more involved in campus organizations, try something you’ve always been interested in, or land a summer internship! Many student organizations and local companies put out applications during the Spring semester in preparation for the next year, like the CWIB leadership application that is out now (APPLY NOW!) or the Student Success Center that accepts applications for course tutors in February to build their staff for the following year. During the Spring semester, there is also still time to find summer job opportunities With Spring Business Horizons scheduled for February 6th, you can network with company representatives looking to hire interns, externs, and full-time employees. Leveraging your own connections with friends, family, and past co-workers is also a tried and true way to land a summer internship in the Spring. Just don’t give up on the search!
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    We know you are going to be a total boss this semester! Photo credit: The Aggie

 

We know all of you will get back in the swing of things and have a phenomenal Spring semester. With bi-weekly articles, The CWIB Chronicles is a fantastic resource for you throughout the semester, so remember to keep up regularly!

 

By: Allison DeSantis

 

Cover Letters Uncovered

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Not all job applications require cover letters, but knowing how to write one is still a useful skill to have just in case you need to in the future.. What is a cover letter exactly? A cover letter is used by employers to gain more insight about your resume, personality and why you would be a good fit for the job. In this LinkedIn article, Jeff Lareau defines a cover letter as, “an introduction that complements your resume, shows a bit of your personality, and addresses issues that might otherwise go unaddressed on your resume alone.” To write a strong cover letter, it’s important to address a specific person, include examples of how you would succeed at the job you’re applying for, and make yourself stand out from other applicants.

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Before starting your cover letter, make sure you research the company you are applying to. According to a Glassdoor article, it’s important to “write like yourself, but also pick the appropriate voice and tone for the company you’re applying to. Researching the company will help dictate the tone you want to use, which may differ greatly, depending on where you apply.” In addition to researching, another thing you should do before starting this document is map out your ideas and make an outline. Writing down certain details you want to include and having a rough draft ready can ensure you don’t forget anything.

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After writing your outline and researching the company, find out who will be reading your cover letter so you can address them by name instead of saying “To Whom It May Concern.” You may need to make the effort to send an email or make a call to find out, but it will be worth it as it shows your employer that you are willing to take the extra mile. Think about it, the greeting is the first thing that the reader sees, so make a good first impression by making it personalized, rather than generalized!

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Now you can start writing the body of your letter. Be sure to start off with a strong introduction paragraph, including what position you are interested in, how you heard about it, and a short thesis statement as to why you think you are qualified for the job. In your body paragraphs, you can expand on experiences you included in your resume and talk about how you can apply what you learned from them to the job you are applying for. It is not necessary to list out every single job experience you have. Try focusing on elaborating on 2-3 roles that you believe will showcase that you have the prior experience needed to get this next job. The goal of this section is to highlight the important parts of your resume! This would also be a great time to talk about your Top 5 Clifton Strengths and how you have used them in other experiences. These body paragraphs are an opportunity to showcase your personality and differentiate yourself from other applicants. Even though this is the body of the letter, try to keep these paragraphs concise and to the point. The cover letter shouldn’t take too long to read!

For your conclusion, sum up why you are interested in the job and what you hope to add to the company. In the same article by Career Advice from Glassdoor, they recommend leaving your reader with a strong “call to action [and a] reason for them to contact you.”

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You’re done with your cover letter! Before you submit, be sure to proofread for irrelevant information, typos and repetition. Don’t forget to include contact information in your letter, such as your email and phone number.

 

College Budgeting 101

     As college students with many financial obligations, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of our money.  It only takes a few purchases and the next thing you know, you can find yourself behind on rent, short on cash, and maybe even calling home for some extra help. Luckily, all it takes is a few minutes to budget and your money will be well-managed for that future time period. This article is all about helping CWIB’s members get better at controlling their finances. Once you graduate and enter the real world, you are going to have a lot more expenses to keep track of, so why not start practicing now?

Where To Start

   Sometimes we make purchases without thinking. Start by looking through your bank account and keeping track of what you spend. Whether it’s in an excel spreadsheet or in a physical notebook, writing down your purchases is helpful for looking back and seeing which areas you’re spending too much in. Excel even has multiple templates that will analyze your spending and saving for you. All you have to do is plug in the numbers!

