Tips and Tricks: Apply for Jobs with Confidence!


As we all know, applying for jobs is not a very exciting process. It is extremely tedious, stressful, and decreases our daily energy and confidence. It can be mentally and physically draining to not hear back from an employer or feel worthless after reading the requirements.

I can say I’ve been on this boat many times and still am, but I want you to take a deep breath in and release a new you. Today starts the era of a new confident job applicant.

A few wise people have told me that in order to be successful, you must go above and beyond your comfort zone; those wise people are mom and dad. Yes, my parents are always the ones keeping me motivated when I can’t seem to motivate myself. We all need to hear someone tell us, “you are better than what you are settling for, you can do wonders with your talents, etc, etc.”

So the question is, why are we not pushing ourselves more? When we first type in a job web page, we initially find ourselves scrolling for hours, looking for something that sounds a bit more on our “level” and also doesn’t seem so intimidating.

I’ll admit I would skim a very long explanation of the job and requirements, later telling myself I do not qualify. Wait, I do not qualify? Where did I get this idea from? Mom and dad were just telling me to go out of my comfort zone, and that novel was supposed to be my first step.

I later went back to that job description and decided to thoroughly read through every single detail. Once I did this, I still had minor doubts, but I felt that the worst thing that could happen is I don’t get a reply. I won’t know if someone on the other side of the computer is laughing at me thinking how someone with such “low” qualifications could possibly think they are worthy.

The problem is we overthink. We are scared of putting ourselves out there with the fear of being turned down. This, however, is not a healthy approach. It is important to do whatever it takes to get that energy and motivation back. If it takes blasting 80s rock to get you motivated, do it. if it takes running a half marathon and coming home all energized and ready to apply, do it. If it takes eating a whole pint of ice cream and getting an energy fix, do that too (cookie dough is always a good option). Do whatever it is that gets you feeling confident.

We are all different and all have different ways of raising our energy and confidence. You don’t have to look to others and try to be like them. Of course sympathizing and discussing help, but be yourself on this journey. Get out of your comfort zone and do something good for yourself.

The reason I put “level” and “low” in quotations is because we are not inexperienced and we are certainly not on the lowest level. We always have to remind ourselves of our accomplishments, of how far we have come. If you need someone to tell you, then ask them to reassure you, but this is something you have to do for yourself.

Here are a few daily steps in opening your confidence each and every day, as well as some steps to applying with more confidence.

Daily confidence boosters:

  1. Wake up with an intention. Tell yourself “today I will…” (e.g. apply for the best jobs).
  2. Get that pot of coffee, a cup of tea, or glass of juice — whatever your preference.
  3. Set up a comfortable space for yourself where you can sit, relax, and apply for jobs
  4. Set aside social media, phones, remotes, and/or any other distractions that can interfere with applying.
  5. Give yourself a little pep talk and encourage yourself.
  6. Have your resume and all other documents properly saved so you can easily find them.
  7. Have a notebook and pen or your online notepad open so you can jot down any names, numbers, emails, etc. that are important to your applications.
  8. Take a breather. Give yourself some time between each application to stretch, eat, drink, go for a walk, etc.
  9. Always set a goal. Tell yourself you will apply for 10 jobs today and do it. Don’t slack. Pretend you are reporting your daily log to someone and need to be accurate in order to receive a gold star for the day.
  10. Last but not least, relax. Don’t get worked up and mess up. Take it easy, do everything slowly, and be attentive to details. This should be a calm process that makes you feel good once you are done.

Well, there they are, 10 steps to boosting confidence and applying like a pro! Don’t forget that you are special, unique, and awesome in your own way. Now, go out there and show the world what it’s missing.

Nicollete Izakovic is in her final year as a Master’s student in the Global Studies department with a concentration in Development and Global Health. She is currently the President and co-founder of GGSO, the Global Graduate Student Organization, promoting a sense of community, diversity, and networking for all students in the Global Studies program. She also writes for Life Hack, which is a blogging web page that concentrates on all aspects of daily life. Nicollete has several published articles and is currently working on more. She is involved with MITCHI, which is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cost-effective Healthcare Initiative. MITCHI is also a student group, with a focus on finding ways to promote affordable health to developing countries. She is always looking for new ways to be involved in her community,  loves writing and is very excited to be a part of The Works. 


A Reminder for Those Rainy Days in Life

A photo by Gabriel Santiago. college years are universally considered one of the high points of peoples’ lives, and for good reason. College is often the first experience with real freedom: no one telling you to clean your room, do your homework, or go to sleep already. Additionally, you’re surrounded by masses of people the same age as you who are all excited to be learning in classes and working toward their future careers. College is also the time where most people turn 21 and going out for a casual drink with friends becomes a reality. For most people, it’s the perfect combination of freedom and a manageable amount of responsibility. Like many others, I consider my college years some of the best of my life, but that doesn’t mean that things didn’t go horribly wrong.

The other day a friend and I were reminiscing about our sophomore year of college and along with the amazing memories came the memories of the times we really struggled. While we were all joining clubs, pursuing our first co-ops, and exploring our individual interests, my parents were getting divorced. While I wasn’t particularly surprised by this decision, it was a stressful time in my life, not least because it was all happening three thousand miles away. The part I struggled with most was that people I loved (my mother, father, and sister) were hurting. There wasn’t anything I could do to take away their pain and I wasn’t there to help with the logistics of their separation, which led to a lot of guilt. At the time it really felt like my family would never recover. Six years later, we have found a new “normal” that I couldn’t even imagine at the time, and we are undoubtedly all in a better place.

