Job market shows big improvement

December 7, 2009

An interesting article from CNN on the most recent news about the U.S. job market and unemployment rates for November.

Email Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts

March 30, 2009

E-mail Etiquette: A Quick Guide to Writing a Professional E-mail

Although employers don’t always read an entire cover letter the first time, they do expect the writer to take time to include the necessary information in an appropriate way. The following rules should be used for e-mail when writing or responding to: potential employers, co-workers, colleagues, business members, and college staff or personnel. You will be taken seriously, and will often be given more credibility. Common mistakes are:

  • using emoticons ( :o),
  • being too informal,
  • misspellings and poor grammar,
  • no capitalization, and
  • spelling words the way they sound.

Because e-mail has become a mainstream form of communication, students may not easily switch from casual and conversational e-mail to professional e-mail. I cautioned a student about practicing the use of professional writing after reading an e-mail he sent—it was full of emoticons and phonetic spellings. He used “ur” for “you’re or your;” he used “i” for “I”, and also used many other common e-mail exchanges. We discussed how his habit could greatly affect his ability to get a job, and worked extensively on what he might write in an e-mail to an employer. A few days later I received an e-mail from the student, asking me to submit his resume and e-mail note for a position that I had announced. Although we had discussed his usage, he still had two mistakes.

Rules of the road

Professional e-mail is very different from casual e-mail or instant messenger. Remember: it’s easier to be ruled out than ruled in for a position. Here are some rules to consider when writing an e-mail in which you are job prospecting or applying for a job:

  • Always introduce yourself the same way you would in a cover letter.Dear Mr./Ms. So and So,
    I am writing in regard to your posting on….for XYZ position in financial services.
  • Treat your e-mail as if you were writing a professional cover or thank-you letter on paper, but be brief.
  • In the subject line, make it obvious why you are writing: “Application for XYZ position.”
  • Make sure you change the contact name and content according to the person/company to whom you are sending the message.
  • If you are responding to an e-mail, include the original message in the reply, so the receiver can put your e-mail into the correct context. Also, respond within two business days.
  • Always spell words correctly! · Don’t just use spell check. It won’t catch words that are spelled correctly, but are misused within the context of the sentence.
  • Never use all capital letters. Employers may think that you are screaming. It is also difficult to read.
  • Think about the message your e-mail address sends. Keep your address simple, and avoid unprofessional sounding names like “studmuffin” or “partygirl.”
  • Read your message carefully before you click the send button. The tone of an e-mail can often be misinterpreted.
  • Have someone else proofread your message before you send it. It may be easier to find errors if you print and review your e-mail.
  • Scan your resume for viruses before you attach it to your e-mail.
  • Name your document “your name, resume.” Employers receive hundreds of resumes via e-mail. If you follow-up by asking recruiters if they received your e-mail, they won’t have to look through 300 attachments called “resume.”
  • If you are attaching your resume, ask the receiver if they would prefer that you send it in a different format, i.e.: Word, rich text format, or as a PDF.
  • Do not assume that if an employer is informal that you should be.
  • Don’t just rely on e-mail. E-mail can be lost. Follow-ups can often be done via the telephone or regular mail.

Dealing with Emotions at Work

March 9, 2009

It’s happened to all of us.  We’re going about our day, doing our jobs, when suddenly someone is screaming at us, insulting us, or generally making us wish we hadn’t gotten out of bed that morning.

 Learning to manage emotions is an important part of becoming a professional.  So how do you project a professional image while you’re screaming inside? Here are some tips to help you when emotions threaten to bubble over.During the conflict or incident:
1.  Focus on doing your job.  Specifically focusing on your duties and the task at hand will help you keep your emotions in check, and ensure you continue to perform well under stress.

2.  Don’t make it personal.  Whatever’s happening has nothing to do with your worth or value as a human being.  Again – focus on the task at hand and not on the emotion involved.

3.  Know what anger and frustration feel like to you.  If you pay attention to your body’s signals, you can recognize your emotions before they overwhelm you. 


 After the conflict or incident:

4.  Take a break.  Get away from the situation for a few minutes – take a walk, close your office door and take a few deep breaths, or excuse yourself to the bathroom – whatever you need to do for some time to yourself. 

5.  Distract yourself.  Listen to a song you love, play a game of solitaire, or peruse your Facebook page.  Shifting your focus will help shift your attitude. 
 6.  Resist the urge to vent openly about the situation, especially if it involves a co-worker.  Speaking with a trusted mentor or friend can be helpful, but don’t create divisions in the workplace or “take sides”.  Talking about others in a negative, unproductive way will only make you look bad. 

 7.  Once you’ve had some time to decompress, look back at the conflict in a constructive way (it may take days, hours, or even weeks for you to get to this point!)  Is there anything to be learned?  Would you have handled the situation differently, if you could do it again?  Can any changes be made to policies or processes to prevent this type of conflict from occurring in the future? 



Any time!
 8.  Take care of yourself.  Adequate sleep, good nutrition, and regular exercise help to alleviate   stress both at work and at home.

 Managing your emotions at work is an important skill to learn.  It will take time and effort, but is definitely worth the investment!


