Waiting Room Do’s and Don’t’s

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So imagine this: you are at a job interview, about 5-10 minutes early and are now in the interview waiting room, waiting for your interviewer to come down to meet you. This time waiting can actually affect your interview, so what you do (and don’t do) might have an impact on how your professionalism appears to the interviewer.

interviewing, waiting room, interview waiting room

Do: Look over your resume. I remember being told in my co-op class to bring multiple copies of my resume in a fancy portfolio to interviews to provide interviewers with. Since your resume is most likely the only piece of paper they’ll have of yours, you better know what your own resume says! Hopefully you’ve reviewed it before, but a quick read over in the waiting area shows whoever might be watching you that you are committed to this interview.

Do: Have good posture. This carries over into the interview as well, but sitting up straight is important. The way you are sitting may be the first time your interviewer sees you and this also may impact how your reflection of professionalism. It’s not too long of a time frame, so straighten that back a bit!

Don’t: Play on your phone. I feel as if this varies. I’m the kind of person who says its a no, but we’re all entitled to our own opinion. Being on your phone can show that you are preoccupied with something else, such as emails, text messages, your social media, or myabe the latest level of Candy Crush. Tuck that phone away (on silent!) in your bag or pocket when you walk into the waiting area. You’ll look ten times more professional and can use the time to focus on the interview, not on other aspects of your life. (I promise they’ll still be there when you’re finished with interviewing.)

Photo courtesy of ASDA. 

Job Shadow With Husky Treks This Spring Break

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Apply for Husky Treks and you’ll be as happy as this Corgi in a flower pasture!

When it comes to exploring your career path, there is an abundance of resources that you can turn to for job outlook, average salary, or information on skills and responsibilities used and demonstrated in that job.  Even with that information easily accessible, it can still be difficult to identify whether that career is right for you.  Job shadowing can be beneficial during this time of exploration.  Spending a “day in the life” of a professional in the field you are interested in is an awesome way to help clarify this for you. A job shadow takes things to the next level in experiencing a work environment, company culture, the day-to-day responsibilities, as well as the knowledge and skills used at work.  This experience can help you in deciding a major, or committing to an industry or company to work for; it assists you in determining whether it is the right career path for you, and can give you the confidence you need to make a decision.  This is a chance to witness the everyday routine of a job, and goes beyond the glitz and glamour that is seen from the outside.

A great time to shadow is during school breaks.  Northeastern offers a job shadowing program with local Boston companies called Husky Treks, more information is on our website for how to get involved.  Some companies even have formal job shadow programs that you can get involved with. You can even connect with professionals through your friends and family, Northeastern alumni, professors, classmates and LinkedIn.

Before shadowing a professional, look them up on LinkedIn and visit the company website first.  When you know this information, you will be able to ask specific questions about their role and the company that you can’t learn from the internet.  Some things to take note of during your visit: are people dressed casually, or professionally? How do people interact with each other? Is there too much interaction? Not enough? Are there a lot of extra “perks” around the office? How long is the average workday? Is it a high-stress environment, fast paced, slow or relaxed? Bring a note pad around with you to write down what you observe so you can reflect on it after your day is over.  Think about your shadowing experience and how it aligns with your own personality and interests.

Some things to keep in mind when you are shadowing: be polite, courteous and flexible with the person you are shadowing and work around their schedule. Dress like you would for a job interview. Also, be sure to follow up with a nice thank you note.  You can even offer to buy the person some coffee, or lunch to show them your appreciation for being there.

Dress to impress!

Dress to impress!

While job shadowing is a great way to learn about possible career paths, it is also great networking and to begin to build relationships for your future.  Additionally, experiencing the work environment first hand can help you in an interview, or to write a targeted cover letter for future internships or jobs.