Now in graduate school, I’m in the middle of another dark spot. I recently found out that my two-year-old cat I raised from a kitten has heart disease. This news came shortly after a string of unrelated veterinary visits for both of my cats that have racked up overwhelming bills. To make a stressful situation worse, the vet has no idea whether he will do well on medication and live another ten years, or if he will deteriorate quickly and be gone much sooner than he should be. In addition, I now have to remember to give him a pill every twelve hours, which is no easy task amidst the insanity that graduate school can sometimes bring. The logical part of my brain is telling me that this too will pass and that if I’ve gotten through all of the other curve balls that life has thrown my way, I will be able to get through this one too. But there are days where I look at my sweet cat with all of his shaved patches from the numerous vet visits and it really doesn’t feel like I will find “normal” again.

By putting these two experiences next to each other I’ve realized that even though there were difficult times, I still think of my time at Northeastern as some of the best years of my life. Not despite the hard times, and not because I overcame them, but because life is a roller coaster and the downs help us to appreciate the ups and the ups help us survive the downs. And maybe six years from now I will be snuggling with my cat fondly reminiscing about my time in graduate school, both the good and the bad. So for those of you out there who are struggling, and for those days where it’s hard to get out of bed, this is a reminder for both you and me. A wise man once said “what a difference a day makes,” and for the smaller obstacles in life, it’s so true that just one day can completely change your perspective. For the larger battles in life, one day may not feel like much change, but if you can keep putting one foot in front of the other, eventually enough days will have passed that you will have found your new “normal.” So, be kind to yourself because sometimes the world won’t be. Know that nothing lasts forever and that it’s okay to fall down, as long as you continue to get back up, no matter how long it takes.

In the Land of Fairy Tale Castles and Game Designs


Are you considering Germany as a destination for your global co-op experience? 

This country located in the heart of Europe is an economic powerhouse, hosts some of the highest ranking universities and competitive employers in the areas of research, banking, architecture and every else you might imagine.  A great location with access to many major European cities within a few hours.               

Neuschwanstein Castle

I trIMG_2056aveled to Berlin and Munich in April to develop co-ops with universities and employers.  Northeastern has already active partnerships with Humboldt and Freie Universities and the plan was to expand and include Technical University of Berlin, Ludwig Maximillian University and Technical University of Munich.  Amazing opportunities for research in many disciplines for the Colleges of Engineering (COE), College of Science and College of Computer Science (CCIS) and Information Technology.   Already two NU students are on their way to Munich to conduct their exciting research opportunities at LMU.

Additionally, Germany and Berlin especially is a hub for architects and game design professionals.  Names such as Behzadi, Topotek 1, Peters und Wormuth are among the well-known architecture firms already hosting Northeastern students.  My short visits to these companies were both profitable and enjoyable.  Our students, all from the College of Arts, Media and Design were fully immersed into the highly competitive and diverse teams.  The best part is that they socialize after work which makes life so much more interesting in a city such as Berlin and proves that the Husky network is always strong abroad.

The laboratory at SOPAT
IMG_1931 (002)Germany is also a popular country for COE students with a growing number of engineering firms offering co-ops.  I visited SOPAT, a company specializing in the analysis of particulate systems.  They develop and market an innovative measurement technology for real-time analysis of multi-phase systems.  Their technique is optimizing chemical, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological processes.  Our contact has two ongoing positions for COE students and just created a new one for CCIS.

At Wooga

IMG_1909Wooga, is a true a playground for professionals.  My first and best game design company.  Mackenzie Denker, CCIS student, and my gracious host showed me the magnificent open space offices, employee dining area (they get cooked meals every day), employee nap spaces (yes, you read it right), conference rooms and waiting areas.  The game theme was everywhere and at the reception, a visitor can get freebies.  I ended up with an Agent Alice t-shirt and stickers.  An excellent employer for CCIS students interested in game design and also CAMD for graphic design and art/animation interns and UI/UX.

IMG_2017Linderhof Palace

The real no Disney version– fairy tale castles.  When you find yourself in Germany or any other country close by, you should definitely visit the castles in Munich, Bavaria.  The Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria are simply amazing.  During your visit, you can enjoy extraordinary Bavarian food, picturesque villages along the way and the grandeur of the Alps.

Business Co-ops with a flavor – did I mention the desserts?IMG_1893
Make sure you enjoy cheesecake and tiramisu while in Germany.  One of my employer visits included the best cream cheese and cappuccino from a small local coffee shop by the name of Café 93.  Julius Chichon, a D’ Amore – McKim graduate invited me over to talk about co-ops at his start-up company.

Stay tuned…


This blog was submitted by Aspa Papanastasiou.  Aspa brings over 15 years of job development and program management to the Global Employer Relations Team. Talented in recruitment and placement of diverse candidates she enjoys creating partnerships in higher education, business, and non-profit industries.  Aspa strives to maximize her global connections to develop new and exciting co-op opportunities for students of all Northeastern Colleges.   When she is not on Skype with an employer or university in some distant part of the world she enjoys biking and sailing at the Charles River. She can be reached at