SMART Goals & The Career Development Guide

Hello Fellow Argos!

The University of West Florida career development guide is one of career services greatest resources. The career development guide is not only a resource that your traditional college student can use, but can be used to develop professional skills throughout your entire career, some of those skills include, but are not limited to:

  • Resume Examples
  • Interviewing Tips
  • Job Searching
  • Dining Etiquette
  • Career Exploration

How to Set SMART Goals

Setting goals can be a very challenging thing to do at times; there are plenty of factors that go into setting the perfect goal. Thus, why using“SMART” goals, make the goal setting process that much easier.

What the acronym SMART goals stand for is: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely; each specific letter plays a distinct role in setting a goal. Which means each and every goal you set must be as specific as possible, be able to be measured, be something you actually can achieve, and a goal that can be met in a realistic timeframe.

For example, instead of making a goal, such as: Make good grades. Try using a SMART goal, such as: Make the President List in fall 2015 by attending all classes, studying 3 hours a day and, developing a study group for Anatomy.

After you set out your goal, write out an action plan that can help you attain it.

Have a great week!

Hakeem Douglas

How to Ace a Phone Interview & The Importance of Thank You Letters

Hello UWF Argos!

Today I will be sharing some phone interview tips and tricks since they can look a little different from an in person interview. With the entire job search process you are always interviewing until you receive the job offer and you want to make sure you stand out. One way to do this is by sending a thank you letter to the employer, below are some guidelines for how to write a stellar thank you note.

Here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” for phone interviews.


  1. Answer the phone professionally.
  2. Know something about the company.
  3. Understand the position duties and requirements.
  4. Ask good questions.
  5. Conclude by thanking employer, expressing confidence


  1. Eat, drink, or chew gum.
  2. Breathe loudly into the phone
  3. Have music or other noise in the background.
  4. Type during interview.
  5. Appear hesitant or unenthusiastic about the job.
  6. Put employer on hold for call waiting.

Want to continue to make a good impression after completing the interview? Send a thank you letter!

Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. A thank you letter can be used for both phone interviews and in-person interviews.
  2. A thank you letter should be sent no later than 48 hours after your interview.
  3. A thank you letter that is handwritten is always recommended.
  4. A thank you letter is a reminder of your interview and expresses sincere appreciation.

Here is what to include:

  1. Thank the person for having the opportunity to interview with the business.
  2. Re-emphasize your qualifications and highlight how well your skills align with the job.
  3. Clarify any information that is necessary.
  4. Reiterate your interest and thank the person again for their time and consideration.

Have a great day!


Welcome Back!

Welcome Back Argos!

We hope you had a wonderful summer and are excited about starting the fall semester. We have two events happening next week so make sure you check them out!

Career Services Open House

Tuesday, September 1st from 11:00am-1:00pm in bldg. 19. You will have a chance to meet our staff, receive resume help, and enjoy FREE Pizza & Soda. So stop on by and visit with next Tuesday.

Part-Time Job Fair

Wednesday, September 2nd from 1:00-4:00pm in the Commons Auditorium. Employers from on and off campus will be looking to hire Argos just like you!

Make sure to dress professionally, you could be interviewed on the spot and you want to make a good first impression. Bring copies of your resume and be prepared to network and meet some great employers.

We look forward to seeing you at both of these events next week!

Go Argos!

Ciara Bacon

Career Peer Summer Advice, Career Services Summer Hours, and Congratulations Graduates!


Hello fellow ARGOS!

