How to Take Little Steps to Achieve Big Dreams

Have you ever met someone who has their entire life planned out? With every year mapped out and color coded? The analytical and organized map of their future may seem like that person is guaranteed success. Panic may start to set in, especially if you haven’t declared a major or if you don’t know what you want to do with it. It might seem like latching onto “a plan” with iron firmness is the way to go. However, rigid attachment to a long term goal, especially one that you are not passionate about, can actually be a disservice to your inner peace and ability to take advantage of new opportunities in the moment.

Long term goals train people to focus entirely on the end game. If an event occurs that derails the end game, people can be left in an identity crisis…feeling completely lost and empty. The goal of their life is no longer achievable, which can be difficult for people to move on from. So, instead of flow-charting your entire life, focus on little commitments that can lead to larger ones. Determine your core beliefs and interests and work every day to find small commitments that align with them. When you move towards larger goals one step at a time, you give yourself the freedom to be flexible, to move in a different direction as your first-hand experience changes your idea of the final destination.

When thinking of little commitments, think of the phrase “Drip. Drip. Splash.” Every drop of water contributes to the ocean, just like every commitment you make contributes to your interests and aspirations.  Your first step can be something small where you have little to lose.

I began my first “drip” in college by taking biology and chemistry labs because I dreamed of being a wildlife biologist. During lab, I learned that chemistry makes me cry and does not lead me to happiness. Instead of falling into despair about my life being slightly derailed, I tried a different “drip”. My next step was to begin environmental classes, which inspired me to want to work in environmental policy. My change in direction led to my “splash”, an internship with a national environmental organization that lobbies Congress.


I have not carved my future into stone, but I have an idea of where I want to go and a future I can truly look forward to. Each step teaches you a little more about yourself and what you makes you happy. Each drip and step you take creates a pool of opportunities and connections. Learn from each step, adapt, and remain focused on your interests to lead you to happiness.


NAU Aquatic Center

The updated Wall Aquatic Center is in one of the newest buildings on campus, the Tennis and Aquatics Center. It opened to students on February 20th, 2016 and has hosted many exciting events since!


Campus Recreation employs about 64 students each year to teach various classes and sessions at the aquatic center. Students teach campus and community members how to  swim , paddle board, do Aqua Zumba, and log roll like Louie!, PE classes like Intro to Dive also take place at the Aquatic Center.


If you have any life-guarding experience, you can become a lifeguard at the WAC, and they will help you get cross certified with the Red Cross. Even if you stay dry working  the front desk, the aquatic center will provide you with certification classes in First Aid and CPR. Campus Rec also holds monthly review classes to help refresh your knowledge of CPR and First Aid. Don’t forget to add those awesome lifesaving skills to your resume! Would you like to join the team at the Aquatic Center? Be sure to apply online!


Maybe you just want to use the WAC resources, rather than finding a job? Open swim is available Monday through Friday! Be sure to check out the Campus Rec webpage for summer current hours. During open swim there are lap lanes and medium and low diving boards available as long as there are no classes using them. Aqua jogger belts, dumbbells and weights are available as well for workouts during open swim. Some signature events that the Aquatics department hosts in conjunction with Campus Recreation include Splash n’ Dash every  April (which includes a 500 yard swim and a 5k run), and Tough Louie, which is scheduled for this September 10th! The Aquatics center will also be hosting several of Sun Entertainment’s Dive-in Movie nights this semester!

The Wall Aquatic Center hosts NCAA Diving competitions including Olympic level athlete, and international teams come to train with us regularly, including the Japan National Team, and more than one Olympic. If you are interested in checking out any of the upcoming international teams  at the WAC be sure to follow Hypo 2 on Facebook! Register for the right PES class this semester and you could  be swimming right next to an Olympian!

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The Hidden Beauty of NAU Outdoors

NAU is a beautiful campus surrounded by dozens of hiking trails and camp grounds. One of the great features that NAU has to offer its students is the NAU Outdoors program. The program offers a variety of ways that you can experience the outdoors! For instance, the Wilderness Welcome Trips are 1-3 credit courses that take students on small trips to the Grand Canyon, San Juan River, Colorado River, and other amazing places. Each semester the Parks and Recreation Management program organizes 10-15 outdoor classes. For example, there are rafting courses and wilderness survival classes that will be launching during the Fall 2016 school year. You can experience these awesome trips all while earning credit and learning new camping skills!


