Tracy Tillapaugh

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!

Don’t fall off the interviewer’s radar!

By Tracy Tillapaugh (and Katie Conrad)

Write a thank you note.  Why, you ask?

  • It gives you a chance to remind the employer that you’re still interested
  • It shows your maturity and professionalism
  • You will stand out from the other applicants-many people don’t write thank you notes!

Don’t be tardy for the party…
Send the note within 24 to 48 hours of the interview via email to ensure that the employer receives it. Mailing a thank you letter is helpful but might not reach the interviewer in time.

Just say it!
Say thank you directly and restate your interest in the position.

Reaffirm the match.
Whether you send your thank you note via email or snail mail, send something specific that reaffirms why you’re a great candidate for the position.

Good luck!  It’s good to know that you’ve done all you can!

Resumes and Cover Letters: a Senior Session Recap

By Lauren Wannermeyer, Intern at Syracuse University Career Services

Our Senior Sessions help you to prepare!

Did you miss Career Services’ first Senior Session on Resumes, Cover Letters, and preparing for a Career Fair? Here’s what you missed!

Tracy Tillapaugh and Shannon Feeney from Career Services presented on how to make our resume and cover letters stand out among the stack and how to make an impression at a Career Fair. The theme of the session was pretty obvious. To get a job (or even just get an interview), standing out is key.

Tracy kicked off the hour with a brief workshop on resumes, starting with the job description.

Glassdoor.com

The job description
You’d be surprised to hear how many people do not even completely read through a job description before applying for a job. This is an imperative step. If you don’t completely survey the job description, it’s impossible to be strategic with your resume. The idea is to put the most applicable work experience at the top, where it is most likely to be read. It may sound tedious to tailor your resume to every job you apply for, but if you just have a few separate sections (specialized experience, leadership experience, etc.) you can organize them based on the requested skills and experience on the job description.

Recruiters say they pay most attention to the top half and the bottom three lines of a resume. Be strategic with how you place your work/internship experience and your special skills.

We have all heard that resumes shouldn’t be more than one page. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to weed out irrelevant information. You want the experience on your resume to be relevant to the job you are applying for. This might mean taking some things out. While all of your clubs and involvement in college might have been formative, it might not be applicable. Keep this in mind.

Action Words
The next tip is to focus on action words. You should start every bullet point with a verb to kick off your description. Recruiters cannot get the full picture of your experience from a simple listing of the company you worked for and your position there. You should use verbs to explain your duties and responsibilities and try to relate them back to duties and responsibilities listed in the description of the job you’re applying for.

An Objective
Tracy’s final tip had to do with listing an objective. Think of your objective as a headline. It’s a brief statement of what you want to do. It helps recruiters clarify why they have your resume. It’s especially helpful when you’re at a career fair. Company reps are often at fairs recruiting for a variety of positions and they will have a hard time remembering why you spoke with them if your resume does not make your objective clear. An objective statement is completely optional, but it’s something to consider if you’re set in what kind of position you aspire to receive after graduation.

As the workshop continued, Tracy spoke about cover letters. Cover letters are often even more frustrating than resumes. They need to be even more specific to the position you are applying to. If there is one key point when it comes to cover letters, it’s relevance. Examples also matter. You can use all the adjectives you want to describe yourself and what kind of worker you are but it will never have the same effect as an anecdote that displays why you possess all the qualities that they are looking for.

Research is a MUST before Career Fairs

Next, Shannon offered excellent tips on how to make the most of career fairs. Her first tip was to do your research. Find out what companies are attending, figure out what tables you’d most like to visit, have your resumes set to go with those companies in mind. Look up the company’s website and social media accounts. Be prepared to have a conversation with the recruiter. You should never go up to a table and say “Tell me about your company.” If you’re serious about applying for a job, you should be able to tell them about their company and why you’d make a good fit. OrangeLink is a great resource. It allows you to look up the companies that are attending, their website and what positions they are recruiting for. Use it!

Next Shannon advised to have your elevator pitch ready to go. Most of us have had to come up with one at some point or another in class. Your elevator pitch should be brief and informative. It should have flavors of your personality and be memorable. These things are hard to achieve. If you have trouble coming up with your elevator pitch, Career Services can help!

If you’re nervous about talking to your dream company, practice. Start by going to a company you’re a little less interested in to warm up. You might find after working out the kinks with a less stressful company, you’re ready to go. Finally, don’t forget to apply. You can’t apply for jobs at Career Fairs, but you find out about a lot of opportunities. Maximize them by applying. You’d be surprised by how many people don’t!

Don’t miss the next Senior Session on Wednesday, February 15th at 3:30 p.m. in Hall of Languages room 207. Chuck Reutlinger will offer a workshop on Job Searching Secrets. Then, on Wednesday, February 22nd, same time, same place, Kim Brown and Dan Klamm will help you to understand how social media plays a role in your job search and why you MUST be on LinkedIn. RSVP on Orange Link!

