7 sure fire tips for answering the toughest interview question of them all!

You’re ready for the interview. How could you not be?

  • You arrived exactly 15 minutes early, professionally dressed with a reference list in hand.
  • You offered a firm, confident handshake when greeted by the interviewer.
  • Using LinkedIn and the company website, you thoroughly researched the employer and are prepared to answer any questions about the organization.
  • You know your skills, strengths and weaknesses inside and out.
  • You could do the required job duties in your sleep, you’re that qualified.
  • Behavioral interview questions are a breeze because you practiced them numerous times.

What could possibly go wrong?

How about when they start the interview with one simple question: Can you tell me about yourself?

Suddenly you’re palms start sweating and your mind begins racing.

Should I tell them my name? But they already know my name. Should I tell them my work history? No, that’s on my resume. But wait, everything about me is on my resume. Is this a trick question? Ask me my strengths – I’ll spit them out. Ask me what the company’s closing stock price was yesterday- I checked. Ask me to repeat your LinkedIn profile- I’ve memorized it! But please, don’t ask me to tell you something about me.

What do they want me to say?

Before you know it, you go into ramble mode, and the interview’s over before it barely began.

So here are some strategies for answering the question “Tell me about yourself.”

Expect it. Conversations most often start with a nonchalant open-ended question. Remember that interviews are conversations, too.

Know that how you respond matters just as much as what you say-maybe more. If you pause for too long, stumble over your reply or ask for time to think about it, your answer no longer matters. Awkwardness has already been established and you’ll have to work hard to eliminate it. If you reply unenthusiastically, the interviewer might wonder how excited you really are about the job.

Keep your answer short. “Tell me about yourself” doesn’t translate into “tell me everything there is to know about you.” A crisp, one to two sentence answer grabs the employer’s attention and encourages more questions.

Avoid personal items. Where you live, your age or your marital status are common conversations openers for areas other than a job interview. Keep your answer focused on skills and qualifications.

Practice your answer.  This question deserves just as much practice as the other commonly asked interview questions. If you can’t tell the interviewer about yourself, you may not get the chance to show how well you answer the other interview questions.

Develop an opening hook. This is a phrase or sentence that begins your answer, gets the interviewer’s attention and helps you transition to what professional qualifications you want to share. Some examples might include:

“I’m someone who is really excited to be talking with you today about joining your team.”

“People who know me best say that I’m…”

“The three words I would use to describe myself are…”

“With 10 years of experience in customer service, I believe I’m the candidate for this position.”

“Having just recently earned my degree, I’m eager to begin working in the profession.”

End the answer with confidence. Don’t fade off into a whisper. Don’t end the last word with a question in your voice. And don’t end the answer with “does that answer your question?” All three responses show a lack of confidence in your answer.

You’re the only person on the planet who can tell others your story. Know your professional talents and target them in a clear concise answer. Pair your answer with an opening hook, eye contact and enthusiasm, and you’re on your way to a solid interview, with hopefully a job offer to follow.

 

 

 

July 28, 2014

13 tips for professional email etiquette

Email is a primary way to communicate in the professional world. Students use emails to communicate with professors, job seekers use it to navigate the job search process and employees use email as a primary communication method in the office.

Given its importance, make sure you know email etiquette. It’s not just a matter of being polite. Using email improperly can have lasting consequences. Check out these 13 tips before you hit the send button.

1. Use a professional email address. An email address containing your name or a combination of your first and last name works best.

2. Identify the topic in the subject line. Don’t leave email recipients guessing why you’re writing them, and don’t give a long winded answer. A subject line that reads “I have a question about the grade that I received for the midterm exam last Thursday” gets cut off when it appears in the inbox. A subject line reading “Question re: COMM 110 Midterm” works better.

3. Start with a formal greeting. Any professional email that begins with “Hey” deserves the delete button. “Dear” is the most formal greeting and your safest bet. “Hello” can also be used. Address the person with a salutation (Dear Professor Smith, Hello Dr. Jones, etc.)  Continue using a formal title until given permission otherwise.

4. Write a brief email. Think about how quickly you scan your emails. Keep this time frame in mind when drafting an email. Use clear, concise language to convey your point. Paragraphs help break down the email into smaller sections. Email isn’t the format for offering a long explanation about confusing topics.

5. Don’t use email to replace face-to-face or phone conversations. The amount of emails sent and received in an office on any given day could likely be cut in half if people simply picked up the phone. Remember that the purpose of email is not to permit passive aggressiveness or laziness.