            NAU Outdoors also offers experience based trips that are not designed for any academic credit but are there for the experience. You could go to Havasupai Falls, go mountain biking or do yoga down in Sedona with the red rocks! Some of these trips are day trips but they sure are days to remember! They even offer a backpacking trip to Zion!



Another great way that you can get involved with NAU Outdoors is through their Customized Trip Program. Through this program, NAU Outdoors can work with other departments who offer an academic component to the trips while they provide the field based aspect of the course. For example, Field Based Eco-Ethics (SYS 208) is a course that was recently offered and NAU Outdoors worked with Environmental Sciences to look at the water shed within the San Juan River.

NAU Outdoors

I encourage all students to try out one of these courses or trips no matter what your wilderness experience is! You will learn basic camping and cooking skills, leadership skills and even practice the Leave No Trace Principle. All you have to do is pay the fee for the trips/course and you are all set to begin your adventure! Your fee covers the cost of transportation, gear, food, permits, as well as guides and instruction.


            NAU Outdoors gives students a hands on experience while learning several transferrable skills that can be placed on your resume, or expressed in a job interview. While learning how to light a ‘whisper light stove’ may only benefit you while backpacking, getting out of your comfort zone and gaining leadership or problem solving skills will show a great deal of grit. You can tell your future employers that you know how to follow through both on the trail and on the job!

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A Taste of Sweet Endings

Last week my coworkers and I had the pleasure of attending a dessert tasting event called A Sweet Ending in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. The tasting was for a class called Fundamentals of Cooking (HA243). The students are instructed by Chef Lecturer, Mark Molinaro teaches his students how to plan, organize, and prepare meals in order to turn them into a beautifully crafted edible chef-d’oeuvre.

Sweet Endings

My coworkers Riley and Ana getting ready to enter Sweet Endings!

When we arrived, we found groups of 4-5 students at 8 tables ready to showcase their specific desserts. Each table was exquisitely decorated to match their individually chosen themes and desserts.

We tasted crème brulee that was warmed up with a fiery handheld blow torch in front of our very eyes. The excitement seemed to add to the wonderful creamy flavor. Another table took a simple dessert- a doughnut –  and turned it into a perfect combination of sweet and salty by adding bacon bits to the maple glaze that was drizzled over each doughnut. There were plenty of other wonderful tasting desserts such as cream puffs shaped like swans, mini fruit tarts, and creative mini cupcakes topped with orange/caramel popcorn!

This special event allowed the students to present their dessert in an attractive setting and answer any questions that their “customers” may have. It was a great way for them to learn transferrable skills that will prepare them for their future Hotel and Restaurant Management careers. In preparation for this event, they had to bake all of their ingredients the day before, in class. This brought out their skills in planning and organization as they had to demonstrate their creations the very next day. It’s a lot of pressure but the students of HA243 section 1613 definitely pulled through!

glazed donuts.PNG

                This course is one of many courses at NAU that allows students to get hands on knowledge under the guidance of an experienced professional like Chef Molinaro. These transferable skills will give these students the upper hand when it comes time to put on their own Chef hats!

We would like to give Chef Molinaro and his students a final shout out for their delicious desserts and delightful accomplishments this year. We will be waiting anxiously for our invites to next semester’s tastings!

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Psst… It’s not over yet!

We are in the last few weeks of the spring semester and the atmosphere seems to be a lot more stressful and tense than usual. There are students filling up the library in their final attempts to raise their GPA. But we’re here to help you make the most of your time before finals week!