As we finish the end of the school year, here are a few things to keep in mind. Keep your heads held high! You can, and will, finish strong. After finals, we hope you are able to relax with family and friends. I do want to remind you, though, to use this summer to prepare for your dream career. I know for some of us relaxing and resting is the best medicine right after finals, but I would encourage you to use this summer to plan for your long-term goals in life. For those of you who may be here on campus over the summer, or live in the area, Career Services is still open. Our office hours are the same during the summer semesters. Below are our hours:

  • Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Drop In hours: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

In addition, I want to give a HUGE shout out to all the Graduates! CONGRADULATIONS! YOU MADE IT! Even when you graduate, Career Services is here for you. Feel free to use us whenever you need help. We can help you with your resume, cover letter, and thank you notes, conduct mock interviews, and so much more. In addition, if you move out and are not able to come into our office physically, we can also help you online via Jason Quest with resumes and cover letters. If you want to practice interviewing in the comfort of your own home, we have Interview Stream that enables you to record yourself answering interview questions. Accessing Interview Stream is easy. Just log into your JasonQuest account via MyUWF Desktop, and find the Interview Stream link in the Resource Library, or click the picture of Interview Stream logo in the left-hand column of the JasonQuest welcome page. Once you complete your interview, just send the video to us, and we will share some tips and advice to help you improve your interviewing skills.

I wish all of you the best of luck as you begin planning for your future career. Until next time… GO ARGOS!


Allee Millsap

Getting the Bang for your Buck

Blog Salary Negotiation Picture

Hey Argos,

The time has come: the end of the semester. Those of you who are graduating may be in the process of applying and interviewing for jobs. Now is the time to do your research!

Either in your interview, or when you are offered the position, your starting salary will be brought up by the employer. Here are a few tips to get the best salary for your position:

1. Do your research! Sites like,, or are great places to start. These sites let you know what the average salary is for your position. This way, whenever the topic of your salary comes up, you will be prepared to give an educated response.

2. Give a range. If the employer offers you a lower salary than is typical for your position, give them a range of the average salary for your position. Always shoot for the mid-to-high range. This will leave room for negotiation.

3. Never bring up your salary in the interview. Only discuss it in the interview if the employer mentions it first. The best time to mention your salary is after you have already been offered the position.

Using these tips you will be able to get the best starting salary! Good luck negotiating!

Until next time,


Job Search Tips


I hope all of you are having a wonderful semester thus far. Summer is just around the corner so keep your heads held high! As summer approaches, many of you may be trying to find work over the summer. Or, some of you may be trying to find a part time job or a full time job. In any case, below are some tips to keep in mind to help you STAND OUT from the crowd.

# 1 Prepare a Professional Resume

I highly encourage you to come by and schedule an appointment with Career Services (Bldg. 19) where we can help you format your resume.  During the appointment, we will go over the Career Development Guide (click to bring you straight to it) and show you some tips to improve your resume.

Make sure you personalize your resume to the specific company needs. Look at the job description and review the skills and qualifications that they are looking for to use to give you some ideas of how to personalize your resume. Make sure you are honest.

Keep in mind for every resume; you should always place your most important (strongest) qualifications at the top. Our Career Development Guide has some great examples on pages 18-19.

Depending on what type of job you are applying for, there are four different types of resumes:

  1. Functional: Emphasizes transferable skills if you do not have a lot of work history/experience in that specific career field.
  2. Federal: You usually use this form when you are trying to apply for a state job or a federal job.
  3. Chronological: As the name implies, this resume emphasizes your employment history.
  4. Curriculum Vitae (aka- CVs): This type of resume is used primarily in academic circles and medical careers.

            In addition, I would encourage you that if you are printing off your resume to have resume paper (watermark). You can purchase this type of paper from any office supply store. Also, make sure your use a good printer so that everything comes out clear.

#2 Personalize your Cover Letter

By personalizing your cover letter, you are able to stand out from the crowd of generic cover letters. In our Development Guide, on pg. 12, we have some examples of what to include in each paragraph. One item to always remember is to address the hiring manager by their name when you begin the letter. In the first paragraph you want to show how you heard about the position, why you are interested, and critique your cover letter for the position or type of job you are applying for.

Second, you should use your two strongest skills/qualifications and relate them to the company’s needs. Make sure you use specific examples instead of vague examples. Your final paragraph should refer to your resume; also make sure to thank the reader for taking his (or her) time to look over your application. Also, make sure you mention how you will follow up, instead of assuming that the hiring manager will follow up.  Make sure to end with a farewell of some sort and to sign and type your name.

