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Crafting Your Elevator Pitch

I'm sure you've heard that when seeking a career it's not what you know, but who you know. But if you're like most people, the thought of building a network fills you with anxiety. 

I used to teach public speaking and always started my class talking about how in surveys more people said they were afraid of public spekaing than death. My come back to that is you can come back from a bad speech, but there's no coming back from death! The same is true for networking and some of the principles for overcomong your fear of public speaking apply to overcoming your fear of networking.

There are two things that drive the fear of presenting in public.  First the fear of a room full of people staring at you and judging you. To overcome that fear, remember two things: 1) No one wants to see you fail. If you've ever witnessed a speaker struggling your first instinct was probably to feel tremendous empathy for them. The same rule applys to networking-no one wants to to fel so nervous you can't speak. 2) Most of us are so focused on our own insecurities we often don't notice the misteps of others.

The second fear is fear of the unknown, what if they don't like my topic, what if I forget what I wanted to say, what if I drop my notes etc. This fear can be overcome by preparing. Before you go to any event where you may have the chance to meet someone you want to add to your network you should prepare by crafting your elevator pitch.

And to help you prepare an excellent pitch, we've just added "Crafting a Dynamic Elevator Pitch" to our YouTube channel. So watch the video, prepare a pitch and then come to the CDO to practice and get feedback on how to improve your pitch.

Building your strategic network is essential to your career, but you don't have to do it alone. We're here to help!

Career Advice: 30+ Words & Phrases That Scream "I'm A Leader" on Resumes



Leadership ability is highly sought after and often times is the major differentiator between candidates that receive job offers and those that don't. As such, it has become increasingly important to demonstrate one's leadership skills in the resume. There are 30+ words that are strong descriptors of leadership abilities.


Words That Suggest You're A Trailblazer


1. Spearheaded

2. Pioneered

3. Ignited

4. Piloted

5. Transformed

6. Revitalized

7. Modernized

8. Optimized


Words That Show You Can Manage the Money


9. Budgeted

10. Cut costs

11. Drove growth

12. Invested

13. Reduced

14. Negotiated

15. P&L Accountability


Words That Imply " Strong People Developer"


16. Coached

17. Mentored

18. Supported

19. Shaped

20. Trained

21. Motivated

22. Uplifted

23. Advocated

24. United

25. Galvanized


Words That Say " Influential"


26. Negotiated

27. Convinced

28. Won

29. Gained buy-in

30. Prompted

31. Mobilized

32. Spurred

33. Propelled


It is important that we remember that using the right words can help convey that you have the leadership traits that employers are looking for. Using some of the words above will help you stand out to employers and score your next interview.



Why You May No Longer Have to Answer the Dreaded Salary History Question

In a recent L.A Times article, a U.S. 9th circuit court of appeals ruled that allowing employers to consider prior salaries in setting pay for employees is "wholly inconsistent" with the Federal Equal Pay Act of 1963. The law in these nine states vary. Some states ban public employers from asking the salary question, while others ban both public and private employers. This pattern of change is part of an effort to eliminate the gender wage gap.


According to Judge Reinhardt, a President Carter appointee, "The financial exploitation of working women embodied by the gender pay gap continues to be an embarrassing reality of our economy." The decision was prompted by a recent lawsuit. Math consultant Aileen Rizo for the Fresno County Office of Education sued after learning that a newly hired man with less experience made $13,000 a year more than her. 

With the recent changes job offers are going to be made more on the candidate's capability and skill set rather than their past salary. California, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Orleans, New York City, Oregon, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico have (or plan to) ban the salary question. Although the dreaded salary question is banned in these states, there are still ways for employers to ask about your salary. Employers can still ask about your salary expectations or the amount of money you would like to make in the new role. Employers in New York can also ask about objective measures of the candidates productivity. In other words, employers can ask how much you made in annual bonuses if you are in a sales or commission based industry.