Some first steps to get started are to help you relax! You might be stressing over your final projects, papers, and assignments, but it’s good to remember to stop and take a deep breath every now and then. You can learn to relax by taking a 10 minute nap, getting a massage, or even doing 15 minutes of yoga. These simple tasks can revamp your mind and boost your energy enough to help you keep moving forward. They are even more effective than all that coffee and energy shots from Jamba Juice!

no caffine

The end of the year can bring a lot of questions from family members and friends about what you plan to do with your summer. A great way to answer that question is to tell them about all the jobs and internships that you are looking into on Handshake! Hint Hint! This job platform is a huge database that allows students to look for safe, quality jobs while they are working on their degrees, and it also contains lots of jobs for new graduates. If you feel intimidated about starting the job search process, don’t fret! NAU Career Development has a variety of different appointments that you can schedule depending on where you are in the job search process. We have appointments for Career Exploration, where you can meet with an advisor or peer mentor to help you explore the different paths you can take with your major that would best fit your strengths and interests. You can also meet with an advisor or peer mentor in person or through a phone appointment about job search strategies or resume and cover letter reviews, and we even hold mock interviews to get you ready for all those interviews that you are eager to land. Looking for a summer internship, want to get credit for gaining transferable skills in your summer job, or want to get a head start on an internship for fall? Visit our Internship Referral Center to learn more.

Another way that you can get ready for the end of the semester is by taking advantage of the tutoring centers and resources available to you as a student here at NAU! The Student Learning Center provides free online tutoring as well as in person tutoring for classes that you may be struggling with.


It’s never too late to keep trying! Meeting with a tutor could make all the difference when it comes to that final. The English Department also provides help through the Writing Center where you can get some hands on help with any writing challenges you may be facing. These are some very productive ways to make the most out of your time to get you ready for finals week and your summer.


            In case you may be leaving Flagstaff for the summer and won’t have time to make an appointment with us don’t forget about our online career resources that are available to you through your laptop, phone, or tablet! You can access them right from home. Our Pinterest, Smart Axe blog, and website are filled with valuable information and tips that will help build your career knowledge. So don’t forget about us over summer, we are here for you!

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How to Land a Summer Internship!

Spring break is fast approaching and after that, summer will be right around the corner! So why not begin looking for summer internships now? Do it before summer actually creeps up on you and you are left without an internship or a job. Employers begin filling summer internship positions in the spring by opening up their application processes, attending career fairs and getting to know students who are interested in working with them.

If you’re wondering how to get started with your internship search, NAU Career Development has the perfect starting line for you!


Career Spring Expo

Every Semester NAU Career Development hosts a Career and Graduate School Expo that brings in 100+ employers looking to hire NAU students specifically. As a student, attending the Expo is a great move that could get you your dream internship. If you are wondering which employers will be attending the expo, visit Jobs for Jacks for the list of employers who will be there, just be sure click on the “Fairs” tab! Many employers are looking to hire students for summer internships, part time and full-time positions. So be sure to attend on Thursday, February 25th from 12pm-4pm. If you have class, you can stop by in between your classes for even just 5 minutes and get in some facetime with employers. Be sure to bring copies of your resume and dress up professionally (not jeans).

Obtaining an internship looks great on your resume and it helps you gain valuable transferrable skills that every employer looks for. Not only would you be learning great skills that will last a lifetime, your internship could also potentially lead you to earn employment with the company or organization you are interning with! A post-internship job isn’t guaranteed, but it can happen if you prove your value to the company and work hard in your internship. For example, Career Development just hired our very own Design Intern as a Career Jack!

Another way that you could make your internship search more efficient is by checking out Jobs for Jacks Powered by Handshake. We have over 100 internships in our database just waiting for NAU students like you to apply! All you have to do is log in to Handshake (you already have an account if you are a student, just use your NAU email!). Once you upload your resume, you can easily apply for those internships that meet your criteria. Informational Interview quote

If you want one-on-one help with your internship search or need help preparing to meet with a potential internship employer, Career Development’s new Internship Referral Center can help.  The Internship Referral Center is your central point of contact for all-things-internship at NAU.  Call 928-523-4772 to set up an appointment with one of the Internship Referral Center staff.


Even if you have no idea what kind of internship would be the best fit for you, Career Development always has an answer: Informational Interviews! Informational interviews allow you to interview people, who are in a position that catches your interest, whether they be NAU alumni, Flagstaff community members, or a family friend. In these interviews you can ask about how much they like their job, how they got into their field, and what kind of daily tasks they complete. Conducting an informational interview is one of the most beneficial ways to gain an inside look at an organizations or fiend of interest. It could help you make your pick! Plus, it gives you more detailed information than you could get from any website or flyer.

