Curiosity Rarely Kills the Cat

30 07 2013


Most of us have heard the age-old adage of “curiosity killed the cat.”  Let’s take a closer look, though.

Has anyone ever seen this happen to our feline friend first-hand?  I haven’t…and I grew up with wild ones roaming livestock barns, not your typical domesticated cats.  I have the scratches and (barely) visible scars to prove it.

Where the heck am I going with this? ?  I know you’re asking yourself that as you read this.  Hold on for a second…I promise there’s a career-related tie-in.

Here it is:  Cats are curious creatures.  Humans are also curious by nature.  In fact, the most successful people in the world, today and throughout history keep that craving for curiosity constantly fed.  Did you know that cats use their whiskers to gauge whether or not they can fit into a tight space?  If their whiskers touch the edges, cats are less likely to go under the bed, between the furniture, etc.  Now you can impress all your friends with your feline trivia knowledge.  You’re welcome.  🙂

Why curiosity rarely kills the cat (or human):

Curiosity is important.  It builds intellectual framework and credibility.  In your career (or career search,) it’s important to remain curious.  Never stop learning.

Curiosity allows us to work on weaknesses and strengths.  What if I was better at this or that? What if I did this differently?  Everyone works on their weaknesses.  You want to be better, right?  Don’t forget about the things that you do well already.  I wake up every morning with the goal of being just a little bit better than I was yesterday.  You shouldn’t expect to go from amateur to expert overnight (it takes time), but if you work on both weaknesses and strengths, I bet you’ll surprise even yourself.

Curiosity causes us to be brave, courageous.  Have you ever watched a cat sneak up on something (like the dog) and slowly extend their paw to investigate?  That takes guts.  The cat (or the career-savvy) knows that you have to be courageous, taking risks to better yourself.  Sometimes, it works out.  Sometimes, the dog bites back.  But guess what??  Now you know.  You learned from your mistake and will do things a bit differently next time!  You still have 8 lives.  🙂

So, what I’m trying to say here is that it takes curiosity to succeed in this big world.  Use this to your advantage!  Don’t just concentrate on one thing.  Go beyond.  Explore and learn!  Share best practices and ask questions!  Be curious.  


How to Bomb Your Job Interview (in 10 Minutes or Less)

23 07 2013


Bomb-cool-vector-material2So you don’t get called back after what you thought were “great” job interviews? And it happens more than a couple times?

From pre-interview all the way to follow-up, chances are very good you need to make a few adjustments. Quickly.


Go Casual: You have this interview in the bag- who cares if you’re wearing jeans and a hoodie! You’re Gen Y! Zuckerberg doesn’t wear suits!

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.”  – Mark Twain

I’m not suggesting you show up to your interview naked (although that would certainly end your interviewing excursion. Mission accomplished!) Ask the recruiter ahead of time, on the phone or email, about the company dress code. If asking is uncomfortable for you, play it safe with dress pants or slacks and a nice shirt and tie; or skirt and blouse. Even at a “laid back” start-up would be impressed with your professionalism.

Better to be over dressed than…well, naked.

Arrive Unprepared: You emailed your resume – certainly the hiring manager had time to memorize it, or at least to print it and bring copies with him. Right?

Bring copies of your resume to the interview. And having a quality notebook or leather-bound portfolio in which to take interview notes will add to the impression that you’re a professional. The more you know about the company and industry before the interview, the better. Do your research to learn the company’s history, major competitors, market niche, products, etc.

The Interview

Minute One:  The Weak Handshake

This is a time-honored first impression killer. The interviewer enters the room. They greet you warmly, smiling, and extend their hand to grasp yours…this can be an awkward moment if you over-think it. Will your hands meet correctly? Will they land slightly askew, resulting in that quasi-handshake, half high-five event?

Use a firm handshake to indicate confidence and potential strength of character.  And definitely make solid eye contact with the interviewer! That will display some competence and social ability.

Minute Two: Your Cell Phone Rings (ideally to a Ke$ha ringtone)

This is an easy one to forget since most of us are so completely tied to this little electronic second brain. Turn your phone off (completely off!) before the interview.  If you forget and it does ring, DO NOT answer it, or even consider sending a quick text while the interviewer’s head is turned. (Yes… people actually do this…)

This is more inappropriate and annoying than couples who hold hands at the gym! The hiring manager will definitely notice your lack of social etiquette.

Minute Three to Seven: Your Eyes Glaze Over, Your Shoulders Hunch, You Yawn…

Your body language communicates loudly. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer. Sit forward- it shows active interest with your full body. Nod your head at appropriate times and ask questions throughout the interview. An interview should be a two-way conversation.

