Ways to help the Earth while job searching


Did you know that Earth Day began in 1970? Did you also know there are simple ways to help the earth while doing your job search?

4 ways to help the planet while job searching

Volunteer. Employers embrace applicants who have volunteer experience listed on their resume. Additionally, volunteering gives you the opportunity to meet with people working in a variety of industries, providing the chance to network. Look for volunteer opportunities with an environmental focus.

Reduce the amount of paper you use. From virtual to-do lists to electronic storage services like Dropbox, there are plenty of ways to keep your job search organized without sacrificing trees. Your smartphone offers lots of job search apps to make the process eco-friendly. Business cards are still handy for job searches so why not consider the digitized version? Whenever paper is necessary, select the recycled kind.

Search for suits with sustainability in mind. Your work wardrobe doesn’t have to be 100% new to be 100% effective. Search thrift and consignment shops for gently used clothing options. Another option? Shop online. Studies show that shopping online may reduce energy consumption by 35%.

Add some green to your home/work space. Give your job search space – whether it’s a home office, living room or bedroom – a green makeover. Use a power strip for all of your hardware, making it easy to power on and off with the flip of a switch. Power down the computer when you’re done working for the day. Add some indoor plants to the setting that absorb indoor air pollution and increase the oxygen flow in your work space.

4 ways to help the planet every day

Ditch the plastic. Almost 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year worldwide and 90% ends up in landfills rather than being properly recycled. From shopping with reusable bags to avoiding buying plastic water bottles by the case, where could you make a difference?

Say no to junk mail. 28 million gallons of water are used each year to produce and recycle junk mail. These unwanted mailbox advertisements can be reduced and eliminated.

Reduce your Ecological Footprint. The Ecological Footprint is a tool that measures how much of Earth’s resources you use to maintain your current living practices. Take the Ecological Footprint quiz to see how earth-friendly you really are and see what changes you could make.

Toss the e-waste properly. E-waste is any garbage that contains electronic devices (cell phones, laptops, televisions, etc.). When you simply throw them away with the rest of your trash, they end up in landfills and their hazardous materials (lead, mercury and cadmium) seep into the ground or are burned into the atmosphere. Find an E-waste recycling center near you and dispose of these items safely.




7 reasons why job search success is never guaranteed

Your career“I want to study the academic program or major that guarantees a job with a good salary after graduation.” This is a common request career counselors repeatedly hear from students.

There’s just one problem: Job search success is never guaranteed, regardless of what you study. Here are seven reasons why.

“Hot jobs” come and go. Yes, STEM is all the talk right now, and health care jobs usually make the Top 10 list of opportunities. But what’s always constant about the world of work is how often it changes. In 2008, job titles such as cloud specialist, digital marketing and app developer didn’t even exist.

The job market differs from city to city. Geography can impact your job search. The job market for dental hygienists is different in Charlotte compared to Chapel Hill. The salary is slightly different, too. Studying Simulation and Game Development is key if you want to work as a video game designer. But more opportunities exist in California and New York than they do in North Carolina just by nature of the industry.

Interests affect abilities. If you don’t enjoy an area of study, your ability to succeed in it can be limited.  Before you decide to work in a STEM-related industry, it’s important to know what STEM stands for (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Next, you have to decide if you actually enjoy any of those disciplines.

Abilities affects employ-ability. If you’re struggling in your classes, you may struggle in your job. Companies who hire welders look for candidates who can safely and effectively do the job. A candidate who has difficulties with class assignments may be overlooked.

Success in academics doesn’t guarantee success in the job search. During the job search, if you can’t connect with employers and impress them you will not receive a job offer, no matter how solid your academics are.  Job search steps include writing a standout resume and cover letter, networking, knowing what jobs to search for (and where to find them) and presenting yourself well in a job interview.

Lifetime careers are a thing of the past. It’s rare to retire with the first company that hires you. It’s even unusual to retire in the first career path you choose. Most people change career paths as their interests, skills and roles change.

Not all careers are connected to one particular major or academic program. You might be surprised at all of the career options graduates of different four-year college majors and associate degree programs pursue.