So there you have it, three fun ways to begin your hunt for internships! Start now and with hard work there’s no doubt that you will have an internship in your hands by summer. Be a good Lumberjack and put yourself out there, because everyone wants to hire an intern that bleeds blue and gold!


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Don’t Post That! Guest Post by Emma-Leigh Enrico

Everyone is on social media these days.

It’s a great way to keep in contact with friends or to do an occasional bit of social espionage.

It’s okay, we all do it.

The problem is, we aren’t the only ones spying.

From Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and Tumblr, more and more employers are using social media to decide between candidates. Data shows 93% of hiring managers review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. Your risqué picture or inappropriate comment could be the biggest thing between you and that dream job.

Here are some tips to make sure that you get all of the benefits and none of the burn when it comes to your social media platforms!

The Light Side of Social Media:

The good news is that managers aren’t just lurking around on your social profiles to dig up the scandalous; they’re also looking for information that could give you a boost in the candidate pool. Profiles on professional social media and information from other places on the net can be the perfect platform to show off. About one-third of employers used content found on LinkedIn or in Google searches to help them hire employees.

How can you leverage the light side?

Keep an academic or professional blog. Your articles will come up in a Google search and show prospective employees where your interests lie. Create a killer LinkedIn Profile. Make sure to include a picture and fully fill out the summary section using information from your resume. Your profile will be available to employers and other professionals; this is a perfect palace to show off your accomplishments. Join professional organizations and engage in your community online and in real life. Your involvement on committees and projects will probably get some web attention and show up in a Google search as well.

Your online presence can project a professional image, and show off a personality that is a perfect fit for your future employer.


The Dark Side of Social Media:

Sometimes Private is Not so Private.


We took pictures from NAU’s Snapchat page. We had one right here. It was so explicit that we were forced to censor it so that we didn’t violate NAU’s policies! That pictrue you took naked in the bathroom, or smoking a bong in your dorm room is easily accessible by everyone. We still have it. We just can’t post it


Use privacy settings to make your social profiles as private as possible. The less an employer sees, the less you have to worry about! 55% of hiring managers claim that they reconsidered a candidate based on what they found on the internet. Google searches will uncover pictures you’re tagged in on public sites, comments you make on public sites, screenshots of your snapchat if posted with your name on any public sites, and comments that others post on your account, if it is not private.  If you send a Facebook message to someone who is not your friend, those messages will also come up in a Google search. If you are tagged in a picture along with others, everyone who is friends with everyone else who is tagged will also see you, whether your profile is public or not. Remember employers will judge you based on the company you keep, and your privacy is always one screen shot away from not so private.


Remember that naked snapchat you sent to NAU’s university wide account? Well, one of the thousands of people who viewed it took a screenshot. They can post it wherever they want, and if they attach your name to it, it will come up in a Google search. Even if it remains anonymous, the farther it spreads the more likely it will eventually bump into someone you know and become associated with your name. Now it’s searchable.



Seen these girls recently? That mess started with a dash of racism, disrespect, and poor taste, followed by a snap chat, a screen shot, and national notoriety.


Posting a glazed eyes, sloppy-drunk picture at 2AM may seem like a good idea through your beer-goggles, but folks have gotten fired for less. Even that innocent picture of you that screams, “I’m a good person!” will only look great until paired with a racist or disrespectful comment. Engaging in illegal behavior? If someone not-so-amused screen shots that and sends it viral, you might as well have been smoking a bong in the police department parking lot. Now you have a virtual problem compounded by real world charges.
Now, we’re not saying to constantly wear baggy turtlenecks, only speak when spoken to, and stay away from alcohol for your entire life. But, if your grandmother wouldn’t want to see it, neither does an employer. Not Grandma safe? Don’t post that

Be sure to check your security features on different media outlets. For example, if you want to un-tag yourself from a photo, just click on the photo, click on the tag option, and the “I don’t

want to be tagged in this photo.” Another awesome thing that Facebook offers is the ability to approve your tags before they can be viewed on your profile! That way you avoid an embarrassing situation from a picture you didn’t even take.
Social media is such a large part of our everyday lives that we may not even realize that it goes


From Google image search. Would Grandma like this? We think not.


deeper than having fun connecting with friends and posting things we find humorous. That one picture or one post can be the swing factor in a hiring committee’s decision. So next time you go to post something remember: so long as your picture exists anywhere, even on your snapchat story, it can exist everywhere.

