Interviewing

More Than Just a Pay Check

More than just a paycheck-01By Emilee Smith G’16

As a student, it’s sometimes hard to imagine that school will end and that you will in fact have a job. Whether it’s a job or internship though, there are a lot of things to consider before agreeing to an employment position.

While our first thought tends to revolve around the pay involved, there are a lot of other factors to consider that should play a part in your decision-making process.

To name a few…

  1. Benefits. If you are accepting a full-time job, then you want to inquire about benefits including (but not excluded to) insurance packages, retirement, vacation days and opportunities for development, such as workshops and seminars.
  1. Personal Development. Aside from inquiring about workshops and seminars, ask yourself, will this job challenge me and enhance my career? One way to ensure a strong career trajectory is by constantly gaining new and challenging experiences. It’s OK to have 10 different jobs, but it’s not necessarily OK to work the same job 10 times.
  1. Flexibility. Assess how flexible your employer is in regards to sick days and unexpected emergencies. Also, if you are planning to have a child in the foreseeable future, ask about maternity and paternity leave.
  1. Workplace Culture. When you are interviewing with different organizations, take in your surroundings. Is this a place you can see yourself working for? Consider the atmosphere as well the way employees are interacting with one another. Also consider the company values and whether or not they align with your own.

There are many other factors that go in to accepting a job, or not. When you begin to evaluate your options and job offers ask yourself, “what’s important to me?”

These are just some of the items that you may find important in your decision about a company and job. To discuss others, call us at 315-443-3616 to schedule an appointment. 

5 Valuable Tips from Career Crash Course

By Danchen Zhou, G’14, Career Services Public Relations Intern

Danchen Zhou, public relations intern at Career Services.
Danchen Zhou, M.S. ’14, Career Services Public Relations Intern

On Friday, March 28, Syracuse University Career Services hosted a crash course on campus providing students with five career-focused workshops.  Presenters were recruiters from IBM, JPMorgan Chase, Northwestern Mutual, O’Brien & Gere, and U.S. Secret Service.  Here are some of the most valuable tips and insights regarding resume writing, personal branding, networking, interviewing, and financial management-

1.  Resumes: “Just a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.”*
The recruiting manager from JPMorgan Chase said he would not spend more than one minute reviewing a resume. With only one minute, it’s important to learn how to tell a whole story explaining why you are a good fit for the position on a one-page resume. Also, use numbers to show the outcome and impact of your experiences. Finally, proofread your resume. Make sure your resume is typo-free, which indicates that you are a detailed-oriented person.

2.  Personal Branding: Make yourself stand out and be your own boss.
Take a few minutes to think and write down the strengths that make you stand out. If you have trouble identifying your strengths, ask your friends who know you well, or utilize some online tools, such as StrengthFinder 2.0. Once you realize your strengths, manage yourself like a boss manages its company. Take ownership of your career because it’s your choice where you lead your own path.

Students in J. P. Morgan Chase's resume presentation.
Student listen to advice from JPMorgan Chase about building effective resumes during the Career Crash Course.

3.  Networking: Don’t just take – give.
Whether you are searching for a job, or you are trying to connect with an alumnus, a common mistake is that you emphasize what they can offer you.  But why don’t you try to think about what you can give to them instead? You have connections and some information that matters to them, too. In a way, the networking process should be beneficial for both of you.

4.  Interviewing: Bring out your thoughts that can add value to the company.
The representative from IBM talked about the importance of doing research before the interview. For instance, reading balance sheets of any publicly-traded company can help you learn more about their business strategies and then you could reference this information during an interview. It’s also a way to take charge of the interview by offering your own thoughts.

5.  Financial Management: Start early and have a plan.
The representative from Northwestern Mutual shared a point that rich people get rich because they stay away from debt. To eliminate the amount of loans and avoid a poor credit score, you need to start planning your finances even while you are still in college.  The first thing is to determine what you need rather than what you want. Mint is a good App to record and calculate your expenses so that you are aware where your money has gone.  It will also help you establish a long-term strategic plan for savings. In addition, you need to familiarize yourself with financial policies and procedures, such as 10-99 Form, W-4 Form, and W-2 Form.