Avoid these 13 job search mistakes

Every job search is different. Not all industries use the same hiring methods. But job search guidelines exist that everyone should follow, regardless of where, when and how they’re applying for jobs.

Below you’ll find 13 mistakes that people often make in a job search. You’ll increase your success chances by avoidingto do list these common errors.

Only using online job boards. Not all job openings are posted online. Include other job search techniques like networking and career fairs.

Believing that networking isn’t necessary. Some industries post online job opportunities more than others. But talking to people is still the primary way people learn of employment options.

Having resume typos. Review your resume forwards and backwards and have another person look it over. Don’t rely on spellcheck.

Not sending a cover letter. Cover letters take additional time to write but it’s worth it. If you’re asked to send a cover letter you should follow directions and do so.

Not researching who to send the cover letter to. Avoid addressing a cover letter or email “To Whom It May Concern.” If you know the company name, find the phone number and call. Ask the person who you should send your cover letter to (give the job title or reference number if provided).

Failing to complete application steps. Employers will provide step-by-step instructions for applying to a job opening. Follow them.

Forgetting to tell your references that they are your references. You need to ask your references if they are okay with this role. If they say yes, let them know when you have submitted their contact information so that a phone call from an employer doesn’t surprise them.

Showing up late to an interview. Allow enough time to arrive at your interview 15 minutes early. Traffic, car problems and illness happen – call the employer as soon as possible if you will be unable to attend the interview. Explain the circumstances and politely ask to reschedule.

Not practicing for an interview. When it comes to answering interview questions, don’t “wing it.” Practice commonly asked questions ahead of time. Employs expect you to do this.

Answering “no” when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Employers also expect you to have questions to ask them. If you don’t they assume you’re unprepared or uninterested.

Forgetting to send a thank you note after the interview. Send a thank you email within 48 hours to each person who interviewed you. If the other candidate sends a thank you note and you don’t, guess who probably gets the job offer.

Not responding to requests for a second interview. An employer may have second interviews with candidates. If you’re contacted for a second interview be sure to reply.

Letting an employer know if you decide not to accept a job offer. When an employer offers you a job, you’ll be given time to review the offer and think about it. You’ll call to accept the job offer, but don’t forget to call if you choose not to accept. An email is also appropriate.


7 tips for acing the second interview

hire me It’s a big relief when that job interview is over. But if you did well during the interview, the relief doesn’t last long. Because soon you’ll be contacted to schedule a second job interview. Even though this is a good thing, the nerves start all over again.  Follow these seven tips to help you ace the second interview and inch one step closer to a job offer.

Find out the agenda ahead of time. The one thing that all second interviews have in common is that they’re so different from each other. Some companies conduct panel interviews. Other companies have you meet with multiple people individually. Sometimes the interviews last all day while others take an hour or two. When the person contacts you to schedule an interview, it’s appropriate to ask about the itinerary – who you’ll be meeting with, the interview format and the length of the time you’re expected to be there.

Research. Learn everything about the company. Review what you already know and dig deeper to discover new information. Search the company’s name on Google, Twitter and Facebook to find out most recent news. Check out the company’s LinkedIn profile.

Review questions and answers. Even though you may be meeting with new people, you may be asked questions similar to your first interview. Review your answers but also be prepared for new detailed questions. Additionally, if meeting with multiple people individually, you may be asked the same questions throughout the second interview. Be patient and answer consistently. Remember the person asking you at that moment is hearing your answer for the first time.

Ask questions. The second interview is your opportunity to further clarify the position and what role you would be playing. Target your questions to your interviewers: Potential coworkers can’t answer the same questions as a supervisor.

Dress professionally. Unless you’re told ahead of time not to, plan to dress professionally for a second interview. If the interviewer mentions that professional dress is not required, plan to dress in business casual attire, which means no jeans, t-shirts or sneakers.

Don’t forget items you forgot the first time. If there was something important you failed to mention during the first interview, or a point you made that you want to reiterate, you may get a chance to do so in the second interview. Review your notes from the first interview and prepare an answer that clarifies the idea you wanted to share.

Send a thank you note. Within 24 to 48 hours send a thank you email to every person who interviews you. Include in the note specific items that you discussed with that particular person so that your email seems sincere and personable.