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5 Important Tips To Get You Through Finals!

The smell of spice cake and fresh cranberry sauce is still lingering as we get back into the flow of classes after a well-deserved Thanksgiving break. It feels like we simply blinked once and the semester was over. Now we are facing the inevitable approach of Finals Week.

Ahh, finals, the most feared and dreaded word that a student can hear.

As most of you know, the weeks leading up to finals the library will be at max capacity. Students will be cramming all the information they need into their brains. And Students will be scramming to get their coffee fix after to a night of sleep deprivation.Everyone will be stressing about what kind of impact their grades will have on their GPA.



While this mad rush may be a ritual that every college student is all too familiar with, finals do not necessarily need to be such a stressful time. Here are a 5 important tips to get you through finals:


  1. Do Any/All Extra Credit That is Assigned

          Extra credit can do wonders for your grade. It can bump your grade up by a whole letter grade. What’s even better? Some professors will even open up past extra credit assignments for those students who failed to complete them the first time! Your extra credit assignments have the ability to give you that extra cushion before going into your final, so make sure to get them done!


  1. Start Studying Yesterday

          Studies have shown that cramming before exams is not as effective as one would think. While you may pass the exam as well as the class, most of the information that you crammed into your brain will be forgotten within a couple of days. If you space out your studying between now and finals, you will be more likely to recall correct information more efficiently.


  1. Get Enough Sleep

The best thing that you can do for your brain before finals is to get an adequate amount of sleep. Being sleep deprived can lower your chances for that top grade that you are striving for. If you manage to go to bed at the same time every night, it will also help with your sleep cycles, which means more REM sleep!


  1. De-stress

Psychological studies have shown that stress kills your brain cells. If you are studying or going into an exam, the last thing you want to be is stressed! Make sure to de-stress yourself using methods that work for you. Some really popular de-stressors could include going to the movies with friends, playing video games, or getting a massage. Whatever decreases your body’s stress levels, do that! You can also check out NAU Health Promotion’s site for more resources and tips about stress.


  1. Eat a Balanced Diet

Make sure your mind and body are both properly prepared on the days leading up to your exam with a healthy meal. Skipping out on meals, or eating unhealthy fatty foods can give you some unexpected health problems. And most importantly, be sure to eat a healthy breakfast the day of your exams, especially if you have early morning finals! You don’t want your stomach growling and distracting you.


I would wish you good luck finishing out the last few weeks of the semester, but if you follow our tips you won’t even need it. Make it happen guys and earn a stress free winter break assured of a solid semester on your transcript!


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Reasons Why I’m Thankful for My Job Featuring NAU Career Development at University College

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, we tend to reflect on the things that we are thankful for. Here at NAU Career Development, we are all thankful for our jobs! Below are some statements from our very own Career Team on some of the reasons why we are thankful for the jobs that we have here at Northern Arizona University


Emily McCarthy (Program Director):

I am thankful that I have a job that challenges me in new ways…as a manager, educator, and person…every day. Every time I see a student engage and learn I am grateful. When a student reaches out to let me know they got their dream job it makes my day. I’m now in my third year here and we’re starting to really see impacts from work we started when I was new to NAU, and that makes every long day and sacrifice worth it! I also have the honor of working with so many talented professionals across NAU who have become friends and helped make Flagstaff my home.


Diana Sundermeyer (Internship Coordinator):

I’m Thankful for My Job because I get to work with a diverse and creative team of professionals who share my passion for empowering students to identify their strengths and navigate their unique career path.  I am fortunate to work in an environment where I feel encouraged to be my authentic self – both silly and serious, pragmatic and philosophical.  I am grateful that my supervisor and co-workers are supportive of my work-life balance. Every day at my job is different and I get to use my strengths, stretch my comfort zone, and make genuine connections with all kinds of people. I’m Thankful for My Job because it is a job that I can look forward to going to every day.