Emily Norris is a Career Advisor at Northeastern Career Development. She loves working with students and guiding them to make informed career decisions that will lead to personal happiness.  She enjoys hiking and a good workout, but also loves cooking and baking for friends and family to ensure a healthy balance! Tweet her @CareerCoachNU

Job Searching in the USA as an International Student: CV vs. Resume

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In this blog post series, Job Searching in the USA as an International Student, I want to tell you all the challenges I had during my job hunt in Boston all while I try to get used to a new culture!

I moved to Boston a year ago and after spending some time trying to get used to Boston, its weather and my classes I started to search about how to find a job in USA. I knew that I had to prepare well before starting to apply possible jobs. The first thing that I noticed was the term “Resume”. At that time, I was familiar with a CV but wasn’t sure what a resume is. So, here I want to share with you the 3 major differences between a Resume and a CV based on my experiences and some researching:

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Length. 

A CV is a detailed, comprehensive document that can be laid out over many pages. A resume, on the other hand, is generally a single page.

My CV was around three pages long and there were too many details on it to include in one page. To find out what I should put to my resume I searched about content differences between them.

Content.

A CV can contain anything about your education as well as other accomplishments like certifications, awards, presentations, publications, research experience etc. It also contains any achievements in life. For instance, on my CV there was a part written about my studying abroad in Germany and what I have gained from it. Additionally, I had a profile photo attached to it. I noticed that resumes don’t have photos and are focused for a specific job consisting only related work experience and skill sets.

A CV is comprehensive, A resume is customized.

Back in Turkey, since my CV had all the information about my background I was not making any changes on it as I was applying to jobs. However, here I realized that I have to adapt my resume to every position I apply for and tailor it to the needs of the specific post.

For more information about the difference between a resume and a CV, visit Career Developments resume guide or Going Global to see examples of a CV from other countries!

This post was authored by Mina Poyraz. Mina is a master`s student in Digital Media studies. She is from Istanbul, Turkey and has been living in Boston for a year. Mina is passionate about social media and currently works as a Social Media Intern in Northeastern University Career Services. In her free time she likes traveling, taking photos and reading. She calls her Instagram account her personal diary. Connect with Mina on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/minapoyraz) and Linkedin (www.linkedin.com/in/minapoyraz)

I Wish The Day Had 25 Hours

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Do you ever feel so busy that you actually wish the day was longer so you could do it all and still get some sleep? Agreed. I look at my planner and Google calendar and come near a panic attack sometimes, but staying organized is essential to make the day not have to be longer in order for you to cross off all the items on that to-do list. First step: make a to-do list. Write it in your planner, on a post-it, on your wall, wherever. But write it down. It will help you realize all the little things you have to do and it allows you to pick a starting point. Maybe you want to do a few smaller tasks just to diminish the list a bit or start tackling a larger project to get some headwind on it. Whatever it might be that you choose to start, having it written down on paper or electronically lets you visualize all of the little (and big) tasks you might have that day.

Next, figure out what actually has to get done today. Many times, a few of the jobs can wait a day or three. And it is totally okay if they do. For me, these usually include: cleaning/laundry, printing out documents, and other smaller jobs. It helps prioritize what is important.

Finally, just do it! Sit down and get a head start on your day. If you know what is truly important and what has to get done, you can do it. You have the tools to make that priority list and all it takes is 5 minutes to do so. I guarantee it is 5 minutes you will want to spend time on.

The Senior Career Conference Is Here!

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Senior Career Conference

If you didn’t know already, tomorrow is the annual Senior Career Conference, hosted by the Career Development Office. This is a great chance for anyone graduating who maybe is looking for a quick way to supercharge your job search. I’m talking to you seniors! Of course if you are a rising junior or recent graduate, we certainly won’t turn you away. Let me give you the quick rundown of why you should stop by tomorrow and join us!

  • Networking lunch! That’s right, lunch AND the chance to mingle with dozens of employers. We’ll take care of lunch; all you need to do is bring your networking game face. If you’re feeling a little nervous about what to say, check out our Career Development Connect Four game at registration. We’ve prepared some prompts and topics for you to discuss with employers. If you complete the handout, it can help you ease into networking and be entered to win a door prize. Lunch is from 11:30am-12:30am, so come on by!

