Networking Never Stops. Ever.

source: gregbekkers.wordpress.com memegenerator.net

source: gregbekkers.wordpress.com
memegenerator.net

This guest post was written by Sheila Taylor, a Northeastern University Career Development intern.

net·work·ing noun

:  the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically :  the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business

Most of us associate networking with finding a job. While you’re actively seeking employment, you’re busy forging relationships with people who may help you land that dream job. Networking is about meeting and talking with people. By creating a relationship during the conversation, you will be able to ask, “Who do you think I should talk to next?”

What if I were to tell you that networking shouldn’t end when you find a job? Would you groan in dismay, or would you jump up and say, “Yeah!” to continue building relationships?

For many people, networking is work. It’s a fine art form that you develop over time. Everyone must refine their skills to reflect their style. For some people, they can walk into a crowded room and instantly connect with strangers. For others, it takes practice to find the right conversation starter and to have the confidence to introduce themselves to an industry leader.

After many years in the work force, three careers and an international move, I want to remind you not to abandon that network you diligently built while job hunting! Did you meet some fascinating, fun people along the way? Would you like to have a reason to stay connected? It’s important to continue to cultivate those relationships for business. You never know when you may need them!

Here are some strategies for continuing to network after you have found employment:

First of all, thank the people in your network that led you to where you are now, especially the people that helped you during your active job search. Then, let them know where you are working and how they can reach you. Send them your v-card. Update your LinkedIn profile. Who knows, maybe you can return the favor and give them some valuable information some day.

Are there some interesting people that you connected with? Were they easy to talk to? Did they seem open to answering your questions? Consider building a base of mentors. Some of the people you met through your information interviews or while attending professional association meetings may be willing to fill this role. Why seek out mentors? Early on in your career there may be projects that your supervisor assigns to you that could seem daunting but you don’t want to disappoint them or appear unfit to take on the challenge. Here is where a mentor comes in: they may give you some advice on where to start or how to face the challenge. They may be able to help you brainstorm or problem-solve to come up with a solution to a problem.

I sought out mentors when I landed my second job. Some elements of my job were very new to me – such as conducting interviews with national media outlets. I was alone. None of my work colleagues had experience in this role – they were all happy to push me in front of the microphone! I turned to a few people that I had met at a professional workshop. I called them and asked them for advice. They became my informal “committee of advisors” cheering me on from the sidelines and supporting me during a stressful time.

You may find mentors or advisors in the most unlikely places. I recall participating in a committee for a corporate-wide project. Whenever I presented material to the committee there was one colleague that always challenged my work. At first I was offended and then I realized they took interest in my work and they wanted me to succeed. After the project ended, I sought out this person from time-to-time because I knew they would give me a different perspective.  I have also met people through groups on LinkedIn. I have participated in group discussions and have found that a particular person provides good advice or resources. I will connect with that person and turn it into an opportunity to meet and strengthen the connection.

Networking can also help you grow as a person. Maybe you’ve been in your job for a couple of years and you want to expand your skills – use your network to research how to try out these skills in other ways: through volunteering or getting active in a professional association.

Finally, networking is a little bit like being a gardener. You have to continue to nourish and feed your contacts to keep your network alive. Share information with colleagues. Show interest in what your contacts are doing. Find out about industry trends. Grow your network. Who knows when it may be time for you to look for another job? If your network is active, you can hit the ground running and cut down on the time spent searching for your next opportunity. Better yet, your network may seek you out for a job that is never advertised.

Sheila Taylor worked in the Career Development office as an intern and recently left to move back to Canada. She has worked in both the United States and Canada in Public Relations before transitioning to become a Career Counselor. 

Kelly’s Top 10 Resume Don’ts

Maury Povich knows you're lying. Image source: makeameme.org

Maury Povich knows you’re lying.
Image source: makeameme.org

As a career counselor, I see a lot of resumes. They range anywhere from the absolutely atrocious to the epitome of formatting perfection. Crafting a resume is a daunting task for almost everyone I meet with (cover letters as well, but that’s a whole different ball game).