How NOT to Succeed in the Workplace

February 2, 2009

How NOT to Succeed in the Workplace


Whether you’re at a part-time job, internship, full-time job, or volunteer position, here are some sure-fire ways NOT to succeed at work!


    1.  Ignore the office dress code


    2.  Have a bad attitude


    3.  Arrive late repeatedly without calling, or – better yet – don’t show up at



    4.  Do homework without your supervisor’s permission


    5.  Have extended personal conversations at work – either on the phone or

         with friends who stop by the office


    6.  Surf the internet, text message, or send personal emails without your

         supervisor’s permission


    7.  Get involved in office politics or gossip


    8.  Cover up mistakes by lying or shifting blame


    9.  Make excuses and avoid personal responsibility


   10  .Discuss confidential information outside of the appropriate venue


Okay, so how DO you succeed at work?  Check out our online training sessions in the Student Employment box at  There’s also a helpful handout on Workplace Essentials –

What is a Cover Letter and do I have to have one?

January 20, 2009

A cover letter serves as your letter of introduction to the employer, and is also a valuable marketing tool in the job search process.  So the answer is yes, you should definitely include a cover letter when applying to job or internship opportunities.  Also, think of it this way:  your resume lists your credentials…your education, experience, training, skills.  But the resume doesn’t communicate WHY you are interested in the specific company to which you are applying, WHY you are interested in this specific job or career field, WHY you would be good fit for the position, or WHY this opportunity fits your interests and career goals.  The cover letter needs to address those questions. 

So how do you go about writing a cover letter?  Look carefully at the job listing – it usually lists the requirements and duties of the job.  Take a highlighter and mark the key words in the job description and the qualifications or requirements.  Now, how do you fit those requirements?  Have you gained experience and/or knowledge of some or all of the job duties?  (Don’t forget about your classes and class projects – you may have gained experience and skills from those as well as from internships or jobs!)  Try to tailor the letter to the job description as much as possible, because these are the key points for the employer in looking at candidates to interview.

Another tip:  When emailing your resume to an employer, your cover letter should be the actual message you send, not sent as an attachment (unless you are instructed to send the cover letter as an attachment).   When applying to a position via email, it is critically important that the employer see something which entices them to read your resume – and a well crafted cover letter can provide this information.

For more information, including sample cover letters and a sample email cover letter, download our Help Guides at:

Also, for a great article, with additional tips and another sample cover letter, go to JobWeb at  This site contains a wealth of career and job search advice for college students!

And remember, once you have draft of your cover letter, the Career Center will be happy to review and critique it and provide you with feedback and tips for improvement.  Just call our office for an appointment or come in during our drop in hours Monday – Friday, 1 – 4 pm.

Events Galore!

September 8, 2008

This semester the Career Center is offering a multitude of workshops and other events to help you in your career development. No matter if your a freshman or a senior you can find something at the Career Center. As usual we are offering several workshops on writing resumes and preparing for the Career fair. But new this semester are workshops on choosing internships, choosing majors, completing the online job search, and finding that part-time job. Check out the Events Calendar for more information about our workshops. We also list job related events around the Charleston area.

All About Us

August 25, 2008

The Career Center is one of the few offices on campus that you can start using from the first day of your college career to well beyond your graduation date. Our office specializes in helping students with their various career needs. Below is a little bit more about what we can do for you, the student, succeed over the next four years and beyond!

  • Part-time Jobs (on and off-campus)
  • Internships
  • Full-Time Jobs
  • Help Choosing Major/Career
  • Resume Critiquing Services
  • Graduate School Advice
  • Plus More!

We can provide you with appointments to meet one-on-one with a staff member or you can drop by during drop-in hours. Our office also hosts workshops and career fairs throughout the year to help you with the job search, writing resumes, etc. So drop by our office in the Lightsey Center (2nd floor) or peruse our website at

Welcome Back Everyone!

August 18, 2008

Hopefully, everyone had a very eventful summer break. Did you have an internship that showed you what professionals in your chosen field really do? Did you take a trip to another country, experiencing another culture to its fullest? Or did you take classes to get ahead of the game in school? Well, whatever you did this past summer with any luck it was fun, relaxing, but meaningful in the grand scheme that is called life!

But now you are back to school and it is time to hit the books. Good luck during the next year. For those of you who are new to the school welcome to the city by the sea and the College of Charleston. A place where you will set down roots for the next few years and gain education and life experiences. For the returning students, welcome back! You know the routine, but remember things will be a little different. Some of you are getting into your major classes, or you’re joining a new club or activity. Or you’re entering your final year at the College of Charleston.

Here on the Career Center Blog we hope to help all of you, no matter your stage in the matriculation cycle. Over the next semester we will be discussing a wide range of topics. And if we do not talk about something you want to know tell us in the comments below. So hang in there for another year of career advice and discussion!

See You in the Fall!

May 5, 2008

We just made it through the first (academic) year of the Career Center Blog. Yeah! Since summer is here and most of you will be either spending your days at the beach, in a internship, or exploring new areas in summer classes the blog is going on semi hiatus, too. The blog will get back to its regular Monday schedule starting in August 2008 (though there will be surprise posts during the summer!).

But while we will not have new posts each week, please look through all of our old posts! We have a lot of information here that can get you on the right track in your career development.

Remember, if you have any questions or just want to comment leave us a message in the comments section.

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