In California specifically, Governor Brown signed into law AB 168 which prohibits employers from seeking or taking into consideration an applicant's prior compensation and benefits when determining whether to hire the applicant, and in setting the applicant's compensation and benefits.  The new law creates Labor Code section 432.3. 

Here are the details of the California Law:

1. The law applies to all employers, regardless of size, effective January 1, 2018.

2. Employers may not rely on the salary history information of an applicant in determining whether to offer employment and in determining the compensation to offer.

3. Employers may not seek salary history information, which includes compensation and benefits, from the applicant.


4. Upon a reasonable request, an employer must provide the pay scale for the position to an applicant.

5. Nothing in the law prohibits employees from voluntarily disclosing salary history to a prospective employer.

Although these laws have been passed you may still be asked about salary history. If this does happen, it is best to politely remind the hiring manager that you don't have to answer the question. Immediately afterward, express your interest in discussing compensation without going into your salary history. You could follow up by saying "Pardon me if I am wrong, but it's my understanding that it is no longer legal for you to ask that question. However, I am very interested in this job and would be happy to discuss compensation ranges and goals". This shows that you are cooperative.

The legislative changes that have taken place are largely positive for job seekers as it attempts to close the gender pay gap.

Why Working for a Small Company Can be a Great Experience!

As you embark on your career search, it is important to take into account the size of the organization that you will consider for employment. Although factors like location, scope of duties and compensation are vital, the size of the organization can heavily impact your experience and ultimate longevity at said company. Let's examine the benefits of working for small companoes, wiht the goal of determining which company size is best for you.


1. You can move up quickly. A small team means you will have fewer peers vying for the same managment positions. Prove yourself, and you'll quickly earn more responsiblities. 

2. You can wear many hats. A small business stays aflot by puttinh togther hard-working teams of people who aren't afraid to roll up their sleeves. Instead of delegating tasks, you'll figure out hoe to get them done- and learn a lot in the process.

3. You'll get closer to the misssion. It's usually easier to get a real sense of what a small business does and how each employee impacts the work. There's less corporate jargon blurring what people can actually do.

4. You'll work more closely wiht senior leaders. Instead of seeing your boss's boss once a year, you'll likely work in the same office.

5. Speaking of bosses, you'll have far fewer of them. Te org-chart tends to be much flatter at small businesses.

6. You'll experience a lot of camaraderie. If you like getting to know the people you work with, you're in luck- you'll spend a lot of time working directly with them.

7. You'll forge a close relationship with your manager. A smaller staff size affords managers and employees the chance to bond more easily. As a result, even if you move on from the company, your manager will be able to write a referral that really speaks to who you are, not just what you do.

8. You'll learn about sales. Without a huge sales department, you'll get the chance to understand the company's core value proposition, and maybe even make a pitch to potential customers.

9. You can move wuickly on your ideas. If you have a proposal, you can try it out quickly without a lot of red tape.

10. You can experiment. You'll have plenty of chances to test new ideas- and you'll be encouraged to do so.

11. Your owners will make decision wiht you in mind, (and not always the bottom line). Small, privately owned businesses have much more freedom to take creative risks, let strategies play out and listen closely to its lower-level staffers.

12. There's a relaxed dress code. Small businesses often are often more flexible about allowing casual wear in the office.

13. You'll enjoy greater flexibility. Small companies are less tied to policy and precedent than big conglomerates, so they can be more flexible with remote work and in general.

Although, large companies with strong name recognition are attractive to job seekers, it is important to remember the benefits of working for a small sized organization.

Hey, Check this Out! The Muse: The Ultimate Career Finder and Guidance Destination


The has quickly become a go-to source for job seekers. From newbies looking to jump start their career to seasoned professionals looking to make a career change, the Muse is a great tool for navigating one's career. The website is broken down into four core areas: Explore Companies, Career Advice, Discovering Careers and Career Coaching. Before you rush over to take advantage of the amazing resources at Muse, check out these highlights below.


