Featured Image -- 2805

How to Land Your Dream Job



JMU is notorious in the business world for producing some of the hardest working individuals. When it comes to finding the perfect job, you need to learn how to market your experience and skills and tailor them to what you’re looking for. Follow these steps and you’ll gain a serious advantage over the competing applicants.


Networking is the number 1 most critical component to finding a job. Get to know people, talk to you friends and capitalize on your “loose” connections. Loose connections are people who you may have a common friend with, or have met briefly at a party or gathering. Loose connections can also be your friend’s parents, your aunt’s boss, or a recruiter you randomly found on LinkedIn. Learning how to network with anyone – especially people who you aren’t close with, will open endless doors in almost any field of work. Also, it can…

View original post 348 more words


Applying the Classroom to the Real World: JMU Grad, Intern, and Employer Drive-In Conference Participant Cole Bradley Shares His Internship Advice

Meet Cole Bradley.

Cole Bradley is a Computer Science graduate student here at JMU. Cole graduated from JMU in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and a minor in Computer Information Systems. As JMU’s Network Engineering Intern since 2014, he has great advice for other JMU students considering an internship. You can also learn more about internships on our website!

Cole also attended our Career & Academic Planning Employer Drive-In Conference this past summer, which allowed him to share the JMU student experience on a student panel while networking with employers. First, let’s hear his internship advice!

How did you find out about your current internship? What was the interview process like?

“I was contacted by my current boss to apply for the position when they posted it to JMU JobLink. At the time I was working at the Carrier Tech Desk trying to work out the WiFi dead zones in the library and I was trying to get floor plans an locations of the wireless access points in the building. Applying on JobLink was about the same as any other initial application to a job. Resume, recommendations and just paperwork. The actual interview was with the whole team that I currently work with and my current boss (five people but one was absent that day). It was not a tense interview at all. It consisted of answering some predetermined questions for all candidates and then just Q&A and regular conversation with the team from there. Then I just waited for a call back.”

What made you decide to pursue an internship? Why do you believe that an internship is beneficial to your career success?

“My current internship I pursued because it relates to what I want to do as a career, which is network administration. I think internships are a great opportunity to see how things are ran in the real world. Experiencing the red tape when doing projects and how to work with a team.”

What new skills have you learned from your internship?

“I have learned how to design and manage a campus structured network. I have also learned how to best setup and inventory the physical equipment itself. I am still learning how to configure the many different components and we are also setting up new systems this fall which I will begin to learn.”

How has the learning outside of the classroom at your internship affected/helped your learning in the classroom?

[My internship] helps me see how often things from the classroom are brought back to the real world. Not always in a in-depth manner, but small details here and there always appear that relate back to the classroom.

Do you have a mentor or supervisor at your internship that has influenced you and your career path? What advice have they shared with you? How have they impacted you?

“I have a mentor that I work with the most. We typically work on wireless projects together and we try to find the time to work in a sort of lab setting to help teach me different concepts. All of my coworkers have had an impact [on me], really. They all have a good work life balance and still make time for fun while being dedicated to delivering a reliable network to the students, staff, and faculty of JMU. It gets you excited to work with a hard working group and I always enjoy going in to work.

What about your internship has challenged you? How have you overcome this?

“Learning how devices work together and how to make them work together is difficult and it takes a lot of time and effort to learn. It isn’t something you can learn in a day and everything builds on itself. I overcome it by trying to refresh myself on things I have already learned and try to do what I can to put into practice what I have learned. Such as practicing on test equipment how to set up routed networks and such.”

What is your advice to other students considering an internship? Why would you encourage them to pursue an internship, as you have done?

“The hiring process can take a while. It was a while before the posting on JMU JobLink opened up. Then it was at least a month until the posting closed. Then I believe another month until the interview. Then a couple more weeks until the offer and starting the job. I also applied to other internships this summer and they were always slow to get back. I would say apply as soon as you can and expect to wait a while and not to panic. Internships, I feel, are great. It is experience you cannot pass up. Even if it isn’t directly applicable to your career path it is certainly a learning experience and you learn more about the processes that businesses have to go through to get work done.