I’ve compiled a list of my top resume “don’ts” based on all my client conversations. Let’s just call this the resume format version; I’ll put out the 2.0 version on resume content at a later date. You may disagree with some and that’s okay- one of the hardest things about resumes is that every recruiter/counselor is going to have their own opinion. These are just mine.

Kelly’s Top 10 Resume Don’ts:

10. Don’t use a bunch of different fonts. The average hiring manager spends about 10 seconds (if you’re lucky) looking at a resume before deciding whether or not they’re going to put it into the “possible candidate pile”. Don’t make the recruiter think you’re scattered and disorganized before they’ve even started reading it by having too many fonts messing with their eyes. If you need to have more than one font- limit it to two, one for the headings and one for the content. Similarly…

9. Don’t use a bunch of font sizes. In regards to size, your name should be the only thing larger than 12 point font. If you MUST make your headings a larger size, keep it very slight- I’m talking one or two font points larger than the rest of your document.

8. Don’t get crazy with the font styles. Nobody likes Comic Sans- seriously, nobody. Other fonts to avoid: Chiller, Broadway, Curlz and any font that looks like you hired a cheap calligrapher to write your resume. Stick with any standard font that will work across systems. There’s nothing more annoying than when I open up a resume done on a Mac and its some weird font on my PC. Safe fonts include: Calibri, Ariel, Times New Roman (I personally hate this font, but it’s acceptable), Georgia, and Garamond. Just use common sense, if the font looks like that font your 3rd grade teacher used on a flyer for the school play- change it.

7. Don’t leave tons of blank space. In other words, balance out your page. I personally suggest tabbing your dates over to the right side of the page in line with your job title because most of your content will begin on the left. Know that you can have margins as small as .5 inches around your page to give you more space. Career Development has resume samples you can model your resume after- as does your co-op advisor.

6. Don’t use color (unless it is appropriate for your industry). I applaud your attempt to try something new and stand out, but unless you’re a designer, you’re probably not equipped with the correct eye for these things. Know your industry, if you’re a graphic designer, your resume should have color and showcase your “brand” and design talents; if you’re an accountant- not so much.  

5. Don’t list “references available upon request”. If you get to this part of the interview process they’re going to ask you for references regardless of whether or not your resume says this at the bottom. Don’t waste the space.

4. Don’t waste space. If you’re just starting out, your resume will be short and that’s okay. Take advantage of styling it so it looks relatively full (maybe a 12 point Ariel font, 1 inch margins, etc.).

If you’ve been in business a while, one page is still the standard- especially if you just graduated. If you have a master’s degree, I’ll let you slide with two pages. Remember that space is a valuable commodity; ask yourself with each section and bullet point- ‘What skill or qualification am I trying to convey with this?’ If you can’t answer that question, the section/bullet is just taking up space: DELETE.

3. Don’t list every course you’ve ever taken. That’s great you took College Writing and Algebra I, so did everyone else in college in America. Don’t waste the space on something that’s not adding value to your resume- especially when it’s at the top listed with your education (or should be if you’re a recent graduate or new professional).

List courses that are relevant to your industry and make your stand out. Also, remember you can be asked about anything you list on that resume, so be prepared to talk about that History of Rock class if you’re going to list it.

2. Don’t make spelling or grammatical errors. I, for one, am NOT detail oriented, but when I’m looking over a resume, all of a sudden, I have an eagle eye. This resume is a reflection of your attention to detail. If you don’t care enough to make sure the resume is written well, than you probably don’t care that much about the position. Even if that’s not true, that’s what the employer is thinking. Plus, it just gives them a reason to throw your resume out, especially if they have 500 to go through and they have to narrow it down to 10. My rule of thumb: always have 3 people read it over- just for that reason.

Drum roll please… my top resume Don’t:

1. Don’t lie. No, seriously, don’t lie. Misrepresenting yourself reflects poorly on you as a professional, but also as a person (oh and the school too). Also, why are you trying to tell people you can do something that you can’t do? Once you get hired (if you even get that far) it’s not like you’ll magically develop the skill. You’ll have to eventually confess that you were lying, or more likely, they’ll figure it out first and you’ll get fired.

