Showcase YOUR Best “Self” and Shine! Career Fair Etiquette

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Northeastern University’s Co-op and Career Development department host its Fall 2016 Career Fair, which continues to grow in popularity with students (and employers!)  To add a bit of history, we’ve been hosting this event for well over 40 years!   On Thursday, October 6, please join us from 12pm-4pm in Cabot Gym and Solomon Court – it will be time well spent! With over 250 employers slated to attend, you will be sure to find your future career, find out more about companies and get connected!

So how do you truly shine and make your mark at the fair?  Here are 5 tips that will help you be on top of your game  Read on!

  1. Attend & Participate in Career Fair Success Tips Panel. PRIOR to the Career Fair, this success-tips-2016workshop should be on your calendar.  You will be able to hear from recruiters about how to “do your homework” and organize your day (get insider secrets too) Thursday, Sept. 29, 5:30 – 6:30 Room 105 Shilman

2. Research the Employer – Come prepared! Do your homework!  An employer list will be on our website, so refer to the site two days before the fair.
Your homework assignment, if you choose to accept it, will be to research the following:
What employers interest you? Write them down!
What product to they sell, distribute, create, publish, promote, etc.?
What  skills are the employer looking for when hiring? (i.e., design, tech, writing,) are they hiring for full-time or internships, co-op,)?
Which positions are currently open on their website? Write them down 
What are some important values the employer holds? What is the culture like? 

The more you know, the more productive you will be! Write down a few facts about the companies you want to visit.  Bring your notes and refer to them – this will be useful since the lines at the fair can be LONG, so don’t wait in line to meet companies that are not top on your list or you don’t know a lot about!  Don’t waste YOUR time or the EMPLOYERS time.

planning-and-strategy3. Get a Strategy for the Day – Not every single employer will have immediate jobs for your major or industry and unless you have a crystal ball, you won’t be able to visit every single table. Make TWO plans of attack for the companies you want to talk with. 1. get to the fair early if you can and 2. be flexible! If long lines throw a wrench in your original plan, set a goal to meet at least ONE employer and get their business card! to follow-up.

4. Practice, Practice, & Practice Your “Intro. Pitch” – You want to make a great impression with employers, so rehearse your 60-second commercial “pitch” about YOU.  Advertise your skills and experience, BE SPECIFIC.  Employers have a short amount of time to talk with you, so be clear and concise. Oh and SMILE, approach employers with enthusiasm.

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5. Dress for Success and Impress – The first impression is HUGE! Wear an outfit that you feel confident in and that doesn’t mean jeans, or your NU shorts, or those comfy sneakers. Put effort into your appearance and wear that suit and tie, or that dress or skirt you were saving for special events. Keep this in mind “better to be OVER dressed, then UNDER dressed.”

 

Christine is the Associate Director, Marketing and Communications for Co-op and Career Development and manages The Works!  Christine has a background working in corporate communications with a focus on marketing and branding. She is a proud Alumna of Northeastern, graduate from the D’Amore McKim School of Business with a concentration in Marketing.  An avid workout and outdoors person, you can find her skiing out West, jumping around in kickboxing classes, or simply enjoying reading a Nelson Demille novel in the great outdoors! Tweet her @CareerCoachNU or connect w/her on LinkedIn

 

The Insignificance of Language Barriers

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During my recent trip to Budapest, I ate döner kebab at least once a day. Typically costing around $2 USD for an unbelievable portion size and being practically unavoidable on every street, the meal became a staple of my stay in Hungary. However, upon heading out with a friend in search of dinner on our first night, I was nervous about our ability to order. We weren’t staying in a very touristy area, so I wasn’t sure if employees in nearby shops would be able to speak English. Additionally, besides the few phrases we’d looked up on Google Translate, we were pretty helpless when it came to speaking Hungarian.

A lot of my anxiety about traveling initially stemmed from not being able to speak the native languages of the countries I visit. Being afraid to admit my linguistic ignorance kept me from venturing out during my first few weeks in Germany. However, after surviving the first of what would be one of many, kebab runs in Budapest, I had a staggering discovery about the language barrier I had feared so much: it doesn’t matter.

 

BudapestWhether buying a gyro at a random street corner or buying tickets for the vernacular up to Buda Castle, every local that I interacted with found a way to communicate with me, regardless of how touristy the area or how well they spoke English. While some vendors spoke English well (one even dropping a line from “New York, New York” when he recognized that my friend and I were American), those who didn’t were unphased and extremely willing to work through a conversation with us. When I tried ordering something off a menu in Hungarian (in what was probably a horrific attempted accent), the woman behind the counter simply came around to see which menu item I was looking at, then held her tongs over various ingredients and used my nods and head shakes to figure out what I wanted on my plate. After the order was complete, another employee gestured to his mouth with his hand and then to chairs in the restaurant—do you want to eat here? As I smiled and shook my head in response, I marveled at how what I imagined would be a mortifying event of miscommunication ended up being so painless.

