Job Searching in the USA as an International Student: CV vs. Resume

In this blog post series, Job Searching in the USA as an International Student, I want to tell you all the challenges I had during my job hunt in Boston all while I try to get used to a new culture!

I moved to Boston a year ago and after spending some time trying to get used to Boston, its weather and my classes I started to search about how to find a job in USA. I knew that I had to prepare well before starting to apply possible jobs. The first thing that I noticed was the term “Resume”. At that time, I was familiar with a CV but wasn’t sure what a resume is. So, here I want to share with you the 3 major differences between a Resume and a CV based on my experiences and some researching:

control-427510_1920

Length. 

A CV is a detailed, comprehensive document that can be laid out over many pages. A resume, on the other hand, is generally a single page.

My CV was around three pages long and there were too many details on it to include in one page. To find out what I should put to my resume I searched about content differences between them.

Content.

A CV can contain anything about your education as well as other accomplishments like certifications, awards, presentations, publications, research experience etc. It also contains any achievements in life. For instance, on my CV there was a part written about my studying abroad in Germany and what I have gained from it. Additionally, I had a profile photo attached to it. I noticed that resumes don’t have photos and are focused for a specific job consisting only related work experience and skill sets.

A CV is comprehensive, A resume is customized.

Back in Turkey, since my CV had all the information about my background I was not making any changes on it as I was applying to jobs. However, here I realized that I have to adapt my resume to every position I apply for and tailor it to the needs of the specific post.

For more information about the difference between a resume and a CV, visit Career Developments resume guide or Going Global to see examples of a CV from other countries!

This post was authored by Mina Poyraz. Mina is a master`s student in Digital Media studies. She is from Istanbul, Turkey and has been living in Boston for a year. Mina is passionate about social media and currently works as a Social Media Intern in Northeastern University Career Services. In her free time she likes traveling, taking photos and reading. She calls her Instagram account her personal diary. Connect with Mina on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/minapoyraz) and Linkedin (www.linkedin.com/in/minapoyraz)

Walk, Don’t Run.

wood-nature-person-walkingWhen interviewing for a job, it can be so nerve-wracking. You’re being interviewed, but remember that an interview is two-sided. You have to be the right fit for the company as well as the company being the right fit for you in this time of your life. It’s stressful, having to decide if this is right for you at this time. So take it one step at a time, walking. Do not rush the process because being sure about an opportunity is essential in finding the right job.

There are times where a job is great, but the company is not a good fit for you. Believing in the company and their mission is extremely important. You are searching for the place you will call home for 40 hours a week – make sure the company culture is just as great as the job itself!

As crazy as it sounds, getting a job offer does not mean you have to say yes. It’s so tempting to say yes to the first opportunity, and often times, people do. However, this can lead to passing up a better choice that might be down the line for you.

If you do decide to say no and hold out for a better opportunity, expressing your gratitude the employer who has offered you a job is essential. You might want to work there in the future, so keeping a good rep is key. Be sure to thank the employer for the consideration and briefly explain that you are simply choosing to pursue another opportunity. Say no, but be nice about it.

So that being said, walk, don’t run. Don’t jump at an opportunity if you know something else better may be waiting out there for you. It might be a better job, a better location, a better company culture, or something else. Make it the best fit for you.

How “Master of None” Can Help You Master Your Personal Brand

aziz-ansari.0.0

Like most millennials addicted to Netflix and worshipers of the binge-watching religion, I spent my weekend breezing through Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix original series, “Master of None”. On the show, Aziz plays Dev, a struggling actor living in New York City. Dev delivers some thought-provoking lessons about life and careers (of course wrapped in a laugh-inducing package), which are easily translated into establishing a personal brand.

Creating your personal brand is an important step in your career, so jumpstart your journey to mastering your personal brand through these simple tips:

Be honest with yourself. When contemplating his future and whether or not kids are a part of it, Dev dives deeply and honestly into his mind to examine his thoughts and priorities. By honestly identifying both your strengths and weaknesses, you’ll able to not only find ways to strengthen your brand, but also identify ways to grow even more.

giphy (8)

Stay true to what you believe in. As an Indian American actor, Dev is often asked to play roles which require the use of a fake Indian accent. Even though it costs him roles, Dev decides this is something he’s not comfortable with. You know yourself better than anyone else. When you stay true to yourself and don’t try to be anyone else, you will organically reinforce your brand.

