Making a first impression is more than an impressive resume and answering interview questions. Your body language can have a huge effect on how people and employers percieve you. Amy Cuddy takes this idea and goes further. She talks about how our body language can effect how we see ourselves. Her study showed that taking on power poses for two minutes can raise testosterone and lower cortisol, thus improving confidence. Cuddy states, “Tiny tweaks and lead to big changes.” This change in self image can improve confidence in, presentations, giving a pitch, or job interviews! Check out the Ted Talk to learn more…
It might sound strange, but “storytelling” is an important skill to have when job searching. I have been providing interviewing consultations for the past year and a half, and this is the most important thing that I have learned. Why is it important to be able to tell a story? Ultimately, a good story is memorable and teaches the listener something about the teller. When job searching, the most important thing you need to do well is to be able to paint a picture of yourself for others. Employers want someone with (a) skills to do the job, and (b) ability to fit into their work culture and environment. Your resume will demonstrate your skills. Everyone interviewing for the position probably has the same skills that you do, otherwise they wouldn’t have an interview. So what sets you apart from everyone else? You. You set yourself apart with your personality, values, and goals. All of these things should align with the company or organization and position, for which you are applying. A good story can illustrate this fit.
Now you might be saying to yourself “but I do not have any good stories” or “I am not good at telling stories”. Well never fear! Anyone can become a good storyteller with some preparation and practice. We will start by explaining commonly used method for creating stories. The STAR method:
S is for situation. Set up your story with the situation. What was happening? For example, “we were working on a project in math class.”
T is for task. What was your job? “I was assigned to create a formula.”
A is for action. What did you do? “I did a lot of research to find out what would be the best formula, by utilizing a database.”
R is for result. End your story by stating what happened as a result of your actions. “I got an A on the assignment and my professor told me it was well researched.”
Now that you know the STAR method, here are some tips on how to create the best stories:
Research common interview questions. These are easy enough to find via google. Sometimes these questions might not seem as if they are looking for a story, but always tell a story. For example: What are your greatest strengths? You might answer simply by stating “I am hardworking, a great listener, and always positive.” But this is not very impactful or memorable. Instead, start with this statement and then follow it up with a story about a time in which you have demonstrated these traits. The story that you come up with, could probably be applied to other questions, even if they do not ask you this exact one.
A good story is specific. A generalization is not a good story. For example “I am a great multitasker because I do that at work all the time. I am always having to balance talking to students, answering e-mails, and programming.” A specific version of that might sound more like this “Yes I can multitask. One day at my job with Career Services I was feeling very swamped. I was trying to finish a blog, create some powerpoint presentations, and answer e-mails, all in between my consulting appointments and meetings. So in order to get it all done, I made a list of all my tasks with the due dates next to them. Every time I had a free minute, I focused on the task at hand. I temporarily ignored other things, like e-mail so that I could accomplish the most important ones. I was able to focus enough to get everything done on time and my work was some of my best quality because I was focused.” This version tells you much more about what I do, how I handle those situations, and if way more memorable.
You can make anything into a story. Think about activities you have been involved with (i.e. school, work, clubs, sports, volunteering, internships, job shadowing, etc.) Which of these activities could contain some stories? Have you ever had a particular experience that has stuck with you? A time when you learned something? If so, great! Use that as a story! If you are having a hard time thinking of a particular story, think of the things that you did on a regular basis and consider turning that into a story. For example: Perhaps you are a student and every term/semester you have to balance school, your part-time job, and time for yourself. Was there a particular term/semester that was hard for you? Think back to that time and think of it as a story.
“One particular term, I was very busy. I had a lot of hard classes and I was swamped at work. I started to get behind in my classes, so I was feeling overwhelmed. So, in order to make sure I was able to do well, I started asking my professors for help during office hours. I also talked to my boss at work so that they understood what was going on and could help by lessening my hours temporarily. I organized my homework on a calendar so that I always knew when the deadlines were. I ended up catching up in my classes and doing great that term. I learned that sometimes in order to do your best you have to ask for help.” This might seem like something everyone does, but putting it in the form of a story, grabs the attention of the listener, and helps them to learn more about you.
A good story has an end. A common mistake that many people make, is start a great story, but not give it the ending it deserves. I believe this is often due to the fact that they are focused on the tasks and action aspects of the story. These parts are important. But the ending demonstrates the impact of your tasks and actions. For example someone might tell a story like this: “For my science class we were assigned a group project. We were supposed to create a demonstration of a volcano eruption. At first, no one was sure where to start, so I assigned tasks for the group and made sure everyone had something important to do….” And then what? What happened? Always conclude your story with result. How did it go? Did you make the volcano? What grade did you get? Were your group members happy and cooperative? The ending demonstrates that you learned or earned something from the experience.
A good story is authentic. Do not be afraid to tell a story because you think it might make you look “bad”. Unless you learned nothing from a bad experience (unlikely) you can always make it into a good story. For example, everyone is always afraid of the infamous, “what is your greatest weakness?” question. This means that you must reveal your weakness! But, if you are honest, you know what your weakness is. We all have one. What the interviewer wants to know is that you recognize it and know how to deal with your weakness. So how could you demonstrate that…Oh I know! A STORY! Tell a story about a time when you struggled with something. Maybe you failed a test because you procrastinated, or maybe you forgot to pick up your sister because you were not organized. Whatever, your story is, I am sure you learned something from it and now practice ways to combat making the same mistakes again. Or you caught yourself just in time to fix the problem before it got too big. Sometimes the weakness stories are the best stories. They show growth and ability to solve your own problems, which is very valuable.