Explore Companies: This is perhaps the most frequented area of the website. The explore companies page allows you to virtually tour the office and get a true sense of the office space and a peek into the company culture. There is also a section that allows you to meet team members. With this feature, you can watch videos from specific team members and learn about their role and their career path. The Company 101 section provides insight into the work the company does as well as a simple answer to the question: "What does this company do?". In addition to these insights there is information on office perks and links to current job openings.


Career Advice: This section is a great resource for career specific articles and information. From articles like 30 Brilliant Networking Conversation Starters to 5 Answers from 5 Real People on Why You Keep Getting Rejected from Jobs. The articles here are direct, eye-opening and extremely insightful and can help answer many of the questions the emerging professional may have.


Discovering Careers: Here you will have the ability to explore the day-to-day experiences of those in particular roles as well as the skills needed to excel. By job title, you can discover the average salary across the U.S using an interactive map as well as view videos from people in the role. You will also gain insight into similar careers and various articles that are relevant to your interests.


Career Coaching: Muse's career coaching services are a great way to help new graduates break into new fields. 30 Minute Career Q &A, Networking Strategies and Leadership Coaching sessions are offered at a cost. Of course all of these services are available to you free of charge here at the Career Devleopment Office. Make an appointment today to use this very valuable resource!


Head over to the to start exploring your future career. It is very important that you start your career exploration journey early. 

How to Maximize Your Internship ROI

Internships have an extreme impact on one's career growth and contrary to popular belief, are about so much more than a line on your resume. Internships are about making connections, networking and making strong impressions. In order to make the best of an internship, you need to devise a plan.

Step 1: Figure Out Your End Game

While many internships are true pipelines for new hires, some do not lead to jobs. As such, it is important to identify if there are full time opportunities open and available at the time that you complete your internship. This will influence how you approach the internship experience.

If your end goal is a job offer focus on demonstrating your value and becoming an invaluable member of the team. If not, aim to learn as much as you can while leaving a great impression.


Step 2: Plot Your Charm Offensive 

No matter your end game, networking should be an essential part of your internship strategy. Make a point of getting full-timers out of the office for coffee on a regular basis to build those relationships. Learn about their previous experience and why they enjoy what they do. Be careful to read the environment to determine if out of the office gatherings are acceptable.


Step 3: Ask Thoughtful Questions 

You're an intern! Questions are not only expected but welcomed. Asking questions will help you learn your role, better understand the company, and the industry. Set aside time to check-in with your supervisor to go over questions. Use the information you glean to make yourself more aware and ultimately, more useful in the office.

and finally, ...

Step 4: Don't Become an Anonymous Intern

Take this time to connect with as many different people as possible. Develop an exit plan that will leave you on solid footing with your contacts and lastly, when your internship is over be sure to send thank you emails and cards thanking co-workers and supervisors for their time and asking if you can reach out regarding future opportunities.

Following these four steps will allow you to get the max ROI on your internship experience.




How to Look Great in Video Interviews


Employers are increasingly using Skype, Zoom and other platforms to conduct video interviews. As a recruiter, I facilitated hundreds of video interviews and can attest to the strange things that candidates do in front of the camera. From a candidate interviewing shirtless to another in the middle of a crowded coffee shop, many have no idea how to video interview. 

Here are few tips to help you look great in your next video interview!

Tip 1: Sound- Sound is just as important as video. Be sure that you are far away from noisy environments and empty rooms that echo.

Tip 2: Location- Create an aesthetically pleasing background. Be sure that there are no embarrassing things behind you (a weird poster or collection of troll dolls). Instead, create a background that has a bookshelf or house plant. And remember no plain walls!

Tip 3: Lighting- Be sure to use natural light (if possible) in the daytime and make sure that the window is in front of you. Avoid use of overhead lighting or under lighting (unless you want to look like you're telling a spooky story). When natural light is unavailable, place a lamp in front of you.

Tip 4: YOU- Dress appropriately. Employers will expect you to dress as you would for an in-person interview. Also, remember to look straight into the camera and not down onto your screen.