7 things you must do after attending EmployUP

EmployUP16 photoDid you attend last week’s EmployUP? Did you talk to recruiters about job opportunities? Did you give your resume to any employers?

If you answered yes to these questions you still have some work to do. Attending EmployUP is the first step in your job search. Follow these seven steps to increase your chances of being contacted for a job interview.

Send a thank you note. Thank you emails can make or break a job offer. Ideally your thank you note was sent to employers within 48 hours after the event. But it’s not too late. Your note should thank the recruiter for the conversation and reiterate your interest in their company and employment opportunities. Reference a specific conversation topic to refresh their memory of talking with you. If you didn’t get a business card from employers, check EmploymeNC, the Career Services online job board. Companies who attended EmployUP likely have their contact information listed here.

Contact companies you didn’t speak to at EmployUP. It’s also not too late to reach out to companies of interest that you didn’t speak with at the event. Check out the Career Services EmployUP Pinterest Board to find the list of companies that attended. Find the company in EmploymeNC and follow up.

Do as employers instructed. If employers asked you to forward additional information or requested that you complete an online application, get this task done as soon as possible.

Don’t panic. Employers attend many career fairs, collect lots of resumes and receive a huge volume of emails. It’s understandable that you’re anxious, but give employers time to evaluate the candidates. If recruiters mentioned a date you could anticipate hearing from them, wait until a few days past the date and politely reach out to inquire the status of your application.

Be persistent, but not pushy. There is a fine line between reiterating your interest in the job opportunity and harassing the recruiter. A recruiter may likely reject a candidate who sends multiple emails and phone calls, especially if the recruiter has indicated a hiring timeline.

Review your job search strategy. If you attended EmployUP, sent thank you notes and follow-up correspondence and still have not heard from employers, schedule an appointment with a career counselor. While it’s likely that you just need to allow more time for your job search, it can’t hurt to review your resume, job searching strategy and networking skills for areas of improvement.

Use other job search resources. A career fair is just one of many ways to learn about job opportunities. Continue using other options (networking, social media, online job boards) to increase your job search success.

EmployUP Week: 8 details and tips for this week’s event!

EmployUP headerEmployUP takes place this Thursday! Over 50 companies are attending, recruiting candidates for full-time jobs!

Here are 8 last-minute details and tips to be aware of as you prepare for this fantastic hiring opportunity.

1. EmployUP takes place Thursday, March 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Grady Cole Center, adjacent to the CPCC Central campus. Please see the parking map for location and parking information.

2. CPCC students and all veterans can show their student and/or military ID to use the VIP entrance and avoid long lines!

3. Professional dress is required for admission. Check the Career Services Pinterest Boards for information and sample photos that show what professional dress means.

4. Research companies attending. The list of participating companies provides information about each organization that will be on site, including the A.A.S. degrees they are seeking.

5. Bring copies of your polished resume. You’ll be giving them to company recruiters. Follow resume guidelines provided in the Career Guide. Review your resume for typos.

6. Practice your elevator speech. This is the introduction you’ll give to employers when you approach their tables. What you say and how confident you look when you say it is important!

7. Check out previous Career Services blog posts for detailed tips about what to wear, how to research companies and how to get your resume EmployUP ready.

8. Review the EmployUP Student Information Page that contains tons of tips and links to help you make this event successful for you. A great place to start is the EmployUP Tips Video.

EmployUP is going to be a great event! People are going to be called for job interviews and potentially receive job offers because of this career fair. Why shouldn’t it be you?

What to wear to EmployUP (and other tips about professional appearance)

When you attend next Thursday’s EmployUP, making a positive impression with company recruiters is key to being invited for a job interview. Your visual appearance and how you interact with employers should complement the standout resume you present them.

Your visual impact has two elements: Appearance and your mannerisms. Use the following checklist to help make sure both get the employers’ attention for the right reasons.

Professional Wardrobe

Professional dress is required for admission to EmployUP. This guideline is for your benefit: Recruiters look favorably on candidates dressed in professional attire.


