Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Popular Brands Don't Lie

Often times when I'm at home, I find myself incredibly happy that DVR's were invented so I can skip past commercials. I'm probably not alone in that sentiment.  As a result (or maybe just because I'm getting older and more out of touch with popular culture), I don't know as many of those wonderful advertising slogans as I once did.  I know they're out there, but I can't necessarily make that instant connection between some words and a product.  It's not that different than a recruiter who can't make the difference between the words on your resume and who you really are.

But what I really want to focus on today is the message behind some of the best known slogans out there, and how it ties into what you should do in your job search.

Just Do It
Nike is everywhere.  It's hard to go very far without seeing that swoosh on some piece of clothing.  We all know Michael Jordan and his iconic image, and the brand's trademark saying: Just Do It.  Is there really any better message to have about a job search?  Sure, it's very direct, but ultimately every single one of us has to buckle down and just do our search.  Certain parts are definitely easier than others, and those aren't where we need the inspiration.  It's in those other moments where we don't want to write another cover letter, or don't really feel like calling to chase down a lead that we need to remember those fateful three words.  Nothing bad will come from it, and by powering through you might even be able to achieve more than you ever realized (in this case a dream job or internship).

Think Different
Much like Nike in the apparel world, Apple is omnipresent in the technology world these days.  It's hard to go places without seeing or hearing about an iSomething.  And what Apple has told us over the years is to Think Different.  This is something that can be challenging at first, but with some effort, you can turn yourself into a more compelling candidate.  Thinking different can even take various manifestations.  You can change your approach to how you conduct a search in terms of attitude, method, timeline, and many other places.  You can change the way you market yourself.  You can change the types of companies you target.  You can change your communication style.  The key is to think about how you can get out of your usual methods and find ways to better yourself through your methods and actions.  But before you can take action, you have to look deep into yourself to find where you can improve, and Career Services can help with that.

When You've Got It, Flaunt It
Ok, so I didn't know this one as well until I was doing research on slogans, but Braniff Airlines hits their message on the nose with this slogan.  Way too often I see students hold back, especially in interviews.  WHY????  If you're out there looking for a job, and you have some great skills and traits, you need to show them off!  Like I always tell my students, it is not the time to be shy or humble; it is time to shout from the mountaintop about how awesome you are!  If you have the skills, be proud of them, use them in your examples, and definitely don't hide them.  It's tough sometimes because we're always taught to be humble, but lay it on the line.  You sure don't have anything to lose, and I don't know of too many employers that aren't interested in confident employees.

So while you're watching your favorite programs, and happen to see some ads every now and then, think about how that message can really factor into your own life, and specifically your career.  You'd be surprised how well the messages match sometimes!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Are You Looking for an Internship or Job...But Not Sure How to Start?

Did you know that employers have started to hire for summer internships and full-time jobs?! It's never too early to start your job search and Career Services is here to help!
Not sure how to get started? Well, networking is how 80-90% jobs are obtained so this is a good place to start. The #1 way to start networking is by using LinkedIn, a professional networking site.
Our favorite LinkedIn expert, Lindsey Pollak, posted a great blog on the best way to network with alumni using LinkedIn. Marquette has thousands of proud alumni, many of whom are willing to help students with their job search.
Take 5 minutes to read Lindsey's great advice:
Lindsey outlines the best way to make contact with alumni, what not to do and even includes a sample professional message.
Need assistance on LinkedIn? Stop by our office or make an appointment with a career counselor to learn more!
Happy Networking!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Steps To Interviewing From a Students Point of View

As students doing everything we can at the chance of landing our first job or internship, an interview can be terrifying. You can read all of the etiquette sites you want about what to wear and how to act. But, here are a few steps from a real student who has really been through it. 

