Differentiate Yourself

Differentiate Yourself

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My business and technical writing professor told our class the other day that it is a fact that we are entering one of the most difficult job markets that there has ever been. One way to tackle this obstacle is to develop great and effective writing skills. It is very important that resumes, cover letters, acceptance letters, rejection letters and follow up letters/emails are written and designed with high quality. These documents are very important because they help develop a personal brand/image for you right from the get-go. If you have a typo, you can come off as lackadaisical, or if your formatting is unattractive, you can come off as unorganized.

One way to help make sure you documents are well written is to provide yourself with a lot to choose from. Give yourself a plethora of experiences and internships that show you are a self-starter and involved. Also, if you aren’t involved in anything on campus be sure to join a club or a committee. Then, once you are in an organization be sure to commit to a leadership role and do something with it. Employers love to see students who hold leadership positions but even more of what is then accomplished. For example, implementing a new program, organizing an event, coordinating volunteers or fundraising are great ways to prove supervision. Always remember to emphasize these on your resume to help you stand out, and emphasize key numbers like the amount of people you oversaw or amount of money raised. From my experience, recruiters liked to see a specific goal that was met through quantitative data.

Once you provide yourself with a tidy list of past jobs and involvement, there needs to be that extra degree of separation through uniqueness. This can easily be achieved through presentation which has gotten easier and easier with the Internet and a creative piece of mind. Even if you have perfected your resume and its style, I am sure you will consider updating it after seeing some other inspiring examples. A new service called visualize.me thinks that “the traditional text resume is boring, lengthy and long overdue for a makeover.” They are creating an online resume format that is beautiful, relevant and fun.

Visualize.me’s goal is to help enable people to express their professional accomplishments in a simple, yet compelling personal visualization. Look at this great example. There also have been people who have utilized YouTube and video to create a storyboard type of resume. This video I posted is a video timeline, and it outlines everything you would find on a normal resume. Pretty neat, right? These are just two ways, among many, that can help make you stand out from the crowd.

Other ways that can be beneficial to students are posting thoughts on a blog, Facebook, Twitter and any other web program … just be PG-13. Building a personal brand and becoming “searchable” can expose other elements of yourself that interviewers may not have been able to take away from an interview. Be sure to utilize online media and available sources, especially for resumes because it adds to that first impression … and believe me, you want to make it a good one.

UMU Wilderness Trip in the Adirondacks

UMU Wilderness Trip in the Adirondacks

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This past summer from August 5 – 14, I was fortunate to participate in the Mount Union’s wilderness trip in the Adirondack High Peaks in New York. For some course credit, myself and about 20 other students went to the woods to discuss environmental ethics and to lead a rather simple life for a week.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Thoreau

My smaller group of eight was given the name of “Team Donut” when we decided to make a rest stop at Dunkin’ Donuts rather than McDonald’s. We quickly embraced this name, and we referenced the hilarious video of former Cleveland Cavalier Delonte West. With our team motto being “I don’t care if you gotta fly…planes, trains, and automobiles you better have my donuts,” we adopted some crafty nicknames like R-Nut, K-Sprinkle and D-Hole.

Aside from having too much fun, laughing most of the day and engaging in unforgettable conversations, we had a pretty eventful trip. Our group was fortunate to hike through Cold Brook Pass, which is a stretch of trail that few hikers pass through because of its tough terrain. We also made it to the summit of Mt. Haystack and Mt. Marcy, the highest point in the state of New York. We hiked a total of about 40 miles on the whole trip, 10.1 being our longest day when making both summits. It is crazy to think that people hiking the Appalachian Trail average about 20 to 25 miles a day hiking! We also had some great nights while staying in lean-tos at Bushnell Falls and Lake Colden. Awesome views!

“Take nothing but memories, kill nothing but time, leave nothing but footprints.”

What made our trip even more exciting was that we got to rock climb, repel, swim, visit Lake Placid and Inlet and some of us paid to go on a half hour charter plane ride. While flying out of Long Lake, we were able to see the mountains we climbed and Vermont ranges in the distance, which made for incredible views. I hope you enjoy some of my favorite pictures because words can simply not describe this wonderful experience.

Right when I got back to school, I read an article about A Semester in the Woods from St. Lawrence University. The program is about “Students who swap cell phones and indoor plumbing for handwritten letters and a composting toilets.” This doesn’t sound like too much fun to many, but you should definitely read the article.

Through this wilderness trip, I was able to meet and create everlasting relationships at Mount with people I thought I never would have. This is just another way to get involved on campus and a great way to meet new people.

Someone take me back to the mountains!

AASHE Conference 2011

AASHE Conference 2011

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This past Sunday, on October 9, I was fortunate to attend the AASHE Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. AASHE, which stands for the Association for Advancement in Sustainability in Higher Education, has a mission to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. The organization does this by providing resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything it does, from governance and operations to education and research. Since I am a member of Mount Union’s Sustainability Management Advisory Committee (SMAC), they were able to cover the costs for me and three other students to go.

The conference on Sunday featured the Student Summit, where there were breakout sessions from many colleges over the nation presenting material and giving advice to other students. One presentation was from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on how it allocated a green fund. A green fund is part of student’s tuition it and goes into a certain account, which is used for sustainable projects. They had some great ideas, and hopefully they are some Mount can implement! One of the guys presenting from this school actually knew people from my hometown of Cedarburg too … what a small world.

Other events that were going on were keynote speakers and an expo at the convention center. The keynote speakers were Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, and Majora Carter, founder of The Sustainable South Bronx and MCG consulting. They keynotes focused on climate change, under-served communities and universities. I really enjoyed listening to Bill McKibben speak because I have been following his non-profit for some time. 350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and push for policies that will put the world on track to get to 350 ppm. 350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts and progressive national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. The picture to the right of this blog is of Mount Union students with Bill McKibben. Some good books he has written are Eaarth and Deep Economy. I was able to get him sign a copy for me!