  • Business suits
  • Khakis or dress slacks
  • Collared or button-down shirts
  • Professional dresses and skirts
  • Navy, black or dark grey colors work best
  • Neutral or matching panty hose
  • Closed-toe shoes (no sandals!)
  • Minimal jewelry (avoid long dangly earrings, bangle bracelets and excessive necklaces)
  • Groomed hairstyle
  • Light makeup and perfume
  • Neatly manicured, clean nails

Low-cut shirts, short skirts and tight fitting clothes make an impression, but not the right one.


  • Suit (solid color, preferably navy, black or dark grey)
  • Long-sleeve shirt (white or color that coordinates with the suit)
  • Belt and matching tie
  • Dark socks and matching conservative shoes
  • Little or no jewelry
  • Neat professional hairstyle
  • Limit aftershave and cologne

Make sure your suit is properly fitted.

Other appearance errors to avoid

  • Wrinkled clothes. The night before or morning of the interview, iron your clothes.
  • Bad breath. Bring breath mints instead of gum.
  • A loud cell phone ring.  Turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate.
  • Exposed body parts. Avoid mid-drift tops or muscle shirts.
  • Tattoos. If your arms are covered with art, cover them.
  • Food in your teeth. Check a mirror to make sure your smile won’t be distracting.
  • Piercings in other places besides ear lobes. Remove facial and tongue rings.
  • Unique hair color or nail polish. Stick to traditional conservative colors.
  • A backpack. Carry your resumes in a binder or folder.

The Career Services Professional Dress Pinterest boards provide great examples of professional dress, as does the EmployUP tips video. Check both of them out!


From the moment you shake the employer’s hand you’re being evaluated. Use these tips about nonverbal behavior and you’ll be fine.

  • Offer a firm handshake (but don’t crush the recruiter’s fingers).
  • Maintain eye contact when speaking and listening.
  • Smile and show an engaged facial expression. Otherwise the recruiter might think you’re bored.
  • Avoid excessive hand gestures and twirling your hair.
  • Don’t carry a pen or other item if you’re inclined to play with it while talking to the recruiter (clicking pen, twirling it between fingers, etc.).
  • Don’t take calls from your cell phone (or even look at it) during your conversation.





Talking to EmployUP recruiters doesn’t have to be difficult

Employers attending EmployUP on March 3 at the Grady Cole Center will talk to job candidates who approach their booth. But they’re more likely to offer interviews to candidates who know how to interact and what to say.

So how do you talk to employers at career fairs?

  1. Wait your turn. If there is a line of people waiting to talk to the recruiter, be kind and wait in line. You would appreciate the same courtesy.
  2. Greet the employer with a firm handshake and a smile. This makes an impression before you say a word.
  3. Introduce yourself. “Hi my name is_______.” Don’t wait for the employers to introduce themselves – show enthusiasm and get the conversation started.
  4. Have an elevator speech prepared. What you say about yourself makes or breaks your chances of landing an interview. Practice ahead of time talking about your skills, academic background and interest in the company. The Elevator Speech info page in the Career Services Career Guide can help you write this short introductory speech ahead of time. What’s most important is practicing before the event.
  5. Ask appropriate questions. Employers like candidates who ask questions. But make sure the questions you ask are appropriate. Never ask “What does your company do?” It shows you didn’t do your research and aren’t as interested in the company as you say.
  6. Be prepared to answer questions about your resume. While a career fair conversation isn’t a job interview, a recruiter might ask questions about entries on your resume. Be prepared to talk about why you chose your field of study, your previous work experiences or any other items listed on your resume.
  7. Don’t take the free stuff unless offered. Employers bring all sorts of goodies, from water bottles to stress balls to candy, to get applicants’ attention. But don’t ruin the great impression you’ve made by asking “Hey, can I have this?”
  8.  Ask the employer for a business card. You’re going to need his or her contact information when you send a follow up email after the event. Don’t be upset if they say no – some companies have policies against handing out business cards at recruiting event.
  9. Be respectful of time. Interactions with employers at career fairs are brief. Remember, it’s not a job interview. Understand that the employer wants to talk to other candidates (just like you want to talk to other companies).
  10. Say thank you and leave with a firm handshake. It seals the deal, letting the employer know that you enjoyed your conversation and look forward to following up.