Keep learning. In one episode, Dev begins to realize he doesn’t know much about his parents’ childhoods or histories, so he decides to start learning their stories. Having a curiosity that allows you to keep learning – whether in an academic, professional, or personal setting – will help you gain a better understanding of what you’re capable of and can offer the world.

Always put your best foot forward. Upon receiving a last minute movie audition, Dev finds himself in a crowded coffee shop trying to audition via Skype. While it makes for a very funny scene, it is not a great example of how to present yourself. Especially with social media becoming a major part of a professional lives, make sure that the person you are online reflects how dazzling you are in person.

How have you mastered your personal brand? Do you have any tips you’d add to the list? Tell us in the comments or via Twitter!

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.

Rock that Interview.

art of interviewing

You’re on the job hunt and have sent out resumes upon resumes upon resumes and you finally get that phone call offering you an interview with a potential employer. First, congrats! Getting an interview is the next step and that deserves appreciation. Second, here comes the time to shine, to rock that interview.

Interviews aren’t exactly about showing that you’re perfect; they’re about sharing with another person what you’ve done, what you want to do, and how you can fit into their workplace culture.

Think of some answers beforehand. We all know the typical interview question: Tell me about yourself, tell me about a time you faced a challenge and how you overcame it, describe a past project to me, etc. I could go on. Chances are you’ll get asked these at the majority of your interviews so it’s good to have some answers thought out beforehand. Don’t stage what you are going to say, just have a general idea. You’ll relax and allow yourself to focus on simply answering the question instead of scrambling to find an answer.

Dress to impress. It’s time to pull out a nice outfit. Dress up slightly more than you would for a typical work day. It shows the interviewer(s) that you care about the interview and respect their company. Go for something more business professional than business casual. A little tip: try to make sure you wear something you’ve worn before, at least once. The last thing you want is to find out a new shirt is itchy or just plain uncomfortable when you’re waiting for the interview to begin.

Be personable. You are a human. Your interviewer is a human. Therefore, be a person. You don’t have to build yourself up and only talk about your successes. Companies want to see that you have faced challenges in the workplace and want to know how you troubleshot them. Be yourself. Don’t try to change the way you speak, just answer their questions, ask questions, and let your natural light shine through.

Hopefully these tips help you out with any upcoming interviews! Personally, I think the last one is the most important because it’ll show the company who you are because they want to make sure you will be a great fit for their workplace culture. There’s a wealth more of tips on this blog and online, so be sure to check those out if you need more. And remember, you got this.

Advice to my 25-year-old self.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.26.01 AM

First, manage your career because no one else will.

When choosing a job, be confident enough to ask yourself “Does this add to my career capital?” Is this something I really love to do? Will this job be a great next step?” I pursued a career path that was in an industry I loved (financial investments) but I was in a job that I hated (stockbroker).  My advice to you if you find yourself in this situation  is before leaving the industry, it is important to explore other career paths within the industry. Financial planner? Financial analyst? Fund Manager? Do some brainstorming and informational interviewing within the industry you love to find out what else is possible. The best ways to get your creative juices flowing is coffee shop with some great creative books or magazines or online blogs. Think Fast Company (www.fastcompany.com).

Second, seek out a mentor. Everyone needs a mentor. You might have different mentors at different stages in your career, but they are important. Remember that mentors are rarely colleagues and not easy to find.

Third, It matters who you spend your free time with.

Who you choose as your friends and partner will matter.  As the years march on, who you hang out with, who you choose as your partner, really does matter. Watch Meg Jay’s Ted talk on Your Defining Decade.

Find friends who support, advise and push each other as you make your way deep into your career and life. It will be fun to manage your career if the people you are spending your free time with are doing the same.

Push yourself to be uncomfortable. Have a career bucket list. Allow yourself the time and space to continually ask yourself “What do I want? What do I love? What are my gifts? Where are my growth edges? That requires a depth of self-knowledge and connection that can only positively affect your life choices. For example, if you want to work internationally, put yourself out there. Tell your company. Be strategic. Learn languages.  Be culturally flexible. At the beginning of my career, my generation stayed put in the cities they grew up in.  What differentiated me was that I moved to various large cities in the United States. San Francisco.  Los Angeles.  Atlanta. Minneapolis. Finally Boston. My willingness to be uncomfortable, displayed a flexibility and adaptability that helped me to manage my career and offer a perspective that employers appreciated. Check out Sohan Gokarn talk about how to stand out.

