After the Career Fair

ACSThere are lots of great opportunities on campus to help students achieve their dream careers. Being my last year at Portland State University, I’ve made it a point to discover these resources and to use them to my advantage. My anxiety over graduation has been increasing steadily with the passing weeks, as I imagine most graduating students are feeling, but I know that utilizing some of the career resources on campus will help to calm me and prepare me for post-graduation.

Recently, I attended the Winter 2015 All Majors Career Fair. If you’ve never been to a career fair, it’s a hustle and bustle of activity. The ballroom in Smith is filled with tables manned by a variety of different companies and organizations, with students milling through and occasionally stopping and speaking with the representatives from these organizations. At the entrance to the ballroom stand students and advisors representing the Portland State University Advising & Career Services (ACS).

When I first arrived at the All Majors Career Fair, a student from ACS handed me a nametag to affix to my shirt and a brochure on the various organizations being represented at the fair. Standing at the entrance, I had no idea where to start! There were representatives from a diverse range of organizations, from Verizon to Tillamook Cheese to the FBI. I decided to just walk around and see which of the tables piqued my interest. The representatives were helpful and friendly, and would often call out to ask my name or my major. Many of the stands had free candy and pens, among other things. I felt my confidence boost speaking to different representatives about my degree, my skills, and my future.

If you missed the Winter 2015 All Majors Career Fair, don’t worry – there’s another All Majors Career Fair in May! In order to prepare for the next career fair, check out some of these tips offered by the PSU Advising & Career Services:

1. Attend ACS workshops and events. ACS hosts a variety of workshops and events, from Employer on Campus to What Can I Do with a Degree in Communication? The ACS hosts these events weekly, so be sure to check them out!

2. Complete the steps on ACS’ Guide to Career Fair Success.

3. Check out some of the employers listed on CareerConnect.

4. Plan out what you’re going to wear. It doesn’t have to be a suit, but ensure that you look professional.

5. Practice your introductions. ACS has provided a video on how to pitch yourself to a potential employer.

6. And, most importantly, follow up. ACS has also provided a video with tips on how to follow up with a potential employer.

Even if you are not essentially interested in or drawn to any of the organizations that are being represented at a career fair, it is a great opportunity to network and to practice your interview and communication skills. Don’t get hung up on the fact that your dream organization may not be represented; take every opportunity and every resource given to you! You never know where it will lead.

Being so close to graduation can be a frightening prospect. There is so much that is expected of graduating students to do, from informational interviews to prepping our resumes to even going through our Facebook profiles to delete any embarrassing photos. But taking everything one step at a time and asking for help from our advisors, families, and friends can help us to stay calm in the storm that is our final year of college. And don’t forget that PSU offers great resources for graduating students, from career counseling and workshops to helping you find an internship or job. So take advantage of all of the opportunities at your fingertips! You won’t regret it.

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student

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Learn About Cooking and Life with Mother’s Chef Lisa Schroeder

lisa 2In my last post, I shared my New Year’s resolution to become more involved on campus and my experience attending the Entrepreneurship Club (eClub) event. This week, I’ll spotlight the Women in Business student organization that I had only recently heard about. I attended their recent event, Motherly Advice from a Successful Businesswoman, and I instantly knew that this would be just the sort of event that I would want to tell you all about! I hope that reading this post inspires you to go out and discover PSU clubs and events that are entirely new to you.

The Women in Business group encourages discussing the issues that women in business encounter, and offer networking events and other opportunities to help women build their leadership skills. Join their LinkedIn page to learn more about the PSU Women in Business club. At the event that I attended, Lisa Schroeder, executive chef and owner of renowned Mother’s Bistro & Bar in downtown Portland, shared some of the important life and business lessons that she has learned throughout her career.