Jamie Paul (Program Coordinator):

I am thankful for my job because I get to work with so many lovely and kind students every day! I love hearing about their plans for the future, or watching them help each other out in class and in workshops. I think the very coolest thing about working at NAU is the sense of optimism and possibility that so many students seem to carry around in their backpacks, squeezed in along with a vast variety of experiences and viewpoints. I think many people who pursue higher education do so because they have the courage to picture themselves in a future that they can choose. They want to help create a world that is always looking for new ways to be better, and being a part of that drive and idealism is pretty infectious and inspiring! The many faculty and staff members who work at NAU are fabulous, it’s true, but the students are the mashed potatoes with melty butter. If you knew how much I love my mashed potatoes, you would totally get the reference.

 Laurah pic

Laurah Hagen (Program Coordinator):

I’m Thankful for My Job because I love being a part of University College, where there is energy and excitement about playing with new ideas. From planning a study abroad in Scotland, to developing brand new courses, I feel totally supported to experiment. Meeting students with diverse backgrounds who share their stories is always a great experience. I’ve learned so much from the Blavin Scholars, my UC 199 students, and others who I’ve met through advising and workshops. I’m Thankful for My Job because there are SOOOO many opportunities to continue developing as a professional! From Cassie’s fun and engaging HR classes, to Faculty Development seminars and conversations, to e-learning’s trainings on the Quality Matters rubric, there is always something to grow from. I’m also thankful for being part of a community of really talented professionals, who love to share their expertise. Best practices for BBlearn design? I’ll call John Dougherty in E-learning. How to design our website? I’ll call Brad Kamradt in marketing. How to publish a book? Connect with Cyndi Banks. I’m so thankful to be connected to all this talent! I’m also thankful for Jordan, the Starbucks barista, who seems to remember the name and preferred drink of every single person who goes there.


Amy Paul (Program Coordinator):

I’m thankful for my job because I get the opportunity to help students launch their careers. There’s nothing better than finding out that a student I’ve worked with was offered the job they want!


Vanessa Baptiste (Graduate Assistant):

This year I am thankful for my job because this is an opportunity many people in my country strive for. I am also thankful that this job allows me to see career development ‘behind the scenes’ with the most amazing people I have ever met. I am also grateful that I was given this job as a graduate assistant especially since it aligns with my passion for helping people live successful lives.


Erin Chastain (Graduate Assistant):

I am thankful for many things in my job at Career Development! I am lucky enough to get to work with students on campus in their process of finding a career, and I also get to collaborate with other departments on campus including both academic affairs and student affairs. I love the positive, supportive atmosphere that the team brings to work every day.  


AnaClara Rice (Lead Career Jack):

I am thankful for the wonderful working environment NAU Career Development has and the team dynamic we all share.  We are able to effectively work as a team; the best part is our communication as well as our ability to bounce creative ideas off one another.  It’s also great that the team has a great relationship, having that support allows for us to build strong ties as well as skills we can use in the future.  I am most thankful for having the privilege to be part of a great team where we all strive to provide the best for students and alumni.  It’s great being able to work with people who are passionate about their work and the impact it can make on others.  They have all taught us what a great team is like as well as helping each other become stronger and better professionals. 

April new

April Canseco (Career Jack):

I’m Thankful for My Job because I have such a fun and exciting team to work with. We help each other grow and learn everyday especially for the Career Jacks, we are learning how to develop our professionalism and transferable skills for when we graduate and are sent off into the world. I couldn’t ask for a better job. I’m also thankful for the ability I have as a Career Team member to work with my fellow peers and help them understand the value of a proper resume and how to get that job they want so badly. It is the greatest satisfaction when you meet with a student for a mock interview and they come back to tell you they got the job!

Emma 2.0

Emma-Leigh Enrico (Career Jack):

I’m thankful for my job because I get the opportunity to work with such an amazing team! I love to be able to empower students to reach their maximum potential and identify their strengths and weaknesses in their career search. Also, I am thankful to be able to learn new skills to develop professionally for when I graduate college!