EDC - Student panel.png

So, what was Career & Academic Planning’s Employer Drive-In Conference?

The annual Employer Drive-In Conference provides employers who recruit at JMU valuable information and connections for their recruiting strategy.

At this past conference, employers heard from a student panel (shown above), which Cole participated in, faculty presenters, the Associate Vice President of Constituent Relations Cannie Campbell, and the Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Jim McConnel during this unique and exclusive event at JMU.

Employers hiring JMU students gained valuable insight on building their brand and utilizing successful recruiting strategies at JMU from these valuable contacts.

Cole answered one last question for us:

Why do you think it’s important to get involved with Career & Academic Planning while you’re a student?

“Because CAP is here to help students find their future career and it is important that they stay up to date with how students react to forms of media and that they are helping students with what they need help with. JMU has also done a lot for me and I want to give back in a way that also turns around and helps my peers.”

Look for ways you can get involved with Career & Academic Planning!

Here’s what employer participants shared about their experience: 


Blog Featured Image 11

Top 5 Ways You May Be Feeling About Your Major

James Madison University’s CAP team has published Top 5 Ways You May Be Feeling About Your Major on BuzzFeed. Check it out!

JMU’s Career & Academic Planning offers a tool called FOCUS where you can take self-assessment quizzes (and who doesn’t love a quiz about themselves?) to see what kind of majors/careers come up. Then you can talk with a real live person, one of the CAP career counselors, about what you find. We want you to LOVE your major… because you two will be spending a lot of time together. Make sure it’s the right fit.

Follow JMU’s CAP on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Buzzfeed for all of your major and career decisions!



Have Fun Working Hard: ALKU, the Boston Globe’s #1 Place to Work, is Hiring!

alkuALKU is a specialized staffing firm located in Andover, MA and Herndon, VA. According to their website, “Working at ALKU is challenging, fun and financially rewarding. We believe that you can have fun while working hard. Here you will discover a balance of teamwork, camaraderie and friendly competition.” ALKU was recognized as #1 on the Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work list.

We interviewed three ALKU recruiters, two of which graduated from JMU, to learn more about their company culture and advice for JMU students.

Meet the Recruiters!

Kayla Gibbs graduated from JMU with a BS in Business Marketing. While at JMU, she was on the executive board of Pi Sigma Epsilon.

Dan Murray is an alumnus of Lynchburg College.

Georgia Martin is also an alumna of JMU. She majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. While at JMU, Gerorgia worked at Jack Brown’s!

Tell me more about the company culture and climate at ALKU?

Kayla: “ALKU’s mantra is ‘Have fun Working Hard,’ and that’s exactly what we do here. I’ve never been a part of a group of so many young individuals who are so driven and hardworking. The environment and culture of everyone around you, doing everything they can to get that next deal, is insanely motivating and impressive. It’s easy to see that the hard work pays off, and the deals (fun) are soon to follow as a result.”

Dan: “Culture at ALKU is unlike anywhere I’ve ever worked. For me, the biggest thing I love about the ALKU culture is the camaraderie we all have towards working for a common goal. People who work here are passionate, hardworking, motivated, and each and every day we all make the person next to us better.”

Georgia: “It’s a friendly, supportive, and fun environment. When you walk in, everyone is working their butts off, then you turn around, and someone is riding the razor scooter across the office and tossing the football around. It’s the epitome of our mantra, ‘Have Fun Working Hard.’”

Why do you believe that ALKU received the Best Workplaces for Recent College Graduates Award?    

