Last Call: Senior Career Conference Today!

SCC_logoThinking back to my last semester of my senior year of college, I was actively avoiding what graduation meant for me and kept myself blissfully unaware of what I should be doing/needed to do to prepare for life after graduation.  I didn’t graduate THAT long ago (to give you a time frame, Facebook had been invented by the time I got to college) so I can relate to what many graduating students are feeling. One of my biggest regrets was not taking advantage of the people at my university who had tried to prepare me for the future, and not taking advantage of the opportunities to help me figure out what I wanted to do.  If I had done so, I believe my transition from student to new professional would have been a lot easier than it was. I eventually made it, and I was fine, but I could have saved myself a lot of turmoil if I had started earlier rather than later.

The Senior Career Conference, today in Stearns from 12-6PM is here to do JUST that—give you everything you need to prepare yourself for the job search and beyond. The workshops range from Salary Negotiation to Managing Stress on the Job Search and you get to meet with a lot of cool employers at the event—Liberty Mutual, TJX, Philips, Procter & Gamble and City Year are just a few of the employers who will be there to critique resumes, serve on panels, and co-teach workshops with our Career Development Staff.  An added incentive for dropping by is that we have some really cool prizes. Microsoft and TJX have donated special prizes that you can win by submitting your resume, and other prizes will be given to the first 100 students just for showing up.  There is no registration required and everyone is welcome, so stop by to attend a workshop, get your LinkedIn picture taken, or to get your resume critiqued—anything you do at the conference will help you on your way to becoming a new professional and being prepared to the transition.

 

Ashley LoBue is a Career Advisor at Northeastern Career Development. A Boston College graduate, Ashley has over 3 years of experience working in higher education and is a proponent for international and experiential education.

 

“There Are No Dumb Questions Here”

How many times have you sat in an interview and swallowed a question out of fear it may be the dreaded “stupid question”?   Wouldn’t it be nice to run a few of those by an employer knowing there’s nothing at stake?  Just once?  Well, you may be in luck!

step brothersCopyright: 2008 Columbia Pictures

Career Development has been offering the Employer in Residence program for several years, providing students the opportunity to meet with professionals in an informal setting. They are encouraged to share their apprehensions about interviewing, the job search process and posing those tricky questions they aren’t sure are appropriate to ask during a formal interview.   “It’s like a webinar in that students get information without getting tested on it afterwards,” shares Ezra Schattner ’93, New York Life agent and current Employer in Residence.  “It’s fun for me when students come in and have some good questions like, ‘I don’t know what to say when an employer asks me about a weakness.” (Tip: Repackage the question so references an area for development that complements a strength)

“When I’m interviewing a new candidate, I’m hiring for technical skills, but I”m also hiring someone who can be a fit within the culture of the group and company.  I want a student to ask themselves if they’re going to be in a position they’ll appreciate and grow in it.”

Thuy Le, recruiter for City Year, loves when students ask the “Day in the Life”  question, what motivates her every day and what challenges exist in her role or at her organization.  “I remember attending networking opportunities during my undergraduate years and feeling nervous about it.  ‘Networking’ is often associated with being aggressive and being out of people’s comfort zone.  I learned to understand that it’s simply having conversations and obtaining as much information as you can, and that employers want students to talk to them and ask questions. I always try to paint a realistic picture of what their experience will be like in City Year, because like all employers, we want to find the right people who will be the best fit.  I would also encourage students to relax and be themselves – we want to know the real you!”

Both Thuy and Ezra will be taking part in the Employer in Residence portion of the Senior Career Conference as well as also hosting hours throughout the semester.  If you’re looking for another voice to assuage your concerns and dispel some of the mysteries about the working world, head over to Stearns on Thursday, 1/23 or check out the programming calendar for upcoming dates.  Match Education, Peace Corps, Raytheon and Shawmut Design and Construction will also be on campus throughout the semester so be sure to come on by!

Derek Cameron is a member of the Career Development Employer Relations team and always looking for new ways to bring the employer’s voice to campus.

Where Should I Put My Snow Boots? and Other Questions to Ask Before an Interview

When I was searching for my first job after college, I was psyched to be called for an

Image from www4.images.coolspotters.com

interview for one of the jobs I was most interested in. Come the day of the interview, it was December in Massachusetts and there was tons of snow on the ground already. I had to wear snow boots to the office and change into my shoes when I got there, but it also meant that I had to carry the boots with me. Can you say “awkward”? Turns out, that wasn’t the most awkward moment of the day.