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  • In Depth Conversations. Something really unique about this event is the ability to dive deep into topics with employers. I absolutely love this about the Senior Career Conference. Between the Meet-up sessions, networking lunch and our Employer in Residence sessions, the afternoon is chock full of opportunity to pick an employer’s brain about a number of different questions.
  • Developing Connections. Yes, there will also be employers at this event, but you’ll be sitting next to your classmates and friends during this conference as well. You never know where someone else may end up post-graduation, and considering that over 70% of all jobs are found through networking, it’s in your best interest to broaden your own personal network. So don’t count out your fellow huskies!

We are excited to put together a wonderful and dynamic program for all of you. We hope to see you there. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, email me at m.ariale@neu.edu or tweet us @CareerCoachNU. It’s not too late to register either!

See you at there,

-Mike

Preparing to Live Abroad

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Abroad, map, co-op, global northeastern, uganda

Being abroad in an unfamiliar place can be scary at first. What are you going to eat? Will you be able to communicate with the local people? Will you be forced to do things you don’t want to do? Before you leave for your adventure, take some time to better understand what you’re getting yourself into. Once there, know that there is a culture shock curve to overcome and give yourself time to adapt to your new environment. The following are some key points to address when preparing for an international co-op.

Language. Are you familiar with the local tongue? Can you get by with English? Make sure to use several references to answer these questions or ask a person who has traveled to the country before. As a personal example, before I left to travel abroad to Uganda, I found on Wikipedia that the most spoken language in Uganda is Swahili. Over the winter break, I listened to an audiobook to learn common words and phrases I might use and recited random sentences to my family members. Upon my arrival, I found that practically no one spoke Swahili, but rather, Luganda and other region-based dialects in addition to English. I survived using English, but I now advise others not to make the same mistake I did.

Food. Do you have any allergies? Can you eat spicy food? Are you vegetarian? I was fortunate in the fact that Ugandan food is the complete opposite of flavorful, giving me few flavors that were unpalatable to my taste buds. But make sure you think in the long term and pack a few comfort foods in your suitcase. One thing I regretted almost every day was not bringing a tub of peanut butter.

Clothing. Not every country is as liberal with appearance as the US is. Should you wear makeup? Can you wear shorts and skirts that end above the knee? Make sure you look up the local practices before packing a suitcase full of things you can’t wear or use. While you want to maintain your usual level of comfort and appearance, remember that you are a guest in a foreign country and should respect the local practices. Women, if you know crop tops are inappropriate, don’t wear them. Men, consider leaving the speedos at home. You do not want to invite unwanted attention if you can help it.

Expectations. Communicate with your local coordinator or supervisor to go over what will be expected of you. Know what makes a successful intern or volunteer. Also be familiar with your personal and ethical limits and stay true to them once there. Keep constant communication with your supervisor, know the limits of your assignment, and find areas in which you can grow.

Emergency situations. Is there a hospital nearby that is covered by your travel insurance? What happens if there is a terrorist attack? What if you get robbed? You don’t have to go as far as writing a will, but consider all emergency situations in case anything major happens. Make sure you are prepared enough to legitimately tell your grandparents that you’ll be okay. Get the necessary vaccines, prescription medication, and emergency contacts to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be before you leave the country.

Mika White is a  biochemistry major at Northeastern expecting to graduate in 2018. This past semester she was on her first co-op in Uganda interning at a rural hospital in the town of Iganga and establishing a malnutrition treatment program in Namutumba District. She loves to travel, read, and run. Feel free to reach out to her at white.mik@husky.neu.eduand LinkedIn, and read her personal blog at mikawhite25.wordpress.com.

