Waiting Room Do’s and Don’t’s

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

I Wish The Day Had 25 Hours

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!

 

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

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

 

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

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

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.

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.

Rethinking “Back to Square One”

Elf, Will Ferrel

To some, December  also means watching Elf on repeat!

Well, it’s here. It’s December which means its only another two more weeks until final exams and then BAM…Christmas and New Years.

There have been some conflicting reports on the job market as of late. As a graduating senior this May – I’ve been on the hunt for any signs of opportunity and I’m at a loss.

Only a few weeks ago, Lindsay Gellman of the Wall Street Journal authored an article titled, Class of 2016 Graduates May Step Into Millennial’s’ Best Job Market Yet. The genesis of this reporting may have spawned from a survey’s results conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (known as NACE) where 201 employers stated that they were planning on hiring 11% more graduates this coming year than they had done so previously.

Earlier this year Lydia Dishman of Fast Company profiled the graduating class of 2015 forecasting that they’d hit some turbulence in finding secure career opportunities. Dishman cites that individuals, “between the ages of 17-24 have historically been hit with high unemployment”. Comparing the class to recent graduates pre-2008 economic crisis, Dishman highlights that current data shows that 10.5% of graduates are neither enrolled in graduate programs or employed, whereas in 2007, this figure was 8.4%.

What could this possibly mean!?

Behind all these inflated, conflated, deflated, and any other word containing the suffix –flated numbers lies, well, the applicant.

Truth be told, I’m not necessarily looking for a job when I graduate in May. I’ve still got another year (go Huskies!) to compete my MPH with the program here. I’ll most likely be able to sustain a part-time job, do a little bit of research, and complete my full-time studies post May 2016 with no problems whatsoever. So why go through all of the fuss of studying the job market etc. etc.??

Upon my return to the United States a renewed sense of responsibility and opportunity dawned upon me, as it does to many students as they begin their fall studies. This energy and this desire to not only perform at a high academic standard, but to contribute new ways of thinking, how to analyze problems, and offer novel solutions is something that, well…is something that we should consider to develop and maintain (especially over the course of the semester…yes even during midterms and finals).

Maintaining and developing the constant flow of information and the transmission of data through language, art, and science doesn’t have to be such an intimidating endeavor either. It’s easy to get caught up in the personal dilemmas, the trials and tribulations of coursework, and all of the other things you’ve probably got on your plate. More often than not, what’s sacrificed is our curiosity, our creativity, and our drive when we’re faced with the challenges associated with the thick of the semester.

We’ve all heard it – “Well, it looks like we’re back to square one”.starting line

When faced with a failure, and faced with a new beginning as a result of this ‘failure’, we tend to frame ourselves and our metaphysical position in space in perhaps the most negative and backwards vantage point possible.

I’d like to offer a redesign of this phrase – back to square one.

We instead are always at square one.

Imagine the things we could do or the things we could achieve if we approached everyday like it was the beginning of a new semester? Imagine the things we could achieve if we realized that we are in a constant state of learning, and if we fed this intellectual hunger? It’s pretty wild.

So, I guess going back to the whole job thing. Don’t sweat it. With each trial and error is an opportunity to begin again with a nuanced approach, with a redesigned strategy, with a new line of thinking. Be an applicant that’s the truest form of a lifelong learner, find the opportunities, stay informed, approach the process like it’s the first day of school. Stay at square one.

This post was written by Student Contributor, Jonathan Sirisuth. Follow him on instagram.

Prioritizing Your Life

Ever feel like you have a to-do list that is 50 pages long and only 24 hours in a day? Chances are you aren’t alone in this dilemma. Whether it is exams or projects in university or feeling the pressure in the workplace, it’s so important to know what is top priority, especially when all of it seems important.

Write it all down. Take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything you have to do that day. It might take some time to do, but seeing it all in one place helps. You’ll be able to rank things in order so it’ll be easier to tackle that long list.

Numbers. Give everything a number. And yes, I do mean everything. It’ll be hard to decide for some, but assigning priority helps you realize what really is important that day. It’ll give you the space to focus on one task at a time. Play the number game with your to-do list. I guarantee not everything is top priority. This forces you to stop and examine what you’re doing; you’ll be better for it.

Break a big project down. Seeing an impending exam or due date is stressful. Instead of having one huge due date that’ll weigh you down, break it up into smaller pieces. For instance, if something is due in five days, do a quarter of it for the next four days and you’ll still have a day to spare for revisions or finishing up that last part.

Separate work from personal. Keep those lists separate. There is absolutely no need to have on your to-do list while at work to go grocery shopping or clean the kitchen at home. It’s not relevant and it messes with the mind! Split them. Not only will it be a shorter list on both ends, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters in that moment.

Cross it off. When you finish a task, cross it off! No need to have it on that list anymore.

Carry these tips into your life to help manage that planner of yours. It doesn’t have to be difficult – you can make it easier on your brain and more manageable on your workload.

Photo from http://michaelhyatt.com

Colette Biro is a 3rd year Biology and Mathematics major with a minor in Chemistry. She has worked in academic research at Northeastern and currently works in healthcare at Massachusetts General Hospital. Colette is passionate about running, November Project and being a Husky Ambassador. Feel free to reach out to her at biro.c@husky.neu.edu.