Career and Professional Development Center Newsletter, Spring 2009

  • Inside this issue

    Positivity Makes Providing Customer Care a Snap!
    Tips from the Résumé guru: How to Make Your Student Employee Position Work on a Resume
    Meet Michael Binkley, 2008 Student Employee of the Year
    Wellington Wizard, I Wonder…
    Ramblin’ Dave
    Q+A with Dean of Education
    Student Employment Appreciation Week Calendar

    positivityPositivity Makes Providing Quality Customer Care a Snap!

    By Kathleen Manion, SPHR, CEBS, MER, MBA
    IUP Human Resources Manager

    For more than 20 years, I have been a student of service excellence.  Throughout this time, I have sought to identify the essence of quality customer care so that I might help others produce consistently high quality service results with an approach that is easy, natural, personally rewarding, and, yes, even fun!
    In this quest, I recently came to the exciting conclusion that what lies at the very heart of quality service is positivity -- a simple, user-friendly concept that virtually everyone can understand and apply, without extensive training.
    When we spread positivity (as opposed to negativity) we create good will.  Those with whom we come into contact feel good about their encounter with us.   We, in turn, feel good about helping them and can take pride in our efficacy as service providers.  It’s a win-win.
    How, you might ask, can we harness the power of positivity to enhance our human interactions?  Here are a few ideas that occurred to me:
    We can extend a warm welcome
    We can share a big smile
    We can introduce ourselves
    We can learn the other person’s name and use it
    We can share a laugh
    We can be gracious
    We can be patient
    We can show interest
    We can offer help willingly
    We can listen with our heart -- as well as our mind
    We can seek to understand
    We can be compassionate
    We can empathize
    We can offer a kind word
    We can reach out and touch
    We can let them know we understand
    We can lend a hand
    We can identify options
    We can try a little harder
    We can respond a little quicker
    We can go the extra mile
    We can express our genuine gratitude for the opportunity to help
    I’ll bet you can think of other items to add to this list, too.
    If we can create a positive experience for the other person in each and every interaction, providing quality service will be a snap.  Why?  Because by taking a positive approach, we will naturally:
    1. Acknowledge the individual
    2. Show a genuine interest in their concerns
    3.  Listen with both our heart and our mind to really hear what they have to say and how they feel
    4. Empathize with their feelings as appropriate, and
    5. Willingly help to resolve their problems, going the extra mile when necessary
    In doing these five things, we also effectively maintain the individual’s self-esteem, and establish a constructive working relationship with them, both of which are absolutely critical to high quality customer care.
    As the Dalai Lama once said:
    When we feel love and kindness toward others,
    It not only makes others feel loved and cared for,
    But it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.
    Embracing a philosophy of positivity where we interact with others out of care and concern will not only delight our customers, but will help us to be happier and more at peace with ourselves.  It will also help to make our campus a better place for all, because people who leave an interaction feeling good will pass these good feelings along to others, and people who feel they have been treated well, will treat others well in turn.  Positivity thus has a ripple effect that reaches far beyond the interaction between the customer and the service provider.  Positivity can help to transform a culture into one that reflects the values of caring and kindness and that underscores the respectful and supportive way in which people interact with one another.
    If you give the positivity approach a try, I’d like to hear about your experiences with it.  Please send your comments and stories to

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    resume guruTips from the Résumé  Guru: How to Make Your  Student Employee Position Work on a Resume

    By Jason Lee, Graduate Assistant, Career Development and University Testing

    Applying for that first professional position can be intimidating.  A lot of students feel as if their previous experiences don’t measure up or aren’t applicable to the job they are applying for.  Many of the students that I advise claim that they didn’t do ANYTHING at their previous job(s).  I always find this hard to believe, so we spend the next ten or fifteen minutes discussing previous experiences, so that I can help them write a bulleted description of each experience for their résumés.  As student employees, some of you may be wondering how your current experience at IUP is applicable to your chosen profession, especially considering that the vast majority of you have no intention of working on a college campus when you graduate.  Hopefully, after the next few paragraphs, a lot of your questions will be answered.

    First, sit down and write down every single task you have completed while working in your office on campus.  These can be duties assigned to you on a daily basis or it could be an event that you helped to plan.  Consider no task to be too small or insignificant.  You may not need all of them, depending on which job you’re applying for, but it is helpful to have them all in front of you.  Some tasks may include: answering the phone, scheduling appointments, planning an event, providing customer service to students, creating a flyer, etcetera.  

    While some of these tasks can stand alone as their own bulleted statements, there are others that can be combined into one bulleted statement.  For instance, you can speak to your exceptional interpersonal skills, and that encompasses your ability to communicate with college students, staff members, and faculty members whether on the phone or face to face.  Once you have your list in front of you, we can begin to write each description in a bulleted format.