Kayla: “ALKU received this award because it is just that: the best place for recent college grads to work. As I mentioned previously, it is a highly driven environment to be in, and there are huge rewards as a result of your effort. Recent college grads have the energy, motivation, and drive to work super hard for the outcomes ALKU offers. I don’t think I could have gone to any other company as a 22-year-old graduate and been given the opportunity to grow as much, or for lack of better words, earn as much money. And that, to a recent college graduate, with a pile of student loans, is a major reason that ALKU is the best place for a recent college grad to prosper and grow.”

Dan: “There a ton of reasons: vast opportunities for Career Advancement and Growth even with only a couple years’ experience with ALKU, huge earning potential and uncapped ability to make more, a very energetic work environment, tuition reimbursement plan…These are just a few of the reasons I’m not surprised we won such a prestigious award.”

Georgia:I know so many people who wake up and dread coming to work. I don’t do that. ALKU has a fun, motivating, and exciting atmosphere which makes the working environment enjoyable.”

What is the biggest draw for an undergraduate student to work at ALKU?

Kayla: “Simply said, if you’re young, competitive, and have the drive to make a lot of money, this job is perfect for you. I’ve never heard of a company with 23-27 year olds making 6 figure salaries, while also enjoying coming into work every day. It’s just not normal, which is what makes ALKU such an amazing place to come after leaving, what is for most of us, ‘the best 4 years of our life.’ I just love knowing I’m coming into work, and I’m going to have a good day. No matter what happens on the business side of things, I work with great people. I’m surrounded by positivity and success all day, which will eventually only result in more positivity and success. How could you not be drawn to that?”

Dan: “Very simply for the reasons above. Almost no company out there can offer what ALKU can offer. That might sound biased or subjective, but I truly believe that.”

Georgia: “For one, the vast majority of undergraduate students will be coming out of college with student loans to pay off. I would say one of the biggest draws would be the ability to make a ton of money. Another huge draw is the growth opportunity that ALKU provides, being a fast growing company.”

When seeking opportunities in this industry, what makes a candidate stand out? 

Kayla: When entering the workforce, you are up against more competition than ever before. There are so many young college graduates entering the real world every year. To make yourself stand out, I would suggest being super positive, motivated, and being able to let yourself feel uncomfortable.

  1. Being positive, as not everything in life goes our way. That’s life. Being able to stay positive after someone knocks you down, or something happens to not go as planned, is an incredibly attractive and infectious behavior.
  2. Stay motivated all the time. It may take time to see results, but you will see them. Everyone is motivated by something, find what that is for you, and choose a career path that is driven by “your something”.
  3. Let yourself feel uncomfortable. The more uncomfortable you are in new situations, the more you are prospering and learning. You’re allowing yourself to try something new and grow from those new experiences.

These 3 traits will make you a guarantee sale to any company. Any skill set can be taught in a classroom; these will ensure your success in the real world.”

Dan:  “We care far more about the soft skills a recent graduate possesses than anything else. Being hardworking, motivated, teachable, and most importantly being able to take the good with the bad and being able to have the resilience to battle through the tough days so that you can enjoy the good one. These are the attributes that will set you apart of everyone else and most importantly make you WILDLY SUCCESSFUL at ALKU.”

Georgia: “If you are personable, competitive, and money motivated, this is definitely the industry you want to be in. Confidence is a major key!  You also have to make yourself memorable. These managers are interviewing a ton of people, so finding a way to differentiate yourself from all the other candidates out there will go a long way! On top of all that, if you like to have fun while working hard, ALKU is definitely the place for you!”

As students prepare to enter the workforce, how would you recommend they market themselves as JMU graduates?

Dan: “Being persistent. If you truly want to be a part of what ALKU has, go the extra mile and stay in touch with us. If a graduate is constantly checking in, asking for feedback, and really showing us they want the job, you have a much better chance of being selected.”

What is your best piece of career advice for students?

Kayla: Find a job you love waking up for. You will spend the majority of your time there, so don’t make it a choice that’s going to give you a headache for 40+ hours a week. Choose something that’s exciting and drives you to be better every day. Choose ALKU.”

Dan: Find out what motivates you in a job and pursue a job that fulfills that…simple as that.”