1. Act confident (even when you may not be)
With the way things in the economy are today, us students cant take any chances. We have to apply for everything and anything that comes are way. So, it is not uncommon that we may feel under-qualified for the position we are asking for. Don’t let that stop you. Take a deep breath and truly believe that you deserve and will excel at the position. It will show through during the interview. 
2. Don’t practice too much

One of the worst things a student can do before an interview is have a script of everything that they are about to say. Having such rehearsed responses makes it sound like you are some job hunting robot. Now, this is not to say that you should not think about potential questions and responses. It is important to be prepared, but it is equally important to make a connection with the interviewer and this can only be done when there is a conversational tone and friendly environment. 

3. Don't take yourself too seriously (aka SMILE!)
The fact is that people want to hire people that they like and get along with. So, be likable! Smile a lot, make comments about your surroundings like “your office is really great,” ect. In short, humanize yourself,  and make the interviewer want to be your friend.

4. Know what you are good at, and make it apply to everything they need you to do.
It is important to know that any skill that you have is transferrable to something else. So, instead of saying that you are good at analyzing spreadsheets, say that you have the unique ability to compile information and solve problems. Spreadsheets are an industry skill, where analysis and problem solving are life skills. 

5. Say thank you!
I am not saying that you have to write a two page thank you note on your mothers nice stationary, but you should take the time to send the employer a message through email, linkedin or a quick note that says that you appreciate their time. It will let them know that you value their time and are serious about the position.

So, there you have it. Real advice from a real student. Now go out and get that job!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interviews: Practice (AND RESEARCH) Makes Perfect


‘Tis the season of interviewing!  This fall the Career Services Center has been hustling and bustling with employers seeking to hire Marquette students for internships and full-time positions. Are you ready?
The key to a successful interview is both practice and research.  Last week, Joel O'Brien discussed how to practice for interviews using behavioral based questions in his blog post How to Become a Star InterviewerCheck it out for some excellent tips!  Today's post focuses on the other element of interview preparation – research.

The bottom line is that employers expect that you will arrive to the interview with knowledge about their company.  Learning about the organization demonstrates your interest, showcases your ability to research and also shows initiative.  In addition, investigating the company helps to prepare you for interview questions such as: What do you know about our company?   Why do you want to work at our company?  Tell me what you know about our organization. Why would you be a good fit for our company? 

There are many rich sources of information about organizations.  Here are a few ways you can investigate a potential employer prior to your interview.

  • Review the organization's website and news releases.
  • Use your network on LinkedIn (or otherwise) to identify contacts who work for the organization.Then reach out to these individuals to get an inside scoop on the company.
  • Look the company up in Reference USA a database of over 12 million organizations.
  • Create a Google News Alert so that each time an employer appears in the news you receive an email with links to these news stories.
  • Join industry groups on LinkedIn to stay abreast of current trends.
  • Follow the company on Twitter.

Suggested areas of research include:
  • Recent news surrounding the organization
  • Corporate culture
  • History of the organization
  • Types of products/services offered
  • Reputation
  • Locations
  • Size and organizational structure
  • Philosophy
  • Prospects for growth or change
  • Major competitors
  • Promotional activities
  • Current industry trends/issues
  • Mission and vision of the organization

With ample research, in addition to practice, you will be ready to impress as you interview this fall and beyond.

For one-on-one coaching on how to prepare for an interview, consider scheduling an appointment in our office:  (414) 288-7423.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Need a plan for after graduation? Not sure where to start?

Many students are so busy with school, work, campus activities, or life in general that all of a sudden they realize that have no clue about what they are going to do after graduation. That, of course, can be an overwhelming experience. If this sounds like you, Career Services is here to help.

