Professional Attire

The first steps are complete:  You created a stellar resume, applied for a job, and now have an interview this Friday!  Then… this crisis happens.

Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, friends.  The Center for Career Planning is here to help you dress for success!  Here are our tips on wearing professional attire:

  1. Research the company to figure out how they dress on a day-to-day basis.  While wearing a suit is impressive, it’s a little too over-the-top for a cashier position interview.  If the company’s norm is casual, dress a little more tailored – think back to what you wore for your CNU admissions interview.  If the company norm is dressy, make sure to match that.  What you wear says a lot about you.  If you don’t know, it is better to ask your interviewer ahead of time about their ‘dress code’ than just to guess.
  2. Stick to neutral, dark colors like navy, gray, and black.  While bright colors may be in style, you will stand out to your employer by blending in.  The focus should be on you, not your hot pink blazer.
  3. If something is obviously too large or too small, elect against it.  Similarly, do not wear a skirt that is too short – it should hit just above, at, or right below the knee.  Make sure your clothing items are not wrinkly.  Even the most professional-looking outfit will fail if it doesn’t fit correctly or match conservative business norms.  Remember, the goal is to look professional, competent, and capable.
  4. If you love jewelry, pick one simple necklace or bracelet and/or simple earrings.  Again, a job interview is not the time to be flashy.  Your outfit should not be distracting but rather should make you look ready and put-together.
  5. Black, not white, socks.  Don’t forget this, gentlemen!
  6. It is important to appear well-groomed.  Although your attire makes a great first impression, that goes out the window if you look messy.  Keep your hair neat and short, makeup to a minimum and neutral, and nails and facial hair trimmed.  Avoid wacky colored hair dye and shower at least the day before.  Don’t go crazy with perfume or cologne.  Brush your teeth and remember to put on deodorant!

As always, you are more than welcome to stop by the Center for Career Planning (CNH 305) if you would like our second opinion on your interview outfit.  Good luck, Captains!

Internship Update from Paige

Describe a typical day/your major projects/responsibilities on your internship.

A typical day at my internship involves a lot of talking! As a Summer Survey Intern, my job involves calling members of the CNU Class of 2018 and asking them to complete a brief survey about their summer. We want to know how our seniors are spending their last summer of college: taking classes, working at a job or internship, volunteering, completing faculty-sponsored research, studying abroad, or something else. This gives the Center for Career Planning important data regarding what our seniors do during their time off, for whom they most often work, how many hours they typically work each week, in what fields they are working, whether they believe their work this summer is career-related, and how many of them have earned an internship prior to graduation. The personal quota I set for myself is 100 calls per day, which I have been exceeding every day.

While that is my biggest responsibility, my supervisors understand that this position can be draining for an introvert like me! When I need breaks, I work on smaller independent projects that the staff has given me. These include writing reports, creating graphs, posting jobs to Career Connect, answering phone calls and emails, filing papers, running errands around campus, and creating handouts that the Center can give to students and/or employers.

Describe the workplace culture/environment.

My workplace environment is very supportive. My fellow intern Jasmine and I do a great job of sharing responsibility and splitting work evenly, and our supervisors do a great job of training us and giving us positive affirmations. It feels great to be encouraged and to feel supported, even when I make a mistake.

Share what you are using from your classes, things your involved in, etc.

As a Psychology major and Communication Studies minor, a lot of my past undergraduate coursework relates to the work I do at the CCP each day. Many psychology majors enter the career counseling field, so I am benefiting greatly by seeing how a career center operates and what positions I may enjoy working in at a career center. I have learned invaluable things like how to complete a 2-Hour Job Search, how the Strong Interest Inventory can assist individuals in choosing a career, and how to market myself to employers after graduation. I have also employed many of the interpersonal behaviors and skills I’ve learned in my Communication Studies classes while interacting with incoming and current students, alumni, employers, and administrative staff. It has been an awesome experience to put what I’ve learned into practice!


Internship Update from Nassir

Hey Captains! Check out what Nassir has to say about his internship thus far:

Describe a typical day/your major projects/responsibilities on your internship.