Give your interviewer time to explain the opening and the company culture, but jump in with quality questions. By “quality questions” I don’t mean: “How long is lunch in this office?” or “I have a vacation with my boyfriend coming up soon. Is that ok?”

Minute Eight: Show Me The Money!

You’re just starting out in your career – you’ve already earned a big salary! You should bring that up right away, right? Wrong.

Discuss the position first and foremost. Sure, being paid for your time and skills is how capitalism works! But focus on the job details first- discuss compensation afterward, once you and the recruiter agree that you’re the right fit.

Before the interview, research your industry’s salary rates and the cost of living for the area.  You’ll be prepared to negotiate a salary that will cover your living expenses and enable you to set aside savings for emergencies. Having a job is only great when you can afford to pay your bills. Being underemployed is just as hard as being unemployed.

Minute Nine and Ten: Be Really Un-Friendly

With the exception of very technical positions, employers interview for skills, but they hire forpersonality. Most entry level skills can be learned through on the job training. The interview reveals if you will be a good fit with the manager and their team. (I once got a job where the interviewer was a big golf nut. I play golf, so we talked about golf the entire interview).

Don’t use polite manners, smile or have an engaging and articulate conversation with the interviewer – avoid these as they will most certainly encourage the hiring manager to consider you further.

Post- Interview: The Follow Up

Your best chance of not being hired is to blend in with the tens, or sometimes hundreds of other applicants… like job seeking camouflage! Don’t fall into the forgotten pile- send a follow up letter after the interview; at the very least an email to thank the interviewer for their time and add a few memorable points from your discussion (maybe even a question or two that you thought of after the interview). Better yet, send an old-school hand-written letter.

Most interviewees send resumes and wait… or interview and hope. If you don’t want to get hired… don’t stand out.

Now that you’ve read the list, did anything seem familiar? If so, start making some changes. Now would be good.

Special thanks to our friends at YouTern for this great post


Dave_AuthorAbout the Author: Dave Ellis is an original member of the YouTern team and is instrumental to its success… in fact, he’s so awesome there wouldn’t be a YouTern without him (and he might have written this bio himself). Dave serves as YouTern’s Content and Community Manager, and enjoys his role as the company’s “Man Behind the Curtain”. In his spare time, Dave volunteers, rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and baby elephant seals. Connect with Dave on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter!

Remembering Mom: Career Coach & Difference Maker

10 07 2013

My mom made a difference. She made a difference in my life and in the life every person she encountered. Mom was Mom. That’s all. She wanted to do the most good in her life and she did just that. On July 5, 2013, Mom left this world to join her parents (my Nana and Granddad) in Heaven along with many others that have since passed. Am I sad? Yes. Am I a little angry about this unexpected change in our lives? Yes. But, I’m also very happy seeing just how many people she touched in her life. Mom taught us that everyone deserves respect and that with that earned respect, we could be successful in anything we set out to do.

Last year, for Mother’s Day, my siblings and I put together a special blog post for Mom. We each wrote down a few things we’d learned from her over the years and published a similar version of the points covered below. I had the pleasure of publishing it here on Campus to Career. Later, I found out that Mom had printed it out and read it often. That doesn’t surprise me. You see, Mom was my biggest fan. She was everyone’s biggest fan. She was a motivator, giver of tough-love (when needed), mentor, excellent listener, friend to many, devoted wife and mother, and just a damn good person in general.

When my siblings and I sat down to reflect and prepare her obituary, we soon came to realize hers was going to be different. Different in a good way. Just like Mom’s true personality, her obituary was a celebration of life that included basic details, a few funny stories and what I would say is one of the best summaries of a person’s life that I’ve ever seen. Hundreds of people attended her memorial service at Goddard United Methodist Church in Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was amazing to see everyone that she had impacted throughout her life. And it was inspiring.

Here’s the write-up from the obituary (lightly edited):

Delania1Delania Wynn Baumann was born on Oct. 21, 1954, to Wayne and Faye Allen in Amarillo, Texas. She was their second child. Growing up, Delania developed a passion for life, taking every opportunity to serve the Lord and others around her. On July 27, 1974, she married Daniel Baumann of Perryton, Texas. Dan and Delania have four children, Kirk Baumann, Whitney Moore, Jordan Baumann and Karissa Crowder. She and Dan have one grandchild, Bronson Moore.

Delania was a lifelong student. She continued her education, beginning with her bachelor’s degree from Northeastern State University and then her master’s degree in behavioral studies with an emphasis in home economics from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and finally earning her vocational certification from University of Central Oklahoma. Her credentials and passion for helping people helped her land her first teaching job at Northeastern State University that sparked a 20-plus year career in education, serving as a teacher at Howe Public Schools and Roland Public Schools.