6. Avoid emoticons. When emailing professors, supervisors, or others higher up the chain of command, don’t include emoticons. Is it okay to use smiley faces when corresponding with coworkers? It depends on the office etiquette. Whatever procedure has been established, follow it.  

7. Be mindful that grammar conveys emotions. WHEN YOU USE ALL CAPS, YOU’RE YELLING AT THE RECIPIENT. If anger is the emotion you’re feeling at that moment, don’t send the email. on the other hand using lowercase letters gives the perception of laziness.

8. Keep exclamation points to a minimum.  Exclamation points convey excitement and should be used sparingly in writing. Whether rightly or wrongly, overuse of exclamation points shows immaturity.

9. Be careful with humor. If you say something funny in email, remember that you aren’t physically present to back up your remark with facial expressions or voice connotation. In a professional email exchange, it’s best to omit humor unless you and the recipient(s) know each other quite well.

10. Think before hitting “reply all.” The constant “you’ve got mail” notification gets pretty draining – especially when it’s for an email that you had no business being a part of in the first place. When sending an original email, think long and hard about who really needs to be included. Conversely, when you reply to an email that was originally sent to multiple people, ask yourself if everyone really needs to see your answer.

11. Know the proper way to use courtesy copy (CC) and blind copy (BCC).  Only copy people (CC) who are directly involved with or impacted by the email subject. Use blind copy (BCC) when sending to a large distribution list. Should BCC be used to reply to some people in secret? No.

12. Remember that culture affects how people speak and write. Cultural differences lead to miscommunication. Email is no exception. Be mindful of a person’s cultural background when sending or receiving emails.

13. Follow the golden rule: “When in doubt, leave it out.” Email isn’t private. The delete button isn’t permanent. If you have doubts about the email’s content or the language and tone used, don’t send it.

 

Leave a Comment July 21, 2014

“I quit!” 9 tips for resigning from a job

Is an interpretive dance the best way to quit your job? Probably not, even if it gets you 18 million views on YouTube. But it’s inevitable that you’re going to change jobs throughout your career. Whether it’s to pursue another opportunity or simply leave your current job that doesn’t meet your expectations, resigning is just as much a part of career development as is accepting job offers.

Remember, you’re not erasing your current job from existence when you leave. You’ll list the employer on your resume and hopefully secure solid references. Here are some tips to follow that will help you leave on a professional note rather than leaving a bad impression.

1. Give notice. Don’t quit and leave in the same day. It’s standard practice to give at least two weeks notice when resigning. If you want or need to leave sooner, discuss options with your supervisor.

2. Write a resignation letter. It’s professional to submit a formal letter of resignation. The letter needn’t address your reasons for leaving; it’s up to you if you want to address this. The letter should state that you’re leaving and when your last day of work will be.

 3. Be prepared for an exit interview. Your employer may ask for or require an exit interview, which is simply a meeting between you and a company representative (human resources employee, supervisor, etc.). Companies conduct exit interviews to gain feedback about the job, work environment or organization. Carefully consider your answers to commonly asked exit interview questions. You don’t want them to come back to haunt you.

4. Clean out your desk – and your computer. Even if you’re prepared to give two weeks notice, your supervisor may ask you to leave at that particular moment. Before submitting your resignation, delete personal files and messages on your computer. Jot down contact information of those you wish to keep in touch with after you’re gone. Do not copy any company information that you’re not permitted to have when you’re no longer an employee.

5. Keep the negative thoughts to yourself. Your resignation letter, exit interview and conversations with soon-to-be former colleagues could present opportunities to trash and blast your job, company, boss, etc. Don’t take advantage of the opportunity. You run the risk of burning bridges later.

6. Avoid bragging about your exciting new opportunity. Even if it’s a promotion, a salary increase or a move to a nicer work environment, colleagues don’t want to hear about how much better things will be in your new job. Know the difference between enthusiasm and arrogance.

7. Know details about benefits. Find out the implications of your resignation on your health care benefits and retirement package. Inquire what happens to any unused sick, personal or vacation days.

8. Ask for a reference. If you’ve been a reliable employee, it’s completely within reason to ask supervisors and coworkers if they’re willing to serve as references for you. See if they’ll write a recommendation as part of your LinkedIn profile or serve as an email or phone contact.

9. Say goodbye. Take time to email or personally thank your supervisor and co-workers. For those who you want to stay in touch with, provide your cell number and personal email address.

