Tis the Season to Job Hunt

Job hunting is super stressful, at least for me. I’m sure I’m not alone in this sentiment. I feel that it’s so hard to find the right places to apply to and I don’t want to waste time interviewing for something I’m not actually interested in. Here’s how I’m working on it and hopefully some ways we can all benefit from:

Read, more reading, and a bit more. When looking at a job description, it can be very vague or super descriptive, and maybe something in between. It’s hard to find out exactly what you’ll be doing from just looking at a description. It helps to research the position on the internet – you’ll probably get some testimonials online as well as learn more about the role in that specific company.

Company matters. Potentially just as, if not more, important than the job itself is the company culture. You have to want to work somewhere in order to want to do your job. That “About us” tab on an employer’s website has a vast amount of information about what the company stands for, leadership, missions, achievements, even how they got started. It’s a good place to get a feel for the potential employer before you interview – and it shows that you did your research beforehand.

Questions. Ask questions in the interview about the company, your specific role, your interviewers’ roles, etc. It’ll teach you more about what you can do, where you’ll be, and what others do in the company, which may shed some light on whether or not this is somewhere you can see yourself working.

So get out there and hunt away! Use the time in the application process to really learn a lot about the company and position so that you can find the right place for you.

What We Can Learn from Supergirl

supergirl-cast-kara-143921If you watch much TV, you’ve probably heard that the comic book hero Supergirl now has a television series.  For those who are unfamiliar with the show, here are a few lines from Wikipedia:

“Twenty-four-year-old Kara Zor-El (Supergirl), who was taken in by the Danvers family when she was 13 after being sent away from Krypton, must learn to embrace her powers after previously hiding them.”

Supergirl’s defining characteristic is her power. So the iconic image of Supergirl shows her in a power pose, the same pose often struck by her cousin Superman as well as by Wonder Woman.  It’s no random coincidence that these superheroes stand up tall, arms akimbo, taking up space and asserting their right to do so. Not only does this posture make you look powerful, it alters your body chemistry to make you feel powerful too.

Wait, what? Yes, the way you sit or stand influences your hormonal balance, specifically the levels of cortisol and testosterone. Cortisol is a hormone released when you feel stressed and which increases your feelings of anxiety. Testosterone is a hormone that promotes feelings of confidence and tolerance for risk, and is present in both men and women.  So a person who has low cortisol and high testosterone circulating in his or her blood is biologically predisposed to feel more assertive, better able to handle pressure and less stressed.

This link between body posture and confidence was discovered by Amy Cuddy, a Harvard University researcher.  She and her colleagues took saliva samples from volunteers before and after they had held either a high power pose or a low power pose for two minutes.  Like the Supergirl stance, high power poses are open, relaxed, and involve expanding arms and legs to fully occupy the space around you.  Low power poses are closed and guarded, and involve shrinking into the smallest amount of space possible.

The results of this study were striking.  High power poses increased testosterone by 20% and decreased cortisol by 25%.  Watch Amy Cuddy’s TED talk to hear the details of this work.

What this means for you is that standing like Supergirl for two minutes before an interview or a presentation can significantly improve your performance.  This takes a little planning to find a restroom or other quiet place to hold your pose; two minutes and you’re good to go.  Try it, this really works. Just be sure to avoid the kryptonite.

 

Image credit to newsrama.com

Interviewing With Confidence

Interview-tips-10Mark Twain once said, “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” Here’s how I would apply this to job seeking: Be ignorant of the paralyzing fear and contrived impossibilities that will prevent you from achieving your goals, and run toward your dreams with total confidence that you will succeed.

These are words to live by when it comes to interviewing. Your interviewer has a limited amount of time to get a feel for whether you have the skills and drive to succeed in their organization. So, your job is to confidently prove to them you do. Confidence by its very nature implies competence, and that’s the message you want to send the interviewer.

Here are several ways you can demonstrate confidence during an interview:

  1. Come prepared to share a few insights about the company that align with your career objectives and ideals. Preparation will instill a sense of confidence in you that is authentic!
  2. Dress the part. Your interviewer should be able to look at you and think, this person not only looks capable, he or she looks like they already fit in our organization.
  3. Shake hands with poise and sincerity. While you may feel like a bag of nerves on the inside, your interviewer doesn’t have to know it. A firm handshake will convey confidence.
  4. Maintain good eye contact with your interviewer, especially when answering questions. This displays confidence in what you are saying.
  5. Keep your body language in check. Don’t fidget, slouch, lean back or stiffen up. A relaxed, upright posture portrays confidence.
  6. Speak with enthusiasm and interest. If you tend to quiver or go monotone when you are nervous, this is an area you will need to practice. How you say what you say is important!

Confidence will take you a long way in your career—but it must start with the interview!

Ashleane is a third year Communications major from Miami, FL. She enjoys ballet dancing , exploring the sights and sounds of Boston, and literature. Check her out onTumblr!