In 1989, with the birth of her fourth child, Karissa, she took a break from teaching and founded one of the state’s largest childcare facilities, serving hundreds of families and impacting thousands of children during its operation from 1989 to 2001. Delania had quite the entrepreneurial spirit, but her passion was teaching. She returned to Roland Public Schools in 1994 and continued to teach Home Economics, now called Family & Consumer Sciences, as well as Food & Nutrition, Marriage/Parenting, Career Orientation, Adult & Family Living, Housing and Psychology. Delania also helped establish Roland’s job shadowing program through which many students have found job placement.

She was a teacher who went above and beyond teaching her subject matter. She fed, clothed, counseled and mothered a lot of kids with varying needs. In the words of a colleague and friend, she was a REAL teacher — one who did MORE than just put in her time in order to go home, one who really saw each student as a person of worth and one who truly cared about those who came through her door each hour. Delania was a planner. In fact, one of her favorite sayings was, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” This advice continues to resonate with her children, students and friends.

Delania was a lover of Coca-Cola. Classic. Not Diet, not Coke Zero. When a server informed her that the restaurant served Pepsi products, she always said, “I’ll have water.” She was a lover of QVC. Anyone could tell you that she found the best deals and was not just a customer, but a valued customer. Dan and the kids could tell you that there was hardly a week that went by without a little brown package from QVC at the doorstep when they came home.

Delania had a great sense of humor. She was always laughing about something in life and that lighthearted spirit was contagious among her family, friends, colleagues and students. Whether it was her Texas-sized accent or just her sunny disposition, people were always laughing with Delania.

Delania Baumann was a wife, mother, Nana to Bronson, friend to all she met, eternal optimist and devout Christian.

So, again…thank you, Mom.

Thanks for the confidence. Thanks Mom, for the confidence you’ve instilled in me and the social skills I’ve gained because of that confidence. You and Dad taught me the meaning of hard work and the rewards that come with it. Rather than staying inside playing video games (I didn’t own a game system until college) or watching movies, you introduced me to other things that actually interacted with people, teaching me responsibility. At the time, I’d rather have been playing Tetris, but I now know why you did what you did. Thanks Mom.

Thanks for the kicks in the butt when I needed them the most. As a teenager, I was quite the procrastinator (ok, maybe I still am) and I’m sure that drove you absolutely nuts. You pushed me to finish what I started, no matter what. It’s made me a better person, so thanks, Mom.

Thanks for letting me be myself. No matter how weird that was (or is), you let me find my own way in life, choose my own friends (and yes, some are weird) and let my true personality shine. That meant putting up with many competitive speech events, band concerts, drum line practice, theatre performances and healthy obsession with collecting Superman paraphernalia.

Thanks for being there. With four kids, we have no idea how you were able to make the various band concerts, cheerleading competitions, speech and debate practices, 4-H meetings, etc. You did, though. You and Dad were always there, cheering us on. Thank you.

I really wouldn’t be the man I am today without the love, kicks in the rear, and encouragement from you all these years. Thanks for putting up with me for over 30 years. You’ve been more of a superhero than you’ll ever know.

This post isn’t just about me, though. I’ve asked my siblings, Whitney, Jordan and Karissa, to contribute to this as well. Here are a few of their thank you’s:

Whitney: “Mom, thanks for raising us with manners and respect. You always told me that I could do anything I wanted in life and that I was always the smartest kid in my grade. 🙂 Thanks for teaching me to be a good mom to my son.”

Jordan: “Mom, thanks for all that you’ve done to help me find what I’m passionate about in life. You’ve always told me, ‘do what you love and you’ll love what you do.’ I know that whatever I do, you’ll be there cheering me on, pushing me to be even better. Don’t let my tough exterior fool you, I do appreciate all that you and Dad do for me. Thanks for believing in me.”

Karissa: “I am blessed and thankful for so many things you’ve done for me over the years. Not only have you been a great mom, but you’ve truly been my best friend. When anything was ever hard or upsetting, I could always count on you to be there for me. I hope that one day I will be a mom like you.”


To help my Mom’s legacy of helping people continue, we’re establishing a special trust that will benefit those at Roland Public Schools (Roland, OK) from Kindergarten to 12th grade. My mom always did her best to help kids in need at school, whether it was a pair of jeans without holes, shoes that fit, or a coat that would keep them warm in the winter, she always made sure that they were taken care of. She was a huge supporter of the Angel Tree initiative around the holidays, but always wanted to do more. Roland Public Schools was her community and with your help, we hope to keep her legacy alive year-round with Delania’s Angels.

