Monthly Archives: November 2015

Be Thankful… For The Interview!

Many students are concerned about what they should do BEFORE an interview. They go through mock interviews, pick out the perfect professional outfit, research the company and use Google Maps for directions.

Then there is a step in the interview process that some forget, and it is just as important as arriving early! AFTER the interview, not many candidates take the time to write a thank you note, and because this has become rare, it is a wonderful way for students to stand out. Be sure to collect business cards of everyone you meet throughout your interview.

So what should a thank you note say? First and foremost, thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Mention something you particularly enjoyed, for example, “I appreciate that you took me on a tour of the building and introduced me to the other members of the Graphic Design team; it’s so wonderful to be able to put faces with names!” Use another sentence or two to remind them of your skills and why you are a perfect fit for the position. Finally, emphasize that you are truly interested in the position and thank them again.

Make sure to send a thank you e-mail within 24 hours, to each individual with whom you interviewed. Also, send a handwritten thank you card to each individual. A thank you email is rare, but a handwritten thank you is even more rare! This will help you stand out as a polite, considerate candidate.

For more insight from Human Resources professionals regarding thank you notes, check out this link from our friends at Jobipedia: http://www.jobipedia.org/Questions/Conversation/What-should-I-say-in-a-thank-you-note-that-Im-sending-to-the-people-I-just-interviewed-with

Alyssa Reimenschneider, Study Abroad – London, England

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As a nature-lover and beauty-seeker born on the east coast of the United States, I have a special place in my heart for the scenery of North America. I love the fields and forests of Pennsylvania, the marshes of Delaware, the pines of Maryland, the rocky shores of Maine, the wide skies of Carolina and the palm trees of Florida.

But never in my life have I experienced such beauty and wonder as I found in the rise and fall of the Scottish Highlands.

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For the first part of my fall break, I decided to take a short trip that included Edinburgh and a coach journey up and down the Highlands, making stops at landmarks and in villages along the way. Trying to choose where to go during my break was a complicated and frustrating process, because I felt overwhelmed by the prospects of what seemed like a hundred countries surrounding me, the pressure to visit them all, the impossibility of doing so, the careful planning and expense that was involved in visiting any, and the ticking of the clock as the weeks drew closer to my break while I continued to deliberate. To be honest, although I had been back and forth in considering it, I almost didn’t book that trip to Scotland. It was three days before the departure date when I finally told myself it was now or never and decided to just do it.

It may have just been one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

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My night in Edinburgh was magical and exciting. It was invigorating to explore another city, one that felt mysterious and ancient, like an elven fortress carved into a mountainside. I saw rugged castles and spindly turrets, walked the Royal Mile, watched men in traditional kilts play bagpipes in the streets, and tried Haggis (I had to – just once). I saw the café where J.K. Rowling dreamed up Harry Potter, stepped inside a candlelit cathedral, absorbed the rich sound of Scottish accents, and climbed to the top of a windblown hill to see the spread of city lights under the night sky.

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But the most magic, the kind that comes only from the powerful forces of nature, lay still north, where the rolling green hills gave way to jutting mountains and slopes in vivid shades of purple and orange. From the top of Stirling Castle on my second morning, I could see them rising in the distance, but the sight was nothing compared to what I would witness among them, deep in the Highlands.

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The two-day bus ride through the mountains, from Glencoe to Ranach Moor, past Loch Ness and other bodies of water, to Inverness and Cairngorm Mountain and back down, was a spiritual, ethereal experience. The mountains swept so majestically from the ground, plummeted so high into the clouds. The terrain was so raw and rugged and wild, the heather so overgrown, the contrast of natural shades so stark. The wind ripped through the long grasses and over the jagged mountains and sloping valleys so freely. Sheep clung to the precipitous edges of cliffs, houses stood isolated on the banks of wide lochs, and trees grew thick in all varieties and colors, emulating the rough terrain of what could have been California or Canada or Montana but was even more. A double rainbow appeared over the expanse of a saltwater loch as the weather changed from stormy to sunny and back again.

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Autumn was made to dress the wilds of Scotland, and it was absolutely breathtaking.

Words and photographs cannot come close to describing the sheer beauty I witnessed in the Highlands or the way I felt as I stood at the base of the Three Sisters or at the top of Cairngorm Mountain, surrounded by miles of untouched wilderness and buffeted by the unrelenting, unrestrained force of the wind. I had never felt more small, more alone, more mortal than I did in the face of something so vast and powerful and raw. I had never felt more alive.

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I screamed and laughed and fell into the wind, and it held me up from the highest point of the Highlands.