So often job seekers say “if only I could speak to recruiters in person, they would see what a great candidate I am!” EmployUP is your chance, so prepare for this opportunity.

6 easy steps for investigating companies you want to talk to at EmployUP

EmployUP is less than one month away! Don’t miss out on this great opportunity for face-to-face time with recruiters who are hiring candidates for full-time jobs. The event takes place March 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Grady Cole Center (adjacent to the Central campus).

Career fairs can be overwhelming, but they don’t have to be. The key is knowing ahead of time which companies you want to talk to and why. Doing this will make EmployUP seem more manageable and help you make a positive first impression with employers.

Follow these six steps for learning about companies and mapping out a successful career fair strategy.

1. Find out which companies are coming to EmployUP. Check out the list of attending companies. This page is organized by AAS programs, making it easier for you to see which companies are recruiting students with your academic background and skills.

2. Check companies recruiting complimentary academic programs. Students in the Culinary Arts program may also want to check which companies are recruiting Baking and Pastry Arts students. Companies looking for Mechanical Engineering Technology applicants may also be interested in Mechatronics Technology students.

3. Make a list of companies you want to meet at EmployUP.  When you arrive at the event you’ll be given a floor plan showing where company tables are located. Bring your company list and a highlighter so you can quickly locate your targeted companies.

4. Log onto EmploymeNC and apply to jobs posted by your target companies. Employers are directed to post their job openings in EmploymeNC. Applying to posted jobs before attending EmployUP shows your high level of interest in the company.

5. Research your target companies. This is a critical step. Employers are interested in candidates who know about their company.

  • Learn the company’s mission, products and services.
  • Visit the company’s social media sites to get the latest, up-to-date information.
  • Know how your skills and qualifications match the company’s needs (hint: Next week’s blog post will focus on how to market your skills to employers, so stay tuned!).

6. Prepare a list of questions to ask. Having a set of questions ready shows you’re prepared. Our list of questions can help you get started.

Researching companies ahead of time is extremely important for success at EmployUP. Schedule time over the next few weeks to accomplish this step.

Get your resume EmployUP ready!

Is your resume EmployUP ready? Bring copies of your professional resume to EmployUP, CPCC’s career fair that takes place on March 3 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Grady Cole Center. You’ll be submitting them to employers in hopes of receiving an invitation for a job interview!

What makes a resume EmployUP ready? 

  • No typos. Carefully review your resume for grammar errors and typos.
  • Consistent font style and size. Choose a traditional font style (Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman and Verdana are examples). Use a size that is no smaller than 11 point. Keep sizes consistent for each entry. Whichever size you use for one category title, for example, should be used for all category titles.
  • Bullet points. Avoid long paragraph descriptions.  Employers don’t read them. Use bullet points instead.
  • No “I” statements. Complete sentences aren’t necessary. Start with action verbs to describe your job duties.
  • One page length. Keep the resume to one page. Unless you have extensive relevant experience that justifies two pages, resumes should not exceed one page.
  • Targeted to specific industries or companies. Research your companies of interest beforehand, and develop your objective and skills sections to match what the companies are seeking.
  • Easily identified Education section. Make sure employers can easily see the degree/certificate/diploma you are earning (or have earned). Employers attending EmployUP are looking for specific programs – be sure yours is highlighted.
  • Contact information listed at the top of the page. Don’t forget your phone number and email address. If you have a LinkedIn profile, list the url.

How can Career Services help you make your resume EmployUP ready?

Resume reviews. Career Services counselors can review your resume in four ways:

  1. Schedule a resume appointment with your campus career counselor.
  2. Email your resume to career.services@cpcc.edu and receive feedback within 24 hours.
  3. Stop by Central Campus Drop In Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a resume review (no appointment necessary)
  4. Upload your resume to your EmploymeNC account and receive feedback within 24 hours.

Online resume resources. Use the following online resumes to help you develop your resume:

  1. View the Career Services Resume Tips video.
  2. Check out the Resume Info Link on the Career Services webpage.
  3. Review the resume guidelines and samples in the Career Services Career Guide.

EmployUP is just over one month away! Don’t delay in getting your resume ready for this hiring event.