If you’d like to donate, here are the details:

  • Checks should be written to: Benefit Account for Delania W. Baumann
  • Donations will be accepted by mail or in person at all 8 of Firstar Bank’s locations (Fort Smith, Muskogee, Sallisaw, Roland and Tulsa) Here’s their website link with location addresses:
  • Donors can visit the lobby or drive-thru tellers
  • Donors may give cash or check

As you can imagine, details are still being ironed out. Once it’s all said and done, we hope to establish this fund as a non-profit with a fully functional website complete with the option to donate online and more. Until then, the instructions above will steer you in the right direction. Any donation is welcome – none are too small. It all goes to help children, teenagers and young adults at Roland Public Schools. Thank you for your consideration and thank you for helping us remember Mom in a way that will matter.

12 College Experiences Your Resume Needs [INFOGRAPHIC]

2 07 2013

Campus to Career is dedicated to helping college students and other job seekers find their passion, their BEST fit in the workplace.  We’re always scouring the web for new resources and tools to help YOU get hired.  Regarding that, a FANTASTIC resource found its way into the inbox a little while ago.  Check out the INFOGRAPHIC below for the 12 College Experiences Your Resume Needs.

A few notes:

1. In your Freshman year, you’ll be tempted to party, skip classes and do the very minimum you have to do to get by.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy college.  You should.  Like Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, “with great power comes great responsibility.” Be responsible.  Join a club.  My recommendation?  Join Enactus on campus.  You’ll gain some serious “on the ground” experience, have access to an AWESOME corporate network (remember, you want to get a job when you graduate) and you get to help enable human progress.

2. I say that leaders aren’t born.  They’re made.  It takes a lot to become a leader.  Figure out what you’re passionate about, take a risk and volunteer to lead.  Whether it’s part of a club, Student Government or simply leading a class project, you’ll gain some fantastic experience.  It’s okay to follow as well.  Leaders need followers.  Which one will YOU be?

3. You can always learn something from guest speakers. Be curious. Have an open mind. Just because Joe the Garbage Man is tonight’s guest speaker doesn’t mean you won’t learn anything. I’ve met Joe before. He’s pretty awesome.

4. This is part of being a leader (see #2.) Build your leadership profile on campus. There are lots of options!

5. Intern, intern, intern.  The BIG companies might not be hiring Freshmen and Sophomores, BUT local companies typically are. Use your time wisely. Learn how an company operates from the inside, what you’re good at and what you’re not so great at…it’s all part of the experience. When you’re done, the internship experience should help you make better choices when you’re ready to work full-time.  You know, that way you don’t get hired and say to yourself “WHAT WAS I THINKING?”  You’ll know because as an intern, you’ve already figured out the hard part.

6. Speak only 1 language? Congratulations. So do the majority of the people on the planet. Set yourself apart and learn a new language. I’d suggest Spanish, French, German or Mandarin Chinese.  PS. I’m currently learning Spanish through Rosetta Stone – it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be!

7. IT is one of the fastest growing industries in the world.  Coders will rule the world.  That’s what everyone is saying anyway.  When you pick your major, think about the future.  I love English Literature, but there’s not a whole lot you can do in the real world with that major.  Think broader and look into science, technology, engineering or mathematics.  In a few years, you might be glad you did!

8. Get on LinkedIn. NOW. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. A digital presence is becoming more and more important these days and believe it or not, employers don’t really care about your Facebook profile, MySpace (yes – it’s back) or Twitter profile. LinkedIn is different. Every Fortune 500 CEO is on LinkedIn. This is NOT something you want to wait to do until you have that first job. Be proactive. Start your LinkedIn profile today.  Add in your leadership and work experience as you gain it. Connect with classmates, coworkers, mentors and those in and outside of your industry of preference.

9. In the global economy, it’s important to learn about different cultures. The best way to experience them is through travel. If you have the chance to study abroad, even better.  Remember, that major of International Business doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to work overseas.

10. Online presence, digital portfolio…they go hand in hand. Take baby steps. Don’t try to start 15 social media accounts at once. You’ll never be able to effectively manage them all. Pick one. Master it, then move to the next. Just keep moving forward and remember that if you don’t want it on a billboard outside of your Grandma’s house, DON’T PUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

11. Contract or freelance work can help you earn some extra cash in college. Good at building websites? You might be able to help the business owner next door. Think about it. It’s a resume builder too…

12. Volunteering is something I’d highly recommend.  You build relationships, make friends, gain experience and help people. That’s what life is all about. Pay it forward. Oh, by the way, all of these things can also be done as part of the Enactus team on campus. I’m just sayin’… (Yes, I work for Enactus, but mean every word of what I say. Even if I didn’t work here, I’d recommend it to college students.)

Check out the full infographic below:

12 College Experiences Your Resume Needs [Infographic]

Does YOUR resume have everything it needs?  Thanks to Boundless for sharing this great graphic – we appreciate it!