Helping students determine their path after graduation is one of the most common situations that we address. Of course we tailor our assistance to each individual’s needs, but here are just a few ways we tend to help students
  • Assist you in choosing a  career path that fits you (assess interests, skills, and values).
  • Help you learn how to communicate with professionals in fields that interest you.
  • Work with you to develop a job search plan (establish the what, when, where, and how).
  • Provide individual assistance along the way.
If you are not sure of what you need or where to start just call 414-288-7423 or stop by to make an appointment.  We would be delighted to hear from you.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Everything You Need to Know About References

Your applying for a job, the application asks you to provide a list of references in addition to your resume and cover letter. References…
Deciding who put on a reference list can be difficult. When thinking about your future references consider these points:
When should I gather references: Throughout your academic, job, or career experiences you should be collecting contact information for people who could serve as references in your future job search.
Who should they be: You want references that are from diverse pools of experience, for example a chemistry professor, your supervisor at the Brew, or your faculty advisor for the Biomedical Sciences Student Association. Your references should be familiar with your skills, goals, career direction, and achievements. Identify a professor, supervisor, advisor, or coach that you have a relationship with and are in contact on a regular basis. It is never too early to start thinking about you could be a reference!
What makes for a good reference: References should be able to identify personal and professional characteristics that you have demonstrated. It is great if they can speak to how your actions, contributions, and efforts will benefit a future employer. You want the job, so don’t choose someone that only has mediocre things to say about you!
When selecting individuals as references, make sure you TALK with them IN PERSON! This will provide a good opportunity for you to communicate about the positions you are applying for and some of the skills you are planning to highlight. You could say: “I have a few job interviews coming up, could I use your name as a reference?”
It is also important to be respectful of their time, as they have busy lives too. If you need a letter of recommendation, talk with your reference at least a month in advance. Provide them with a resume, a description of the position you are applying for, and a stamped & addressed envelope; this will make the process even easier!
Keep your references in the know; fill them in on the status of your interview (they want to know when they could be contacted).
THANK YOUR REFERENCES! They put in time and effort on your behalf, their recommendation may have even landed you the job!

If you need additional assistance formatting your references for your application, check out the Career Services Center Online Resources (link below) or stop by Holthusen Hall for Walk-In Hours: Monday-Friday 12pm-2pm!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Effective Interviewing Techniques: Be a STAR!

Now that you have attended the Career Fair, followed up with employers, and been offered an interview, it is time to prepare yourself for the actual interview.  Interviews are one of the most nerve-racking experiences you will have to go through in your job search.  The secret to effective interviewing is similar to learning how to play a sport or musical instrument….PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!  The more you practice the easier and more natural interviewing will become.

While all jobs and all interviewers are not the same, there are certain questions that are usually asked of candidates during an interview.  These questions fall into two categories:  “the getting to know you” questions and “the why do you want this job” questions.  While companies are looking for different things, most employers look for candidates with the following characteristics:

1.            Communication skills (verbal/written)                                   
2.            Honesty/integrity                                                                        
3.            Teamwork skills (works well with others)                             
4.            Motivated/ willing to take initiative                                      
5.            Strong work ethic                                                                     
6.            Interpersonal skills (relates well to others)                          
7.            Analytical skills
8.            Flexibility/adaptability
9.            Computer skills
10.          Self-confidence
11.          Leadership skills
12.          Organization skills

                *Skills provided by 2007 NACE Job Choices Employer Survey
Behavioral-Based Interviewing

A common method for employers to check and see if you possess these skills is through behavioral interview questions.  Behavioral based interviewers believe that past behavior is an accurate predictor of future behavior.  They concentrate many of their questions on situations that candidates have encountered in the past.  What they want to hear is an illustration of your behavior.  To maximize the effectiveness of your answers, try using the STAR method.

S              = Describe a situation.   
T              = Talk about the task. 
A             = Explain the action you took.
R             = Talk about the positive results, quantifying if possible. 
                   (RESULTS are very important, but commonly forgotten)


·         What is the most challenging situation that you have faced?
·         What accomplishment has been given you the greatest satisfaction?
·         What are three of your strengths?  (Provide an example for each using the STAR method)
·         What are three of your weaknesses? (Reflect how you already have or can improve)
·         Describe a time when you have disagreed with colleagues, how did you handle it?

Once you have practiced and feel confident in your ability to accurately and passionately share your experiences, be a STAR and rock the interview!