About Amber McCraw

Amber McCraw serves as a the Assistant Director of Career Services for the School of Communications. Previously, she served as a Career Advising fellow for the 2014-2015 academic year. Before arriving at Elon, she earned an M. Ed. in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of Georgia where she worked in Residence Life. Prior to UGA, Amber attended NC State, leaving with a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.A. in Psychology. As an advisor, she works with students from all majors to help them set and reach their career goals. This includes working with students to update their resumes, practice their interviewing skills, develop their professional brand via LinkedIn, and provide them with resources for the internship and job search.

Let’s Get to Interviewing

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

As our iMedia students are winding down their semester, most of them are thinking about the future. Where will they relocate to and what paths will their careers take? Well, that process of looking towards the future includes interviewing for those future positions that can often for intimidating. In preparation for mock interviews with our students next week, I wanted to provide some quick interviewing tips.

  • Research the company you are interviewing with and the position you are interviewing for. Check the company’s social media pages, website, and even recent news articles to prepare yourself for the interview. You can also speak with any Elon alums or connections who currently work at the company.
  • Remember the interview begins the moment you walk into the office, onto campus, into the building, etc. Be kind to everyone you meet and assume that everyone has a say in whether or not you will be hired.
  • Practice shaking hands with a friend. A firm handshake and good eye contact make a great first impression.
  • Know what skills, accomplishments, and stories you want to highlight throughout the process. Find ways to incorporate those into the answers you provide.
  • When responding to questions, use the STAR method to make sure you’ve provided enough content. Situation, Task, Action, Result. This is particularly applicable to behavioral questions, which usually ask you to refer back to a specific example from your past behavior.
  • Generally, a response to a question should be between 20 seconds and 2 minutes. Use this rule to ensure you don’t leave employers wanting more in your answer nor do you talk so much that they zone out.
  • Don’t forget that you are also interviewing the employer to make sure it is the right fit for you. Always come prepared with questions to ask at the end of an interview. 3 is generally a good number, but you’ll want to have more prepared in case they answer some of them throughout the interview.
  • Always, always send a thank you note (preferably in the form of an email so it will reach them quickly) within 24 hours of the interview. Make sure to mention something specific from the interview to tailor the note.
  • There are many different forms of interviewing: in-person, over the phone, via skype, or even virtual interviewing, which is becoming more popular. Stop by my office in McEwen 101 C or call 336.278.6538 to make an appointment if you have any questions and/or need to prepare for an interview.

Don’t forget to breathe and relax. You have all of the skills necessary to succeed and all of the accomplishments needed to stand out from the crowd. Go rock those interviews!!

It’s About That Time

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

As the Spring semester starts, our iMedia students are reminded how close graduation actually is and the reality that the job search process is going to soon start. With their course load and capstone projects filling up their schedule, we encourage them to get an early start and set aside time to devote to it throughout the semester. Below is a check list of things to remember and work on throughout the process.

  • Update your resume with relevant course work, software and equipment skills, fly-in projects, and any freelance work completed since the start of the program.
  • Create a cover letter draft to be edited and used as a base for applications that describes your relevant experiences and career goals.
  • Update your online portfolio with samples of your work from courses, the fly-in experience, and other projects.
  • Create or update your LinkedIn profile with your experiences and a custom URL. Use LinkedIn to reach companies and connect with alumni from Elon and your undergraduate institution.
  • Make an appointment with the Assistant Director of Career Services for the School of Communications (Me) to have your materials reviewed before beginning the application process.
  • Craft a list of cities you have an interest in moving to and start to make a list of companies in each of those cities that you would like to work for.
  • Attend the Spring Job & Internship Expo on Thursday, March 2nd in Alumni Gym from 2:00-5:30 pm to network with the 80 employers who will be in attendance. Download the free Career Fair Plus App to see who is attending.
  • Add the Elon Com-Advisor as a friend on Facebook to stay up to date with daily job announcements .
  • Search for opportunities on the Elon Job Network. This is an exclusive database just for Elon students and alumni. These employers specifically want Elon talent.
  • Schedule a mock interview to practice speaking about your skills and experiences as they relate to the job you have applied for.
  • Let me know once you have accepted a position!

It is an exciting time for our students as they both finish up their time at Elon and prepare for their time after Elon. The SPDC and SoC have great resources to assist in the process. We are so proud of the great work they have completed and can’t wait to hear as the job offers roll in.

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Time To Brag About It

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

At this point, our iMedia students are several months into a 10-month intensive program.  And, while it feels like they just started, it is already time to start thinking about life after iMedia – I know, hard to believe right?

You’ve been reading posts about all of the great things the students are learning, the skills they are gaining, and the experiences they have been and will be privy to. A couple weeks ago, there was a post about the draft for Fly-ins.  Along with all of the other experiences the students are gaining, this is an incredible and unique opportunity for students to participate in and expand on their skills.

While our students are gaining these experiences, it is important for them to remember that now is the time to start bragging about them.  What I mean is this: these are the experiences and skills that they should be promoting on a resume, their LinkedIn, and their website/ePortfolio. I want to focus on the ePortfolio because this is the most time-consuming piece. Often times, I will recommend a student use a platform such as Weebly, Wix, or WordPress to create their ePortfolio, but our iMedia students are learning to code, so they have the skills to create their own, which is a little more time-consuming. Below are some tips to keep in mind when creating an ePortfolio.

