Career Services – What we can do for you


One of my followers asked me to refresh everyone’s memory on what a Career Services office does for their students.  Most colleges have a career services department. The purpose is to assist students with their job search. That means providing whatever type of service is needed in order to help a student be successful at finding employment. Here at Western Technical College we provide the following services to students, potential students and alumni:

  • Teach students HOW to do a resume, cover letter and reference page
  • Provide each person who comes in with a free “Resume Handbook”
  • Critique their resume, cover letter and reference page once they have created one
  • Coach students in how to do an effective job search
  • Coach students in the art of interviewing for a job through a wide variety of methods (mock and phone interviews)(using an online program called, “Perfect Interview”
  • Remind students to let Wisconsin TechConnect help them connect to openings
  • Remind students to use the resources at:
  • Help students understand that conducting a job search is a lot of work and how that work pays off

We also:

  • Provide an effective career assessment called Typefocus that measures a students personality type, interests and values
  • Coach a potential student on how to use Typefocus to do research on the careers they are thinking about
  • Support that research by providing instructions on how to do an informational interview and/or set up a program or job shadow (yes, you can sit in on a class).  Annually our “Program Shadow List” is updated and our instructor’s are very attentive to responding to potential student requests.
  • Host Several Career Specific Job Fairs
  • Sponsor speakers and events for our students
  • Present on job and career topics in our classrooms

To schedule an appointment, call:  608-785-9440 or 608-785-9257

Make it a GREAT day!


What do you want to DO instead of what do you want to be?


I have over 30 years of experience with employment and training, first for a non-profit and now for a Technical College. I still have ah-ha moments. Last night I was listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio on the way home. He was passionately stressing the importance of knowing what you want to do, what type of work you want to do BEFORE finding the right college/the right training. Now today I find an awesome article written by Hannah Morgan (Career Sherpa)(I subscribe). The link is below. What a beautiful story with some powerful meaning. Besides that, it again stresses the importance of aligning your achievements to a specific job opening (what it is you want to DO)when you are writing your resume.

PS: Remember to make a list of your talents/gifts when determining what you want to DO.

Enjoy the following article by Hannah Morgan.

Top 3 Resume Rules


Keep in mind that your resume is a marketing tool. You want your resume to showcase your skills and abilities, plus assure the employer that you are the right fit for the job opening.

The three most basic resume rules from resume experts include:
1) Keep your resume to one page and make it easy to read.
2) Do not use a template that you find on-line – open Microsoft Word and start typing.
3) Use the key words of the industry that you plan to be working in to describe your skills and abilities….your resume should literally reflect the job opening or posting that you are planning to respond to.

If you are like me, you want to know why these resume rules need to be followed.

Those that review resumes tell us that they have little time to devote to reviewing resumes. Most are trained to review each resume within 6-20 seconds, placing each resume in a “Qualified” or “Not Qualified” destination (on line or physically on a pile on their desk). They are basically sorting all those who applied.

You want your resume to land on the “Qualified” pile. In order for that to happen, the reviewer must be able to see at a glance that you meet the qualifications they laid out in the job posting. This is the reason why a “Summary of Qualifications” has become so popular in recent years. This summary of qualifications needs to be just that…..a Summary of Qualifications. That means this section on your resume should include bullet points about your education, your experience AND your strengths. Make your Summary of Qualifications a well rounded one that includes the main points about your skills and abilities as they match the job posting or what the employer is looking for.

If your resume is too wordy it won’t get read. If the reviewer cannot find the information they are looking for quickly, you will end up in the “Not Qualified” or the “Maybe” pile. You can bet they never look at that “Maybe” pile unless they do not have enough “Qualified” persons.

There are two reasons that we discourage the use of templates for your resume:
#1) Most templates do not let you re-arrange the information later if need be. When it is time to update your resume, it won’t let you, and you will end up typing the entire thing all over again. Using Microsoft Office allows you to cut, copy and paste all you want.
#2) Most templates put your headings in color, then when the employer prints them out, the headings come out in grey-scale. Employers generally do not print resumes in color. You want your headings to be BOLD and to stand out.

