Category: Careers Blog

News from the Career and Professional Development Center for students. Feeds to: careers/careers-blog/

New Course: Career and Professional Development in Public Health, Spring 2017 (1 credit)

SPH is offering a new course for students who are interested in learning how to develop a meaningful career in public health. Students will learn skills that they can apply to find a field experience and to find employment in the future. Students will learn the fundamentals of the following: self-awareness/strengths, job/field experience and employer research, relationship-building (networking), interviewing, self-marketing (e.g. resumes, cover letters), identification of professional goals, and professionalism in the workplace. Students will also complete an individual development plan.

This course will be taught by Megan Gallert. Gallert coordinates the Field Experience and Employer Relations Initiatives for the School of Public Health as a member of the Career & Professional Development Center team. Gallert has extensive experience in career counseling, coaching, and management, recruitment, student success and advancement of diverse talent, relationship management, as well as leadership development. Gallert earned her Masters of Arts degree in Leadership in Student Affairs from the University of St. Thomas and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communications (career development emphasis) from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Gallert comes to us from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls as a retention specialist and prior to that as a talent manager for Pro Staff. For more information about Gallert’s experience, visit:

This 1-credit course will be offered during the first half of Spring Semester (T, Th 5:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.). Look for the course title: PubH 6100 – 002: Topics: Environmental Health, Career and Professional Development in Public Health. The course is broadly focused on Careers in Public Health. For more information, contact Betsy Wattenberg at

Inside Scoop from Public Health Hiring Managers Recap

On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, the Career & Professional Development Center in partnership with the School of Public Health Student Senate, hosted an event titled “Inside Scoop from Public Health Hiring Managers.” This event was the start of a series of professional development programs focusing on the Essential Skills for a Real World Career. The event was very well attended and the panelists — Erica Bagstad and Paul Lennander from Hennepin County; Elizabeth Schiffman and Kathy Como-Sabetti from MDH; and Michelle Theisen from The Arc of Greater Twin Cities — shared invaluable insight, tips and advice when it comes to applying for jobs, cover letters, interviewing, social media and much more.

Here are some of the highlighted tips:

• Know yourself — your strengths, passion, goals and interests

• Practice communicating your strengths and skills during brief encounters and interviews

• Make a positive impression during all of your interactions — LinkedIn, interviews and interview follow-up

• Look and act the part — dress professionally, research the organization, and bring questions for the employer

• Be prepared to answer situation- or scenario-based interview questions

• Personalize “thank you” letters

• Develop your skills — especially GIS, SAS, data analysis, language use, etc. 

• Take on any requests for projects and maximize your new experience.

In follow-up to this event, the Career & Professional Development Center will be hosting a workshop on Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 11:30AM – 12:30PM in Mayo D-199. The workshop , “In the Weeds: the Hiring Managers said it, now how do I do it?,” will dive into the weeds of how to write and/or prepare for resumes and cover letters, interviewing, social media, and the new work environment.

This is a FREE event and open to all students.

For more information, please visit:

~ Post by Darren Kaltved

The Global Health Resume

We recently participated in a Global Health Fellows Program webinar on the topic of “Building Your Best Global Health Resume.” The webinar featured several panelists, including a global health recruiter, a performance and career development professional from the Global Health Fellows Program, a communication expert, and a current global health fellow.

For those not familiar with the Global Health Fellows Program II (GHFP), it is a five year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented and managed by the Public Health Institute (PHI) in partnership with Global Health Corps, GlobeMed, Management Systems International and PYXERA Global. The program provides internship, fellowship (2-4 years), and full-time global health opportunities from entry-level up to senior level.

To learn more about the program, please visit:

The following is a list of tips the panelists provided when putting together a global health resume:

Summary: A summary section is preferred at the top of your resume—they strongly suggested not using an objective statement. This section should be tailored to each global health position and include accomplishments, language proficiencies, countries you have experience in, and/or your strongest qualifications most relevant to the position.

Experience: For your experience or relevant experience section of your resume, make sure that you be specific, but concise. Include numbers (quantify your experience), define specific regions or communities or populations you worked with, and describe your experience through the lens of a public health professional. Start each experience by including your primary roles and responsibilities in the first few bullet points.

Format: Limiting the amount of white space in your resume, as well as using bullet points for your experience descriptions are also highly recommended.

Customization: Use keywords from the job description (verbatim) and incorporate them into your resume and cover letter. Before a human eye even sees your global health resume, it will be screened by a computer using keywords from the position description.

DO NOT: Do not include GPA’s, personal information or references on your global health resume. Also, keep the formatting of your resume simple: do not include any colors, graphics or unique fonts.

Other Experience: Applicants are encouraged to include relevant volunteer and community service experience, leadership experience, memberships and affiliations, and/or off- and on-campus involvements in their global health resume. Make sure to detail your contributions and accomplishments for everything included. Note: Volunteer experience and academic project work will be counted as relevant experience.

Relevant Coursework: Only include “relevant coursework” on your global health resume if relevant to the position or if you have limited experience in the field. Be sure to also highlight relevant course projects from these courses.