Like all humans, hiring managers respect honestly and integrity. If there is a skill they’re looking for and you sort of have it- list it as ‘basic knowledge’ or ‘working knowledge’ on your resume. If you’re asked about it during an interview, you can explain what you know, how you’ve applied that skill, and also what you’ve been doing in the meantime to develop it as you know it’s required for the position.

Bonus:

Don’t list your high school after you’ve done a co-op (or once you’re in your third year). Unless you went to an elite high school that you think will give you some pull wherever you’re applying, it’s most likely not adding any value to your resume at this point. If you’re a freshman or sophomore, high school is still generally OK.

Kelly Scott is Assistant Director of Career Development and Social Media Outreach at Northeastern University. A social media enthusiast and Gen Y, she enjoys writing about workplace culture and personal online branding. For more career insight, follow/tweet her at @kellydscott4.

 

I’m moving to LA! Advice on Conducting a Long Distance Job Search

imagesource: moveacrosscountry.net

imagesource: moveacrosscountry.net

This post was written by Angela Vallillo, recent biology graduate on the pre-medical track. She is moving to LA in less than a week!

Hello again! I’m glad to be contributing to the blog for a second time. I thought I’d share some updates about my post-grad, job-searching, apartment hunting life. I graduated on May 2, but I don’t technically finish with my degree until August. Until then, I’m taking some classes online. But, I’m also in the process of moving to Los Angeles! My boyfriend and I have been in a long distance relationship for over two and a half years, and this was the perfect opportunity for us to finally be together. My flight is in the afternoon on June 5th, and I couldn’t be more excited to check out another city! This whole relocation thing has had a lot of moving parts, so take note!

Apartment searching: As of about thirty minutes ago, I am all locked in for an apartment. I thought I had one last week, but some things did not work out and everything seemed as if the whole move was falling apart. I’m looking in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles, which is right outside of downtown. It’s a cool area that is close to all the sights and restaurants downtown. It was a bit weird conducting searches over the phone and explaining my situation to landlords and property managers, but most of the time they were pretty cool about it. It also helps that my boyfriend is already there and he can go check buildings and apartments out before I get there. FaceTime has been really handy, he would go check out apartments and then FaceTime me so I could actually see it in real time. Right now I’m in the process of signing a lease over the internet, and thanks to technology, I’m able to do it over e-sign, which is great! Once I send a deposit and sign the lease, the apartment will be all mine when I step off the plane on June 5th. 

Job Hunting: So, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be moving without a job. Well, that quickly went out the window as I hadn’t been having a lot of luck with companies wanting to hire me from out of town. If you’re looking to move, I wouldn’t take this as an “end all” statement because people have definitely done it. I’ve been doing a lot of searching on Craigslist for medical positions. When I send out replies to ads, I definitely don’t hide the fact that I am out of town. I explain in the body of my email and cover letter, in a basic and easy to understand few sentences exactly what my plan is and what I’m doing. I also explicitly say that I would love to phone or Skype interview if the company wants to interview me before I get there. Some have been receptive, while others, I assume, have gone with people that are in the area. I did get a few calls back, and a Skype interview with an orthopedic surgeon! Most of the time, they will want to meet you in person, and I will be heading to the office the day after my plane lands in order to formally interview. It definitely depends what field you’re looking for a job in order to figure out what kind of companies you’re dealing with.

General Moving Advice: So to throw another curveball into my moving plans, I also have a cat. This has limited which apartments that I am able to even look at. I also have to bring her on the plane with me, which is going to be an adventure within itself. I plan on bringing one large bag, and mailing the rest of my things. Since the apartment isn’t furnished, that’s another thing that I have to do. Starting with the necessities and moving on from there. If anybody has any advice about sending or moving stuff, definitely let me know, I’m always open to suggestions- just leave it in the comments!

It’s hard leaving a place you’ve grown to love and lived in for so long, but graduating is all about new opportunities and new adventures! Wish me luck!

Angela Vallillo is recent biology major on the pre-medical track. She is in the midst of moving cross country to LA. Follow her NU admissions blog to read more from Angela.

 

The Informational Interview: The Secret Weapon of Job Searching

This guest post was written by Katie McCune, a Career Development Assistant at Northeastern University Career Development. She’s also a Career Assistant at MIT.