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Getting Down to the Numbers

        In the same notebook or spreadsheet, make a list of your expenses for the month and allot a specific amount of money to cover these expenses. For example: rent-$500, groceries-$45 per week, gas-$80, and entertainment-$60. Don’t forget to set aside money for miscellaneous purchases, such as lunch with a friend, Benny’s on Friday night, or school supplies. If you find that you’re having trouble with spending more than you budgeted for miscellaneous spending, take cash out of your bank account and use that instead. Then once it’s gone, don’t take out more until the next month/week.

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Budgeting With Your Phone

If you want to keep a closer eye on your budget and expenses, using a mobile app is a great way to go! Here is a list of some apps that not only make budgeting even easier, but will also remind you when to pay your bills, calculate your credit score, and more!

  1. Mint: Personal Finance & Money – This app is free and puts all your financial statements in one place, tracks your spending and credit score, and reminds you to pay your bills.mint
  2. Fuget: Budget Planner Tracker – A free app (that also offers an upgrade for purchase) that keeps budgeting simple and easy. This tool tracks income and expenses and maintains a balance so you know how much you have left to spend.image
  3. Clarity Money Budget Manager – Besides helping you find and cancel unnecessary subscriptions, track expenses and savings goals, and keep tabs on your credit score, this app is completely free!clarity
  4. EveryDollar Easy Budgeting App – With optional in-app purchases available, EveryDollar offers free features of a personal budget planner, expense tracker, connections to savings experts, and more.image (1)

 

Saving? What is That?

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        Trying to save up for a new laptop or that new outfit you want to buy? Set specific saving goals with a certain item in mind to motivate yourself. Try to put small amounts of money every week or month and save up for it a little at a time. In some mobile banking apps, you can set savings goals within your savings or checking accounts and when you put money into that goal, they’ll keep track of how close you are to reaching it.

If you sit down and spend a few minutes every week or month to dedicate to organizing your spending, budgeting will become a breeze! Keeping track of what you purchase, taking out cash for spending and setting specific saving goals will help you stop stressing about money so you can focus on your classes and preparing for your future!

 

By: Abby Perkins 

 

 

10 Productivity Tips to Get Through the Semester

     Once the excitement of a new school year fades away, many students would agree that it gets more difficult to stay on top of things. More opportunities to have fun with your friends, attend club events, or just lay in bed and watch Netflix pop up and suddenly we find ourselves having to choose between getting A’s and extracurriculars. What if you could get good grades without having to sacrifice your club activities and social events? These 10 productivity tips will help you maximize your time to the fullest!

1. Write Due Dates Early: Writing assignment due dates a few days early in your planner will ensure that you’re not doing it last minute. Also, seeing your due dates far in advance will allow you to plan your time easily.

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2. Avoid Doing Homework In Bed: According to an article written by Brian Robbin from the American College of Healthcare Sciences, studying in your bed “limits focus and decreases productivity.”

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3. Time Block: To maximize the hours you spend doing homework, schedule the specific amount of time that you’re going to spend on each assignment. For example: “Today I’m going to do Spanish from 1:30 to 2:15, and then BIT from 2:15 to 4:00.”

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4. Take Breaks: To avoid getting burnt out after doing homework for hours on end, take a few breaks to relax and refresh for a few minutes throughout this period. Grab a snack, check Instagram, or take a walk around your apartment. You’ll come back to your desk with a fresh mind!

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5. Put Your Phone Away/Turn Off Notifications: It gets really distracting when a bunch of notifications keeps popping up on your phone or laptop. Put your phone (or laptop) on “Do Not Disturb” or away from where you can see it and worry about your weekend plans later. Out of sight, out of mind!

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6. Write To-Do Lists for Each Day: It’s easier to stay on track when you have a specific list of tasks to complete each day. It’s a great way to prioritize and stay organized while feeling accomplished (who else loves crossing items off a to-do list?).

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7. Listen to Instrumental Music: For the people who like listening to music but find it distracting when studying, try instrumental music instead! It still provides great background noise without the distraction of lyrics.