    Now, there are a few hard and fast rules that you should adhere to when writing the bulleted description for each position.  First, never use the first person (‘I’).  Second, begin each bulleted statement with an action verb.  Some examples of action verbs include: administer, communicate, coordinate, implement, perform, publish, and supervise.  A more comprehensive list can be found on our Career Development Center website(link here). Third, it is important to use the correct verb tense when describing your responsibilities.  If you are describing a position that you currently hold then using the present tense is appropriate (i.e.-communicate), but if you are describing a position that you no longer hold then use the past tense (i.e.-communicated).
    Finally, when creating these descriptions, there are two words that you should keep in mind: specify and quantify.  Make sure that you are as specific as possible in describing your responsibilities and accomplishments, and make sure you provide numbers to quantify your achievements.  For example, let us say that you coordinated an event that 75 people attended.  Rather than just stating that you coordinated the event, it is important that you make mention of how many people attended.  Below you will find some examples of bulleted descriptions that could apply to your experiences as student workers.
    • Recruited approximately 50 student volunteers to assist with the Community Involvement Fair
    • Developed the Office of University Events website using Ektron Content Management system
    • Coordinated appointment calendar for the Office of Student Life
    I hope that the preceding paragraphs helped you to better understand one portion of the résumé writing process.  Remember, if you have any other questions please stop by the Career Development Center in Pratt Hall to schedule an appointment!

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    Michael BinkleyMeet Micheal Binkley, the 2008 Student Employee of the Year

    By: Michael Binkley

    Hello, my name is Michael Binkley and I am a senior majoring in Accounting and Finance, with a minor in Economics. Since the fall of 2006 I have worked in the departments of Philosophy and Religious Studies. Working there I have learned that to be successful you have to distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd. In the following I will share with you some tips to do just that.
    A simple way to be noticed is to have the right attitude. Being polite and positive will improve your interactions with students, coworkers, and professors. Saying thank you or complimenting somebody on a job well done are often neglected niceties. People appreciate sincere good manners and will treat you with respect in return. To use a cliché, it is a win-win situation.
    Another way to stand out is to bring attention to detail and craftsmanship to your job. Doing these things can improve the overall quality of almost any project. In an age of digital standardization I specialize in creative solutions to technological problems. For example, anybody can use a copier. It takes skill to learn everything that can go wrong with it and be able to fix most of it. Also, it requires experimentation and creativity to copy photos or odd shaped objects. Another example is scanning. Anybody can use a scanner's basic functions. However, to be able to scan something in a small file size that looks exactly like the original document requires technique. As can be seen from the preceding examples, there is a way to stand out even when working on the simplest tasks.
    Working harder than others will also get people's attention. Some individuals will only do the minimum required to complete a job. Devoting a little more time to a project, though, can create superior results. For example, proofreading or checking over an assignment may catch small errors before they become larger problems. It will also improve the overall quality of your work. Adding useful extras to tasks, such as including pencils or scoresheets with copies of tests, can make other people's work easier. And, doing a little more for somebody else will get you noticed.
    Taking the initiative and setting your own priorities is also important. You cannot simply do work as it comes in. To be successful you must determine when something is due, how long it will take, and what priority it is in relation to other work. Taking the initial time to do these things can actually save you time in the long run. You will know exactly when tasks need to be done and you may even have time to handle other tasks. This will definitely get the attention of your supervisors.
    Ultimately, a job is an opportunity to showcase your knowledge, skills, and abilities. And, by doing that, you will not only gain recognition but also make the job a better experience for you and everybody else.

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    wellington wizardWellington Wizard, I wonder...

    Wellington Wizard, how are you? I’m your biggest fan! No, seriously, I really am.  Anyways, I feel I do a lot as a student employee; WHEN IS IT MY TURN TO GET THE PRAISE!?!
    Heath, how great it is to hear from you.  And thank you so much for being a fan! Oh, how I love student questions!  So you’re looking for some praise are you?  Well, you are in luck my friend; I have a crystal ball that will tell me if you are to receive praise anytime soon!  Hmmm…. Hmmmmmmmmm… very interesting… Great Gatsby! There is an entire WEEK’s worth of praise coming up for student employees just like you! It’s called Student Employment Appreciation Week and it takes place starting on April 10th!  You’ll receive a letter that day from the President of IUP. Oh letters are fun! Are they not?  I’ll tell you what,  there are more events that simply  dole out the appreciation for student employees the rest of that week.  If you go to page 7 of this lovely newsletter, you will find other activities that you may enjoy.  Student Employment Appreciation Week sounds indubitably fun!
    Heath, I hope this helps and I hope that you will check out all of the Student Employment Appreciation Week activities.  Keep your eye out for flyers and such… especially about the Ice Cream Buffet.  How I do love ice cream!  Thank you again Heath!