Ever heard of an informational interview? If you’re anything like me when I was an undergraduate, this concept is drawing up a big, huge question mark in your thought-bubble. If you don’t want to be in the successful job-search club, then this is your queue to go back to wondering why you didn’t come up with these college hacks (because let’s be real, they are pretty awesome). If, however, you would like to join the pay-check earning, “look at me, I got a job” club, read on.

Yes!!!! source: memegenerator.net

Yes!!!!
source: memegenerator.net

So, what the heck is an informational interview?

An informational interview is an interview in reverse. Instead of an employer interviewing you, you meet with somebody in an industry you’re interested in learning more about and interview them. And…you got it…the whole point is to gather information. Think of all you could learn if you had 30 minutes with the CEO of your favorite company, or anyone in your favorite company for that matter! Sometimes all you have to do is ask for their time.

But what should I ask in an informational interview?

There are no right or wrong questions to ask, so ask whatever would be helpful for you. Want to know how to break into the field? Ask it! Want to know how important creativity is at the organization, or what the day-to-day work looks like, or the work/life balance, or…? Ask away!  You can ask about the person’s own background, the company that person works for, or the field in general. There’s only one rule: don’t ask for a job. I repeat, DO. NOT. ASK. FOR. A. JOB! It’s sort of like dating. How awkward would it be if on your first date your lucky companion asked you if you would marry them? Whoa, slow down buddy, we just met. Same deal with an informational interview. Don’t ask for a job on your first meeting, it’s not going to work.

If I can’t ask for a job, then how does an informational interview help me get one?

You’ve probably heard that networking is the number one way that people find jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 70% of people found their job through networking. Informational interviews are just like going to a networking event in that they are an opportunity for you to make a first professional impression and help you get the inside scoop on what could make you a successful candidate (but one-on-one meetings are a lot less intimidating for my fellow shy networkers out there). That way, when you apply for a job at the company where you did an informational interview, they don’t just know you as a one-page resume, but they know your face, they know more about your story, and (hopefully) you made a great impression on them so you’re already ahead of other candidates. Better yet, they may even tell you about jobs in the “hidden job market,” or the ones that are never posted.

Case in point, I was looking to get into career counseling, but I didn’t have any experience in the field. I did an informational interview with a career counselor and asked her if there was anybody else she recommended I talk to. I followed her recommendation and did an informational interview with her contact. In this second interview the very last question I asked was, “Do you know of any opportunities for me to test the waters before I make a long-term commitment to this field?” Yep, in fact she did. Northeastern’s Career Development was looking for interns, so I applied to the position that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise. And voila, now I’m writing this blog, and the woman that I did an informational interview is my supervisor. See, I haven’t been lying to you, this really works!

The Secret Weapon of Job Searching!

Here in Career Development we have gotten a lot of great feedback from students and alumni alike that these interviews have helped develop themselves as professionals and learn about new opportunities. They’re the secret weapon of job searching because often times, people don’t think to do them as part of their search, but they can be oh-so-powerful. But I hate keeping secrets, so check out Career Development’s resources on how to conduct informational interviews, and help me spread the word by sharing your success stories with us, your friends, and anybody else who is looking for a job! Happy interviewing.

Katie is a Career Development Assistant at NU with a background in sociology. A teacher at heart, she loves leading workshops–in addition to the career workshops, she’d gladly teach you how to hula-hoop, how to organize your house/office/desk, or how millennials can make great employees. Email her at k.mccune@neu.edu.

My #1 Trick for an Awesome Cover Letter

image source: sciencepreps.iupui.edu

image source: sciencepreps.iupui.edu

This guest post was written by recent communications graduate and former Career Development Intern and co-op, Amy Annette Henion

Last April, I sat on a hiring committee. Yes, I tend to talk about this a lot. (C’mon – as a student, is it not super cool to hire a great career counselor to help out your peers?)

While poring over the applicants’ cover letters, we noticed an important detail that made some candidates really shine. What did they do that the other candidates didn’t?