Based on my limited interview experience, I assumed the interview would last about an hour. Wrong. It was scheduled for FOUR hours, meeting multiple people in sequential meetings. First, I was meeting one of the research investigators. Then, I met with one of the senior research investigators. Next up were two of the research assistants, to tell me more about the day-to-day aspects of my (hopefully) job. The last interview was with one of the programmers that worked with the group.

I panicked. Not only did I have somewhere else to be and have to let people know I wouldn’t be there (back in the day before everyone had cell phones, meaning I had to borrow a company phone to call), but mentally I was thrown off. I was rattled by having to rearrange my schedule and even more intimidated by the idea of meeting so many people and for such a lengthy period of time.

Image from fanathepurp.co.za

I tried to pull myself together but was feeling “off” the entire time I was there. I must have held it together pretty well though, because I did actually get the job. In addition, I learned a very useful lesson for scheduling future interviews: Ask questions! Know what you are getting yourself into. Some things you should know before you show up (and yes, it is totally ok that you ask these things):

  • Where will the interview be held?
  • Who/how many people will you be meeting with?
  • How long should you plan on being there? (After all, you may have a class later.)
  • What is the format of the interview? Some possible formats include panel or group interviews, candidate presentations, case studies or behavioral interviews.

Knowing these kinds of things in advance will help you better prepare for the interview and make sure you’re at the top of your game when you get there.

For more heplful information on interviewing, take a look at the interviewing section on our website http://www.northeastern.edu/careers/jobs-internships/interviewing/.

Tina Mello is Associate Director of University Career Services, and has worked at Northeastern for 11 years. Nicknamed the “information guru” by other members of the staff, she loves to research and read about various job/career/education topics. For more career advice, follow her on twitter @CareerCoachTina.

How to land the job of your dreams– or at least be considered

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This guest post was written by Caroline DeBauche, a People Operations Partner at Ping Identity Corporation.

Recognized by Forbes Magazine in 2013 as one of America’s Most Promising Companies, Ping is on the hiring fast track. The talent acquisition team at Ping reviews thousands of applications and interviews hundreds of candidates for only a few positions. So how can you stand out to successful companies who are looking for the best of the best?

1. Create a great resume.  

  • Use spell check! This may seem obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people have misspelled words on their resume.
  • Have at least one other person review your resume. Ask for his/her initial reaction and make improvements.
  • Put relevant information first- it’s okay if that’s your education. Your major is more important to recruiters than your babysitting or lawn care job.
  • Choose your words wisely. Use powerful action verbs to get to the point as recruiters usually only spend seconds reviewing a resume.

2. Be prepared for the phone interview. When you get called for an interview, make sure to get all the details.

  • Ask who you will be interviewing with, request their jobs and titles, and determine who will be making the hiring decision.
  • Research, research, research! Start with the company website but don’t end there. Search for recent news, LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com. During your research, write down specific questions about what you found. This will show you did your homework and will set you apart!

3. Nail the onsite interview.

  • Show up 5 minutes early, but no earlier! If you arrive earlier, you put pressure on the interviewer to move up their schedule.
  • Write down the names and titles of everyone you interview with.
  • Focus on what you can do for the organization, not what they can do for you.
  • When answering questions, use specific examples from previous jobs or group class projects.
  • If you don’t know the answer or something or don’t have the experience, be honest. Then let them know you’d be eager to learn.
  • Ask great questions (see below for two examples).

TWO MAGIC QUESTIONS

  1. What can I do in the first 60 days of my employment with your company that would make the biggest impact to the team?
  2. What concerns do you have about my background, that you think would prevent me for doing this job?

Remember to be prepared, be persistent and be passionate! 

Over 900 companies, including 45 of the Fortune 100, rely on Ping Identity’s award-winning products to make the digital world a better experience for hundreds of millions of people. Ping’s own Gary Derkacz will share his personal experiences crafting solutions that millions of people use each day.

Come learn how Ping Identity protects identity, defends privacy and secures the Internet and provides custom solutions for WalMart, Bank of America, BMW and hundreds of other big-name customers. Register for the NU Tech Talk Tue. 11/19 6:00PM-7:00PM by clicking HERE and/or tweet Ping Identity at @PingIdentity.

10 Things I Learned from Sitting on a Hiring Committee

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photo courtesy of Flickr user bearstache.

Back in April, I was part of a hiring committee, and it was our job to hire a new career counselor. Here’s what I learned from my first time on the other side of the table.