 

 

July 15, 2014

The one tip to remember for academic and career planning success is:

Are you having trouble remembering all the different strategies for doing well in school and developing a successful career plan? Too many tips to keep track of? If you’re looking for one golden rule to remember, here it is:

DO EVERYTHING EARLY!

1. Meet with your academic advisor…EARLY! Be aware of priority advising dates for the fall (Sept/Oct) and spring (February/March). Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule an appointment with your advisor. If you do, you’ll have limited meeting time options to choose from. Arrive EARLY for the advising appointment. Otherwise, you won’t have time to address all of your questions.

2. Register for classes…EARLY! You’re not the only one who needs that math course, English course, computer course or humanities elective this semester. Other students are also trying to coordinate class schedules with work schedules. Waiting until the last minute only ensures that classes you need or particular class times you want will be full.

3. Decide which program you want to pursue…EARLY! Research CPCC’s academic programs that interest you. Learn about the programs’ course requirements, competitiveness, desired GPA, necessary exams, etc. Narrowing your focus saves you stress and lets you focus on your studies. You’ll also save money by not taking classes that end up being unnecessary in the end.

4. Focus your career goal…EARLY! If you’re tired of family and friends asking about your career plans, take time to figure them out. Career planning doesn’t happen overnight. Researching career paths that compliment your personality, interests and skills takes time. A career counselor can help navigate this process. The sooner you get started, the more time you have to make a meaningful decision.

5. Develop a resume…EARLY! Yes, even recent high school graduates should have a resume. It’s a living document that you build as you gain more experience and develop new skills. Don’t wait until your graduating year, when you’re doing a job search, to start a resume. At that point, your resume should only need fine-tuning.

6. Research job opportunities and companies in your area…EARLY! Do you know what the regional job market is like for the field you’re pursuing? What companies are hiring? Learning this information earlier makes your job search easier. Resources like Career Coach and CFNC can help.

7. Start using LinkedIn…EARLY! LinkedIn is Facebook for professionals. But here’s the catch; don’t wait until you’re a professional to start using LinkedIn. This will be a go-to job search resource, but it won’t be helpful if your LinkedIn profile isn’t properly completed and you haven’t begun establishing contacts or joining industry-related groups.

8. Prepare for interviews…EARLY! Know what to expect in an interview, from the questions you can expect to the questions you should ask. Career Services offers fantastic interview prep materials, from mock interviewing to in-print and online resources.

9. Show up for the interview…EARLY! But not too early! Arriving 15 minutes prior to your interview is appropriate. Showing up an hour early is rude. If you’re late and you don’t call or offer an explanation, the employer doesn’t have to conduct the interview. And if they do, it’s likely out of courtesy – a job offer isn’t likely.

10. Send a thank you note or email after the interview…EARLY!  Within 48 hours is best. The interview is fresh in your mind and the employer – who is anticipating receiving a thank you note– will still remember you.

 

 

 

June 29, 2014

7 job search tips you can learn from the World Cup

  Even if you’re not a soccer fan, you’re likely aware of the sport’s major event currently taking place in Brazil. The World Cup captivates billions of futbol fans across the globe. It’s estimated  that one out of three people worldwide will be enjoying the matches over the next month.

In the spirit of the world’s game taking center stage, did you know there are seven career and job search tips you can learn from the World Cup?

1. Back up your stats. Being qualified on paper only goes so far. Spain was heavily favored to repeat as World Cup champions this year. Yet, they were eliminated in the first round of play. England’s roster consistently sports talented players, but they haven’t won a World Cup since 1966.

When you’re job searching, a solid resume highlighting your skills gets your foot in the door. But job offers are made based on how well you interview to convey your qualifications for the job.

2. Start preparing early. The World Cup takes place every four years. Yet national teams start preparing for the next event mere months after the current matches end. Finding the right career path and implementing a successful job search take time. Don’t wait until the weeks before – or after – graduation to prepare.

3. Know that others can help you.  Teams advance out of the first round of World Cup play based not only on their own success but how other teams in their group do. Fans find themselves rooting for one country to help their own. In job searching, networking is the way others help you in your career development. Just like in World Cup play, relying on others is a strategy you can’t ignore.

4. Use many tools to create a winning strategy. Job seekers can’t rely solely on one job search tool to get a job. It’s like a soccer team relying completely on their goalkeeper to win the game. Job boards like employmeNC provide great job leads, but you also need to incorporate other resources like networking, on campus recruiting and job fairs.