If I could write a letter to my 18 year old self…

Organized by Tracy Tillapaugh

While crowd-sourcing knowledge a few weeks ago, I received some great responses on Twitter to the question, “what would you tell your 18-year-old self?”

I asked people to tweet their responses to me. Here’s what some of our SU alumni, staff and community members had to say!

Career Services' Kim Brown as a teenager, pictured here with Katie Couric (who had hair extensions!)

@kimincuse: Katie Couric’s job isn’t so great. Seek fulfillment and follow your heart.

@lauraaamac: “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” -Pooh

@orange_spice:  don’t worry, college will be so much better than HS. Take advantage of everything at SU. Oh yea, start saving money!

@PJASchultz: Do what you want to do, not just what others expect.

@stefnoble: Start making a financial plan for the future now.

@SunnyinSyracuse: “choose summer internships instead of several retail jobs” “be involved in many different communities”

@wrbeard: Don’t wait 5 years to grow some confidence. Believe in your self.

@zbdaddy: Just try it! And figure out what you want to do and study for it.

What would you tell your 18 year old self?

A Thanksgiving Day Recipe for Career Success

The table could be filled with great connections!

By Tracy Tillapaugh and Kim Brown

Family, food, football. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.

Are you planning to spend some time at home this year during Thanksgiving break? Make sure you whip up a recipe for success, career-style.

Ingredients
–          1 – 50 relatives
–          1 – 30 awkward high school mini-reunions at your hometown hangouts
–          Water, as needed (stay hydrated!)
–          Confidence in your future goals, interests, likes, values

Prep time The more time you put in, the more success you’ll have!

First: preheat the oven.

When you sit down to dinner on Thanksgiving Day, or run into friends when you shop at your local stores, don’t dread the question, “So, what are your plans for after you graduate in __________ (December? May? Next year?)” Or “What are your plans for the summer?”

Don’t answer with a blank stare. Take a moment and think about what you want to do.

Next: Stir the ingredients.

…and TELL FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS WHAT YOU WANT!

Who knows where Aunt Josie works? Who knows what your cousin Dan’s best friend does? You probably don’t know these things and the more you tell your family what you’re interested in, the more likely you’ll actually find out they know someone already doing it! Keep the conversation flowing and ask them questions, such as, “do you know anyone who works _____ (at Google, for the Mayor’s office, in Boston)?” or “Do you know someone who does _______ (marketing, travel writing, sculpture)?”

Turn your Thanksgiving Day into a thanks-for-helping-me-with-my-job-search Day! Practice this conversation over and over with all the people you encounter. And if you don’t know yet what you’d like to do? It’s okay to tell them that too. Maybe they have some great ideas or are a good sounding board for discussion. Maybe a different perspective will help you to figure out your next steps.

Clean-up

Once your conversation is over, don’t forget to focus on what the day is all about: ThanksGIVING.  Give everyone who has offered assistance, advice, or a connection a huge thank you.

Enjoy your food and your football – and make the most out of those conversations with your family members and friends!

A Thanksgiving Day Recipe for Career Success

The table could be filled with great connections!

By Tracy Tillapaugh and Kim Brown

Family, food, football. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.

Are you planning to spend some time at home this year during Thanksgiving break? Make sure you whip up a recipe for success, career-style.

Ingredients
–          1 – 50 relatives
–          1 – 30 awkward high school mini-reunions at your hometown hangouts
–          Water, as needed (stay hydrated!)
–          Confidence in your future goals, interests, likes, values

Prep time The more time you put in, the more success you’ll have!

First: preheat the oven.

When you sit down to dinner on Thanksgiving Day, or run into friends when you shop at your local stores, don’t dread the question, “So, what are your plans for after you graduate in __________ (December? May? Next year?)” Or “What are your plans for the summer?”

Don’t answer with a blank stare. Take a moment and think about what you want to do.

Next: Stir the ingredients.

…and TELL FAMILY MEMBERS AND FRIENDS WHAT YOU WANT!

Who knows where Aunt Josie works? Who knows what your cousin Dan’s best friend does? You probably don’t know these things and the more you tell your family what you’re interested in, the more likely you’ll actually find out they know someone already doing it! Keep the conversation flowing and ask them questions, such as, “do you know anyone who works _____ (at Google, for the Mayor’s office, in Boston)?” or “Do you know someone who does _______ (marketing, travel writing, sculpture)?”

Turn your Thanksgiving Day into a thanks-for-helping-me-with-my-job-search Day! Practice this conversation over and over with all the people you encounter. And if you don’t know yet what you’d like to do? It’s okay to tell them that too. Maybe they have some great ideas or are a good sounding board for discussion. Maybe a different perspective will help you to figure out your next steps.

Clean-up

Once your conversation is over, don’t forget to focus on what the day is all about: ThanksGIVING.  Give everyone who has offered assistance, advice, or a connection a huge thank you.

Enjoy your food and your football – and make the most out of those conversations with your family members and friends!