#3 Practice Interviewing

I highly encourage you to prepare for the interview. Make sure you prepare at lease 3-4 questions for the person(s) with whom you will be interviewing. Make sure to bring a note pad, pen, and dress professionally. Ask a friend if you can practice with them.

On your note pad, you could have, what Career Services calls, your “cheat sheet,” with your one-minute commercial speech. The one-minute commercial speech answers the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Some things to include are your major, type of position you are seeking, work experience, class projects, and how your background/goals fit with the company’s needs. Check out our new technology called Interview Stream, where you can record yourself and we can give you some tips on how to improve your interview.

Another way to prepare for interviewing is through the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique. In behavioral interviews, you will likely have to answer questions concerning how you have handled tough situations. By preparing in advance, you will be able to distinguish yourself from the other applicants. Make sure you use a strong example.

#4 Thank You Notes

One of the BEST ways to distinguish yourself is by following-up with a thank you letter to each person who interviewed you. Just like your cover letter, you want your resume to address each hiring manager (or each person who interviewed you).  Remind the reader about what you covered during the interview and anything you may have neglected to remember. Reiterate why you are interested in the company and make sure you remind them about your transferable skills.

Feel free to call us or come by. We are here to help you in your job search!

Until next time… GO ARGOS!


Allee Millsap

Alumni Spotlight

 UWF Alumni Spotlight

Jennifer Vallin

Q: Can you tell me about your background?

J: My dad was in the military, so we moved around a little bit and I ended up graduating from Crestview High School. I applied to most of the small universities in Florida and on a whim decided to attend UWF without ever visiting the campus.

I received my B.A. & M.A. in history from UWF. When I was an undergrad I was involved in Honors Council, History Club, Phi Alpha Theta, and I was a student ambassador. I later became social chair for Honors Council and served as secretary and president of History Club. As a grad student, I was a graduate assistant for the History Department.

The Honors Program was my favorite part of undergrad. I made lifelong friends and even married another UWF Honors student (not until many years later). The family atmosphere was awesome and I have so many fond memories of Honors events and bonding in Pace Hall.

Q: Could you share with me some of your experiences at UWF?

J: Academic memories that stand out would be the travel opportunities. As a history major, I took three courses that allowed experiential learning. I traveled on Route 66 learning about the Cold War, went overseas to Russia and Eastern Europe to experience their history, and went north studying urban development in America.

Q: Could you please share any employment/job search advice you may have?

J: When I was finishing up my graduate degree. The chair of the History Department asked me if I knew if anyone who was looking for a job. I told him I was going to be looking for a job soon and he connected me to the employer and I got hired. So the moral of the story is to get to know your professors and make connections in your field of study. The more you participate in your department and the more memorable you are to your professors, they can write a personalized letter of recommendation that will hopefully stand out. Internships are also a great way to get your foot in the door. Network at major related conferences too.

I would recommend that students get involved in their major and on campus. Seek out leadership positions that will help you grow. I never realized how difficult it was to lead a group until I was Honors Council Social Chair. Getting people motivated to help out, keeping people excited, and planning events were a challenge, but I grew from the experience. As a Student Ambassador I was forced to overcome my shyness since I gave campus tours to parents and prospective students.

As for my current job as Assistant Director, since I was a former Honors student, Dr. Lanier remembered me and my interactions with Honors Council and that helped me get the job. Some of my job duties include academic advising for students completing their General Studies requirements, recruiting potential Honors students, day to day office management, event planning and management, maintaining UWF’s chapter of the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and anything else that pops up!

Thank you so much Jennifer for interviewing with UWF Career Services. We hope you continue to have great success in everything you do!

Meagan Adams

What are Employers Looking for in Candidates?

Hey Argos!

This week I asked myself: when I go to an interview, what are employers looking for? Obviously employers want a candidate who is qualified, but what other qualities do they want to see in a potential employee?