  1. A messy resume is a dealbreaker. If you can, send it as a PDF to avoid wonky reformatting.
  2. Don’t say in 40 words what you can say in 10.
  3. Unorganized writing suggests an unorganized candidate.
  4. An interviewee who can tell a story will stand head and shoulders above the rest.
  5. If we can’t clearly tell from your resume where you got your experience, we will investigate. If we still can’t figure it out, we will think you’re hiding something.
  6. For the ladies – if you absolutely must personalize your interview outfit, pick fun and tasteful shoes. Shoes won’t distract during the interview the way bold jewelry might.
  7. Take a breath and relax!
  8. If we learn in the interview that you probably won’t be happy in the position – in terms of culture, fit, and work-life balance – we will do you a favor and let another employer hire you for a job you’d like better.
  9. Be on time!
  10. Always send a thank-you note! Don’t get caught up in the paper vs. email debate. It’s more important that you pick one and do it.

Amy Annette Henion is a senior communications major with minors in theatre and East Asian studies. She basically lives in the theatre department office on the first floor of Ryder. Follow/tweet her at @amyannette37 and read her blog here.

PwC’s Top 5 Tips to Career Fair Success

Killing it at the Career Fair!

Killing it at the Career Fair!
souce: northeastern.edu

This guest post was written by Gillian Orsburn, a Campus Recruiter for PwC and frequent Career Fair attendee.

As a Northeastern student, words like “career,” “co-op,” and “networking” likely make their way into your daily conversations.  While planning the next phase of your professional life can be exciting, sometimes the sheer quantity of events and opportunities can seem overwhelming.  With Northeastern’s Career Fair coming up on Thursday, October 3rd here are some tips to help narrow down the options and stand out amongst the competition:

  1. Do the research. You don’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I’d like to work at so and so” and land the internship. You need to make sure you devote the appropriate time and effort to getting to know the companies you are interested in and understanding your options.  Talk to your friends, family, career advisors, upper-classmen and faculty to learn more about the industries and firms you’d be best suited for.  Doing research will not only help you leave a good impression but also help you pursue a good fit.
  1. Find a friend to be your mirror. Ask an honest friend, one who is genuinely interested in your success, to evaluate the first impression you give. At a career fair you should always dress in a professional business suit; have the friend look at the suit front and back, up and down – looking for lint, a tag sticking out, too many buttons unbuttoned, etc – to ensure you are dressed appropriately.  Ask the friend to shake your hand (should be a firm, quick handshake), listen as you say your name (make sure there’s nothing in your teeth and you have fresh breath!), and assess your pitch (should be rehearsed but also specific to how your experiences align with the company needs).
  1. Speaking of your pitch, you will need to know your personal brand. Someone who knows and maximizes their strengths. Someone who contributes a unique and valuable ingredient to their team. When you’re developing yourself at school and seeking to make your next professional move, you must be fully aware of your own unique qualities and demonstrate them consistently in everything you do.  Even though your top strengths are only a few of many facets of your personal brand, they are absolutely vital to reaching your goals. When working on a class project, looking for an internship or pursuing a first job out of school, you need to actively integrate your greatest strengths.
  1. Be prepared to hand over your resume.  All that free stuff given out at company tables can be great…until you no longer have hands for handshakes or the ability to easily find or grasp your resume.  Given the amount of students at each career fair, every second is valuable to a recruiter.  Make sure you have your hands ready and your resume is easily accessible.  Try speaking to all your target companies first, then go around at the end for the free stuff.
  1. Ask good questions and make yourself memorable, but be aware of the line of students behind you.  Make sure you show off your main skills and experience and ask your burning questions, but remember there are students behind you who want to do the same.  Take a few short minutes with the recruiting team, then ask for a business card to follow up later in the week with any additional information or questions.

For more tips on starting on your personal brand journey as you get ready to launch your career, participate in PwC’s personal brand experience by visiting our website at www.pwc.com/us/personalbrand 

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PwC (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax, and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its clients and their stakeholders. More than 169,000 people in 158 countries across our network share their thinking, experience, and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.

The Career Fair – It’s Not Just for Seniors

Linda Yu is a senior majoring in International Business and minoring in International Affairs with a concentration in Finance. She has completed two co-ops within a financial management firm in Boston, MA and London, UK. She has studied abroad in Spain, Ireland, and England. Follow/tweet her at @lindayu925.

I have always been the type of person that gets nervous when meeting new people. It can be quite ironic how I am enrolled in business school because I’m a big introvert, the exact opposite of what business schools encourage you to be. So when I heard about the Fall Career Fair, the bigger of the two general career fairs that Northeastern Career Services hosts, I immediately disregarded the opportunity. At the time, I was a sophomore and on the search for my first co-op. The Career Fair didn’t matter to me because I already had everything figured out. I had extensively researched the companies I wanted to work for and networking didn’t seem necessary. I was planning on nailing the interviews and getting the job.