 

An Energy Boost for Introverts

Many people define themselves as “introverted” or “extraverted.” Extraverts are those who draw energy from being around other people- they feel antsy and lonely when they don’t have others to talk with. Introverts tend to feel drained after interacting with many people, and need time alone to recharge. Even the most introvert-friendly careers and workplaces may have days that require an introvert to get in touch with their extravert side, so here are some tips to help an introvert prepare for those times.

1. Prepare. Whether it’s rehearsing your presentation for 200 people, or developing your talking points for an important agenda item at the team meeting, or brainstorming ideas to share with a client- you’ll feel more confident knowing you’ve been though these points before. Additionally, rehearsing can help you work out verbal kinks such as using “um” every other word.
2. Use Your Schedule. Think about what events or meetings will zap your energy, and what tasks will help you focus and rebuild your energy. Try to coordinate these events and plan effectively so that you have time to build up your energy before and after the Big Energy Zapping Thing.
3. Warm Up. Say your boss calls an emergency meeting and you aren’t ready for it. Force yourself to make small talk with someone you don’t normally talk to, just to get yourself out of your shell and more in “conversation mode.”
4. Create Your “Public Persona.” How do you act when you are at your most confident level? Are you more outgoing, poised, and in control of your words? Figure out how to tap into that persona on demand. Maybe hearing a particular song to get you boosted up, or a favorite shirt or pair of shoes- whatever helps you get that confidence going.
5. Enjoy Your Day. Determine what little pleasures will help keep you happy- taking a walk during a lunch break, or getting a grande coffee instead of just a tall. Do little things to give you joy, and things to look forward to as rewards for doing an awesome job in the brainstorming session with a client or during your 45 minute presentation.

These are just some of the tips that Kara Andersen shared in her article on The Muse. You can read the entire article here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-strategies-introverts-can-use-to-boost-their-energy-levels-when-they-need-it-most?ref=recently-published-0

Be A Grammar Nerd!

Jim Schreier recently posted an article on Careerealism about the 5 grammar mistakes everyone should avoid having on their resumes. Many job seekers would argue “why is it such a big deal if I use ‘there’ or ‘their’? Who cares if I use the wrong ‘to’? It’s all just typos!” More and more, hiring managers are using typos and grammar errors to eliminate possible candidates- errors show carelessness and inattention to detail. Here are Schreiers’ big 5 grammar mistakes everyone should avoid:

  1. Impact, Affects, and Effects- This is a huge mistake because they’re vital to your accomplishment statements. “Affects” is used as a verb. “Effects” and “Impacts” are both verbs.
  2. There, They’re, and Their- This is a common mistake. If you aren’t sure which form to use, don’t hesitate to ask someone to read over and make sure for you. “There” refers to a place. “They’re” is a contraction for “They are.” “Their” is a possessive.
  3. Too, To, and Two- All too often, this is played off as a typo. Don’t be careless here! “Two” references the number. “Too” is used in place of “as well” or to include something else.
  4. It’s and its- This is another frequent typo, but can make a big difference it what you are conveying. “Its” is possessive. “It’s” is a contraction for “it is” or “it has.”
  5. You’re and Your- An all too common mistake that can change the meaning of your sentence. “You’re” is a short form for “you are,” while “your” is another possessive.

Schreier makes other good points and provides much more detail in his full article, which you can read here: http://www.careerealism.com/resume-grammar-mistakes/

Casey Ayers- Carpenter Technology

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I have been given more and more responsibility since I have been at Carpenter. I am now being trusted with more and more things when it comes to purchase orders and other things. I have been getting quotes from different vendors for products that we are wishing to purchase. I also am creating a dashboard for the entire procurement department that highlights our statistics like average days to pay, amount spent, inventory, etc. Class projects that have helped me with challenges in my position are big research projects I had to do for Econometrics and Religion. These have helped me because a lot of times I am given something with not much direction or knowledge about and have to figure it out on my own. The experience of searching through academic databases and talking to librarians has helped me tackle these challenges. Carpenter has a pretty casual and easy going culture so being a professional here is not as important of a feature as it was at Merrill Lynch. With my experience at Merrill, I would give the advice to always look and act professional because nobody will respect you, and a lot of your business comes from being a professional. Nobody wants to do business with somebody who conducts themselves in a nonprofessional way. My advice of buying professional attire on a college budget would be look at the sales at Kohl’s. They always have excellent sales on shirts and sweaters. Also, I would look at the thrift shop for suit jackets because they have some really nice stuff for cheap.