Words of Advice

Our Commencement Ceremony is on Sunday, and with every commencement comes words of advice as our seniors become alumni right in front of us. Of course, everyone in our office has lots of anecdotes and words of wisdom we could share, but here is my favorite- courtesy of Conan O’Brien.  Go well, Class of 2016!

conan-obrien-quote

Finals Week is Here!

Happy finals week, students! We know you can do it! Find a method of studying that works for you and keep with it. Try really hard not to procrastinate, and not to pull all-nighters. Do the best you can- we believe in you.

If all else fails, have the same attitude as this cuddly penguin- he believes in you, too!

Finals penguin

The Final Week!

It’s our last week of classes! Hang in there, students!

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All About the Money

One component of the job search that frustrates many job seekers is determining salary expectations. It’s a fairly common occurrence for employers to request salary requirements as part of the application. Job seekers, however, feel uncomfortable with this because they don’t want to come across as demanding or expecting too much.  That’s why it is essential to do your research in advance and know what you- and the job- are worth!

In the article “How the Pros Research What Your Salary Should Be” on Jobipedia, hiring experts share insight on what they look for when it comes to the financials of hiring someone. They give excellent tips on how to determine what your salary expectations should be. The first point of advice is to “Become familiar with all that is expected for you at this job.” That includes knowing if you will be required to travel, or work outside of typical business hours. You can ask about these things during an interview.  On the other hand, it’s also important to know your skills and experiences, and how they can uniquely contribute to your role within this position.  A second piece of advice is to “Do your research.” There are many websites available that can calculate a reasonable salary based on your education, location, and years of experience.  Last but not least, “Don’t look for a magic number, make a range.”  Give a window of where you absolutely need to be (low end) to what you truly feel you are worth (high end) and understand that the numbers in between are an area of negotiation. Additionally, don’t forget that other benefits will be calculated in, such as insurance or commuter allowance. Giving a range shows potential employers that you are willing to be flexible, but still know what you deserve.

To read all of the recommendations from the hiring experts, please check out the full article at http://jobipedia.org/Blog/Post?id=how-the-pros-research-what-your-salary-should-be-11320

Top Ten Traits for Job Seekers

As students prepare to graduate and join the workforce, they consistently raise the question: what do employers want to see? What skills ARE employers looking for? Inc.com posted an article last week where contributors from the Young Entrepreneur Council shared the top ten qualities they want their new hires to have.  Although they are commenting from a business perspective, all of these traits are applicable to any major or job-seeker.  Here are a few of the qualities that were mentioned:

  1. Adaptability- be able to not only keep up with trends, but be flexible in how you approach and embrace them.  Employers need to know that you can deal with change appropriately and quickly!
  2. Respectfulness- Everyone, from a new hire to a seasoned employee, should treat each other with respect.  Employers expect everyone on their team to be fair, and accepting of their coworkers’ thoughts and beliefs.
  3. Curiosity- Employers love to see that potential employees embrace the concept of lifelong learning.  By learning new skills and trying new concepts, you’ll be able to be more adaptable- which is another important skill!
  4. Non-verbal communication skills- You know from last week just how important body language is. But also keep in mind that non-verbal communication includes typing an email or in chats.  Make sure what you send cannot be misconstrued!
  5. Empathy- Make sure you believe in the mission of the company or organization, and help others stay focused on the goal so everyone can be successful.

To see what the other five traits are that employers are looking for, check out the article at http://www.inc.com/young-entrepreneur-council/10-non-negotiable-traits-a-new-hire-must-possess.html

Seeing What You’re Not Hearing

LinkedIn is a wonderful source for information. No matter what your industry, chances are there is someone on LinkedIn writing about it. I was so excited to see that, only a few days ago, Dr. Travis Bradberry of TalentSmart wrote an article about body language and how it can totally change a message. Many times, we forget just how much our body language shares about us. That’s why it is essential to be aware of what message our nonverbal cues are sharing. Body language can make a massive difference in how we are perceived during an interview, sales visit, meeting with a supervisor, or a lunch meeting with a coworker. It’s imperative to match your nonverbal message to your verbal message.  Here are a few examples of how body language can change a message:

  1. Arm crossing. A lot of people do this without thinking, but it can have a negative impact on how people perceive you. For example, your supervisor may be sharing an idea to improve a process within the office.  Even though you may think it’s an effective idea and you say so verbally, by crossing your arms you seem more like you’re resistant or opposed to the idea. No one likes mixed messages! If you really want to show you’re interest, lean forward into the conversation.
  2. Standing up straight.  Everyone is told that good posture is important, right? In the workplace, good posture is particularly important. By standing up straight, you’re sharing the visual cue that you’re not afraid to take up space- you are confident in yourself and what you’re doing.
  3. Exaggerated nodding. Giving a sporadic nod during a conversation isn’t all that strange. It shows you are listening and engaged in the topic. However, when you cross the line into nodding at every word, you seem desperate. Excessive nodding makes people believe you are seeking approval even when it is not needed.