    For everyone else… if you have questions for me, Wellington Wizard, just email them to (Mr. Tiscione is my secretary) and I will gaze into the crystal ball for YOU!

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    rambling faceRamblin’ Dave

    By: David Tiscione, Graduate Assistant for Student Employment and Service Learning
    Editor, Student Employment Newsletter

    Hello everyone!  This is going to be a quick and dirty ramble because I had so many wonderful newsletter contributors.  So, thank you to them.  As for the ramble– I attended a school in Western Maryland for my undergraduate degree.  Recently, in a national newspaper, this school was slammed for its “drinking culture” (I use quotes for a reason).  Anyways, the “unbiased” reporter made an argument that although the president of the university was making significant attempts to change the culture of drinking, students still drank.  To support the argument, the author interviewed students about their drinking habits.  Of course, without thinking that this could possibly lead to their university being called defamed, they indulged the reporter with exaggerated drinking lifte styles.  Well, they were quoted in the paper and their university was slammed thanks to their comments.  As you can tell, I’m a Little peeved. 

    So, here’s where my ramble starts– think before you speak.  That’s what it all comes down to.  Those students didn’t think twice about telling a reporter from a national newspaper that their school, who has tens of thousand alumni and even more potential students, is a party school.  So, you may be asking- what does this have to do with you being a student employee?  Well, as student employees you may encounter a similar situation where you are asked to speak on the behalf of the department or office you work for.  Maybe a faculty member in your department is working on a controversial research project or maybe, as in the case of my alma mater, a reporter is looking for a student employee’s perspective on a controversial issue– ya just never know… Anyways, here’s my advice (and you may have heard this before)- if you don’t have anything nice to say, you probably shouldn’t say it.  You can probably direct them to someone who has more training or understanding of the situation.  Maybe you can put them on hold and ask your supervisor for advice on how to handle the call.  Trust me, your supervisor would rather be “bothered” than see your name and their department end up in a newspaper surrounded by negative comments.  Also, think about how what you will say will affect others.  Nearly all of the time, your actions or words will have some kind of effect on someone else and you don’t want this to be a negative effect. 
    So, to sum it up– if you talk to a reporter, think before you speak; you may say something that someone will regret.

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    Question and Answer with Lloyd Onyett, Dean of the College of Education 

    Written by: David Tiscione, Graduate Assistant, Student Employment and Lloyd Onyett
    How does the constantly changing technology field affect student employees and employers in the office?
    Not only are new computers and computer components coming out all the time, but new versions of computer software are coming out every year or two. Sometimes the software upgrades may add a few new features, but still look and work about the same. However, when the software upgrade dramatically changes the look and feel of the software, the transition can be very difficult.
    A good example of a dramatic change in software occurred when Microsoft released Office2007. There were many major differences between Office2007 and all of the previous versions of Microsoft Office. All of the familiar menus and buttons were replaced with their new ribbon, and most users had to spend a considerable time learning how to use the new version. In addition, Microsoft changed the file format used by Office2007, so people using earlier versions of Microsoft Office were often unable to open Office2007 files.
    When new software or new versions of software are introduced, training of staff and student employees becomes critical.  Often, you can obtain training by looking on the Internet for help, use the help menus within the software, or attend a training workshop. At IUP, we offer many training workshops for our employees, so student workers should be sure to ask their supervisors about training opportunities.
    How does the constantly changing technology field affect student employees and employers in a job search?
    Employers expect student workers to have a basic knowledge of computer software for many campus jobs. Many offices on campus use very specific software, so make sure you know what is expected and make sure you are well prepared. Be sure to tell your supervisor when you are not sure how to use a particular program or specific features. Often they can show you easier and more efficient ways to perform tasks. Be sure to also ask your supervisor about possible training workshops offered on campus that you can attend to enhance your technology skills.
    How does the constantly changing technology field affect student employees and employers in their career search?
    Employers expect students who have just completed or are just completing their college education to know how to use the newest versions of computer software and hardware. You might get training in your freshman or sophomore year on a particular computer program, but in the meantime a new and dramatically different version of the software may have been released. Prospective employers will expect you to be familiar with the latest version, so it is up to you to learn how to use new versions of software.
    You also need to be sure that you know what software and hardware a prospective employer expects you to be able to use. Many fields use very specific software, so make sure you know what is expected and make sure you are well prepared.
    Are there some trends in technology that may change the workplace?  If so, what are they?
    Technology is continually changing the workplace. New types of hardware and software are frequently being introduced that impact our jobs. The Internet, email, and cell phones have made dramatic changes in the way we work as well as play. We are now able to be connected to our work colleagues whether we are in our office, at home, or on the road.