Length: Your global health resume should be as long as necessary to highlight only your relevant experience and accomplishments—do not include non-relevant information.

Other: Always accompany your resume with a cover letter (this will be used to assess your writing skills). Also, make sure your LinkedIn profile is updated.

For additional tips and resume assistance, contact:

Career & Professional Development Center
University of Minnesota – School of Public Health

Beyond Amazing and Awesome: Crafting a Passport of Skills

Learning abroad not only gives you a new perspective on the world, but also makes you more marketable while searching for a job. Learning how to translate, market, and promote your international experience is key. SPH Assistant Director of Career & Professional Development Services Darren Kaltved and Ann Hubbard from the American Institute for Foreign Study recently compiled their advice in an article titled “Beyond Amazing and Awesome: Crafting a Passport of Skills.”

Here’s what they recommend.

Take time to reflect upon your international experience and identify:

  • How you’ve changed in response to your travels
  • Strategies you used to interact with people from a different culture
  • Methods or approaches you used to adapt to cultural challenges
  • Global social issues you became aware of as a result of your travels
  • Your sense of identity, personal values, and goals for the future

Career Profiling
Begin “career profiling” by outlining the type of job you want and organization where you’d like to work. Next, gather a list of skills and qualities necessary for success in your target position. Lastly, try to detail a typical day in the life of a person working in that position.

Determining Skills
Assess your current skills, talents, and desirable qualities. Pay particular attention to the skills and traits that helped you to be successful while traveling abroad.

Once you have a list of your best attributes, match them with the list of skills you created for your target position.

Marketing Skills
Employers will ask job candidates to demonstrate their skills through behavioral interview questions, such as “Tell me about a time when you resolved a conflict with a coworker.” In these cases, use the STAR technique to provide a concise and descriptive response:

S – Describe the specific setting or situation in which the experience took place.
T – Identify the tasks or objectives for the situation.
A – List the specific steps or actions taken to complete the task.
R – Share the results or outcomes resulting from the actions taken.


February 2015 Health Disparities Career Panel Recap

Members of the panel sit at a long tableThe Student Engagement Sub-committee of the Health Disparities Work Group held a career panel on Friday, February 20, 2015. The panel aimed to give students an idea of challenges in the field, future steps, and why these careers are crucial to improving health and well-being for all.

For those of you that were unable to make the event, here are four key points from the discussion:

Health inequalities over health disparities
The term “health inequalities” rather than “health disparities” considers the structural and institutional factors that create inequalities and keep them in place. When defining health inequalities, we need to not only examine determinants of health but how we define health itself. Health is not simply the absence of disease, but an overall physical and mental well-being. Health inequalities represent social determinants of health and institutional factors that result in residents of one Minneapolis zip code having a longer life expectancy than those in another zip code.

Have the hard conversations
People are uncomfortable talking about institutional racism, but it has to happen. Do not be afraid to start difficult conversations. People are uncomfortable with their own role in health inequities, but without these conversations necessary structural changes will never occur. Right now institutional racism and inequality is seen as an elephant in the room. Stigma must be addressed head on in order to begin the policy change that is necessary to eliminate health inequalities.

Authentic engagement is invaluable
Build relationships with as many people as you can. By becoming involved with community organizations, you will gain new perspective and learn from the community with whom you are working.

Take the time to listen to the community. As academics, it is easy to become removed and take community members for granted. In most cases, community members are the experts on what that community needs. It can be hard to set your academic ego aside, but do the things that might scare you. They can be the most rewarding.

Push for health inequality conversations to happen in the core curriculum
Health inequalities are not mechanisms to control for, but issues that need to be discussed in the core curriculum. Health inequalities are seen as a separate discipline, but they affect everyone. All students in the School of Public Health need to have an understanding of why health inequalities exist and why they persist.

~ Post by Hannah Gary

Apply for the Global Health Corps Fellowship

Submit your application today for the Global Health Corps Fellowships that are due Tuesday, February 3, 2015.

Gain a global perspective on public health while actually living it! Students who are graduating in May are eligible to apply for the Global Health Corps Fellowships a program that pairs recent grads (fellows) with organizations that require leadership and creative problem-solving on a variety of public health topics such as: maternal & child health, health care access, HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases among many others. The fellowships are meant supports students from all backgrounds and interests; all are encouraged to apply.

Fellowships often take place in third world countries and last a calendar year.  A 2-week training period is provided for fellows at Yale University in the U.S. to kick off their experience. Travel to and from the placement site, all trainings and retreats throughout the year, a professional development grant of $600 and and completion award of $1500 is included.  To see the full list of fellowship positions, visit the Global Health Corps Fellowship website.

If you’re interested in speaking with SPH alumni who completed a fellowship with GHC, feel free to reach out to any of the following:

SPH is here to help you.  Feel free to contact the Office of Career & Professional Development Services at with any questions.

The times, they are changing…

Barb Laporte
Barb Laporte, Director of Career & Professional Development Services at the School of Public Health

Around 500 B.C.E., Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with saying “The only thing that is constant is change” and centuries later, this is still true. People, things, the weather (especially in Minnesota!), circumstances – all are constantly changing. Naturally, we hope that most change is for the better, and often it is. Yet, many people resist change, becoming comfortable with the way things have been and perhaps feeling a little fearful of the new.

