Monthly Archives: March 2016

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

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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…

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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!