5. Develop a parallel career plan. When one of the US team’s essential players – Jozy Altidore – was injured in their first game, the coach immediately substituted a player and implemented a plan. If internal or external circumstances prevent you from reaching your first career goal, what other options are you considering and what do you need to do to achieve them?

6. Remember that luck plays a part. Some World Cup teams have an easier time advancing into the next round literally thanks to the luck of the draw. You control many elements of your job search. But luck is a factor. Being in the right place at the right time, being the more qualified candidate, etc. Someday this will be you.

7. Believe that with hard work, dreams come true. John Brooks, a backup player for the US team, literally dreamed two nights before the first game that he scored the winning goal. Brooks entered the game when starter Matt Besler was injured. His dream from the night before came true when his goal led the US team to victory. Half the battle of job searching is believing you can do it.

June 24, 2014

Academic advisors can save you money (plus 8 other finance tips college students should know)

  It’s interesting that financial planner is a job title, because everyone should know how to be one. College students are no exception. In fact, as tuition costs rise and the cost of living increases, college students need to be financial savvy now more than ever. Here are 10 tips to get you started.

1. Create a tight budget and stick to it. Debit cards let people spend money more freely without thinking about where it comes from, where it’s going, or how much they’re spending. Establishing a budget helps you know how much money you’re spending in a month and where the money is being spent. Smartphone apps or software programs can help you get started.  

2. Meet with an academic advisor when selecting courses. Yes, it could save you money. Advisors know about course requirements, course sequences and course availabilities. It’s their job. If you self-schedule, you might register– and pay- for courses you don’t need. That’s money down the drain.

3. Don’t wait until the last minute to register for courses.  Know when the next semester’s registration begins and plan accordingly. If you wait until the last minute, you run the risk of a course being filled that you may have to take during an additional semester. That’s additional money that you wouldn’t have had to spend if you had registered early.

4. Focus your academic and career goals sooner rather than later. The sooner you select your academic program and solidify your career goals, the sooner you’re on track to graduation and employment. Having a plan helps you avoid taking unnecessary courses.

5. Search for scholarships. In addition to merit- based/academic and need-based/financial scholarships, you can obtain scholarships based on criteria such as geographic location, gender, culture, ethnicity and other factors. Resources like CFNC, Scholarships.com and Federal Student Aid are just three of many online resources. Be sure to check with local churches and community organizations.

6. Avoid spending “a few bucks” each week. If you eat lunch out two times each week, you could spend an average of $320 per semester. Pack a lunch instead.

7. Put money-sucking hobbies on hold. Coffee shops. Shoe shopping. Going to the movies. Everyone has interests that cost money (some more than others). While in school, reduce or eliminate leisure activities that cost money. Instead of weekly outings to the movies, make it a special once-a-month event.

8. Use credit cards sparingly. Credit cards can actually help your finances- when used sparingly and correctly. Using credit cards wisely (paying them off in full, staying within your credit limit) actually helps improve your credit score. A credit score is used to determine many financial transactions, such as purchasing a car or house. Using credit cards incorrectly (not making payments, carrying too much debt, opening multiple credit cards) hurts your credit score and your financial future. Use credit cards for emergencies only.

9/ Start a savings account. You don’t need to deposit huge amounts at one time. Five or ten dollars per week is a great start. The key is not touching it. Open an account that doesn’t have a debit card attached to it. If you have to make a trip to the bank to withdraw money, you’re less likely to do it.

Financial planning is a learned skill. Too many college students think the learning takes place after earning the degree. Not true. To pave your way to financial stability, the learning should start now.

 

 

 

June 16, 2014

You’re hired! 11 tips for acting professional on the job

  You made it. You’re no longer a job seeker, you’re a new employee. Interviews are over, a job was offered and accepted and you start work on Monday. The show’s over, so you can kick back and relax the professional behavior just a bit.

Not so fast.

You obviously made a good impression during the interview process. Here are 11 ways you can back up the hiring decision.

 1. Behave professionally. There’s a difference between being fun and being disruptive. You know the employee who spends more time in coworker’s offices, constantly talking off-topic and telling stories and   jokes and rarely getting any work done? Don’t be that employee.

 2. Dress appropriately. Ask about the office dress code and comply accordingly. This includes guidelines for facial hair, jewelry, shoes or other accessories.

 3. Keep your work space professional. Artwork on the wall or family photos are fine as long as they aren’t abundant. But you can’t expect coworkers to take you seriously if your cubicle or office resembles a high school locker. If you aren’t sure of guidelines for office décor, ask.