*Benjamin Mays Poem God’s Minute

It's Madness!

By Shannon Feeney Andre, Assistant Director

NCAA basketball teams aren’t the only ones immersed in March Madness – Career Services is too!  Every March and early April, employers will visit our campus to conduct interviews and in some cases make offers to students for internship and full-time Tournament Bracketopportunities.  The on-campus recruiting process can sometimes be overwhelming and unfamiliar to students, so here we use some bracketology to help explain…

Regular Season – Employers are assessing students’ skills, aptitude, and potential during events like career fairs, information sessions, meet and greets, and workshops.  Employers may start to identify potential top seeds for their roles.  These interactions will factor into the decisions employers make later on after resumes are submitted.

Breaking the Bubble – Employers will assess resumes and the applicant pool to make selections on the candidates they would like to interview.  Depending on the number of slots they can fill, not all applicants will make it to the on-campus interviews.

The First RoundThose selected from the applicant pool will interview on-campus during the first preliminary round.

Being Sweet & EliteOften times, employers will conduct more than one interview, especially with a stellar candidate pool.  The candidates that make it past the second round could likely face new interviewers, some they may have never met before during the regular recruiting season.

Final FourAs employers narrow down their top selections, there will only be a few candidates left to consider.  The next phase could also include an interview with one of the leaders in the company or organization, such as a vice president, hiring manager, or department head.

ChampionshipThere can only be one winner in the NCAA basketball tournament, but there can always be multiple hires!  If you receive the offer, congratulations on a great job-hunting season!

This process does not have to be madness; in fact, Career Services can make it much easier!  If you are looking for a job or internship and need some help, stop by our office during drop-ins or schedule an hour-long appointment with one of our career counselors by calling 315.443.3616 or signing up via OrangeLink.

 

#GECuse: Advice from SU Alumni at GE

General Electric is taking over the SU campus this week! On Wednesday, September 11, GE will be here to connect with students and share information on their leadership development programs.

GE will host tables in various academic buildings from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., conduct office hours in Career Services (235 Schine) from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., and conclude with a major kick-off event in 304ABC (upstairs, Schine Student Center) from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  You’ll also hear from SU alumni all week on @WorkingOrange!

In preparation for GE Day, four SU alumni share their tips for success:

Matt Benvie ’08 – Public Relations and Psychology – Communication Leadership Development Program

  1. Writing ability and interpersonal skills are two of the most important skills for communicators. Two books you need to read over and over:
    • On Writing Well by William Zinsser. I’m not a great writer. You’re not a great writer. Regardless of your chosen profession, you’ll be expected to communicate with clarity and brevity. No one wants to read a five-paragraph email that could have been three sentences. Academic writing and “real world” writing are two completely different animals. Please read this book as soon as possible.
    • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Fair or not, many of our elders view millennials in a less than favorable light. This will be your biggest challenge to overcome in your first few months on the job. You can whine about it, or you can proactively address the stigma by incorporating Carnegie’s lessons into your work and personal interactions. Thank me later!
  2. Whatever job you accept after graduation, learn everything you can about the history of your chosen industry, not just the company where you work. Why? Institutional knowledge = instant credibility.
  3. I’ll be crushed for this, but networking is overrated. Focus on perfecting your communication skills and building your resume, then worry about your network. Good managers and companies want the best talent. For me, a superior resume and work portfolio beats a connection every day of the week. I like helping people I know, but I love hiring the best talent. Why worry about my network when my work is all over the net?

Mike_GEMichael Jones ’09 – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Management – Edison Engineering Development Program

  1. GO ABOVE AND BEYOND what is asked.  Exceeding expectations as an early engineer is critical to gain visibility and show the required dedication to excel.
  2. LEAD in all aspects.  Lead on small projects, lead on big projects.  Ownership is how you get to put your name to impactful projects.
  3. ASK WHY, don’t just agree.  New engineers won’t have the answers…and that’s ok!  Ask why you’re assuming this value or why there are advantages to the conventional design.  The more you understand the background, the sooner you can understand the implications and levers in problem solving.
  4. GET EXCITED always.  Passion in what you do is critical to happiness and success.  If you don’t love what you do, find what does make you happy.  Engineering is everywhere, in everything.  Love what you do.