They talked about why they were passionate about our organization.
While writing a cover letter, you MUST follow this rule. Hiring committees and interviewers are looking to see if you care about their mission. Talking about your passion helps you stand out from the crowd. While applying for jobs, the last thing you want is a generic cover letter that sounds as though it could apply to any job at any other company.

So what makes you really want to apply to work for a certain company? Is it their dedication to helping serve underprivileged populations? Do they consistently strive for excellence with their product? Do they have a vibrant start-up culture that you think you can help build and grow? Say so! Sharing your passions paints a more colorful portrait of you as a living, breathing human being with hopes and dreams for the future. And who wouldn’t want to hire that kind of person?

Amy Annette Henion is a 2014 communications graduate with minors in theatre and East Asian studies. She basically lived in the theatre department office on the first floor of Ryder. Follow/tweet her at @amyannette37 and read her blog here.

When You’re Too Good For Them

Source: blog.careerworx.co.uk

Source: blog.careerworx.co.uk

This post was written by Associate Director of Northeastern Career Development, Susan Loffredo.

Have you ever dated someone who used “You’re too good for me” as a reason for breaking up with you? Did you believe it? I didn’t think so.  So when an employer passes on hiring you for the same reason, you shouldn’t believe it either. Or should you?

In most cases, you probably should.  Just because you’ve moved way beyond the job you’re currently applying for, doesn’t mean you would be better at it than someone who has only those exact qualifications. In fact, you probably wouldn’t be as good, because those old skills are probably rusty.

I am assuming here that you applied for a lower level job not because it’s the job of your dreams but because you need a job, any job. Hiring managers understand this, and are leery of candidates who seem like they are only interested in a quick paycheck and will decamp as soon as a better offer comes along.

Employers are also concerned that candidates with an overabundance of experience will be bored and unmotivated because the job isn’t challenging, and will ultimately become unhappy with the lower salary and status. And think about this: if your qualifications are equal to or greater than those of your prospective manager, you may be perceived as someone who is gunning for that manager’s job.  While there are managers secure enough to hire someone who could challenge their authority and expertise, not many do.

Your best chance of getting hired is by going after jobs that fit your qualifications to perfection. But if the rent is due and you have to broaden your search, selectively applying to positions that require less experience may be a reasonable option, especially if you are able to commit to staying at least a year.

In addition, choose jobs that offer you a chance to learn something, maybe a new field or a different set of skills. Explain in your cover letter that this is one reason this job appeals to you.  Be clear that you realize the salary may be less than someone with your experience might expect, but that it’s okay.   Maybe a less challenging job will allow you to have more time outside of work to devote to family, additional training or an important hobby. Make this point in your cover letter as well if it fits.

The job market seems to be improving, but there are still so many job seekers on the market that employers, like Goldilocks, can usually choose the one who is just right.  But if you can show the employer valid reasons for your interest and the worth of your skills, that just right one could be you.

Author Susan Loffredo began counseling NU students well before the iPhone was invented and owns socks that are older than the class of 2013. Email her at s.loffredo@neu.edu.

Creating a Target List… Yes you have to

If it was only this easy...  Source: http://scottkelby.com

If it was only this easy…
Source: http://scottkelby.com

This guest post was written by Tricia Dowd, a Career Development Assistant at NU Career Development, and a recent graduate from Northeastern’s Higher Education Administration program where she earned her Master’s degree this past September. 

One of my favorite exercises to use in job search workshops is asking students to take two minutes to write down as many companies that they would want to work for as they can think of. Usually students excitedly scribble down a couple names and get stumped; occasionally, I’ll have a student who can name more than five. So when I tell them that their ideal target list should include 20-30 different employers, most of them get a panicked look. Creating a target list can definitely be overwhelming at first, but it is an important first step of any job search. I’ve compiled a list of advice and techniques below to help you identify potential employers and kick your job search off effectively.