4. Be on time. If your day starts at 9:00 am, plan to arrive by 8:45. Conversely, don’t repeatedly sneak out the door 15 minutes before your work day ends.

5. Don’t gossip. There’s a difference between getting to know your coworkers and talking about them. Learning an office’s work history is one thing; getting the dirt about what goes on is another.

6. Maintain a good performance record. Reasons that people are let go from a job can include frequent absences, missed deadlines, customer or coworker complaints or unprofessional behavior. Don’t make it easy for an employer to let you go.

7. Limit personal phone calls, emails and text messages. You might need to take or make personal calls at work. Everyone does. But texting friends throughout the day or spending a great deal of time on the phone aren’t appropriate.

8. Learn to take criticism. All employees have areas of improvement. Your supervisor’s role is to help your career development, which includes recognizing what skills you can improve on. Don’t take the feedback personally. Learn from it.

9. Do your job well. Whatever your duties and responsibilities, do them to the best of your ability. If you don’t know how to do something, ask for help, rather than making excuses for why you didn’t do it.

10. Treat everyone with respect. The administrative assistant deserves just as much respect as the director. Smile and say hello to coworkers no matter what their job title is.

11. Offer new employees guidance. When you’re an established staff member don’t forget what it felt like to be the newbie. Pay it forward when a new employee is welcomed to the group.

Most would agree that job searching is tough. Just remember that after you’re hired you can’t let your professionalism slide, or you’ll be back to the job search sooner than you wanted to be.

 

June 2, 2014

Are you doing ALL that you can to find a job?

Accenture, a global consulting company, recently released its 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey. The survey examines the difference between graduates’ expectations of the world of work and the reality of that world. The results are pretty interesting.

One statistic in particular stands out: 69% of 2014 graduates expect to find work within the first six months after graduation. However, for graduates of the classes of 2012 and 2013 only 42% found jobs within the first six months after earning their degrees.

Factors that affect the length of a job search:

  • The state of the local and national economy
  • Quantity of jobs in a candidate’s preferred location (not many film jobs in Iowa, for example)
  • Demand for a candidate’s skill level and degree
  • A job seeker’s flexibility regarding types of jobs, geographic location, salary, etc.
  • Quality of the job search

The fifth factor – quality of the candidate’s job search- is critical and one that the job seeker completely controls. For graduates who didn’t find a job within the first six months after graduation, it’s worth asking what their efforts were like. If you’re job searching, ask yourself: Are you doing everything, using every resource and considering every option in your job search? Before answer yes, ask yourself if you’ve done the following:

1. Join professional associations: Every industry, from accounting to zoology, has a representing association or society. Members have access to membership directories, job search databases and other resources. 

2. Join regional groups: Most major cities organize groups that allow residents to meet others. A city’s Chamber of Commerce is a great resource for locating such groups. Meetup.com is another source. The common interest might be professional, cultural, hobbies or a combination.  

3. Attend meetings and seminars: Simply joining a group isn’t enough. Be an active member. Attend networking meetings, seminars and conferences. Meet people face-to-face.

4. Become active on LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a social media outlet for professional purposes. It needs to be part of your job search toolbox. Learn how to create a LinkedIn profile and utilize this critical job search tool. The CPCC Career Services LinkedIn How To video can help.

5. Volunteer: Get involved in a local community group or cause that interests you. You’ll meet people who share a common interest in that group or cause. Volunteering is one more avenue for meeting people.

6. Conduct informational interviews: Find a professional working in your targeted industry. Contact someone employed at a company you want to work for. Set up a 30 minute meeting to  talk about the company or the profession, ask questions about the person’s career path and receive suggestions for your job search.

Networking is the commonality for all of these tips.

Most job searches take longer than anticipated and it’s not uncommon to spend more than six months searching. But regardless of industry, geographic location or flexibility when considering options, job searching takes longer if you aren’t actively connecting with others.

 

 

May 19, 2014

10 simple job search etiquette tips you must follow!

JOB SEEKERS BEHAVING BADLY

There’s a headline you don’t want to be a part of. But your job search tactics may unknowingly be letting you. Are you following these 10 rules when it comes to the dos and don’ts of job search etiquette?

When you apply for a job, follow the directions given. Don’t blow off a requested item just because you don’t feel like doing it. Conversely, don’t submit any more information than employers asks for.  If they only want a resume don’t send a resume and a writing sample and a list of references and letters of recommendation. All you’ve proven is your inability to follow directions.