These four tips will help demonstrate your confidence and ability to present yourself well. For a more detailed understanding, check out this YouTube video.




What Do Employers Really Want to See on a Resume?

As the job market becomes more competitive, job seekers are inclined to create resumes that demonstrate not only their professional experience, but their interest and skillsets as well. As such, it is important to understand what employers look for in a resume. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed hundreds of employers to create NACE's Job Outlook 2018 report. The report's findings highlight key attributes that employers would like to see on resumes.

Beyond strong GPA, other attributes that employers describe as extremely valuable are problem solving skills and team work abilities. In addition, employers want to see evidence of strong written communication skill, leadership abilities and a strong work ethic. 

The study also revealed that work experience, particularly internship experience is highly desirable while internship experience from within the industry or organization is preferred. 

The top attributes by list are as follows:

  •   Problem solving skills
  •   Ability to work in a team
  •   Communication skills (written)
  •   Leadership
  •   Strong work ethic
  •   Analytical/quantitative skills
  •   Flexibility/adaptability


A strong resume coupled with proper demonstration of the skills and attributes outlined above can be a key factor in securing your dream job! 


California Employment Law Changes- What You Need to Know!


The start of a new year typically comes with tons of changes. From new year's resolutions to new regulations, January 1st is a date that tends to usher in change. Similarly, a few notable changes in the world of employment law are set to take effect at the top of the year. 

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a statewide ban on employer inquiries into an individual's salary history. This assembly bill (AB 168) mandates that no employer may rely on an applicant's prior salary history " as a factor in determining whether to offer employment" or "what salary to offer an applicant". In short, one's previous earnings will have no bearing on their potential to secure an offer significantly higher. For students, particularly those who will soon be looking to secure employment post-graduation, this is a very important change in the way some California employers approach compensation and ultimately, offers.

Another upcoming change in employment law set to take place on January 1, 2018 is the California Ban-the-Box law. This measure prohibits employers from performing criminal background screenings prior to a conditional offer of employment (for companies with a minimum of 5 employers). Employers will also be prohibited from requesting information about criminal history on an application or any other preliminary point in the hiring process. 

In addition to the aforementioned changes, the California minimum wage will increase from $10.50 to $11.00 per hour. Although incremental, this change will directly impact wage earners.


As we enter into 2018 and move towards graduation it is important that students are aware of changes in employment law and the impact these changes may have on their future employment.

Career Visioning Activity

Make a collage of your ideal day at work.  Where are you, what are you doing, who is there with you, how do you feel. Find images, workds, quote, objects that reflect your best work day.  Put it somewhere you can see it everyday as a reminder of your goals.

Virtual Career Fair

This is a great opportunity to network with employers who are specifically seeking advanced degree holders.  Click here to register.  Some employer may even interview you that day!  Stop by the CDO to have your resume reviewed before you upload it.

What will you do today to move closer to your career goal?

Some tasks seem so daunting they can overwhelm us. Like writing your first graduate level paper, preparing for quals, writing the dissertation, or trying to figure out your career path. Our natural human response is to avoid tasks like this, but the better response is to chuck them into manageable pieces.  So for today, what is one thing you can do to move closer to your career goal?  Will you read an article on the Career Development Facebook page, watch a 5 minute video on our YouTube playlist, spend 5 minutes finding 3 people on LinkedIn who have a career of interest to you and read their profile?  Share your one thing in the comments to this post. And remember, every journey begins with one small step.

Welcome to the CDO blog!!

The CDO is here is to help you map your future!!

Welcome to the spring semester. If you're graduating in May you need to come meet with a career consultant ASAP. It can take 4-6 month to land a career position, and that's assuming you know exactly what you want to do and have well prepared documents.  We're happy to help you map your direction, craft strong documents, prepare to interview and help you negotiate your offers.  You can schedule and appointment through handshake or come  for drop in hour M-TH 12-1. 

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