interviewing

10 Ways Summer Can Help You In Your Career

How to be productive this summer

By Emilee Smith G’16

School is out for summer, yippee! But just because classes are finished and the sun is shining doesn’t mean you should take a three-month break from productivity. These summer months are a great time to get ahead for the coming academic year and gain experiences for your future career. Here’s 10 ways you can be productive this summer:

  1. Work in your field. Whether it’s a paying job, internship or volunteer opportunity, working in your field is the best thing you can do for your career.
  2. Didn’t get a job or internship in your field? No worries! Use your free time to brush up on skills related to your intended profession. If you are a writer, write. If you’re an artist, make art. If you’re a history major? Read and visit museums. No matter what your field is, there are always ways for you to improve upon your knowledge and add to your portfolio.
  3. Revise your resume. Hopefully this past year you spent some time getting feedback from professors and career counselors on ways to improve your resume. Take time over the summer to make this document even stronger.
  4. Set up informational interviews. Politely reach out to people in your industry and ask if you can have informational interviews with them. This is a great way to make connections and also learn more about companies you think you might be interested in.
  5. Volunteering with places you care about is a great way to build connections with organizations as well as the individuals who work for them. Also, volunteer experience always looks great to future employers.
  6. Utilize LinkedIn. Aside from updating your profile, use LinkedIn to find alumni and other people in your industry.
  7. Read your textbooks. If you will be returning for the 2016-2017 academic year, start reading your textbooks early. This is a great way to get ahead and be prepared for your fall courses. It will also make your homework load more manageable when you return.
  8. Make a 5-year plan. If you still have multiple years of college left, spend time figuring out when you will be taking your required courses. If you have already done this, work on determining where you think you would like to begin your career and how you plan on developing past initial employment.
  9. Start a blog. Blogging is a great way to improve your writing and social media skills and also looks great on a resume. Employers love seeing that you are able to create and deliver content on a regular basis, so start a blog about something you love!
  10. If you can afford to, spend time traveling. Doing so will not only broaden your knowledge but can also help you determine where you would like to be geographically after graduation.

Even if you didn’t get your dream job this summer, there is no reason to fret! There are still plenty of things that you can do to prepare for this coming year and ultimately your future career.

Career Services is open all summer! Don’t wait until the fall to get career help. You can meet with a career counselor over the phone or via Skype to discuss career-related topics. To set up an appointment, call 315-443-3616!

Looking Ahead: Majors, Workshops, & Fairs

By Magnolia Salas

calendar
Spring break is around the corner and we are sure you are looking forward to a week-long rest. But as you get ready to pause, don’t pause in your job or internship search. Take the time next week to build new relationships, discuss your career aspirations with friends and family and reflect on your career journey. In addition, mark your calendar with these events taking place in the coming weeks.

Major Dilemma 15 Minute Drop-Ins
March 24, March 25, March 26, & March 27, 2:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., 235 Schine
Not sure about your major? Come to us about choosing it, switching it, or what to do with it once you’re out of school!

Career Crash Course
March 28, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., 304ABC Schine
A one-day crash course on career essentials such as resumes, interviewing, networking, and job search resources. Workshops will be led by employers including GE, Macy’s, and JPMorgan Chase.  You can attend, one, multiple, or all sessions to gain knowledge about landing your next internship or full-time job. RSVP in OrangeLink.

SEC & ACC Virtual Career Fair
April 1 – 3, online via CareerEco
Attend this virtual career fair from anywhere and connect with more than 45 employers hiring in engineering, business, IT, sales, accounting, science, human resources, and many more. To RSVP and to view the full-time and internship opportunities and employers participating, please visit this link.

Keep an eye on your emails for updates on these events. Enjoy your spring break and we’ll see you back on the blog in two weeks!

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.

Interviewing: Four Minutes to Shine

By Chuck Reutlinger, Associate Director, SU Career Services

Interviewers are famous for making up their minds about considering someone further in the first four minutes of an interview.  Doesn’t sound fair, does it?  Much as they may be trained to do otherwise, they may still do it.

So, how can you insure that you make the first four minutes count?  As someone who has conducted hundreds of real interviews and more than a thousand mock interviews, here are some thoughts.

