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Becky Mahr, instructor in WIU's information systems and decision sciences department, and Mike "Axle" Marcoline. Marcoline spoke to students in the College of Business and Technology Friday, Feb. 20, providing them with tips and techniques for job seeking in a tough economy. Photo courtesy of Cathy Onion.
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Marcoline talks with WIU student Nicole Ward. Photo courtesy of Cathy Onion.
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WIU Alum Provides Job Search Tips for CBT Students

February 26, 2009

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MACOMB, IL -- Students graduating from Western Illinois University this May will be facing a tough job market. To help prepare WIU's newly minted graduates for their foray into the world of work, WIU's College of Business and Technology (CBT) treated students to a presentation by Mike "Axle" Marcoline, WIU alumnus and former Rocky mascot. Marcoline is now an executive consultant with Chicago-based First Associates, and he formerly served as a senior investment consultant and VP of institutional sales at Northern Trust Global Investments in Chicago.

According to Cathy Onion, instructor in Western's information systems and decision sciences department, Marcoline's work as a job recruiter provided students with helpful insights for their job searches.

"Since Axle has been a recruiter in Chicago, we thought he could help prepare students for their individual job searches, as well as help prepare them for Western's career fair held earlier this week," she said.

Sponsored by WIU's career services office, the Career Fair was held Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center.

Marcoline, who graduated from Western in 1987 with a bachelor's degree in education, provided students with tips and techniques for landing that first job.

"Two years ago, my advice to students was to look for the job you really want, to wait it out," he said. "Today, though, I tell them to take the job being offered and work hard. It's a really tough market."

"As a recruiter, Axle understands what employers are looking for in employment candidates," Onion explained. "He told students to be prepared for three main questions, including: 'what do you know about the company?'; 'why are you interested in this position?'; and 'why should I hire you?'"

"One of the worst things a candidate can do during an interview is be too practiced or too boring," Marcoline said. "It's one thing to prepare for the interview, but when your answers seemed canned, it can hurt your chances. Job candidates should speak from the heart. Find something unique about yourself and focus on what you have to offer," he added.

Marcoline also emphasized the usefulness of networking when it comes to career advancement. He recommended that students take advantage of networking sites, such as LinkedIn or RockeNetwork (WIU's alumni online social network); however, Marcoline also cautioned students about the content they post on their Facebook and MySpace profiles.

"Students should be aware that some employers are using Google to research potential employees," he said.

Marcoline imparted these final thoughts to WIU's CBT students: "Because of the market today, this may be a great time to continue your education if you can afford to do it. Hopefully, it will turn around, but it may take some time."

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (
Office of University Communications & Marketing