Usually I’m at work about 15 minutes early cause that’s how long it takes me to set up everything. An average day usually involves me working interchangeably with a couple of different projects. I usually start the day using Pipedrive, to compile potential leads and customers, I call those leads and give them some product knowledge to see if they’d be interested in using our service. I’ll spend maybe a few hours doing that then I shift gears to partnership negotiating. Currently, Skopenow is in the works of trying to partner with a few major banks, insurance agencies, and magazines. So I’ll do some research, gather evidence, and then reach out to these people either to set up a one on one meeting in person, or a Google Hangout where we can discuss the parameters of what our partnership might look like and where we would mutually benefit. I’m usually in charge of brand awareness, noticing trends and making strategic decisions from them, and making sure that my product knowledge matches that of my CEO, so any time I encounter someone I can speak to them with as much information as possible.

Describe the workplace culture/environment.

My office is in the WeWork building, Tower 49, on 5th and 49th Street. WeWork is a collaborative effort of some brilliant minded people who decided they wanted space to work, but wanted to ditch the corporate office feel. What you get now is a ton of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and start ups, all working in the spaces WeWork provides. It’s an awesome environment, they have free coffee, beverages, and food. They have personal spaces, conference rooms, game rooms and a lot more. It makes the environment of working 8 hours a day feel a lot less daunting.

Share what you are using from your classes, things your involved in, etc.

I’d have to give all my credit to interpersonal communication and rhetoric for the success I’ve had in working with Skopenow so far. A lot of what I do in business development, especially when talking to other people, involves persuasion and understanding the dynamics of communication with people. I have to be attentive and understand why they’re saying what they’re saying, what verbal and nonverbal cues I can pick up on, and then once I know those, I have to know how to persuade them based on something I believe they’ll resonate with. I find myself constantly negotiating power balance in conversation with customers frequently to make sure they feel as if they’re getting the best offer possible while I’m still making sure I do my job efficiently.

Meet Kayla

Name: Kayla Clark
Major: Psychology with minors in Leadership Studies and Dance
Graduation Date: May 2018
Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA
Interning at: The Martha Graham School of Dance
How did you find your internship?:I took Ballet 1 with Professor McCall last fall and was also in her Dance Concert piece. Between rehearsals and class, we spent a lot of time together! Her background training is in Graham Technique and she recommended I apply for the summer intensive. She helped me make the audition video and has been a huge encourager and supporter this summer!
Memory/something learned in first week:I have been able to meet people from all around the world since coming to New York! I have girls in my dance classes from France, Greece, and Istanbul. While there can often be a language barrier, we are all able to connect and relate while we are dancing.

Meet Harris

 Harris 2
Name: Harris Franken
Major: Psychology, minor in Writing
Graduation Date: December 2017
Hometown:I’m a military brat, and as such I don’t consider myself to be a native of anywhere in particular. Of all the places I’ve lived over the years, I maintain the strongest attachment to the Hampton Roads area of Virginia…mostly because I spent the majority of my childhood there. At this moment however, my family is stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, which is also the location of my internship.”
Interning at: United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) in Stuttgart, Germany
How did you find your internship?:I first learned of AFRICOM’s internship program during winter break last year when I visited Germany to vacation with my family. Rather coincidentally, a family friend happened to know the internship coordinator for the command and recommended I arrange a meeting to learn more about the program. Quickly after our first meeting, I decided that the internship was something I wanted to do. Among other reasons, I wanted to experience how a military command operated on a day-to-day basis and determine whether it was something that I would enjoy as a career. For those who may not know, a military command is broken apart into various directorates, e.g., intelligence, strategy, logistics, outreach initiatives, etc.  As a prospective intern, I was afforded the the opportunity to choose whichever directive I thought would best suit me. As it turned out, I eventually chose to intern with the Maritime Security/Safety division of the command.
Memory/something learned in first week:At the time of this post, I have just finished my first week at the command, and I don’t feel as though I can convey just how exciting and busy I’ve been! To a degree, my duties are dependent on the immediate needs of my supervisors, and thus are subject to change suddenly, but my first task has involved formulating, editing, and revising a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the the department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard. (In other words, a legal document outlining the specifics of an exchange of goods, authorities, and services).  As a psychology major, much of the work I’ve done so far has involved experiential and off-the-cuff learning, but I can’t express how exhilarating it is to be working alongside both military and civilian inter-agency personnel, overseas, in a US combatant command.  I’m eager to bicycle into work each morning, and professionally for me, it is an opportunity of a lifetime.