  • Hop on HuskyCareerLink: Many of you are probably familiar with our job search database, HuskyCareerLink. But did you know we also have an employer search function in HCL? Not only is this a great place to start to build a target list, it also gives you an idea of what companies have worked with Northeastern. To do an employer search, head to the Employers tab on the top menu and click ‘Employer Search’. Go through the list of industries and select any industry that applies to your field. HCL will generate a list of companies that hire within the selected industry so be prepared for the list to take a couple of minutes to load- we have a lot of employers in our database! You can click on any employer that comes up and view a brief description of the company. The cool thing about this list is that all of the employers you’ll see are there because they’ve worked with Northeastern in the past and will be familiar with the school and our amazing students!
  • Check out CareerSearch: CareerSearch is an awesome website that will generate a list of companies based on the criteria you put in. You can enter factors such as industry, company size, location, or keywords to narrow your search results. You’ll a get a list of companies that match your criteria. I suggest using the location tool to narrow down your results- there are over five million US companies in the database! To utilize CareerSearch you’ll have to log onto HuskyCareerLink and scroll down the homepage until you see the CareerSearch link. Northeastern pays for our students to be able to use this website so take advantage of this resource!
  • Look on LinkedIn: Not only is LinkedIn a powerful people resource, it’s also an important part of building your target list. LinkedIn has company pages that provide insight into companies you’re considering for your target list as well as related companies to help expand the list even further! For instance enter ‘Google’ into the LinkedIn search bar and the Google company page will come up. Scroll down a little until you hit the ‘People Also Viewed’ section on the right hand side. This is a list of similar companies! You can essentially follow the trail and research these different companies as well as companies that show up in their ‘People Also Viewed’ section. This is an easy way to expand a list if you already have a few company names.

These resources should help you develop a target list of 20-30 companies. You can do further research on these companies by looking at their company page on glassdoor and going on informational interviews with people who work there. This will help to confirm that the companies you’ve selected are a good fit for you! After you’ve finalized your target list, make sure to check their websites frequently for positions you’re qualified for. You can learn more about the job search process by attending one of our Small Group Job Search workshops or by looking on our Job Search page.

Tricia Dowd is a Career Development Assistant at NEU Career Development, and graduated from Northeastern with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration in September. She is interested in helping students gain practical experiences to complement what they’re learning in the classroom. You can reach her at p.dowd@neu.edu

Love is in the Air! And so is the question: “Do you have a job yet?”

dating granny

This guest post was written by Heather Carpenter, a Faculty Co-op Coordinator in the College of Engineering.

It was only a few years ago that I myself was on the dating scene. Often the case one of my friends would say, “Do you know [insert name here]. You would love him! Want me to set you up?” Before I would commit I knew I had to Google the guy. What was he all about? Who did we know in common? Why was he single? And most importantly, did he have a job?

Dating is very similar to finding a job or co-op. There have been great books written about the subject (Courting Your Career by Shawn Graham) but people often don’t see the parallel. I hope the following tips will help with your career dating life.

  1. Change your attitude. After being on the dating scene for a while it can start to feel discouraging when dates do not work out, and the same is true for the job search. You may wonder why people aren’t calling you for an interview or why you never get the offer. If this is happening to you, you should definitely ask for some advice. Have someone review your resume and practice an interview with you. If you go into the search with a bad attitude you will get bad results, so re-engage, get re-energized, and re-align your tactics.
  2. Know who you’re going to meet. Anyone who has been on a blind date knows the importance of internet stalking. The same is true for prospective employers, except you’re allowed to say you researched the company without coming off as a creep. Once you find a good company figure out who you know there that might be a good person to meet, and who might be able to introduce you. LinkedIn is a great tool to use to do this, and so is the Career Development Office. Find out when employers will be on-campus and take advantage of this face-to-face time!
  3. Help them get to know you. Chances are they are going to check you out at some point too. Give them something that displays all your accomplishments and hides your faults. Build a great LinkedIn profile and protect or clean up the rest of your online image. Your skills are the most important thing to display, so upload samples of your work or create a professional (and well proofread) portfolio that demonstrates your abilities to do the job.
  4. Ask questions. The best way to have a successful date is to show the person you’re interested in them. This works great with companies too, so be prepared with what you want to know – and asking how much they pay or if they are going to hire you does not cut it! Show you are engaged in their work, and that you have done your research.
  5. Find out about a second date. Career fairs are a great place to meet employers for the first time but are best used as networking tools, not necessarily to find a job that day. Ask for an opportunity to sit down with a recruiter or to meet a manager for an informational interview. This is your chance to really learn about the company in a 20 minute meeting, and potentially also get your foot in the door. This technique can be used to access people within your network as well.
  6. Be ready to give your number. You never know who you are going to meet where, so get a business card to be ready. It should have your name, major, Linkedin profile url, email and phone number on it. It doesn’t need to be pretentious, just professional.
  7. Tell them you had a great time. After you have the business card or the contact information or that first interview – DO SOMETHING! Write a nice thank you email that tells the employer how excited you are about the company, ask for the informational interview, or follow-up in any manner they may have requested of you when you met in person. Don’t drop the ball here or you may never have a chance for a second impression.
photo source: Photograph: ITV / Rex Features