Rima_GERima Rana ’13 – Accounting and Finance – Financial Management Program

  1. Be a hard worker and go the extra mile. Don’t settle for just doing what’s expected or requested of you; stop and think about what the real objective of the assignment is, and provide more insight, more research, more value.
  2. Do not be afraid to ask questions! People expect that you know very little about your job since you just started so speak up and ask questions and there is no such thing as a dumb question. Keep asking yourself why? until you really understand and have a good grasp.
  3. Build your mentality to network with people within your department and the company overall regardless if they are senior leaders or day to day professionals.
  4. Take the lead whether it be on a small project for your role or an affinity group event so you can build your reputation and make an impact.
  5. HAVE FUN and BE YOURSELF! It is important to create that work life balance. 🙂

Kaitlin_GEKaitlin Lambracht ’08 – Information Technology and Entrepreneurship – Information Technology Leadership Program

  1. Network as much as you can.  Talk to people.  Ask questions. You never know where your next job opportunity will come from.
  2. Get involved.  You will be quite busy with your normal work but it’s good to set aside time to help out in the community and/or get involved with program activities.  It’s both a nice break from day-to-day work and a great way to enhance your internal resume.
  3. When you interview, just be yourself.  The best thing you have going for you is your uniqueness and the set of experiences you have had to make yourself who you are today.  Use your extracurricular activity experiences to your advantage and be sure to highlight them in your interview! You have developed some of your most important skills for the workplace at your sorority, your sports team, or your favorite club.
  4. Come prepared with questions to ask your interviewers.  You will also be asked at the end for what questions you have.  Ask about what some of the first initiatives you will be working on or when you can expect to hear back from them on the results of the interview.
  5. Have your set of 3-5 stories that you can pull experiences from when asked questions during your interview.  You can likely answer all questions when referring to one of these stories that you have in your back pocket.
  6. If you have the capacity, ask for more work.  Tell your manager about a project that you feel is needed and that you are interesting in taking it on.

Thank you to our GE bloggers!  To learn more about these programs, come to the GE kick-off or follow along on @WorkingOrange.

You've studied abroad…now use it to stand out!

By Christina Faulkner, Career Services’ Employer Relations Program Coordinator

So you’re back in the States after a semester abroad; you’ve explored a new place, culture, and maybe a new language too. Your semester abroad can be a great leverage point on your resume and in an interview to help set you apart from other candidates!

Christina in Niokolo Koba National Park during her study abroad experience in Senegal.
Christina in Niokolo Koba National Park during her study abroad experience in Senegal.

Put it on your resume
Your resume is often the first method of contact you will make with a potential employer, so you want it to stand out against all of the other resumes they see. Having experience abroad distinguishes you from other candidates because it shows that you can adapt to new environments and be independent.

Depending on how relevant your study abroad experience is to the job you are applying for, you can list it briefly or more in-depth. Always include the location, duration, and title of the program on your resume. If you studied at a university while in your host country, include the name of the university as well. If your study abroad experience is directly applicable to the job, you can expand on it by sharing the classes you took (and whether they were in a language other than English), research projects you conducted, what you learned, and/or skills you gained.

If you held an internship, volunteered, or conducted research abroad, add your title and duties under the appropriate section of your resume.

Include any languages you learned abroad in the skills section of your resume. Add your proficiency in the language – basic, intermediate, conversational, or fluent.

Examples:

Resume Pic Christina

Talk about it in an interview
What you choose to put on your resume, including study abroad experience, may come up in an interview; if it’s on your resume, then you should be prepared to discuss it. You can also use experiences from your trip abroad to answer behavioral interview questions. Examples:

Interview Christina

Examples like these can show you are adaptable, determined, a good communicator, and so much more!

Everyone’s study abroad experience is unique and challenging in its own way, so use it to prove that you are the right person for the job. Be proud of your experience abroad – you learned, explored, and put yourself out there!

For individual help, please visit us during drop-ins! These times will change beginning May 13, so please keep an eye on our website.
Monday           12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday          12 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday      3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thursday          2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Jerejef! (Thank you!)