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8. Schedule Assignments Ahead of Time: This goes along with the to-do lists. On Sunday or Monday, sit down and look at what needs to be done during the week and write down what days you want to work on them.

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9. Switch Up Your Environment: A change of scenery can be refreshing, especially if you’ve been working in your bedroom for the last few hours. Head to Starbucks, Turner’s or the library for a different place to study!

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10. Use a Planner or Calendar: It’s easy to forget tasks and events if you don’t write them down anywhere. Whether it’s in an app on your phone or a physical planner, write everything down to meet those deadlines on time!

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I hope these tips help you become more productive! There are only 24 hours in a day, so making sure you use every minute wisely is so important to ensure you get time to enjoy college while also doing well in school.

 

Standing Out as an Applicant

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It can be intimidating to apply for an interview, internship, or job, but simple changes to your resume and professional mannerisms can make all the difference. The chances of you landing that position is immediately heightened when you stand out against other applicants. As simple as that sounds, many of us still do not take the steps forward on our resumes, LinkedIn’s, and applications to diversify ourselves from our fellow applicants. At last week’s #GirlBoss workshop, CWIB members learned some tips on how to effectively present yourselves from representatives of the organization. Here are the four ways to stand out to employers!

1.Personal Statement—A personal statement is a quick description of yourself, both as a student and a human being, that shares your best attributes with the reader. This statement contains your current aspiring goal, such as receiving an internship, interview, or job opportunity. These few lines about yourself can be put into your resume, LinkedIn, emails to employers, portfolios, and more! A significant part of a personal statement is the inclusion of examples to express why or how you show a specific attribute. For example, one may say, “through strong leadership skills and a motivated attitude, I helped develop a new financial planning theorem.” In interviews, you can break up different lines of your personal statement to apply to different questions you may be asked. These questions may include: Why are you a good candidate for our team?, What are your strengths?, How have you applied yourself in order to be successful? A personal statement is an elevator pitch for employers to show how you are qualified for a position, yet unique from every other “determined, hardworking” applicant.

2. Descriptors—It is important to make use of descriptions when necessary on your resumes, portfolios, and applications. You do not want to simply include a title of a job. Instead, it is important to briefly explain how those jobs helped get you to where you are today. A job title will not tell an employer what you were asked to do or what you learned as part of that job. On paper, would you rather be “Cashier,” or “Cashier: Where I learned basic math skills necessary for running a business and impressive interpersonal communication, while effectively managing my time and prioritizing tasks?” The same goes for leadership positions or club memberships. Explain to the reader how those roles were significant in your academic and professional development. Make yourself truly stand out from the next candidate.  

3. Emails—This is an easy, and sometimes scary, tool we have right at our fingertips. Post-interview follow-up emails can show an employer how dedicated you are. Although you want to make it short and sweet, emails to employers can help them remember your name, rather than tossing it into the large, mental pile of applicants who all want the same job or internship as you. Sending simple emails to connections you have can also lead to vast opportunities. You never know who knows who, so putting your name out there can be extremely beneficial. If you take initiative, they will remember you. Take the leap.

4. Confidence—Yes, it may seem simple, but there is a difference between being confident and being cocky, and sometimes that line gets blurred. Being graceful, yet confident, in your successes goes a long way. Rather than saying, “I am smart and hardworking, which is why I am successful in school,” it is better to say, “As a motivated individual, I strive for success. This is exemplified by my placement on the Dean’s List the past four semesters.” Remember, examples are your friend. Employers will not doubt that you are hard-working if you land a spot on the Dean’s List, but they may question how “smart” you really are without examples to back up your statements. Also, honesty is always the best policy! Stretching the truth to make yourself seem more competent than you really are is a risk you do not want to take.

These members of CWIB pictured below took initiative to ask questions at Power Panel last semester. This is another perfect example of taking initiative, standing out, getting your voice heard, and showing confidence! Take control of your life and your future by being proactive.

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Ultimately, you do not want to be generic on paper. Show the world how you are different from the next person. Each and every one of us has the power to succeed. It is our responsibility to make that known by standing out to every employer.  

By: Allison Wood