Making the decision to attend graduate school involves many changes: residence, social groups, study habits, finances, to name a few possible changes. The ability to adapt, be flexible, and grow with all the changes will facilitate a student’s chances to be successful. As he or she graduates and begins work in the “real world,” that adaptability will be an important skill to bring to an employer. In fact, according to an article by Randall S. Hansen and Katharine Hansen on Quintessential Careers, a website that focuses on career development and job search, adaptability is one of the skills most highly sought after by employers. They describe it as “…[the] ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments.”

One change that is ever present in the workplace is what human resource professionals call “turnover.” New employees are hired, current employees may be promoted to different positions or departments, or they may leave the organization – sometimes of their own volition, and sometimes not. In any case, turnover is a time of transition, and one of the most significant of these workplace transitions (particularly for the employee involved) is retirement.

And the time for that transition has arrived for me as I retire as Director of Career Services of the School of Public Health. Having started with the School in 2003, and serving as Director of Career Services since 2008, I feel truly privileged to have worked with hundreds of amazing students and alumni. In some tiny way, I hope I have contributed to public health over the years, simply by encouraging and supporting the many public health professionals “in-training” I’ve been fortunate enough to work with along the way.

One thing that won’t change is the commitment of the School of Public Health Career Services office to offer top-notch resources and services to nurture the career development of students and alumni so they are equipped with the tools and guidance they need to manage their public health careers. Take advantage of this resource by emailing to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.

So, thank you for being committed to creating a healthier and better world, and for allowing me to play a bit part in your journey towards accomplishing that goal. No one knows what changes are in store for any of us – only that there will change will be constant as long as we live – but I encourage you to be adaptable and flexible and embrace the changes life presents to you. Doing so will help you be healthier, happier, and more successful!

Be well,

Barb Laporte

Having a positive attitude might put a little “boogie” in your career success

Former Major League Baseball player and Hall of Famer, Wade Boggs, once said “A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.”

Hip Hop dancer jumping and pointingI was recently making a run to the grocery store when I noticed a young man standing on the corner of two highly trafficked streets holding a promotional sign for a pizza franchise. What grabbed my attention was the dance moves and enthusiasm he was displaying. His attitude toward his job was inspiring enough that I drove to the local pizza franchise and purchased a pizza.

Upon leaving the pizza joint, I pulled up near the young man, got out of my car and handed him a $10 bill. He asked what the money was for and I explained that his dance moves and enthusiasm were inspiring, that more people should approach their work with the same attitude, and as a simple thank you. He was very grateful and then went back to showcasing his dance moves.

This experience got me thinking about my own attitude at work and the attitudes of those I work with. Reflecting on my teenage years, I wondered if I would have enjoyed the job of ‘sign holder.’ Would I have displayed the same behavior? As much as I hate to admit it, the answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT!

When it comes to your line of work, what attitude do you bring?

Remez Sasson, author of “The Power of Positive Attitude Can Change Your Life,” states that…”with a positive attitude you see the bright side of life, become optimistic, and expect the best to happen. Positive Attitude manifests into positive, constructive and creative thinking, optimism, a motivation and energy to accomplish goals, and pure happiness.” Sasson also mentions the benefits of positive attitude, saying “Positive attitude leads to happiness and success and can change your whole life. In addition, it produces more energy, increases your faith in your abilities, helps you become an inspiration to yourself and others, and earns you more respect and love from others.”

Below are a few simple remedies to put a little ‘boogie’ in your career success. Numbers 1-3 are from the article “8 Tips to Help create a Positive Mental Attitude” by Declan O’Flaherty on the website Please go there to read more about them.

Number 4 is my own advice. Enjoy yourself!

1. Remember that you are powerful.

2. Choose to embrace life.

3. Know that no one is better qualified.

4. Have fun. As William W. Purkey once said, “You’ve got to dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening, And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

~Post by Darren Kaltved

Top 10 Leadership Books to Read over the Summer

According to the National Public Health Leadership Institute, “Public Health is as complex, as important and as challenging now as it ever has been. The next decade promises to bring dramatic change to the field and to bring greater opportunities for creative leadership.”

Leadership is a process, one that provides influence, empowerment and guides others toward accomplishing a common goal. Your ultimate goal may be to eliminate health disparities, but do you have the leadership, fortitude and vision to achieve it?

LeadershipBelow is a list of our top 10 leadership books we would encourage you to read over the summer. Whether you are about to embark on the next chapter of your career (your first job out of graduate school) or are starting an internship where you will gain invaluable experience, you will be looked at as a future leader in public health. By enjoying one or more of these easy reads you will be on your way to becoming the very leader you’ve set out and deserve to be.

  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  2. Drive by Daniel H. Pink
  3. The Truth About Leadership by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner
  4. Good to Great by Jim Collins
  5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  6. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
  7. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  8. Tribes by Seth Godin
  9. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  10. Multipliers by Liz Wiseman

~Post by Darren Kaltved

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