Finding Time for Mindfulness in the Workplace

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Candidly speaking, people often associate mindfulness with places like monasteries and hippie communes, and it’s often an idea that’s tossed aside as being “too out there” when suggested that people adopt it into their everyday lives. Yet mindfulness, proven to reduce stress, is finding a home in the workplace. Admittedly, I was one of the people who did not pay any attention to the practice of mindfulness, yet I began to take notice when mindfulness workshops were offered in my office.

Let’s face it. Regardless of what industry we work in, we all face stress every single day. Looming deadlines, annoying coworkers, and heavy workloads are a part of our daily lives. However, I found that setting just 10 minutes aside each day to practice mindfulness helped take the stress away from my daily work routine. Looking to do the same? Here are some easy tips that are tried and true by yours truly:

Isolate your tasks. Next time you’re sitting at your desk simultaneously scrolling through emails on your computer, talking to coworkers, and sipping your morning coffee, take a moment to focus in on just one simple task. By isolating your tasks, you’ll remove the added stressors that like to creep in where they are not welcome. We often feel guilty for doing this because of our workloads and the pressure to constantly be accessible to our colleagues and bosses, but making sure you’re truly focused on one task will lead to even better productivity and quality of work.

Sixteen seconds of bliss. This is my personal favorite, and one that I use all the time – whether I’m at work, commuting, or just stressing about what show to watch next on Netflix. Here’s how to do it: four second inhale, followed by holding the breath for four seconds, four second exhale, and hold the exhale for four seconds. It’s an easy way to focus on yourself and not the stresses in your life, and center yourself again.

Look to the sky. I know this one may sound very out there, but bear with me, okay? Next time you’re stressed, imagine your mind as a crystal clear blue sky. Every stressor in your life is a cloud in that sky, but you have the power to control how fast that cloud moves out of sight. Aim to have a clear sky as much as possible by realizing that you have the power to control and manage your stress.

While I am certainly no expert in the practice of mindfulness in the workplace, I am a fellow stressed-out worker searching for some solace. These three tips are easy ways to help seamlessly introduce mindfulness into your work life and will hopefully help you relieve stress and perform to your best ability.

Jessica Mertens is a senior studying Communication Studies, Business Administration, and International Affairs. With experience in PR, internal communications, and CSR from Metis Communications and Staples, Jessica is now in an eternal state of wanderlust at Travel + Leisure. Offline, you can catch Jessica exploring NYC, binge-watching Scandal, and planning her next world travels. Connect with Jessica on Twitter @jessica_mertens and LinkedIn.

6 Resolutions for Your Career in 2016

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New Year, New Career Goals.

New Year, New Career Goals.

It’s that time of year – everything is wrapping up in 2015 and we’re all thinking about what 2016 will bring for us, personally and professionally. These 6 New Year’s Resolutions will bring you just a little bit closer to your goals:

  1. Dress for the job you want

Yes, a business casual dress code is amazing. However, if you’ve found yourself wearing your “nice” jeans more than half of the days in a week lately (guilty!), it’s time for a change. Use this New Year to put more thought into your professional appearance.

  1. Get enough sleep

This is definitely a personal favorite (and total downfall). You need to be catching your 7+ hours a night not just to be a functional human, but so your body and mind can repair itself over night and keep you healthy to enjoy all the success you are building.

  1. Find a mentor

This person could be someone you look up to personally, professionally, or spiritually. It’s important to have a go-to person a little older than you to chat about life and it’s challenges. Bonus: they’ve been through all the minor life and career crises you’re dealing with now.

  1. Figure out a new way to unwind

Does anyone else think that Netflix and takeout are the best way to release the stress of the day? While it’s amazing to put on sweatpants and binge watch Law and Order, try a few new and constructive ways to release stress. It could be a fun kickboxing or yoga class, picking up a new hobby and learning to paint, or just sitting quietly by the Charles. Whatever it is, dedicate some time to something that makes you feel refreshed and ready to work the next day.

