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.