Since leaving the US for my international co-op marks my first time leaving the country. I didn’t know what to expect in regard to how locals in the countries I visit would react to me not speaking their native languages. When I consider back to why I thought their reactions would be harsh, I think of how foreigners are often perceived in the US. While America is typically a country where diversity is celebrated, foreigners are often faced with undeserved cruelty and criticism if they don’t speak English, and those interacting with them often have inpatient or apathetic attitudes. Obviously, there are many Americans who are respectful and patient with non-English speakers, and I’m sure it’s likely that I’ll encounter someone who gets frustrated with my inability to speak their language in my future travels. Still, the amazing acceptance I’ve been embraced with thus far in my European travels makes me wish that every non-English speaker in the US could have an equally positive experience.

Not being able to communicate with someone can be really frustrating if you let it be. As long as the person is willing to meet you halfway, you’d be surprised at how much can be accomplished through gestures and good attitudes. Learning a few words in a country’s language can take you even farther than pointing and smiling (at the very least, “hello,” “thank you,” and “goodbye”). Regardless of how accurate or embarrassing your pronunciation is, locals will probably appreciate that you’re making an effort to embrace their culture.

Moral of the story: don’t let your lack of language expertise scare you out of taking part in cultural experiences abroad—especially not when there’s döner involved!

This blog was written by Nicolette Pire.  Nicolette is a junior Combined Linguistics and English major. She is currently pursuing her second co-op as a research assistant in the psycholinguistics group at the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany. An aspiring polyglot, she’s using her first international experience to immerse herself in as many cultures as possible while sharing her international faux pas along the way. Feel free to reach out to her at pire.n@husky.neu.edu.

 

Combatting Imposter Syndrome: A Life-Long Battle

Aspen ImposterImposter Syndrome: we’ve all felt it at some point in our lives. It starts with a creeping feeling of self-doubt. Then the questions start. How did I fool everyone for this long? Will everyone realize I don’t belong here? How much longer can I keep up this façade? Sometimes nerve-racking situations like giving a presentation to peers will bring the onslaught of questions, while other times all it takes is a bad day at work. It is a phenomenon that is experienced by most but discussed by few as if repeating the questions out loud will somehow make them a reality.

Imposter syndrome was first defined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imesas as: “high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.

Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In :Women, Work and the Will to Lead, also shares a description of this phenomenon:“Many people, but especially women, feel fraudulent when they are praised for their accomplishments. Instead of feeling worthy of recognition, they feel undeserving and guilty, as if a mistake has been made. Despite being high achievers, even experts in their fields, women can’t seem to shake the sense that it is only a matter of time until they are found out for who they really are- impostors with limited skills or abilities.”

Even wildly successful people such as Tina Fey, Neil Gaiman, and Maya Angelou have admitted to feeling this way at times.

If you Google imposter syndrome you will find numerous lists and articles about how to combat it, and I think many of those suggestions are valid. I particularly liked 21 ways to overcome imposter syndrome by Kyle Eschenroeder. However, most are suggestions that involve intentionally changing your thinking, which is often easier said than done. Instead, I will offer something that has worked for me. It may sound simple, but I’ve found that the best way to combat imposter syndrome is to have a hobby. By hobby, I mean something that you love and know that you are good at. For me, that hobby is photography. When I’m having a bad day, week, or month of experiments in the lab, or when I’m nervous about a presentation, I find that photo shoots and capturing images that I am proud of help to remind me that it’s all in my head. It reminds me that I’m talented and that I got to where I am with hard work, not by misleading a bunch of people about my skills. This suggestion probably sounds weird, because my ability to take a photo and the skills that make me a successful graduate student are seemingly unrelated, but I’ve found that it works. I think it works because it breaks the cycle of self-doubt, even just for a few moments, which is all it takes to fight back against imposter syndrome. It’s like a reset button that gives you a chance to start again and focus on the good things instead of the doubts. Unfortunately, this isn’t a permanent solution, and the next presentation or stressful day to come along brings back those same questions. But so far, doing something that I love has worked every time to stop that inner voice from asking how much longer I have until someone sees right through my façade.

Katie Stember is a Northeastern Alumnae (Class of ’13) who was very involved with Husky Ambassadors as a student. She is currently a Ph.D. student in Biomedical Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill studying an autoimmune disease called ANCA Vasculitis. She’s a proud cat mom and in her free time does volunteer photography for a local animal shelter. Feel free to contact her at katie.stember@gmail.com.