Georgia: “Don’t limit yourself to just the jobs that are related to your degree. It’s always a good idea to explore as many opportunities as possible. By limiting your options, you may miss out on something great!”

Apply to ALKU’s Recruiting/Account Management Intern and Recruiting/Sales – Entry-Level Staffing positions on Recruit-A-Duke! 


Featured Image -- 2509

The Benefits of an Internship!


College is great for learning—but there’s no better way to learn than to actually work in the field you’re studying! Gaining valuable work experience can not only give you a foot in the door at the company you’re interning for, but it can increase your knowledge of your field of work. This can set you apart from the other dozens (if not hundreds) of people applying for the same position you may be interested in! Especially in this day in age, internships are a must.  And the best part about internships is that most of them are paid! Make money, increase your chances of getting a competitive job after graduation, AND learn about the industry you may sometime work in.

Aaron Kline, a senior Finance major who interned at Morgan Stanley this summer, said,

“Internships in college allow you direct access to career opportunities along with countless networking abilities…

View original post 84 more words

jmu Cap (4)

Make Your Next Move: Advice from 2016 Award Winners Samantha Collier and Dr. Brad Striebig

What is the Make Your Next Move Award?

Career & Academic Planning recognizes faculty and staff for their “outstanding work helping students move forward with their career goals and plans” through the Make Your Next Move Award. This award acknowledges those who have invested in students’ success from finding an internship, deciding on a major, pursuing a career path, to preparing for graduate school.

Meet the 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 winners Samantha Collier, Director of Experiential Learning in the College of Business, and Dr. Brad Striebig, Professor of Engineering, have advised your fellow JMU classmates with their career plans.

Now they have advice to help you!


Why this Year’s Award Winners Were Nominated

About Sam: “She encouraged me to get involved, which has led to me joining Massachusetts Society of CPAs and Beta Alpha Psi. If it wasn’t for her, I would still be unsure of what I want to do with my accounting degree and where I see myself in just a few, short years. I feel a lot better about where I stand and look forward to pursuing a degree in Accounting.”

About Brad: “Dr. Striebig was essential in helping me to determine my career path and next steps after graduation as well as for helping prepare me during my time at JMU. He mentored me as well as many other students and assisted us to gain skills and unique experiences that would distinguish us in our field and make us competitive in the job market and future endeavors.”

MYNM banner

Were you surprised to receive this award?


I was very surprised to receive this award.  I enjoy working with students and helping them with developing their professional goals.  I am honored that College of Business student Alicia Rosen nominated me for this award.


Yes, I was surprised. So many JMU faculty are outstanding teachers have a tremendous impact in and out of the classroom, so it is an honor to be recognized and represent the impact on students, as many JMU faculty spend a tremendous amount of their personal time invested in the students and I don’t believe any of us do it with the expectation of receiving an award. We invest that time in students because we are invested in the relationships we establish with our students and we have the ability to help them achieve their goals.

Why do you feel called to mentor students in preparing now for their lives after JMU?


I am passionate about helping people find their strengths and reach their goals.  I chose a career in higher education so that I could help students succeed, personally and professionally.  I had amazing mentors in high school and college who helped me find my passions and I am happy that I can now do the same for our students here at JMU.


I’ve spoken to quite a few audiences recently about the power of education to transform lives, as I have personally experienced it. Once upon a time, I was an undergraduate who struggled with more than one engineering subject. It was the extra time in office hours and support from my professors that allowed me to achieve professional and personal goals, which I could not even imagine as a freshmen engineering student. I’ll be forever indebted to my mentors and the education they provided along the way – some of which was very tough. Anything I can do for students today may help towards paying that debt of gratitude to the mentors in my life.

What is your best piece of advice for students in regard to making their next move?


I encourage all students to GET INVOLVED and NETWORK!  Join a club, attend a lecture, and try and meet a new person each week.  Take advantage of all the resources that JMU has to offer.  These resources help prepare students for life after college!