Career Resources Series: Use Vault.com to Score Points with Employers

By Chuck Reutlinger, Associate Director, Career Services

“Why are you interested in us? What do you know about us? Why are you interested in this position and this career path? What are your strengths? Where do you see yourself in the future?”

Employers ask questions like these to see how much you really know about their organizations, their products or services, their work cultures, and, of course, the actual tasks, challenges and preferred qualifications of a specific job. Why? They are trying to identify that candidate who has an accurate grasp of the realities of working in a specific role; is confident that their knowledge, skills and attitude can produce desired outcomes; whose personality and work style will fit easily into their work culture; and who will be energized by the work they do now and in the future. This will be the candidate with whom they will want to form a relationship and to whom they will gladly make an offer.

VaultIn order to properly impress an employer, motivated job seekers have come to depend on a number of resources that capture and publish information on industries, employers, specific careers, and the tactics that employers use to evaluate candidates in the various stages of consideration.  Foremost among these resources is Vault.com.  Through its various profiles and lengthy guides, Vault provides the kind of information that networkers, cover letter writers and interviewees can use to compete successfully for an offer of a job or an internship. Familiarity with such information has become an employer’s expectation of their best candidates.

For the general public visiting Vault’s web site, some information is presented free of charge but most of the truly valuable information carries a cost.  Fortunately for students, Vault makes arrangements for colleges and universities to pay an annual fee that affords their students access to a great deal more crucial insider information on industries, careers, employer cultures, preferred qualifications, interviewing styles and formats, and much more. Syracuse has such an arrangement whereby students can log on to Vault through a Syracuse portal, set up their own accounts on Vault, and use the resources without the restrictions that non-Syracuse users would encounter.

Access Vault via the Syracuse University portal and create your account using your @syr.edu email address.

Counselors at SU Career Services can help students to grasp how Vault information can help them.  Resources similar to Vault include Wet Feet and Glass Door although SU does not currently have specific arrangements for student usage.

Ace the Interview: #GetHired13

Recap by Tracy Tillapaugh

Last night, Rosanne Ecker, associate director in Career Services, provided many excellent tips for those seeking new job opportunities in a Senior Session called “Ace the Interview.” With off-the-wall questions such as “What kind of salad dressing would you want to be?” it’s hard to know what an interviewer is looking for sometimes. But Ecker discussed several concrete strategies for winning the job from the interview.

Associate Director Rosanne Ecker shares tips for successful interviewing.

Here are some highlights and tips to remember the next time you have an interview:

Prepare:

  • Read up on the firm and the company. Check out their website and google them! Learn their values and their mission. What is it like? Do you agree with it?
  • Go over your resume. If you’re going to sell yourself on the interview then you need to know what you’re selling.
  • Go over the job description. You need to analyze it like a poem and know what the company is looking for in this position. You want to show them that you’re a match; you don’t need to show them that you’re the smartest/funniest/etc. person they’ve met. For example: prove that you can be vivacious if job description asks for someone to be vivacious!
In the Interview: 
  • Develop a proactive agenda. What do you want the interviewer to know whether or not they ask? Many questions are open-ended, giving you numerous options for answering them.
  • Like a good novelist, show the interviewer through examples. Just stating that you are attentive to detail is not enough; provide an example that shows your attention to detail that you can describe.
  • Answer questions using the PAR formula. Problem. Action. Results. Frame each of your examples and answers in this way with the emphasis being on the action and results. Ecker says that an interview is a series of happy stories!
  • Ask second-level questions based on your research. The company will be impressed that you know about them and are curious to learn more. You want to show them that you’re seeing if they’re a match for you as well.
Follow-Up:

  • Send thank-you notes within 24 hours to each person that interviewed you. Show them that you’re still very interested in the opportunity.
  • Relax!

Remember: interviewing is a skill, if you practice, you will improve!

The next Senior Session, Networking Now: Why #SOCIALMEDIA is a must will be held Tuesday, October 30th in Crouse Hinds 010 at 5:00 pm. RSVP in OrangeLink to reserve your space today!