“Very few people can ever say that they are in the single most important place they can possibly be, doing the single most important thing they could possibly be doing. That’s YOU, here now.” – Bill McKibben in relation to students and climate change.

There also was an expo where there were many businesses and organizations that featured cutting-edge innovations. Some of these ideas were shared to the many sustainability managers from all over the nation that were present. I was able to talk to some cool companies, and hopefully I can land another internship!

This conference was truly an awesome experience for me since I am so interested in the topics of sustainability, global perspectives and environmental education. We were also able to explore Pittsburgh a little bit and walk around PNC Park and Heinz Field while the game was going on. It was awesome being by the river seeing people tailgating on their boats, and one group was even cooking hot dogs in a canoe! This just goes to show that by getting involved with organizations on campus, many cool opportunities that will present themselves. I sure hope Mount Union can go to the conference next year in Los Angeles.

My Internship at TerraCycle

My Internship at TerraCycle

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I posted in my first blog about some of the cool jobs and internships I have been fortunate to have. I wanted to take the time and talk about my most previous internship in the business development department at TerraCycle this past summer. I moved out to Trenton, New Jersey to work for a company that is simply eliminating the idea of waste. CEO Tom Szaky, from his book Revolution in a Bottle, says it best that “in looking at waste as an entirely modern, man-made idea, I stopped viewing garbage as garbage and instead slowly started to see it as a commodity.” The private company’s goal is to engage consumers and communities in the collection of non-recyclable waste, things that you ordinarily cannot throw away into a recycling bin. Through a collection process, or Brigade™, consumers can send in their used products to TerraCycle where they will transform the waste into eco-products. They also incentivize the collections by rewarding consumers with $0.02 per item to a charity or school of their choice. This is able to close an environmental loop for brand’s consumers, and help them realize that there is an end of life decision for all the products they are using.

From corks, cameras, cell phones, any sort of packaging, pre-consumer waste, shoes, diapers, energy bars, pens to yogurt containers, TerraCycle handles them all. They are very proud to say that they have not yet encountered a form of waste in which they can’t handle. Also, the whole Trenton office is upcycled featured conference rooms made from bottle walls and reclaimed doors used for desks (the office was voted the “Coolest in America.”). Some of their more successful products can be found in Walmart and the Home Depot like the Capri Sun backpack and the garbage cans made from 1,500 Frito-Lay bags. Next time you’re at the grocery store, be sure to look at the back of a Capri Sun box!

By being a part of the business development team it was my duty to research and reach out to prospective brands to sponsor a specific Brigade™ or waste stream. Some of the companies that I was on conference calls and in contact with were Adidas, Puma, Mary’s Gone Cracker, ReBounces and KEEN Footwear. I actually helped facilitate and close a deal for ReBounces where TerraCycle will collect and reuse tennis balls. This was truly an amazing experience and I learned valuable skills like brand management, business etiquette and abstract thinking. An internship experience is a great way to help someone better understand and mature in a real world business environment. I also was able to explore the east coast, a place unfamiliar to me. It was fun to go to Times Square, Philadelphia for the 4th of July, and different beaches along the coast as well as go surfing. I actually was able to surprisingly see P Diddy and the Jersey Shore cast on two different occasions!

If it wasn’t for some of the classes I took at Mount Union, I may have not been able to land the internship. There are several courses in the Department of Economics, Accounting and Business Administration offered like life and career plans that helped me construct proper resumes, cover letters, references, acceptance letters and allowed me to participate in mock interviews. I found the internship online, and all the tools I learned in class were put into use. I really loved working for an eco-capitalist company, and I hope to implement some of the ideas here at Mount Union. Maybe one day our campus will be completely off of waste!

Greetings Everyone

Greetings Everyone

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Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you made it, and I hope you return to read about some of my experiences and happenings here at Mount Union. I am studying business management and Spanish, but plan to relate my studies to my minor in environmental science. Ever since I chose Mount Union I knew it would be important to get involved, and I am happy to be a part of our football team, Raider Relief, the Mount Union Wilderness Trip and the Sustainability Management Advisory Committee (SMAC). I also was an advocate for First Year Experience, member of Sophomore Service honorary and Alpha Lambda Delta honorary.

Before I dig too deep, I would like to tell you a little about who I am and where I’m from. My story begins in Indiana where I was born, has a short stint in Ohio, but the place I will forever call home is the historic city of Cedarburg, Wisconsin (just north of Milwaukee). I have grown up in Wisconsin my whole life but almost all of my relatives live in Ohio, which made my college transition a lot easier. I am the youngest of three brothers, who I look up to and often seek out to for advice. Although I was picked on when I was younger, they definitely toughened me up through backyard football games and family room floor hockey. I attended Cedarburg High School and played basketball and football, but was also a part of the National Honor Society and our community service program.

Out of high school I planned to go to school in Milwaukee, Minnesota or Ohio, and eventually chose Mount Union for an opportunity to punt for the football team and because of the diverse academics offered. One thing that stuck out right away was the personal feel, academic attention and beautiful campus. The school definitely will give you all the resources to succeed, which has helped me land some cool jobs and internships. I have been a volunteer at Reverb’s Eco-Village for concerts like Jack Johnson and Dave Matthew’s Band, a camp counselor at the Brandon Jennings Basketball Camp and most recently a business development intern at TerraCycle. I am sure you will hear more about some of these experiences later!

In my spare time I like to slackline, run pickup games of basketball and enjoy the outdoors. I’m optimistic you will learn even more about me through this blog, and I hope you like my posts! Until next time … over and out.