And Last, dance and dance every day. Sounds absurd but dancing helps you to connect with your true self. It is there that you will find all your answers.

In conclusion, enjoy this video.

What do you think of this advice? Leave your own thoughts in the comments below!

Sharri Harmel works in career development at Northeastern University.. She loves international travel, creative thinkers and good books, all with equal passion. Tweet at her about the article @careercoachNU!

Next Stop: The Real World

Despite the fact that I’m in my fifth year at Northeastern and graduating this upcoming May, the thought of a real-world job offer seemed so far in my distant future. Yet when I was approached recently about full time positions after graduation, it seemed as though the real world came and hit me like a ton of bricks. Cue the panic.

Wake Up, Neo

While I did allow myself a few moments of total “What is happening?”s and “What am I going to do with my life?”s, I decided to buck up and prepare.

Prepping for your job search doesn’t have to be miserable. Here’s how:

  • Stay organized. If you’re anything like me, you find making charts in Excel to be extremely therapeutic. While I realize most of you probably aren’t like me, just make sure to stay organized. Keep note of what company you’re applying to, the title of the job you are applying for, any information they provide you, who your contact at that company is, and a record of your correspondence. It sounds overwhelming, but it will be absolutely worth it in the end.
  • Nurture your network. You’ve done amazing co-ops and internships, but don’t let all the valuable connections you made during those experience lay dormant on LinkedIn. A friendly email never hurt anyone, and it helps to show that you’re interested and proactive.
  • Be a little bit selfish. Job searching can be overwhelming and some people (read: loving family and friends) love asking about your search and telling you what they think is best. While they may have valuable advice, really think about what you think is best for you. Has it been your life dream to move to Seattle post-grad, but your friends want you in Boston? Evaluate your goals versus the goals that others set for you. It’ll hugely impact your happiness in the long run.
  • Most importantly, get excited. Don’t let stress shadow the excitement of these next few months. You’re going to be so prepared to take on the world, so get excited.

While the real world comes and often catches you off guard, it doesn’t have to a horrible and scary place. Have any tips to add? Leave them in the comments below.

Happy job hunting!

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.

Interview Freak Out: How Do I Answer That?!

giphy (1)

Our worst fear, when walking in the door for an interview, is that we’re going to get stumped. This HR recruiter is going to ask us something that stops us in our tracks. We imagine ourselves sitting there with a blank stare, dumbfounded expression, and sweat starting to form on our brow. So what can we do?  Consider using these 4 strategies.

  1. Buy some time. Restate the question to the interviewer. It will look like you are just getting clarification. It might look something like this:

“So, you are wondering about a time when I had a disagreement with my boss about an issue at work? Let me think about that for a second.” 

By restating the question it’s giving that question time to settle into your brain and buying you valuable seconds to see if you can come up with an example. It’s far better than saying, “ummmmmmmm”.

  1. Swap the scenario. If you can’t think of a time when you had a disagreement with your boss, then swap out the scenario. Maybe you can come up with a slightly different example.

“While I’m not able to think, right now, of a time when I had a disagreement with my boss, I can think of a time when I had a challenge with a classmate during a semester long academic project. Could I share this example with you?”

  1. Answer directly. Now if you are still drawing a blank, here’s one other approach. Consider stating that you can’t come up with an example, but mention in general how you handle conflict and ask if that helps.

“While I’m having trouble coming up with a specific example, I can share that in general when I have a conflict with someone I typically pause first to think through the situation, step into the other person’s shoes to try and see where they are coming from, then think up questions that I can ask that would allow us to explore the situation in more depth as a means to working through it.”

4. Postpone

“This is an excellent question, and I can imagine it’s important to know how an individual employee will deal with conflict.  I’m having a hard time thinking up an example in this moment; however, I wanted to see if we might be able to circle back to this question at the end of the interview?”

In the end, one of the most important things you can do is to stay calm and be real.