How to Market Yourself to Employers When You Don’t Have Job Experience

How many times have you seen a job posting for an “entry-level” position that requires years of relevant experience?  Searching for jobs can easily become frustrating for undergraduate students and recent college graduates when most of today’s employers are looking for someone who has already held a similar position.  You can’t start your career until you have a college degree, but your college degree does not give you the experience that employers typically require, so where do you go from here?

Here are our tips on how to market yourself to employers when you don’t have job experience.  It’s all about showing off your skills!

CCP Blog Meme

  1. Capitalize on the skills you have gained throughout your college education.  Every presentation you have given has helped you improve your public speaking skills.  Every research paper you have written has helped you refine your writing skills and given you experience using Microsoft Word.  Every group project has taught you more about collaborating with other people and working as part of a team.  Public speaking, writing, and teamwork are all abilities that employers look for in potential employees!  Mention these abilities and experiences in your resume and job application and be sure to speak more in-depth about them in your interview(s).
  2. Don’t forget about the skills you have acquired from your extracurricular activities.  If you have served as an officer of a club or head of a committee, you have gained leadership experience that employers are seeking!  If you and a select number of people in your club, organization, or department were tasked with researching a topic, planning an event, proposing a policy, or something similar, tell your potential employer.  They want to see that you have been given responsibilities and that you handled them well.
  3. Promote the skills you obtained elsewhere.  Have you always been creative and inventive?  Did you learn how to effectively speak with customers at your previous job?  Does professionalism or problem-solving come naturally to you?  These are skills that other applicants may not already have, so definitely share them with your potential employer!  Show them that you can bring something different to the table – something that another applicant may lack or need further training.

Good luck, Captains!  We know the skills you have learned at Christopher Newport University and elsewhere will propel you into new waters.

As always, the Center for Career Planning is here to help you as you prepare to market yourself to employers.  Stop by our office (CNH 305) or call us at (757) 594-8887 to set up an appointment for resume and CV reviews, job search help, or a mock interview.

Meet Grace


Major: Psychology
Graduation Date: December 2017
Hometown: Woodbridge, VA
Interning at: Cambridge Associates in Arlington, VA
How did you find your internship?: “I found this internship at the Career Fair at CNU.”
Memory/something learned in first week: “A fun memory has been touring cute coffee shops and bakeries with the other interns and our mentors. This first week has been a lot of training so I’ve learned so much information and can’t wait to apply it during the duration of the internship.”

Meet Ashley

Announcing another summer blogger, Ashley Apruzzese!
Major: Business Marketing
Graduation Date: May 2018
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Interning at: USAA Claims Adjusting Office in Chesapeake, VA
How did you find your internship?: “Back in October, I was looking through the Career Connect website when I came across this internship with USAA.  I applied directly on the website and signed up for an interview on campus.  I interviewed in Christopher Newport Hall with two USAA representatives and then had a second interview in Chesapeake.”
Memory/something learned in first week: “Prior to my internship with USAA, I did not know much about the company itself.  This week, I have learned what USAA stands for and more about its commitment to serving those men and women who have served in the military.  They are dedicated to providing the best possible service by giving the lowest rates and exceptional customer service.  These men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice by serving our country so now it’s our turn to take care of them and their financial needs.”

Meet Paige

Major: Psychology, with a minor in Communication Studies
Graduation Date: May 2018
Hometown: Aldie, VA
Interning at: Center for Career Planning, CNU
How did you find your internship?: “My roommate, who was an intern for the Center for Career Planning during the 2016-2017 academic year, told me about this internship!  She knew it would be a perfect fit for me and was so excited when I decided to apply.”
Memory/something learned in first week: “Surprisingly, internships are not as scary as they sound!  Having never worked in an office environment, I was apprehensive about being the first face anyone saw when walking into the Center for Career Planning.  Luckily, most people recognize that I am young, new to the position, and still learning, so they laugh with me when I make mistakes or stumble over my words.  From my first day, my supervisors made it clear they are here to mentor me and help me grow, not yell at me and tear me down.  What a relief!”