Clean up your online presence. Quit letting friends tag you in pictures from Saturday night’s party. Stop trashing coworkers and using foul language in your tweets and status updates. Guess who’s seeing your pictures and updates: Employers. And they aren’t inviting you for interviews thanks to your online presence.

Ditch the personality email address. Shopaholic@gmail.com, Funfoodie@hotmail.com and lovingGod@yahoo.com are fun and personal, but unprofessional. For job searching, use an email address that’s a combination of your name/initials.

Stick with a business letter format when applying via email.   Emailing and texting encourages quick conversations where grammar rules are tossed aside. Bring them back because this email is a cover letter or job prospecting letter. Begin with the proper salutation (Dear Mrs. Jones; Dear Mr. Smith). No text lingo or emoticons. Don’t LOL, ;-) or :-) at an employer. Ever.

Don’t no-show for a job interview. It’s rude. Things come up: Someone gets sick, your car breaks down. If there’s no way you can make the interview for legitimate reasons, contact the employer as soon as possible to inquire about rescheduling. If you change your mind about the job, you should still call the employer to decline the interview. But think long before doing this. Once you say you’re no longer interested in the position, it’s a done deal.

Dress appropriately for interviews. Why are so many blog posts still written about what to wear and not wear for job interviews? Because apparently interviewers still aren’t paying attention.

Send a thank you note – immediately. Email or write a thank you note within 24 to 48 hours after the interview. Is it required? Technically no. Should you consider it required? Absolutely yes.

Follow up with employers – don’t stalk them. When it’s your turn to ask questions during the interview, find out what’s next in the hiring process. The answer gives you an idea of when you could expect to hear about a job offer. Use this time frame to gauge when you should contact the employer if you haven’t heard anything. Just remember the difference between contacting and harassing. Daily or weekly phone calls and emails guarantee you won’t get the offer.

Give a job offer strong consideration before accepting or rejecting it. Don’t take job offers lightly. Employers don’t want to hire someone, only to have them quit during the first week or month. Conversely, once you reject a job offer, it’s unlikely you’ll be considered for future opportunities. Weigh all the pros and cons before making your decision.

Remember that your behavior isn’t fleeting – it’s forever. The world of work can be small. The way you behave from start to finish during the job search and hiring process is part of your professional brand. Employers share notes. Don’t be the topic of conversation that gets you blacklisted from future opportunities.

May 13, 2014

What you’re missing if you don’t complete an internship

Many academic programs and majors require students to complete internships and co-ops. Some do not. If an internship isn’t mandatory for your area of study, and your schedule allows time to pursue one, give it strong consideration.

When you don’t complete an internship you miss out on the chance to:

1.       Get hands-on work experience. Possessing practical knowledge about an industry boosts your qualifications.  You can create an “Internship” or “Related Experience” category on your resume, and then talk about relevant job duties and projects during an interview. Very impressive.

2.       Gain an edge in the job market. Two candidates interview for a job. Both earned the same degree. One candidate has minimal work experience while the other has completed one or more relevant internships. Who initially appears more qualified for the job?

3.       Have the chance to try a career path before committing to it. Reading about a profession through career exploration websites is helpful. But nothing beats the chance to experience a career before committing to it. In addition to doing the actual work, you’ll have the chance to talk with people working in the industry.  

4.       Network with professionals. Most jobs are found through networking. During your internship you’ll meet people who become colleagues, supervisors and mentors. They’ll recommend professional groups to join, LinkedIn resources to check out and additional people to meet.

5.       Learn how to work in an office. Following an office dress code and other office policies, arriving at work on time, handling conflicts within a work setting, interacting with professional peers and supervisors. It takes skill and practice to learn these concepts.

6.       Apply classroom knowledge to work environments. Academic preparation shows your ability to learn concepts. Internships give job applicants the chance to apply concepts to real-world settings. This is what employers are interested in hearing about.

7.       Develop skills. Employers look for skills when reviewing applications. In addition to industry-related skills you develop transferable skills that are critical for success in many job settings.

8.       Acquire references. References vouch for your abilities to perform tasks or use skills to succeed in a job. It’s important to acquire professional references. Internship supervisors and coworkers serve that purpose.

9.       Become more confident. Getting experience builds confidence. If an interviewer asks if you can do something, you won’t have to rely on hypotheticals (“Yes, I could do that if I have the chance.”). You can say “Yes I definitely can do that,” and provide concrete examples.

May 6, 2014

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