I asked myself: “Why not? What can I possibly lose?” There was always the chance of humiliating myself but I knew I had to let go of that someday. So I put on my best suit, a pair of shiny pumps, took out my portfolio into which I inserted 20 copies of my resume, and headed off to Cabot Cage.

Image from www.campusrec.neu.edu

Upon arrival, Career Services provided me with a detailed list of employers and their exact locations (I encourage you to research the companies in advance, you can find

the company list here).

Yes, it was crowded but not unmanageable. Students and alumni were constantly leaving and arriving. There was a room where students could get organized. I followed the map and went straight to the companies I wanted to work for. The extensive research I conducted proved to be both useful and useless at the same time. Employers were impressed with how much I knew about their company. However, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the company until I spoke to someone that actually worked there. The information I received from employers made me realize that from my original target list, I truly only wanted to work for less than half of the companies. This saved me time and spared my co-op coordinator many headaches.

I explored the fair further and talked to companies that I was interested in but didn’t know too much about. Whether there were internships, full time positions, rotational programs, or co-op positions, the companies there had so much to offer! It was interesting to me how companies in the same industry often had different selling points and I was able to gain exposure to various industries. Initially, the Career Fair made me queasy but it turned out to be fun and informative.

A week after the fair, my co-op advisor called me and told me that a top 20 company within the Fortune 500 wanted to interview me after they met me at the career fair. I was so surprised that they remembered me from the hundreds of students they had met that day. I went to the interview and a day later found out that I got the job! I was gloating while my friends were still searching for their co-ops. I guess they really should have gone to the Career Fair!

Image from Northeastern.edu

After completing 2 co-ops within a financial management company in Boston and in London, I now know that my reasons for fearing the career fair never really end. You are always expected to market yourself, to network with other people and companies, and to constantly learn. Some people will love the process and others will hate it. Some people will be better at this than others. For me, I guess the question to always ask yourself is “Why not? What can I possibly lose?”

Interviews are a two-way street

Most people, myself included, find interviewing for a job to be extremely stressful. As a job-seeker, you’re so focused on answering questions “right”, trying to impress the employer and getting them to offer you the job, that you can lose sight of another perspective that is very important – your own. Your opinion is just as important as the employer’s, even though it may seem like they’re the ones with all the power. Let’s be honest – interviewing is not so different from dating. You’re always flattered to get an offer, and prefer having the opportunity to turn someone else down rather than being turned down yourself. But accepting a job is more significant than going on a date with someone you may not be all that interested in, and before you let the flattery go to your head, make sure you think through your options.

Image from www.paulmullan.ie

Shortly after college, I interviewed for a legal assistant position working for a corporate lawyer. It’s been 15 years, and this interview still ranks as one of the worst, if not THE worst, interview I have ever sat through. Not only did the lawyer regularly swear in the interview (not at me, thankfully), but he also repeatedly insulted his female clients, claiming that they got their companies in a divorce or by being widowed, and had no idea what they were doing. I sat there thinking “Do you not realize I’m a woman?”, with no idea on how to handle the situation (pre-career counselor days!) and hoping it would be over soon. I walked out of that office completely unconcerned about whether I ever heard from the company again, because there was absolutely nothing that would convince me to accept a job working for that man. (And before anyone starts with lawyer jokes – I’m not criticizing all lawyers or the legal profession, simply the behavior of this one particular man.)

Of course, my example is an extreme one, and most interviews won’t be quite so dramatic and most red flags won’t be quite so obvious. But the point is a good one – you have an obligation to yourself to assess the merits of the job/company, to determine if the job is what you want, if it will help you accomplish what you hope to accomplish, and if it allows you to do the things that are important to you, both inside and outside the office. Each job-seeker has their own personality and their own priorities, and while I could not have tolerated the working environment I described above, it’s also true that some job-seekers would not have been bothered by it like I was.

So take some time to think about what is important to you in a job and in a working environment, and compare it with what you know about the job/company before you accept any offers. Does the job play to your skills? Does the work seem like something you’d be satisfied doing, or are you unconcerned with the actual work as long as the salary meets your financial needs? Would you like a job where coworkers socialize regularly, maybe outside of work, or would you rather just do your job and be on your way? What did you think of the manager/coworkers that you met, and how did they interact with each other? If you’re looking for flexible scheduling, does the job allow that, or is the schedule clearly defined? Do you have other outstanding questions or concerns that haven’t been addressed yet?

Image from Career Girl Network

These are just examples of possible questions you may want to ask yourself, but there may be other things that are important to you as well. Be thorough about your research. In addition to what the company tells you, use sites like glassdoor.com to see what other people have said about them, Google the company to see what has been said about them in the news, and try networking with any possible contacts at the company who may be able to give you more insight.