photo source: Photograph: ITV / Rex Features

Dating and finding a job can both be stressful – but imagine the relief when you say yes to that offer and are in a committed relationship for the next couple years. Doing all of the work up front will ensure you find the right match for you so you don’t have to be back on the dating scene anytime soon.

Heather Carpenter is a Faculty Co-op Coordinator in the College of Engineering. In her previous lives she has worked in career services, non-profit, mental health, and criminal justice. She strongly believes in the value of experiential education and is pursuing her EdD to investigate the topic further! Connect with a witty message on Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/hmcarpenter.

Why Excel Spreadsheets Are Your Best Friend During a Job Hunt

picture and original article http://moreawesomerblog.com/2014/04/08/excel-best-friend-job-search/ - check it out!

Image and original article on Lindsey’s blog: http://moreawesomerblog.com/2014/04/08/excel-best-friend-job-search/ – check it out!

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

“Excel spreadsheets” and “job hunting”–your two least favorite phrases. While sitting down to crank out a spreadsheet doesn’t make you want to jump out of bed in the morning, keeping yourself organized during the dreaded task can make your life so much easier.

And why spend the time to create a huge Excel spreadsheet just for your job hunt?

It’s the best tool to keep you organized: When setting yourself up for a job hunt, the easier you can make your life, the better. The priority is doing research and making sure you are prepared for interviews, not trying to remember whether the hiring manager’s name is Frank or Tim. In Excel, all of your information is in one place–so you can focus on the things that really matter in your job search.

You can reference it later: Even if you’re happy with your job now, you might be in the market a few years down the line. It’s important to have a place to start when that happens. By keeping all of your professional resources in one place (contacts, leads, etc), you can make your life much easier in the future. Also, if your super-capable friend starts looking around for new opportunities, you can give her a couple of tips to get the ball rolling.

Compiling information helps to rank positions: If you have all of the information about each job in one spreadsheet, you can easily take a look and sort through potential jobs. For example, make sure you note in your spreadsheet some details that you might forget–salary, length of the commute, etc. This will help you make a well-informed decision when the time comes to accept a job.

So how do you get started on creating a master job hunting spreadsheet?

Keep all of your network contacts in one “Contacts” tab: During your job search, you can compile a list of everyone and anyone who could possibly help you in your job search. Think old employers, that person you met at a conference last year, a previous colleague who just moved to a new company. Everyone.

Research jobs: Reach out to your network about any openings you might not be aware of. Look at industry sites and scour the career pages of your dream companies. Make a list of every job you want to apply to under a “Job Progress” tab in your spreadsheet. With each company in a different row, add a column for your job progress, columns for “Application Sent Date,” “Interview Date,” and other important dates in the job search.

Take copious notes: Add columns for notes including “Company Contacts,” “Follow-Up Materials,” and “Interview Notes.” You should also keep track of the name/email of the person who interviewed you in this spreadsheet, which can come in handy for future reference, too. Take notes on the information you want to be able to reference, such as location, expected salary, distance to nearest Starbucks–whatever is important to you.

Once you have built your spreadsheet, Excel will prove itself as an extremely useful tool for tying every piece of the job search together. You’ll be able to make an easy decision regarding your career in no time.

Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here and tweet her @lindseygsampson.