Job search advice: how many applications led to Microsoft

By Jeff D’Andria, G ’12

Jeff D’Andria, G ’12

Hi SU family! Here are a few nuggets of job hunt knowledge I picked up from being in the trenches myself for a few months. The following tips were instrumental in me landing a job with Microsoft as a University Recruiter. I really combed through my journey and came up with the things that not only helped me, but I believe will help you too!

  1. Get over your false confidence. I was so sure that my cover letter and resume were the bomb.com, so I was confused when I wasn’t getting any call backs. The most pivotal step in my job hunt was going to Career Services and getting all of my application materials looked over. After I got them checked, I suddenly had many interviews come my way. Get your stuff checked! I worked at Career Services for the two years I was in graduate school and still needed help. Tuck the ego aside and make an appointment.
  2. Keep applying, even when you’re interviewing. Remember, they’re considering many candidates. Even if you make it to a final round interview, chances are you’re contending with 3-4 other strong candidates. At this final round, you only have a 25% chance of being chosen as the best candidate. Bottom line: it’s too expensive to stop applying, so keep doing it until you have an offer in hand.
  3. Rules are meant to be broken. Since when does an M.S. in Counseling = a job at Microsoft? Worked for me. If you’re feeling like your major doesn’t line up with a job or internship you want, there’s hope. The education section on a one-page resume takes up maybe 10% of the visual space available. I’m a huge believer that the remaining 90% is what sets you apart and lands the interview. To make this theory work, you have to intern, volunteer, work, overall just DO pertinent things! If you are strategic enough, you don’t have to feel ruled out of opportunities because of your major.
  4. Get what you’re worth.  I knew I wanted to work at a high caliber organization and didn’t settle for anything less. Your first job affects the second job/salary you get, and the third and so on. It’s critical that you talk to people you trust (i.e. Career Services) to learn what your options are. Do not rush into a lesser opportunity for a reason like, “hey I’m lucky to get a job.” Know that you’ll have to start your job search early, roll with the punches for sure, but that’s part of the journey and if you stick with it, you’ll get what you’re worth. A YouTube video that illustrates this point: http://youtu.be/8xFEqdkO5UI
  5. Be graceful and grateful. When I accepted the job offer with Microsoft, I was in the interview process with two other organizations. I made sure to genuinely thank them for considering me and ensured that I would love to stay in touch. For one of the organizations, I even referred a friend for the opportunity and they proceeded to invite her on-site for an interview. If you think big picture for a moment, you’ll see that after your first job, you’ll move onto another opportunity. Be grateful and helpful to places you turn down because 1) it’s the right thing to do and 2) you don’t want to burn any bridges.

One of my favorite quotes that applies to the job search is: “Luck is the residue of design.” If you put in your due diligence, it’s only a matter of time before something awesome happens for you. Good luck and feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter, @jeffitout, if you have any questions.

With a dash of luck (…a blog post about landing a job)

By Alison Neufang, Class of 2012

The spring semester was a rough one for me. I had one of the toughest classes I’ve taken. I was also taking the capstone advertising course. I was part of three semester-long teams, and we know how much we all love team projects. Mostly, I was just staving off a raging case of senioritis. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t too proactive about finding a job. It was just really easy to procrastinate. Easier than normal.

That’s not to say I wasn’t thinking about it. I was. I attended one career fair where I didn’t find anything that interested me. I thought about what I should be doing, mainly networking and talking to as many HR people as possible. I knew I should be getting a portfolio together.

But when I finished my last final, I had nothing to show. I still needed to update my resume. I still needed to put my portfolio together. I needed to scour the CDC’s newsletters and Monster.com.

But there were some things that I had been doing for my entire college career. I had been building relationships. Not specifically for the purpose of getting a career, because that would just be rude. But I knew that there were people who wouldn’t mind helping me. So the first thing I did was to recruit as many of my professors as I could. I was lucky that a few decided to lend me a hand. They drew on their experience to introduce me to a few people in the industry.

The other thing I had been doing without realizing is learning how to sell myself. I have passion for my chosen career, and I was able to describe where I thought I fit in. So when I was introduced to people in the industry, I could toss aside any nervousness or scripted speech and just talk. I was able to just look at the people I was meeting and tell them why I thought I could help them do what they do, and be happy doing it. Because, you know, no one likes working with a miserable jerk who has to force herself out of bed in the morning.