    Virtual World software such as Second Life allows companies with employees scattered across the country or around the world to meet “virtually” rather than having to drive or fly to a central location for a business meeting, saving not only money but significant amounts of time. We can also use online video conferencing for similar meetings.
    In your experience, what are some challenges you or people you’ve known have faced with technology in the work place?
    While many people think that technology always saves time and produces better results, this is not always true. I have seen companies switch to new software only to find that the productivity and quality of work has gone down as a result of the change. Not only can it sometimes take a considerable amount of time and training for employees to learn new software, but conversion costs can also be quite high.
    And, in some cases, new software may not be as good as the software or old methods used in the past. Throwing technology at a problem is not always the best approach. We need to use the appropriate tools, and sometimes that does not include technology. Technology for “technology sake” can not only be expensive, but may cause more problems than it solves.
    Sometimes people think of technology (hardware and software) as one-time purchases, but instead they need to plan not only for the initial purchase of technology, but need to also plan for the eventual upgrades and replacements.
    What are some underutilized forms of technology that you think employees and employers should utilize more?
    As mentioned above, some companies are using virtual world software such as Second Life to allow employees to collaborate and meet without the need to be in the same room together. Other companies are using video conferencing systems to accomplish similar tasks. Collaboration, whether through phone calls, text messages, email, virtual worlds, video conferencing, or other methods, is becoming extremely important in business today, especially as companies deal with world-wide economies and markets. While some of these technologies have been used for years, I believe we will see some of the newer technologies for communication and collaboration make a significant difference in the way we work in the future. We must learn to work smarter and cheaper in order to be competitive in the world of today and tomorrow.
    What are some areas of technology students and employers should be careful about in the work place? 
    Security is a major concern when using technology. Not only do we need to make sure we have the latest version of virus protection on all computers, but we need to constantly think about the security of the data on our file servers and on individual computers. We have all heard about the recent security breaches at banks and credit card companies where credit information has been stolen. But how many times do we think about the company information that might be stored on our laptop when we travel, and what will happen to that information if the laptop is stolen or lost?
    We assume that our emails and text messages are private and secure, but that is not always the case. One of the reasons that the Secret Service considered President Obama’s Blackberry to be a security risk, was that is might be possible for someone to attempt to intercept his messages. He is being allowed to keep his Blackberry, but a number of new security measures are being taken to assure its security. Some employers monitor and examine email messages that are sent by their employees using company computers. Just because you delete a file from your computer does not mean that it is actually erased from the computer… often it is quite easy to recover a “deleted” file from a computer.
    Any advice for student employees or employers regarding technology?
    Training, training, training! Keep as current as possible with your knowledge of hardware and software in your field.

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    Student Employment Appreciation Week Calendar

    Friday, April 10
    Distribution of sports bags and letter from President of IUP
    Comes with paycheck

    Monday, April 13
    11:30a.m. - 2:00p.m. pm HUB Ohio Room
    "Conflict Resolution" Workshop presented by: Dr. David Piper

    Wednesday, April 15
    4:30p.m. - 5:30p.m. Breezedale
    Student Employee of the Year and Supervisor of the Year Reception

    Friday, April 17
    11:00a.m. - 4:00p.m. HUB Delaware Room
    Ice Cream Buffet

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    By: Hally Dravecky
    Student Employee, Career Development Center
    Q:  Where can I find a list of On Campus and Off Campus jobs?

    A:  A listing of available positions (both on and off campus) can be found one of three ways:  posted on the Student Employment Center’s website, posted in an employment binder located in the Student Employment Center (305 Pratt), or posted on a bulletin board located outside of the office.  The Student Employment Center’s website address is To view the listings online, find the column of links on the right hand side of the page.  Click the link that is titled Services and then Job Search, and finally On or Off campus jobs.
    Q:  How do I apply for the job that I am interested in?
    A:  The contact information needed to apply for the job (phone #, office #, and name) is available on the job listing.  It is up to you to call or visit the office that you are interested in.  The specific office that you are interested in will explain to you the application process. The Student Employment Center does not distribute job applications; also, applications are not located online.

    Q:  What is the difference between Federal Work Study and University Employment?

    A:  All students are eligible to work on campus (International students’ circumstances may vary).  There are two basic types of funding sources:  1) Federal Work Study and 2) University Employment.  Eligibility for the Federal Work-Study program is based upon demonstrated financial need as determined from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which must be completed every year.  Inquiries about eligibility for this program should be directed to the Financial Aid Office.  Students who do not demonstrate financial need may seek University Employment.  Generally, undergraduate students are paid $7.15 per hour and graduate students are paid $8.15 per hour. 
    Q:  How many hours are student employees allowed to work per week?
    A:  Students are permitted to work a maximum of 25 hours per week while classes are in session and up to 40 hours per week during break, including summer. 

    Q:  How often are the job listings updated?
    A:  The listings in the binder and on-line are updated three times weekly

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