Positive image.  Make sure your visual and non-verbal impression is flawless, from your hair to your clothing to your accessories to your shoes, from your eye contact and smile to your firm, confident hand shake and upright posture.

Set a tone of confidence and enthusiasm.  When asked how you are, say more than most people’s automatic response of “Fine. How are you?”  Are you glad to have this interview?  Say so!  Have you researched the employer and its sector?  Say so! It might yield a chance to score points right away.

Score big points in the small talk. Interviewers want to see your composure, and your communicative and interpersonal skills, so respond to their remarks, take an interest in them and ask questions in return.  This is critical if your role will involve teamwork or contact with customers or others in the organization but outside your group.  Be ready to talk about current events, your extracurricular activities, and other things seemingly unrelated to the job since life is what you will discuss when you are on the job!

“So tell me about yourself.” First, expect this invitation to talk.  Second, realize that how you present your content is what they want to observe, but that, thirdly, what you relate can score points by making the content of your response relevant to their goals for the interview.  Instead of articulately relating what they already know, e.g. your recent history as shown on your resume,  consider telling them about your future goals or how you became interested in the field you have chosen to pursue or which elements of the job you are particularly keen to take on.  Tell interviewers what you mean to relate, keep the response focused so you hold their attention, and don’t ramble into other topical areas.  Wrap it up with an upbeat remark and let them get on to their next item of business.

Why are you interested in (this position, our organization)?  Expect this early in the interview, too.  It might substitute for “Tell me about yourself.”  You should be ready to score big points here IF you have done your homework on them, positions of this type and know how your own interests, skills, work style preferences, etc. will relate to their situation.  If you haven’t role played these responses with someone else to insure that they hit a target, then you could lose points early in the interview.

These are the common elements of the beginning of an interview.  Give them your attention and practice this stage of an interview as you would the later stages of any interview.  A good start can make a big difference!

Interviewing: Four Minutes to Shine

By Chuck Reutlinger, Associate Director, SU Career Services

Interviewers are famous for making up their minds about considering someone further in the first four minutes of an interview.  Doesn’t sound fair, does it?  Much as they may be trained to do otherwise, they may still do it.

So, how can you insure that you make the first four minutes count?  As someone who has conducted hundreds of real interviews and more than a thousand mock interviews, here are some thoughts.

Positive image.  Make sure your visual and non-verbal impression is flawless, from your hair to your clothing to your accessories to your shoes, from your eye contact and smile to your firm, confident hand shake and upright posture.

Set a tone of confidence and enthusiasm.  When asked how you are, say more than most people’s automatic response of “Fine. How are you?”  Are you glad to have this interview?  Say so!  Have you researched the employer and its sector?  Say so! It might yield a chance to score points right away.

Score big points in the small talk. Interviewers want to see your composure, and your communicative and interpersonal skills, so respond to their remarks, take an interest in them and ask questions in return.  This is critical if your role will involve teamwork or contact with customers or others in the organization but outside your group.  Be ready to talk about current events, your extracurricular activities, and other things seemingly unrelated to the job since life is what you will discuss when you are on the job!

“So tell me about yourself.” First, expect this invitation to talk.  Second, realize that how you present your content is what they want to observe, but that, thirdly, what you relate can score points by making the content of your response relevant to their goals for the interview.  Instead of articulately relating what they already know, e.g. your recent history as shown on your resume,  consider telling them about your future goals or how you became interested in the field you have chosen to pursue or which elements of the job you are particularly keen to take on.  Tell interviewers what you mean to relate, keep the response focused so you hold their attention, and don’t ramble into other topical areas.  Wrap it up with an upbeat remark and let them get on to their next item of business.

Why are you interested in (this position, our organization)?  Expect this early in the interview, too.  It might substitute for “Tell me about yourself.”  You should be ready to score big points here IF you have done your homework on them, positions of this type and know how your own interests, skills, work style preferences, etc. will relate to their situation.  If you haven’t role played these responses with someone else to insure that they hit a target, then you could lose points early in the interview.

These are the common elements of the beginning of an interview.  Give them your attention and practice this stage of an interview as you would the later stages of any interview.  A good start can make a big difference!