To find the answers to my questions, I asked professionals about what they hope to find in candidates during their search to fill a position.


Kathleen Hudon, the Assistant Director of Career Planning at UWF Career Services, says that displaying excitement about the position is very encouraging to the hiring staff. Hudon said:

“Employers generally prefer to find someone who shows passion for the particular job they are offering as opposed to those who express lukewarm feelings about the opportunity.  If there is evidence of enthusiasm, employers become less concerned that candidates might pack up and leave soon after they have been trained.”


Margaret Stinnett, Executive Director of the Birmingham Boys Choir, stated that when looking for her next hire, she looks for an alignment of values. “You want to employ with people who share the same passion for organization’s mission” said Stinnett. “Otherwise it is impossible to build the success you envision for your company.”


“I would say we are always looking for people with critical thinking skills, since data analysis is nuanced and you can’t take a cookie-cutter approach to doing the work” said Judi Free, Vice President of Enrollment Research Consultants. Free emphasizes the importance of an employee who can look beyond the information they are given.  “Our analysts must be able think through each project individually and make decisions based on each client’s needs.”


“I want to see past examples of how the candidate has taken initiative and improved their workplace” said Lindsey Walk the Assistant Director of Career Planning at UWF Career Services.  “I also like to see they are able to stay motivated, even in the face of adversity. I think these two qualities can take people far in their careers, so they are definitely something I am looking for during the hiring process.”

According to the 2013 National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey,

the top 10 skills employers seek are:

  1. Verbal Communication
  2. Teamwork
  3. Critical Thinking/Problem Solving Skills
  4. Ability to Plan and Prioritize Work
  5. Ability to Process Information
  6. Analytical Skills
  7. Technical Knowledge
  8. Computer Skills
  9. Written Communication Skills
  10. Ability to Sell of Influence Others

So remember, even if you do not have professional experience in the field you are pursuing, your employers are looking for these transferable skills and personality. Everything you have participated in prior to your interview, has helped you develop these skills. It is all about preparation and marketing!

See you soon, Argos!

Grace Tennyson

How to Write a Job Reference Page

Employers usually ask for a job reference page before they make a hiring decision. That means you need to have a reference page ready so when someone asks for one, you can respond quickly.

As a rule, you should not include your job reference page with your resume. Why? It’s a matter of keeping the information private. Instead of sending it with your resume, bring your job reference page to the interview and offer it to the recruiter or manager ONLY if you are asked for it.

When you create your job reference page, use the same letterhead that you used on your resume. That extra touch will give it a clean consistent look because all your job search documents, including your cover letter, will match. Under your letterhead, type this info for each of your job references. Start with your professional references and end with your personal ones. One important note is that you need to have the same amount of information for each reference, so if you do not have the home phone for one reference, you should not include the home phone for the other references.


Title at his or her company


Street Address

City, State and Zip

Work Phone

Home Phone (if it’s a personal reference, rather than a professional reference)

Relationship to you (if it’s not clear from your resume and cover letter)

Have a great weekend Argos!

Joseph Mays

Dress for Success: 10 tips for your next interview

Hey, Argos!

Congrats! The semester is halfway over and many of you will be graduating or starting an internship in May. The positions you are applying for will surely require an interview, so here are some tips on how to dress for that job!

  1. Research the typical dress within the industry/company for which you are applying.
  2. Invest in a “power outfit” and work-appropriate shoes.
  3. Make sure your interview outfit has been tailored and dry cleaned.
  4. Try on your outfit before you go to your interview to make sure it fits.
  5. Avoid too much perfume/cologne.
  6. Don’t shy away from accessories, but do not wear too many so that they are distracting.
  7. Be mindful of your posture and body language (e.g. sit up straight, keep your hands in your lap etc.).
  8. Personal hygiene! Simple, but critical. Make sure you have neat hair, clean fingernails etc.
  9. Dress for the position you want, no matter the level of the position. Always dress for that next step.
  10. Set up a mock interview appointment with Career Services to practice your skills!

Happy interviewing!

Until next time,