So here’s the rundown of what I did. I took my final final (what a weird thing, the last act as a college student) and then I had a week until graduation. So I met with my professors and asked for some introductions. I updated my resume one last time. I went to the SUccess in the City networking event and I shook a bunch of hands and collected a bunch of business cards.

They say finding a job is a full-time job, so I worked on my portfolio for about 10 hours a day for 4 days straight. This was a great exercise because it forced me to reflect on the experience I had gained from school. I would recommend every entry-level person has some examples of why they aren’t completely clueless about the position.  Then I scheduled a few interviews.

And then I graduated. I walked that stage and it was one of the happiest days of my life. The next day I had an interview. Then I had lunch with a professor. Then I had another interview. Then another. And then another. By that Friday, I had a job.

So there was a bit of luck. To find a job that quickly is pretty much unheard of. And I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere without a lot of help from some friends. But the main thing I would attribute my success to is my passion. I walked into the interview with enough confidence to say “I belong here,” and enough desire to ensure that my confidence didn’t come off as “ego.”

I wish you all the best of luck in your job search. I’d wish you luck, but you don’t need it.

Advice from an SU grad: the path to my dream job

With graduation nearing, we know many of our seniors are knee-deep in the job search process. In this blog post, iSchool alumnus Daniel Reichert shares his perspective and feelings on looking for meaningful work – and how he found SUccess.

Stress
The interviewing process is stressful. It’s stressful when you put your applications out, and it gets more stressful as you continue on with the process for any company. If you don’t hear back from a company for some time, the stress goes through the roof.

In my late 20s, I’ve been through the interview process several times – once when I just got out of my Army Reserve training, once after getting back from Afghanistan having also just completed my bachelor’s degree, and finally just recently after completing my master’s from the iSchool.  The stress never gets easier.

Chase Your Dreams
In my recent endeavors, I decided I didn’t want just another job. I wanted a career. After following the suggestions from Career Services, I landed a few interviews with major IT companies throughout the country.  It came down to three, all of which would have an estimated “final decision” time during completely different time frames.  Of the three, there was one that was my dream company. Of course, it was estimated to be the last one in line to decide.

The three companies interviewed me through stages, where two of them went through the process rapidly in a month or so.  One of them flew me across the country for the final interview.  It wasn’t my number one, but it was a good sign. Unfortunately I didn’t get that one. I eventually looked at it as a blessing in disguise to make it easier to go full-speed into my number one pick.

Patience and Follow Up
I graduated in December without any offer. I moved back in with my parents being extremely optimistic that I would get an offer from my top choice.  Time went by with no response, and I started applying to other companies. How could it be that I’d made it so far in this nearly six month long interview process and my rejection came in the form of just being ignored?

I didn’t want to be a nuisance, but at the same time I wanted somewhat of a closure.  I attempted to make contact with everyone I interviewed with at the company.  A week later, I got a phone call from the lead hiring manager who was my main contact.  She apologized to me for the delay in responding and informed me I was well in the running still but there was one more interview to go through.

WOOO!

After going more than one month without any response from the company I put everything into, this was a major relief to know I was still interviewing (strangely enough after half a year of interviewing already). A week later I had the biggest interview of my life. I did the interview via webcam. The interviewer told me I would hear back in about week or so, thus getting my nerves going again (more than ever before).

I didn’t sleep at all during that time.

I did whatever I could to keep my mind off of things. Thankfully this was during Miami Tech Week. There was definitely a fair amount of small community things to attend. While I was walking into the building for the Android meetup and about to silence my phone, I received a phone call. It was the hiring manager and she sounded excited.  She called immediately to offer me the position!

It took nearly half a year from submitting my application to hear the phone call I remember so vividly of being offered the position.  I declined other opportunities and I made major gambles. I lost many nights of sleep.  This was my dream job and I ended up getting it after three separate interviews with three groups of people who had varying levels of credentials.  Did I handle the stresses right? Was it a recommended gamble to take? I can’t say, because it worked out right in the end.  Bottom line: don’t overestimate yourself, but most importantly: don’t shortchange yourself.