Top ways to highlight leadership skills in an interview

Many students take advantage of internships, clubs, student government, sports and other opportunities to build leadership skills. The question is, how do you demonstrate and articulate your experiences to a potential employer?

In this guest blog post, GEICO shares the following steps that could help you to showcase your leadership skills for your next interview.

Who are you?
When you are looking for a job, you’ve got to tell interviewers who you are and what you can do for their company. No one knows you, and no one knows your skills unless you tell them. You have to show the value of your skills and experiences. You need to be able to show a potential employer that the time and money they’ll invest in training you will not be wasted because you already have what it takes to contribute to the organization and climb up the ladder of success.

What have you done?
Consider what skills are important to you and to the job you are applying for. Then think about the times in the past when you have used these skills in your job or at school. Be able to explain, in one or two sentences, how you used this skill to accomplish something that was beneficial to your employer or student organization. Just make sure the skills you choose are applicable to the job for which you are applying.

Talk about real examples
When focusing on leadership, talk about the experiences you’ve had in building or leading a team; include how you motivated the team and even what tasks you delegated. Results are what matters here. Focus on them. What was the group able to accomplish under your charge? Be able to talk about a problem that the organization had and how you were able to lead the group in solving it. Know when to say “we” and when to say “I” when giving examples. Using “we” implies teamwork, whereas the use of “I” denotes leadership.

Look your best and show your confidence
Keep in mind that, as a candidate, it’s not just the answers to the questions that you’re judged on, but also the way you present yourself. If you want to be regarded as a leader, you have to act like a leader.  Sitting up straight, walking to the interview room and shaking hands with confidence and answering questions without any hint of doubt are key ways to show that you are indeed a leader. Don’t forget to maintain eye contact and act professionally, but not stiff. Know the business that you are interviewing for and dress appropriately.

Exuding confidence will greatly boost your chances of being regarded as a potential great leader. A leader knows how to react to certain situations and will not hesitate to stick with what he or she believes in. If you are a leader, it will naturally show in how you carry yourself during the interview.

Practice, practice, practice
Take the time before your interview to hone what you want to say on any number of key subjects. Practice questions and answers with a friend, and then practice some more. You will be much better prepared for a smooth interview.

At GEICO, we have two selective leadership programs that target graduating seniors who excel academically, possess leadership experience and demonstrate the desire to one day manage a team. These positions put successful participants on the fast track to higher-level positions. You will learn the business from the ground up through mentoring and learning to mentor others. When GEICO interviews candidates for these jobs, it’s important that those who go on to the next steps have relevant experience as well as a strong desire to manage people.

Interested in learning more about careers at GEICO? 

Visit www.geico.jobs or connect with GEICO’s national college recruiter, Debra Mienke-Pence, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

What I've Learned from Three Years in Career Services

by Dan Klamm
Marketing & Communications Coordinator

As some of you may know, this is my last week working in Career Services at Syracuse University. Effective October 24, I will be moving to the university’s Division of Advancement and External Affairs to be the Assistant Director of Digital & Social Media. I am thrilled about this opportunity, though sad to leave an amazing group of colleagues, an exceptionally supportive boss, and a workplace that has presented me with many unique opportunities and challenges over the last three years.

I’d like to present you with some key learnings that I’ve acquired during my tenure in Career Services, in the hopes that these nuggets can help you navigate the job search and young professional life. Over the last three years, I’ve advised hundreds of students and alumni on career development issues, I’ve evaluated job candidates as a search committee member, and — as I approached my own job search, before this wonderful new position at SU became available — I’ve interviewed with organizations such as Edelman, Google, and NYU. This combination of experience provides me with a variety of perspectives and some key take-aways.

1) Before beginning your job search, develop a clear goal.
What industry would you like to work in? What organization(s) would you like to work for? What is your ideal position? Geographically, where do you want to be? Take the time to do some soul searching and figure out the answers to these questions. Conduct informational interviews with SU alumni to find out what certain job titles really mean or to find out what it’s actually like to work in a particular industry. Research salaries and cost of living information to see if your dream career in your dream city will give you the quality of life that you want. As your ideal job begins to take shape, develop a clear goal statement and a list of target employers.