 

A Shy Kid’s Guide to Networking

image source: http://www.spectra-events.com/2011/02/networking-tips-for-introverts/

image source: http://www.spectra-events.com/2011/02/networking-tips-for-introverts/

 

This guest post was written by Lana Cook, a PhD candidate in the English department at Northeastern University

I have always been on the shy side, an introvert in today’s parlance.  I grew up with my nose in a book.  Though I played with the neighborhood kids and joined team sports, I savored those solitary afternoons reading Anne of Green Gables for the twelfth time.  No small wonder that I went into an English Ph.D. program. So when this bookish introvert hears that ‘networking is the key to success,’ my first reaction is to cringe.  Palms begin to sweat, nightmarish visions of spilling my drink on a distinguished guest, fears of interrupting a conversation or appearing stupid cloud my mind with self-doubt.   But, then I remember what networking is at its basis:  the exchange of ideas with like-minded people.

Keeping that premise in mind, my confidence has grown as I now see the tangible benefits of meeting new people to circulate ideas, collaborate on projects, and discover new opportunities.  The risks are minimal, but the rewards can be potentially life changing.  Here are my tips for networking, even as an introvert:

Go To Events

This should be no-brainer, but it took me a while before I felt comfortable attending events alone. Be on the lookout for conferences, symposiums, workshops, speakers and panels to attend. Leave an impression by making an effort to speak to a few people. Sometimes I will make goals to meet a set number of people.  At first it may be forced, but eventually striking up conversations with strangers becomes natural.  People are attending these events for often the same reasons: to connect with others, build communities, and exchange ideas.

Stay For the Reception

Post-event receptions are a great time to network.  People are more relaxed and willing to meet new people over a few nibbles and beverages.  Don’t feel like you have to stay until the bitter end, and be careful not to overindulge on alcoholic drinks. You want to make an impression while you are there, but keep that impression positive and professional.

Be Yourself

This advice is a bit cliché, but is often repeated because it’s true.  Though sometimes we have to channel our inner confidence by ‘faking it until you make it,’ make sure that performance still rings true to who you are.  Posturing as someone you are not will not only feel disingenuous to others, but can also lead you astray of your own values.

Get Your “About You” Down

Though you should act naturally, it is also a good idea to have a basic script to share when people ask you about yourself.  Many recommend having an elevator speech, a quick five minute summary about yourself and your work. For myself, that’s a few sentences describing my educational background, current research project and career goals. This summary should not be robotic; think about it as a customizable personal statement that reflects your individual personality and makes you stand out from the sea of people in the room.  When speaking to people outside your field, avoid using disciplinary jargon and try to appeal to overlapping interests and shared goals.

image source: http://www.blogging4jobs.com/work/work-place-drama-gossip-problems/

image source: blogging4jobs.com

Watch the Gossip

It is easy to get caught up in office gossip, and some experts say that a little gossip can help us strengthen networks. But, when meeting new people, avoid talking negatively about others, your department or company.  It is a small world and word can travel quickly through our interconnected communities.  Negativity will reflect back on you. You want to be remembered for your positive energy, intelligence and ideas, not as the person who spreads malice or rumors.

Follow Up On New Contacts

After meeting new people, follow up by adding them on LinkedIn accompanied by a short personalized message.  If you meet them again in person, do not be discouraged if they do not remember your name or even face.  Reintroduce yourself and graciously refresh their memory about your last meeting. For example, if you met them at a conference recently, ask them what they thought about the keynote speaker or how their research is progressing.

Keep an Open Mind

I have learned that networking is a lifelong process with its own ebbs and flows of activity.  An open mind allows you to take in the flow of that experience rather than predetermining events and closing yourself off to others.  So, take a deep breath, put on a smile, and get your fabulous professional self out there.

Join me the first Thursday of the month here on The Works as I countdown to graduation.  My final post will reflect on my graduate school experience and the value of finishing up one chapter of your life before beginning another.

Lana Cook is a PhD candidate in the English department at Northeastern University. Her dissertation traces the development of the psychedelic aesthetic in mid-twentieth century American literature and film. Lana is a 2013-2014 graduate fellow at the Humanities Center.  She received her bachelors of arts at University of New Hampshire.  You can follow her on Twitter @lanacook or Linkedin. You can view her portfolio at LanaCook.net.