Carolina VonKampen

Editor. Reader. Writer.

Tag: the sower

Your Career Column: How to Rock an Interview

I’m not going to lie to you: Interviews are scary.

Even worse, interviews don’t get easier. In fact, based on my experiences, they only get harder as the stakes get higher. Interviewing for my first job at a movie theater in high school was nerve-wracking to be sure, but there wasn’t quite as much at stake as there was when I interviewed via Skype for my first editorial internship and managed to get diagnosed with pneumonia hours prior to the call. And once you get into interviews for actual jobs—not just internships—you better be ready to sweat it out and try to not get sick in the hours before it.

I’ve interviewed various ways for internships and jobs in the past few years, from Skype conversations to phone calls to emails to driving four hours round-trip for an in-office interview.  Read my interview tips in my column with The Sower: “Your Career Column: How to Rock an Interview.”

Your Career Column: What Do I Put on My Resume?

Oh, how I wish there was an easy, cookie-cutter answer to the question, “What do I put on my resume?” I can tell you for certain to include your name, contact info, education and relevant work experience, but beyond that, you’re going to have to do some Googling.

That’s because what to include on your resume varies by what type of job you’re applying for and what industry it’s in. It’s like how you use different writing style guides for papers in different academic departments: English papers use MLA, history papers require Chicago and psychology papers work with APA. Similarly, various career fields will want you to highlight or emphasize particular aspects of your professional development.

And just like each professor has different requirements on a class syllabus about attendance, participation, late assignments, etc., each employer has slightly different requirements and job descriptions. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work when it comes to crafting your resume—figure out what each employer is looking for and tailor your resume to those expectations.

Read my tips for creating a customized resume in my latest Your Career Column for The Sower, “What Do I Put on My Resume?”

Your Career Column: Building Your Personal Professional Website

First of all, what is a personal professional website? It’s basically a website about your professional goals and accomplishments. This could include a portfolio of your work, whether that’s descriptions of your teaching philosophies and classroom experiences, links to articles or poetry you’ve written, descriptions of career-related projects you’ve developed and completed, or collections of your artwork or photography. Your personal professional site could also double as a blog if you want to write regularly about a certain topic.

If you’re worried that you don’t have enough to show off, your personal professional website can just be a more detailed version of your resume or LinkedIn profile. For example, when I created my first professional website, I made pages for each section you’d put on a resume: skills, education, work experiences and more. On each page, I went into detail about projects I’d worked on, what I learned from my classes, etc. I also included links to samples of my work, such as blog posts I’d written and social media accounts I had started. My goal was to show future employers what I was passionate about and show them how my education and experiences made me a great candidate to work with. Continue reading

Your Career Column: No-Stress Guide to Filling Out a LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn can be intimidating. It’s one thing to throw a Twitter or Instagram profile together; it’s quite different to create what is essentially an online resume. The pressure of putting together a perfect profile seems daunting, but I promise it’s not hard.

The benefits of filling out your LinkedIn profile definitely outweigh the nervousness you’ll feel by taking a tangible step toward your career. Filling out a LinkedIn profile makes it easier to create your resume, research jobs to apply for, connect with people in your field and attract the attention of employers looking for the perfect candidate.

Block off half an hour to an hour to sit down with your computer and follow these steps to create your LinkedIn profile. And remember, if you get stuck on something, just Google it and you’ll find plenty of professional advice on crafting LinkedIn profiles. Read the rest of my “Your Career Column: No-Stress Guide to Filling Out a LinkedIn Profile” with The Sower.

Why Studying Abroad Is Great for Your Future Career

If I’m being honest, classroom time was one of the least valuable experiences I had while studying abroad.

I know, I know; that’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s true: It’s the experiences that take you outside the classroom that make studying abroad…well, studying abroad. You can take classes anywhere in the world, but it’s going out and exploring new place that you’re in that makes studying abroad such a rewarding experience.

But that also means that the experiences you have outside the classroom while you’re studying abroad are hard to quantify. It’s easy to show how your internship or classes line up with specific skills employers are looking for, such as proofreading, implementing a nutrition plan or entering data into a spreadsheet. Figuring out how to include study abroad on your resume is harder because the skills you develop while studying abroad are soft skills. Continue reading

Why I’m Starting a Career Advice Column for My Alma Mater’s Campus Newspaper

Now that I’ve graduated from Concordia and left my two-year run as an editor of its campus newspaper, The Sower, I’m going to end up writing more for it as an alumna than I ever did as a student worker.

I will write a twice-monthly career advice column for Concordia students. It’s an idea I toyed with while I was managing editor of The Sower last year—I wanted to share my strategies and stories of how I built up my resume and prepared to jump headfirst into a career postgraduation. But last year was crazy for me, mostly because I was doing too much to prepare for my career instead of enjoying my last year of college. I didn’t utilize my opportunity to write for The Sower beyond a heartfelt explanation of why The Sower exists and a few Buzzfeed-esque listicles. Continue reading

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