Doing this heavy lifting at the outset will save you lots of time and energy down the road. Once you have a clear goal, you can channel all your efforts toward reaching that specific goal. Instead of applying for 90 different PR jobs across New York City, you can spend time customizing your cover letter and resume (and networking!) to apply to the 10 positions in fashion PR that you really want.

“I’ll take anything” is the kiss of death in a job search — especially in an interview. Hiring managers want to hear how excited you are to work in their industry, for their company, and in the specific position that you’re applying for. Having a clear goal in your mind will help you to convey genuine enthusiasm during an interview.

2) Customize all of your resumes and cover letters. Seriously.
Companies are receiving hundreds of applications for every job opening these days. Who is a hiring manager more likely to interview: the candidate who sends generic application materials or the candidate who says it’s his life dream to work at Company X and provides examples of how his background is a perfect fit for the open position? In most cases, it is the latter.

You don’t need to completely re-write each and every resume and cover letter that you send out, but you should tailor these documents so that they reflect the needs of the employer and the nuances of the job description. It shows that you’re interested in the job and not just sending generic applications out to dozens of companies.

3) It’s who you know AND what you know.
Personal connections can open doors, but in most cases, they won’t land you a job. It’s up to you to sell yourself in an interview.

4) Attack the interview.
An interview is not a passive thing for you to experience; it’s a two-way (or group) dialogue in which you need to take an active and enthusiastic role. Walk in there with an agenda and know the key points that you need to communicate. Even starting off by saying “Thank you for having me, I really appreciate the opportunity to interview for the position and I’m excited to be here today” sets the tone for the rest of the interview and says that you’re not just going to sit back and wait for questions to be lobbed at you. It shows you’re invested in the process and ready to actively engage the inteviewer(s).

Always prepare several key points about the strength of your candidacy. Regardless of the questions that you receive, make sure you’re able to reinforce these key points throughout the interview. Don’t wait for the interviewer to ask the right question or pick up on some small detail on your resume. It’s your job to sell yourself! At the end, wrap up by thanking the interviewer(s) for their time and reiterating your interest and fit.

5) Your reputation matters.
Every little thing that you do impacts your reputation in the professional world: the people you greet (or choose to ignore) in the hallway, how you handle criticism, how you react to success, the way you collaborate with others, and of course the quality of your work. Nothing goes unnoticed.

Your online reputation is equally important. I’ve seen job candidates score interviews based solely on their web presence and the relationships they’ve built through social media. Likewise, I’ve seen candidates rejected based on their online behavior. Pay attention to your online presence — because employers certainly do.

6) Surround yourself with people who believe in you.
Unfortunately we all occasionally find ourselves in conversations with people who bring us down: people who belittle, people who condescend, people who tell us our sights are set too high, people who encourage us to settle.

Don’t settle.

You deserve to be surrounded by people who support and uplift you. During the stressful job search process, this is especially true.

7) Make your own opportunities.
No one is going to find you a job, introduce you to a mentor, or voluntarily give you a $10,000 raise. You need to make it happen. This means taking ownership of your career, putting in extra effort, and proactively taking steps — sometimes unconventional steps — to make yourself known.

For me, this meant reaching out to the editors of The Post-Standard and proposing to write a series of columns about social media in the job search. Surprisingly enough, they gave me the greenlight. About 2 months after my outreach effort, my first column appeared. I then leveraged my writing experience with The Post-Standard to approach an editor at Mashable, one of the most widely read blogs on the internet, about contributing guest posts. He, too, said, “Sure, sounds great!” and a few weeks later my first Mashable post went live.

For you, this could mean tweeting at your dream company to express interest in a summer internship, applying to speak at a big conference in your field, or asking your boss for a promotion. These things aren’t going to magically happen on their own; you need to make them happen.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned above all else in the last three years, it’s that relationships matter. I’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of my career to this point. From the colleagues I work with across the university, to the students I advise, to the alumni I meet while traveling: it’s been SUCH an enjoyable experience coming to work every day because of you. Thank you! I can’t wait to find out what my next step will bring, and I wish you the best with everything.