Turner Kallen (Career Jack):

I am thankful for my job as a Career Jack because each day I come into work I know the sole purpose of it all is to help students benefit in there career success. Every other job I have ever had has never been as fulfilling as the one that I have now. I truly can say that it is a blessing to hear that students are gaining valuable information that will help advance them in their career and benefit them for the rest of their lives! I am also thankful that I get to work with such an amazing and kind staff.


Riley Orr (Graphic Design Intern):

I am thankful for my internship with the Career Development Team because it allows me the opportunity to gain invaluable graphic design experience!

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Career Fair Fashion Tips!

  • Dress for the right occasion! So you just wrapped up a racket ball game and you’re wearing a slightly sweaty gym ensemble? What the heck…why not make an unscheduled visit to the career fair? Before deciding to skip the shower and change into something more context-appropriate, consider the impression you’ll be making before you even open your mouth. If you don’t want to spend the first (and most important!) minute of your conversations explaining that despite the fashion choice you really are a prepared, professionally-aware student with big ambitions, then go home and change.

Here are examples of what to say no to..

Collage 1

  • Choose classy shoes, not club or gym shoes. Ladies, are you thinking about Platform heels? Strappy heels? Sparkly, colorful, or embellished heels? Save those for when you go out to celebrate after you have the job. For now, choose flats or low heels in black, another dark color, or nude. Gentlemen, debating between the fancy new sneakers, cowboy boots, or the brightly colored Vans? How about dressing to match the culture of the organization you’re working in after you know where you’re going to land. For now, go with brown or black oxfords or dress shoes.

Say yes to these!

Collage 2.0

  • Louie the lumberjack is our mascot, not our trendsetter. Show your school spirit by sporting plaid flannels and unkempt beards at bonfires and on chilly fall days, not at the career fair. Showing that you’ll be prepared to move on from college – by wearing a well-tailored professional attire and keeping any facial hair nicely maintained – is a great sign to employers about your maturity and focus.

collage 3

  • “Dress-up fleece” is still fleece. Yes, in Flagstaff we do have a high regard for all things Patagonia and North Face, and some of us will work in fields where this is actually what we wear on any given day (Hello, forestry.) However, showing that you can adapt to different environments and contexts is a professional skill, and many employers have noticed that recent grads don’t have it. Show that you can dress traditionally professional, when necessary, by forgoing the fleece and choosing a suit jacket instead.

Say no…

Collage 4.1

Say yes!

Collage 4.2

  • Unless you want to announce to the world that you’re returning your suit first thing tomorrow, remove the basting stitches. Basting stitches keep the folds of a garment wrinkle-free while it’s hanging on the rack, but they aren’t meant to be worn out. Check the vent of your jackets, the pleat of your skirts, and pockets for any visible basting stitches that should be removed.

Colage 5

  • “Sort-of professional” isn’t professional. Sure, you get a point for effort, but be prepared to lose 10 of them for short and/or tight skirts (even when partnered with a conservative collared shirt), tights or tight pants (even when topped with a classy blazer), or cleavage (even when visible only while bending down to add your name to a mailing list). Gentlemen, points will be lost for white gym socks (even if they’re the only clean ones you have left), untucked dress shirts, and backpacks (check your bags at the entrance instead).

Try to avoid these…

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  • There’s a gulf – not a fine line – between professional and party make-up. What side of the gulf do lipstick in any bold shade, dark eyeliner, heavy mascara and colorful eyeshadows belong on? You’ve got it – the after 5pm side. For work hours, less is more. Select soft, light colors that enhance your natural beauty; make sure your make-up is low-maintenance so that getting the job done can be your first priority, rather than retouching your look

This is okay!

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This is a little too much…

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  • Tattoos aren’t bad, but distracting recruiters with them is. When you meet with a recruiter, you want to make sure they’re listening to your elevator speech and hearing why you’re interested in their organization….not wondering about the story behind the gigantic rattler snaking its way up to your shoulder or what the date on your ankle represents. Make sure tattoos are covered fully, since as one HR exec said recently, “all things being equal, they will hire the more clean-cut employee.”

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