  1. Read

You don’t have to join a book club to cross this off your list. Pick a few books that look interesting to you, give yourself a timeline for each one, and get reading!

  1. Do something that scares you

This can be big or small – apply for a new job, pick up that minor you’ve been thinking about, or maybe even just bring your coffee from home once a week to save a few bucks. Whatever it is, big or small, keep challenging yourself to stretch your comfort zone bit by bit so you can be comfortable with making positive changes.

This post was written by student blogger Kathryn Averwater

How to Ask for References

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Now that you’ve finished up those last days of coop, or are preparing to enter the job market, gathering positive references is essential.

Who to ask? When considering who might recommend you, it is important to not only consider the strength or comfort of your relationship with your boss/coworker/instructor but also who they are to you. In other words, don’t just choose the coworker you love to chat with or the professor you totally bonded with. A positive recommendation from your co-op supervisor is more meaningful to a potential employer than a handful of recommendations from your coworkers; a rave review of your hard work from a professor in a hard course trumps an instructor who hands out easy A’s. Obviously, choose references with whom you have a positive relationship and you are confident they will speak well of you.

Asking your references. After you’ve settled on your potential references, make a game plan for how you will ask. If it is a professor, stop by during office hours or send a quick email asking to meet. If it is your coop boss or a contact from a previous job, an email or a voicemail is fine. Be straightforward about your intentions in your message. Something simple like: “I was hoping you would write a recommendation for me for ____ school or be a reference in my job search. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee and talk about my goals.”

Once you have made initial contact with your potential references, be kind and gracious in waiting for their responses. If they agree to recommend you and are lagging in submitting the recommendations or returning the calls of your future employer, refrain from nagging. Gently remind them of the due dates and simultaneously thank them for their generosity.

Circle back. When you’ve nailed the interviews and landed the job or grad school spot, remember to thank your references and keep them up to date on what you are doing. Remember, if they agreed to recommend you, then they have a stake in your goals and care about your success. Do what you can to maintain connection.

Things I Would Tell My Pre-International Co-op Self

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doctor-563428_1920As a non-traditional co-op, the internship I took part in for my first co-op in Uganda was not as structured as those you might find in the US. I decided my working hours, chose how long I wanted to stay in which department, and picked the physicians I wanted to shadow. Although I emerged from my co-op relatively successful, there were several things I wish I knew or was told before my first day in the hospital.

Ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. In my co-op, there was minimal guidance around the hospital from the local coordinator of the program I went through. I realized that I would have to find my way around during my time there, and no one was going to guide me throughout the duration of my co-op. During that time, I realized how important it was to ask questions. Everyone was extremely helpful and willing to answer them, no matter how embarrassing they were or how clueless I sounded asking them. In a new working environment, people actually appreciate that you want to learn about their system and ask questions in return, promoting an environment of information exchange.

Don’t judge. This sounds obvious, but it is difficult to maintain a completely objective view when standards are so different from what you’re used to. Especially coming from a first-world country like the US, a lot of us take things for granted and don’t realize how different situations are in other countries. Absorb as much as you can and do what you can to help, but don’t criticize the system that you are not a part of. Instead, observe, analyze, and come up with tentative solutions to problems you witness around your environment. What simple, sustainable solutions might there be to obstacles you see around your workplace?

Adapt. I cannot emphasize this point enough. In an area of high poverty and low development, I had to constantly reframe situations, recreating what is “normal” in my head. Although things might be overwhelming at first, try not to see giving up as an option. Worst comes to worst, you might not enjoy your co-op, but in the grand scheme of things, it is only four to six months of your life. Use this time to step out of your comfort zone, give yourself time to overcome culture shock, and document your time so that you have something to look back on.

An international co-op is an exciting and ambitious adventure to pursue, so cherish the time you have and the invaluable lessons you learn along the way. When you return from co-op, reflect on your growth, remember the things you’ve learned, and share your experience with others.