Dr. Bradberry gives a few other examples of both positive and negative body language. It is important to know what your nonverbal message is sharing with others, and that is why many career counselors recommend an in-person mock interview or a video mock interview so you can get feedback on the image you project. To see more examples of nonverbal cues, click here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/great-tricks-reading-peoples-body-language-dr-travis-bradberry?utm_campaign=RoundUp&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=28042831&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_rZ75QGfwCOoA4mdLeNwHMPpHAnd9dXavYwGWmWdkA3uW3jny2jv3dRQLiRkZCJ9HHkbCL9-29BLzY27hN1HYNLeM-Lw&_hsmi=28042831

Scoring an Interview, but Not Scoring a Job

Pam Folger, the Career Center Director for Millikin University wrote a really interesting article for AAEE and, in turn, Education Week.  I find it interesting because although it’s designed to be helpful for Education majors, it can very easily be applied to students searching for a job in any major! Moreover, it’s a topic that a student in any major can relate to…. struggling with getting an interview, but then not getting the job.

Folger recommends taking a few things into account when evaluating your recent interviews. I’ll share a few of them, but you’ll be able to see the entire list in the article; the link is provided below.

  1. Did you research the organization? The more you know, the better prepared you are and the more confident you will feel.
  2. Did you dress appropriately? You have one chance to make a good first impression, and you have to look the part!
  3. Were you able to articulate why the position is a good fit for your skills and qualifications, and also how you would be able to contribute to the team at the organization? This shows a mutual benefit, which leads to longer retention and overall job satisfaction.
  4. Did you answer all of the questions thoroughly, including the behavioral-based questions? Being able to provide a solid example behind your qualifications shows that you walk what you talk.
  5. Did you send a thank you note, or at the very least, a thank you email? Not only is it polite, but it’s a chance to re-emphasize why you’re the perfect candidate.

Additionally, Folger recommends mock interviews as a way to get practice and receive feedback. Video mock interviews are also a way for you to see your body language and view any nervous habits you may have, which can be a turn-off to employers.

To get all of Folgers advice, check out her link here: http://blogs.edweek.org/topschooljobs/careers/2016/03/interviews_but_no_offers.html?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=careercorner

Professional and Business Attire…It Can be Confusing!

The NACE Blog

Kathleen Powell

Kathleen Powell, Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs, Executive Director of Career Development, Cohen Career Center, William & Mary
President-Elect, National Association of Colleges and Employers
Twitter: @powellka
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/kathleenipowell/

Can you show up to an interview in a tank top—with much exposed—“statement” jewelry as an accessory, three-inch heels, and a skirt so short that one could describe your choice of undergarments? Or, argyle socks, wingtip shoes, shorts, and a dress shirt? It was hot the day of the interview!

How does one transition from being a student or graduate student to a professional?

There are so many choices available today to complement your wardrobe. You’ve see leggings with a dress, heels without hose, popped collars with a suit jacket. Skinny pants and jeggings. How does one decide, really?

I’m sure you’ve heard, “I just want to stand out,” or “I’m my own person,” or “I’ve got my own style…

View original post 341 more words

What Is Your Proudest Accomplishment?

Interviews can be tough.  It’s hard to walk that fine line of “this is why I’m an exceptional employee and you should hire me” and totally bragging. A question that employers like to ask is “What accomplishment are you most proud of?” This is a great question- it allows the employer to see what excites you and get to know you outside of your skills.  However, it can be a stumbling block for the candidate being interviewed, because that fear of bragging always seems to creep in.  In an article posted on Careerealism, Peggy McKee shares wonderful insight on how to appropriately answer this question.

McKee urges interviewees to use recent examples from their work experience- which, for a college student, could be changed to college experience that is relevant to the position. Although you may be proud that you got accepted to college, or got an A in a particularly difficult class, they don’t necessarily highlight the skills or values the employer is looking for.  However, if it’s a company that emphasizes team work, you could share an example of  how you motivated your team before a big game, used practices to focus on drills, and called plays to highlight everyone’s strength, and the team won the game. This shows your ability to work on a team for success. Or, if it’s a company that’s very customer service-driven, you could share an example from your off-campus job as a server, where you have to make sure you take orders correctly, anticipate needs for things like drink refills, and deliver food quickly so it stays warm- all while providing service with a smile, even when the restaurant is packed! To help you determine what skills a company may focus on, look at the job description and their company website to see what their values are.

McKee also recommends that, while framing your answer, you use the STAR method. This will help you stay focused. With the STAR method, you highlight the Situation or Task, Action, and Result. So, with our teamwork example, your Situation would be a big game, the Action would be using the practices to work on drills, motivating your teammates, and effectively calling plays. Your Result would be that you won! With the server position, your Task is to always provide excellent customer service.  Your Action is to take correct orders, smile, anticipate needs, and be timely.  Your Result is when customers leave happy and return- and maybe even ask to sit in your section!

For more examples and tips from McKee, check out her article here: http://www.careerealism.com/interview-question-proudest-accomplishment/

Watch Your Wording

We have all heard horror stories of emails that were misinterpreted or misunderstood. The tone wasn’t “read” right, or the wording seemed off. It happens everywhere, and could easily happen to anyone. Thankfully, to prevent a potential problem, Aja Frost wrote an excellent article for The Muse regarding three words to avoid in an email. By restructuring your emails to ensure they don’t include these three words, your email will not be perceived as being rude. Frost gives the following explanations:

1. Actually: By including “actually,” the writer of the email is interpreted as trying to correct the reader
2. Sorry: Since it is so overused, “sorry” is seemed as flippant and generally not REALLY sorry
3. Me: An obvious inward focus, when it should be on the reader

Frost does a wonderful job of giving more details, examples, and alternatives in the article, which you can read here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-everyday-words-that-make-you-sound-pretty-rude-in-emails
Happy emailing!

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