And our last bit of advice. Use the key words of your industry to describe your skills and abilities so that you “match” their job opening. The best way you can learn the key words of your industry is to work in the field and/or read a lot of job postings and job descriptions. It is a matter of gaining experience, just like anything else that you learn.

And remember, if you need help with any of this, there are experts out there. Career Services staff at the various colleges, and professionals in your local Job Centers. Find help if you need it.

Author: Chris Magnuson, Career Services at Western Technical College

Gaps in your Work History?


When I am talking with students about their resumes and how to best market themselves, I generally explain the importance of correct employment dates in the work history section of their resume. More than once I have been asked the question, “I have some gaps in my work history, how should I handle that?”

During our last “Get That Job” event this was discussed by our panel of employer experts, plus I have heard this same response in other situations where the topic has come up.

The winning advice that I hear is this: You will accurately list your employment and dates for the last ten years on your resume and you will explain any gaps in your cover letter. What I hear from employers is, “If I see gaps and they are not explained anywhere, that resume lands in the “no” stack when I am sorting through who is qualified.”

You can explain the gaps in your work history like this.

“You will notice a gap in my work history from ___ to ___. During that time I was dealing with some health problems which have now been resolved.”

Now replace the words “health problems” with whatever works; transportation issues, personal issues, etc. No need to explain any further. What the employer wants to know is that the issue or the problem has been resolved.

Seems too simple doesn’t it? The way I look at it, something should be easy in life, so be thankful.

6 Ways to take Advantage of Career Services at Your College


College Career Services Departments are there to help you with finding employment. So many students think they know how to do an effective job search. If you have submitted your resume several times and you are not getting a job interview, what does that tell you?

It tells me that you need to come in to your Career Services Department at your college and ask if your resume is competitive enough. And then listen to their advice and recommendations.

Staff in Career Services can help you:
1) write Cover Letters that catch attention
2) create a Resume that lands you the interview
3) with your Reference page
4) learn ways to network for employment (still the #1 way to find employment)5) learn how to do an effective job search (mananging your time well)
6) with choosing an educational plan that helps you make a living wage. No more entry level, minimum wages for you!

Why is it taking so long to land a job?


Is your job search taking longer than you expected? Read the article at the link below written by Anish Majumdar. These are indeed 5 areas that can make a huge difference in whether you land employment or not. Take a look.

5 Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Job Search

Things to NOT put on your resume


An article written by Jacquelyn Smith and Rachel Gillett has been published by Business Insider, and posted in my Career Services Professionals (LNKD)group on LinkedIn today. Thought I would share (link below).

Be aware that professionals that are a part of the LinkedIn group are already commenting on some of the 29 items that are never to show on your resume. Never do professionals all agree on job seeking processes. All we can do is our best when it comes to what we chose to include on our resumes. It is important to be aware of what hiring professionals prefer, and we get a feel for that by reading articles like this one! We also learn from our mistakes. As you read you will find that this employer/recruiter believes this, and that employer/recruiter believes that. Each of the recommendations you see in this article have an explanation included. See what makes sense to you and go with it.

I have to admit that I was surprised to see the authors of this article blatantly saying not to bother with an objective on your resume. Although I have been suggesting this to our students for over a year, I left it up to them if they wanted to include an objective on their resume or not. I have to say that the authors make a good point. You wouldn’t be applying for the job if you were not interested in the position, therefore what is the point of the objective statement? For over a year I have pointed out, “Why put an objective on your resume, when the first paragraph of your cover letter generally covers your objective?

Another issue within this article that surprised me was the statement that a Times New Roman font is, “outdated and old fashioned.” Already saw a comment from one of our group members who disagrees with this one. My advice has always been to: choose a font that is easy to read. Times New Roman is definitely easy to read, so I do not agree with that little piece of advice, after all, how does a font become “old fashioned?”

Take a look at the article and see what you think.