Reach out to your professors early and often in your JMU career (but it is never too late, even after graduation!) The JMU faculty are the best professionals and have a great deal of experience students can learn from. However, the students have to take the initiative to engage in conversation and follow-up opportunities. For instance, I put a call out each year for students interested in Earth and Environmental Systems Engineering Research. Students that respond early on can participate in undergraduate research and plan a curriculum to help them gain unique skill sets as an undergraduate. I also frequently get questions in the last few weeks of a student’s JMU career about how to find job in environmental engineering, in which case I can connect them with job listings and sometimes employers, but when they discuss this so late in their careers they do not have the time to gain the experiences and skills that really make their applications stand out to potential employers and graduate opportunities. Early or late in your career spending a few minutes talking to the expert faculty at JMU will really help students “Make Your Next Move!”

Why is it important for students to get involved, and in what ways should students get involved for career success?


I encourage all students to get involved, personally and professionally, while they are in college. Joining an organization on campus can help a student hone their leadership and teamwork skills. Joining a professional organization as a student can help a student identify career paths, as well as provide them with more knowledge about their field of study.

What are a few ways JMU students can make themselves competitive now for their professions?


I’m only qualified to speak for engineering students, since I’ve been an engineer for over 25 years, but I think the answer may be relevant for other fields as well.

  1. The “How” is more important than the “What” and much harder to achieve; students need to learn not just “What” should be done, but also need to put in the time gaining experience learning “How” to accomplish a goal or task.
  2. Jump in and don’t be afraid to fail by trying both old and new ideas. New engineers should be supervised by more experienced professionals and they will be able to help new graduates become experts with traditional approaches and will appreciate the entrepreneurial attitude of new attitudes who try to bring new ideas and technologies with them.
  3. Look for intersections of your work and extra-curricular experiences. In my 25 years of experience, I’ve observed that the most successful students are those that combine their technical skills with their personal interests to bring something special to their work, it might be additional skills with languages, art, or compassion for people that allow students to “be the change.”

What do you love most about being a part of the JMU community?


JMU is a large school, with a small feel.  I am blessed to work with amazing faculty and staff who care about students and their success.  The College of Business mission, vision and values are ones that I live by daily.


JMU’s emphasis on goal-oriented learning that allows students to work on projects that have real-world implications is an ideal place to develop innovative engineering education curriculum. As a point in fact, myself, Dr. Maria Papadakis in ISAT, Dr. Adabayo Ogundipe and several other JMU engineering faculty were able to develop a curriculum for sustainable engineering and development that has resulted in an award-winning textbook. 

Congratulations, Sam and Brad! Thank you for all you do for JMU students!

Untitled design (1)

Customer Service Do’s and Don’ts

Are you are thinking of a career in the customer service industry? Sometimes it can be hard to keep your cool, and respond appropriately to difficult situations. Even if you’re not in retail, it is important to keep your clients happy.   Here are some tips that can make you the best customer service reps ever.

Don’t: “Let Me look into that.”
The is too vague, and makes the customer feel put off.  Instead, provide  a clear plan of action.
Do: “I’m going to do some more research.  I will call you back my 3pm today.”
This also gives the customer a time frame to hear back from you.

Don’t: “Unfortunately, no…”
There is always a better option than “no.”
Do: “Although we can’t provide that, here’s a better/similar option.”

Don’t: “There’s nothing I can do.”
There is always SOMETHING you can do.
Do: “I understand your frustration, what can I do to help?”
This gives the feeling that you are being understanding and actually trying to help.

Don’t: “Let me correct you on that.”
This automatically puts people on the defense.
Do: “I must not have explained that fully, my fault!”

Don’t:There must have been a miscommunication.”
This is passive aggressive, and puts the blame on the customer.
Do: “I misunderstood your request.  Let me fix that!”

Remember to be patient, and kind.  It goes a long way to having loyal customers.

Find the full article here.