The route that took Lisa to Portland and opening Mother’s Bistro & Bar was certainly long and challenging. After marrying and having a baby at a fairly young age, Lisa had to work long hours to support her family. She worked at a variety of businesses, from Publishers Clearing House to telemarketing at Weight Watchers, but she never felt fulfilled by any of the jobs that she worked. In the early 90’s, Lisa realized that there were no restaurants where you could get “mother’s” food, which sparked her dream of opening a restaurant that would serve the types of food that one’s mother would cook. After her self-described “epiphany,” Lisa attended culinary school and worked her way through a variety of famous New York and European restaurants to hone her skills as a chef. Eventually, Lisa moved to Portland where she opened Mother’s Bistro & Bar.

Although it has been a bumpy road to success, Lisa has achieved considerable recognition for her talents as chef and restaurateur. Lisa and her restaurant, Mother’s Bistro & Bar, have been featured in magazines such as Food & Wine and Town & Country, and on shows such as The Today Show, among others. She has written her own cookbook and was able to open a second restaurant. To learn more about Lisa, check out her bio on Mother’s web site.

Lisa certainly had lots of great insights to share with the audience. Some of my favorite quotes, sayings, and words of wisdom that Lisa shared are listed below:

1. The Chinese word for “crisis” is “opportunity.” If you close one door, another one opens, so be flexible!

2. Have an open mind. Say “yes” to a lot of the opportunities that present themselves to you. Be open to new ideas and new perspectives. Try new things and go with the flow.

3. There are no shortcuts to success. Success doesn’t just happen overnight – you have to work for it!

4. No regrets. Learn from the mistakes that you make and take them as life lessons.

5. Find your passion. Don’t do things just for the money.

6. Do what you love, work hard, and the money will follow.

7. It’s all about the love. If you love what you do, then success will follow.

lisaListening to Lisa share her stories and the lessons that she learned throughout her career was inspiring and motivating. I know that I’ll take many of her insights to heart, and I’ll be able to use her wisdom to aid me in my own emerging career. I look forward to future Women in Business events! To stay current on Women in Business (and other) student organization events, be sure to check out the PSU School of Business event page.

Attending events and club meetings that are new to you are great for learning about the opportunities here on campus and for pushing you outside your comfort zone. I hope you follow me on my New Year’s resolution to become more involved on campus! Check back next week to hear about other exciting PSU opportunities.

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student

eXplore eClub!

eXplore eClub As part of my New Year’s resolution for 2015, I vowed to become more involved on campus. Not only will being involved look great to possible employers, but it will also help me to learn more about all of the offerings that the PSU School of Business has for students. So, over the next few weeks, I’ll be highlighting some of the groups and events that the School of Business offers. I hope that one of these student groups or events sparks your interest!

The first event that caught my eye was an eClub event. The eClub is a student group for entrepreneurs who want to learn more about starting, or helping start, a business. The eClub offers a multitude of events for students, from networking events to hosting guest speakers. (Plus I heard they always offer free food!) If you’re interested in launching a business, or simply want to learn more about entrepreneurship, check out one of eClub’s events!

I went to one of eClub’s eXplore events. eXplore is an annual, five-week event series to help students learn more about becoming an entrepreneur. PSU students are connected with entrepreneurs from the community in order to learn what it takes to start your own business. I attended the third installation in the series, “Fund It.” This event focused on how to get the funds necessary to start your business.

The event was small and welcoming. We all sat around a few tables pushed together, munching on free food provided by the eClub. There were two guest speakers, both successful entrepreneurs who had started businesses in Portland. The speakers had great advice to give on how to fund your own start-up. Even though I would not consider myself an aspiring entrepreneur, I found the information interesting and helpful to any business endeavor.

There are still two more events left in the eXplore workshop series! This Thursday, learn how to pitch your small business idea. Next week you can actually pitch your idea to a panel of judges! The winner of this competition will go on to the Donna M. Noce competition. You can learn more about these events on the eClub site.

If you’re not able to make it to one of the eXplore evenings, check out some of the eClub’s other events. They also host a weekly meeting in Smith for anyone interested in learning more about eClub.

Being involved is important. It sets you apart from other job applicants and can help you to discover what you’re interested in. Fortunately for us, there are a dozen student groups associated with the SBA and a multitude of other ways to become involved. Check in next week to see what other groups and events are available!

~Mckenzie Miller ’15, Fearless Business Student