The best career advice I ever received was…

Our Career Guide has advice too!

Compiled by Tracy Tillapaugh

If you’re reading this post, you most likely follow @CareerSU on twitter, and maybe you even follow me, @tracytilly. If you do, then you probably saw some questions that I posted a few weeks ago. While the original idea was to turn some crowd-sourced tweets into some suggestions for the Class of 2015, I received requests to share the info with everyone else too… so without further ado…

The best career advice I ever received was…

@cmnoguer I would say get out there, get involved and don’t be afraid of failure or rejection. Think of what you want to look back to.

@colormelauren: to use @LinkedIn!

@dgreichert: Don’t pepper your resume and hope for a bite. Research each company and tailor the resume to each specifically.

@dkaps89:  For freshmen: Start networking early & never stop. It’ll pay off when you’re job/internship hunting (or even when you’re not)

@joannagiansanti: It sounds hokey now, but when the book came out, “Do what you love and the money will follow” really rang true.

@kimincuse: “wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.” Confucius was smart… definitely applies to career!

@muruganpandian: Never stay in one place too long; especially when the opportunities to grow have evaporated.

@SyrMichael:  The best career advice I ever received was <— find something rewarding rather than focus on $$

@tjbasalla: chase the dream job, but find the career that gives you the best reality

Thank you to all of our contributors! What else would you add?

4 ways to make the most of employer information sessions

by Tracy Tillapaugh
Career Counselor

Did you know that 20+ companies will be on campus providing you with information over the next few weeks? You can view the full list on OrangeLink (accessible through MySlice). These information sessions are a great way for you to learn more about a company prior to applying for internships or jobs. Want to make the most of your time with the company? Follow some of these suggestions:

Ask questions.
Utilize your time with the employer representative to ask any questions you have about the company or interview process. Get familiar with all of the facets that interest you about the company: goals, mission, what it’s truly like to work there or within a particular department. Ask the speaker how she got her start with the company. What knowledge did the presenter wish he had prior to joining the company? All of this information will showcase your interest to the company representative, which is a great way for the rep to remember you in the future.

Don’t go if you’re tired.
Sitting in a seat looking bored out of your mind, or falling asleep, is something a speaker notices. If you’re going to attend an employer information session, make sure that you’re paying attention to the information provided, asking questions and interacting with the speaker. Take notes on points the speaker makes so you know how an interview or career fair opportunity can best be approached.

Get a business card!
Make sure to snag one of the speaker’s business cards. Connect with the speaker on LinkedIn or send the person an email to follow up on the session. Following up will put you front of mind to the company rep, which is a great place to be when you’re interested in career opportunities.

Thank the presenter for his/her time.
After the session has ended make sure to say “thank you” to the presenter. The presenter has given up her time to meet with you and other students to assist you in the process of finding a job or internship in the future. Showing appreciation is always a good idea!

Getting insider knowledge at these sessions will help you succeed, so make sure to pay attention and soak up as much information as possible.  To find out about all of the information sessions taking place this fall at SU, log-on to your OrangeLink account now through MySlice!

How to update your resume after a summer internship

By Tracy Tillapaugh
Career Counselor

Did you just finish a summer internship, job, study abroad or other career-relevant experience? Well then, it’s time to update your resume! Before you groan, remember that your resume is a living document. Constantly updating it allows you to show your most current experiences and skill sets.  This is a surefire way to make sure the best information about you is being shared.

If your internship or work experience is directly related to your future career aspirations, then listing that information toward the top of the resume is key. Employers often spend just 10 to 15 seconds visually scanning each resume. Don’t let your most recent and relevant experience get lost!

Make sure to think through the bullet points and write them out strategically. Emphasizing your real world experience will certainly impress your next internship company or employer after graduation.

Be descriptive. Include the specific tasks you performed at your internship. If you worked for an event planning company, instead of writing “helped plan events,” you can write “worked with supervisor to assess catering needs and place orders with catering company for a series of networking events” or “worked closely with interior designer to ensure the appearance of the event space matched client’s expectations.”

Quantify the work that you accomplished. Continuing with the event planning example above, make sure to include the number of events you assisted in planning, as well as the number of attendees at these events.  If you had a certain budget to work with, that would be good to include as well. Not only will this showcase the scope of your work, but it will reflect your attention to detail (a great skill to possess in almost any job).

If your internship or job experience does not relate to your future career goals (i.e. you want to be a journalist but spent the summer waitressing), IT’S OKAY! Look for transferable skills. Where do your skills as a journalist intersect with your skills as a waitress? Both journalists and waiters: communicate with individuals, multi-task several duties at once, and serve external and internal customers on tight deadlines. Those are just a few things that transfer from being a waiter to being a journalist. Can you think of others? Draw attention to these transferable skills on your resume!

Good luck updating your resume with your summer internship experience. When you’re ready and want an extra set of eyes on it, bring it to Career Services during our 15 Minute Drop-In Hours to be reviewed and discussed!