  • Choose a website name
  • Each section should be its own page (Resume, Contact, About Me) and I recommend labeling pages based on skill (i.e. Writing, Design, Photography, etc)
  • Build a site map to organize your content
  • Get prior approval for client work
  • Provide context for the work you include
  • Make sure your ePortfolio promotes your career goals and matches your profession
  • Choose your best work that aligns with the skills you want to promote
  • Keep it simple and easy to navigate
  • Embed videos to keep visitors from having to navigate away from your page
  • Let your personality shine through

In today’s market, employers expect candidates to have ePortfolios.  While a resume can tell an employer what you can do, an ePortfolio shows them what you can do.  For our students, who are creating so many visual pieces, this is pertinent for their job search.  It also provides a way for people to contact them for freelance or contract work as well.

If you haven’t started creating your ePortfolio, no worries! You’ve got plenty of time.  Start thinking about the things you want to include, such as your Capstone project and work from your Fly-ins.  Then, make an appointment with me to get feedback and advice as you start creating your tool kit (ePortfolio, Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn).

Happy Learning & Creating!

Home for the Holidays

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

As the holidays are approaching and the semester comes to a close, iMedia students will likely be traveling home for the holidays. A trip home usually results in friends and family questioning next steps and career plans. If you’re wondering how to handle those questions and make the most of your break, I’m here to help.

As an upcoming graduate, you are not expected to have it all figured it out just yet. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing to relieve some of the anxiety that ultimately comes with the job search. Here’s a short list of 3 things you can do to utilize your time off efficiently and answer those pesky questions from your well-meaning friends and family.

Make Lists: Maybe you need a focus for your job search. Start by making lists…cities you want to live in, companies you would like to work for, or industries you have an interest in. Not only will this give you a place to start, it will help clarify your interests and help you answer questions about location or interests. Once you’ve made those initial lists, you can delve further by noting contacts you have in each city or at each company to help you understand where your network is strong or lacking.

Set-Up Meetings: You’ve got your lists, so now it’s time to set-up some meetings. This will be easy if home is the place you want to be after graduation. If it’s not, consider spending a couple of days in the city or cities you would like to live in. Use LinkedIn to reach out to contacts (new and old) to set-up a meeting over coffee or hot chocolate. If you can’t visit the city of choice, use the time for a phone or Skype conversation. Your contacts are great people to ask about life in the new location, information about the company they work for, or insight into the position they hold.

Research: You’ve got some time off, so now is the time to sit down and research. Are your friends and family asking what kind of job you plan to have after graduation? Still not sure? Start looking at job descriptions and position titles to get a better idea of what will match your interests, needs, and skills. This will give you an idea of job titles to look for, typical job responsibilities, and skills/qualities required. Once you’ve done your research, you’ll have a few ideas to throw out when someone asks what you’ll be doing with your degree.

Take these few simple steps and use your break wisely. Hopefully, these tips will help you answer all of the questions that you can’t avoid.

There’s No Place Like Elon Homecoming 2015

By: Amber McCraw, Assistant Director of Career Services, School of Communications

Elon’s iMedia Class of 2016 is 3 months into the 10 month program and they are doing everything they can to make the most of their “sandbox time” as advised by iMedia alum, Conor Britain earlier in the year.

For those who don’t know me, my name is Amber McCraw and I am the new Assistant Director of Career Services for the School of Communications. My role on this blog is to offer career advice to our students as they progress through their time here. So, it’s only fitting with Homecoming upon us that I offer some words of wisdom about how to make the most of a nostalgic weekend.

Homecoming means throngs of alums will be returning to campus for football, tailgating, and reunions of all kinds. While they may primarily be back on campus to catch-up with old friends, share updates with former professors, and take in all of the changes the campus has experienced since they last returned, they are also here to give back. So, what is my key piece of advice to you before the weekend is over?

Network, network, network!

From a football game to shared meals, a 5K and many impromptu gatherings, take advantage of the opportunities to interact with iMedia and COM alums throughout the weekend. The School of Communications will be hosting several events designed for this opportunity and you don’t want to miss out. Don’t be afraid to step up, introduce yourself, and strike up a conversation because you never know where it may lead. They’ve been in your shoes before, so who better to talk to about your experiences.

If you’re feeling anxious, use the tips below to make your networking experience a success:

  • Find a reason to strike up a conversation. You both have something in common as an alum and current student, so finding something in common shouldn’t be hard. Compliment them, bring up the weather, or crack a joke if you have a sense of humor.
  • Having trouble finding someone to talk to? Find someone standing alone – chances are they are looking for someone to talk to as well. Or, find a group of people where you know at least one person already.
  • Have business cards ready to go when the conversation turns to professional interests. (And don’t forget to ask for theirs in return).
  • Connect on LinkedIn and send a personalized message. Thank them for talking with you and follow-up on any requests.
  • Continue the conversation and keep in touch.

Have any other networking tips that you’ve found helpful? Feel free to share.

Happy Networking!!