Sabrina Woods is an Associate Director at Northeastern Career Development and also has a private practice as a Holistic Career / Life Coach & Linkedin Trainer.  She has been in this field for 15 years and is a Husky (BA in Business) plus has a Masters in Holistic Counseling from Salve Regina University in sunny Newport, RI.  When not working at NU, teaching Linkedin or coaching private clients, Sabrina loves to hike, bike and kayak.  For more about Sabrina, go to www.sabrina-woods.com.

 

Mentorship? Go Organic!

board-784349_1280 (1)

Every so often, we come across articles preaching out “the power of mentorship”. We read about how one mentor can open your mind and help your career flourish. These articles instill such a desire within us to find that one person who can change our lives and our professional careers for the better. The desire to find this person can grow so strong that we begin to focus less on the quality of the mentorship and more on the search itself.

Mentors (like most things nowadays) should form organically. Often times, you won’t realize the caliber of mentor you have in front of you until you step back and really study your relationship with them. This was the case for me when I first met mine.

I was about one month in to my second co-op when another teammate started. Even on her first day, her confidence and bright personality lit up every room. We bonded over being the newbies on the team and shared very similar senses of humor. As my co-op progressed, our conversations would get deeper and our friendship grew stronger. When I was back in classes and my homework was to interview a mentor in my chosen field, my mind immediately turned to my colleague. I realized that not only was she the first person I immediately turned to for career advice, but also the person I aspired to be more like.

By allowing relationships to grow naturally and fostering them over time, strong and meaningful mentorships will begin to form. There’s no need to force it! Be patient, keep an open mind, and let a mentorship form organically. Trust me, a true and valuable mentorship is 100% worth the wait.

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.

Post-Work Habits

Photo: Boston skyline and the Charles River

It’s 5pm, you’re off from work, and headed home. But what to do? The possibilities are endless, but it doesn’t mean we should go home, hop on the couch and watch Netflix for hours on end. We should use our evenings to try new things, be productive, and most importantly, unwind after a long day at work.

Cook something new at least once a week. I often find myself cooking the same thing on a weekly basis, but sometimes I’m really craving adventure! Try to cook a new meal, something you’ve either never cooked before or tasted before, at least once a week. It’ll spice up your day post-work and let you be creative in the kitchen. Try allrecipes for ideas!

Hit the gym. Work it out, after work. Let off some steam after a hard day in the gym or simply celebrate a great day at work with some extra endorphin release. Working out makes you feel better and might just be enough to give you that motivation to have a great evening. Bonus: if it’s nice outside, workout in nature! You get some extra sunlight (hello vitamin D!) and some fresh air at the same time.

Explore your city. We live in Boston, so there’s always something going on in some part of the city. Take some time to walk around, look up, and explore what your stomping ground has to offer. Also, chances are that there is at least one free event happening somewhere at night, so that’s a great way to spend your evening to unwind after work.

Your day after work doesn’t have to be dull, make it exciting!

Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

That end of the interview dreaded question…. Do you have any questions for us??

Interview Questions

It would be easy to take this question literally, and think to yourself, I just want to get out of this interview, so you say “no, I don’t have any questions for you.”

Bad idea! You want to leave the employer with the impression you are the one for the job and that requires you to ask more questions!

Why does the interviewer ask this question?  To find out if you can step back from the long hours of interviewing and ask some broad processing questions. In a nutshell, the interviewer wants to know how you think.

This is a great opportunity for you to not only show them that you are a big picture thinker but you’ll also find out if your need to tell them anything more about yourself!

So, what are some good questions you can ask?

  1. Tell me more about the culture of the office or company? Or how would you describe the culture of the office or company? (You want to make sure this is the right fit for you too.)
  1. What are the opportunities for professional development? How do you develop your employees to take on more responsibilities?? (You are exploring advancement opportunities.)
  1. I read that your company is moving in X direction, or just made X acquisition; can you tell me more about that and how it might impact the company both short and long-term? (You’re showing them that you have done your research on the company.)
  1. What do you see as the greatest challenges for your company over the next 5 years? (Again, you want to learn more about the company.)
  1. Are there any special projects coming up that you’d want me to work on if I got the job? (You’re showing your interest in the job.)

And finally….

  1. Is there anything you need to know about me that will help you to make a decision?
  1. What happens next in this process? (You want to know the timing of their decision.)

Sharri Harmel works in career development at Northeastern University, acting as the liaison to the College of Engineering. She loves international travel, creative thinkers and good books, all with equal passion. Tweet at her about the article @careercoachNU!