Well, those are my most amazing tips for storytelling! Remember, storytelling is all about revealing who you are. That person is amazing! Everyone wants to know that person, including your interviewer or potential employer. Limiting your answers to what you think they might want to hear, only puts a barrier between you and your audience. Storytelling can break that barrier. So go forth and tell stories!
“From the outside looking in, you can never understand it. From the inside looking out, you can never explain it.” As a member of the Greek community, I am completely aware of the many stereotypes and challenges that accompany an affiliation with Greek life. Every person has a different experience with Greek life but there is no doubt that you have gained valuable skills from your Greek involvement. From attendance at weekly meetings (time management, punctuality, commitment) to officer positions (leadership, delegation, public speaking) to volunteer opportunities (altruism, service, communication), Greek life has not only had an impact on your life, but also the many skills that you can use to serve companies in the work force.
Here are my top 6 tips for how to positively market Greek life on your resume:
Ask yourself questions about your Greek experience:
Did you have leadership positions?
What did you do?
What skills does this require?
How does this relate to your future job?
What were requirements of membership in your chapter?
What skills do you have now that you didn’t have before you joined Greek life?
Use “Greek” power words: Power words are used to describe experiences listed on your resume and should represent a specific skill gained from that
Quantify your experience (to the best of your ability): When providing details about your experience, give concrete quantifiable details. These numbers will give your employers a better idea of what you did, how often you did it, and give your experiences more relevance to their company.
How many… People at events? Number of events planned? Dollars raised/counted? People working together as a team? Hours put into planning an event?
How often… Do you public speak? Attend meetings? Volunteer? Plan events?
Include details: The easiest way to explain the importance of your experience in Greek life is to provide concrete details about your experience. If you don’t provide details about what you did – employers will fill in those blanks on their own, which could be a benefit OR a detriment
Ideas of details to provide include:
The purpose of an event
Who an event served (community, Greek life, alumni, etc.)
Your role in the event (coordinated, planned, attended, facilitated)
Tailor your resume: Each resume you write should be focused on the job at hand. Therefore, use Greek life to highlight the specific skills that a company requires. Does their job description include communication skills, organization skills, or management skills? Use specific examples from your Greek experience to show these skills.
Be confident in your experience: No two Greek experiences will ever be the same. Be confident in your experience and recognize the importance of the skills you gained from that experience. If you are unsure about why you joined your organization or what you gained from the organization, interviewers will feel the same way about the experience. While it’s hard to explain your personal attachment to your organization – the skills you learned from Greek life will remain with you forever.
As a student that isn’t very involved in their chosen field yet, it can be hard to come up with a list of companies to target when it comes time to search for a job for after graduation. You can do general Google searches, but that process is inefficient and can actually be surprisingly ineffective. Even Career Fairs will be very limited help if the field you’re going into doesn’t have a lot of prospects in this region of the US. Here are a few options for you to help you target new companies in your job search.
Be aware of geography. Maybe you’re someone graduating with a major that can work anywhere, but not all majors have that freedom. Do some research on what geographic areas have a high concentration of companies in your field (a well-known example is Silicon Valley) and concentrate your research there. It’s not impossible to find jobs in areas that don’t have a lot of companies relevant to you, but it is going to be harder.
Join a professional organization. Many professional organizations will have specific career resources available to you. You can discover companies in your field through the career resources they provide or even through who they’re connected to on LinkedIn – assuming the professional organization has a LinkedIn presence (they usually do).
LinkedIn is a useful tool in general. You can find jobs, follow companies and see related companies, and even enter cities that you’re interested in and it will pull up companies in the area. Don’t be afraid to message people on LinkedIn to start making connections – either by directly expressing your interest in working for them or using it as an informational interview experience.
Use the internet to your best advantage. Sites like Monster and Indeed are well known, but it might be advantageous to find less well-known sites that are set up differently. For example, Glassdoor is a site that’s more about researching companies rather than finding any job listing – what it’s like to work for that company, salaries, etc. AfterCollegeJobs is a site that specifically advertises entry-level and internship positions that are appropriate for a new graduate. There are undoubtedly many more tools you could use, you just have to find them!
Meet with a Career Consultant. Last, but certainly not least, career consultants are professionals in the field of helping you build your career! Meet with a Consultant at OSU’s Career Services office to get great tips on how to optimize your job search. Sign in to Beaver Careers to make an appointment!
According to ABC News 80% of jobs are landed through networking, so stop spending so much time applying and get working on networking.
Does everyone in your network know you are looking for the next step in your career? If no, let them all know, keep them updated on your opportunities, interviews, and offers. This is not only great marketing of yourself but also helps trigger peoples minds the next time they hear of a job opening.
Why LINKEDIN? – It is in all caps for a reason. It is an unlimited resource for staying connected to your professional network but also helps you connect to people who you may want to work with. I landed a job interview with a company I really wanted to work for just by asking the CEO on Linkedin. So take some time connect with everyone you know and post about topics in your industry to the newsfeed. This shows you are educated of what is happening in your field but also helps people remember you for what you are great at.
Relationships are like pulses. You need to pump in order to keep them alive. Start going to coffee, lunch, or dinner with people that might be able to help you or keep you informed on another career opportunity. This takes a lot of work. It may seem weird to contact someone who you haven’t talked to for a year but just do it! Most people respond well.
Once you have some momentum in your career, start helping others and pay it forward. It seems simple but most people get into their offices, sit at their comfy desk, and never think to maintain relationships outside their inner circle. So pump the relationship and be there for people when they are exploring their own careers.
Send Thank yous! Why is it so hard? Oh wait, it isn’t. This creates a great image for yourself when you show gratitude and also makes you happier.
Being happy, staying focused, and pursuing your passion should make you excited in the morning when networking. If not, maybe it is time change it up and find a new career you want.
Congratulations! You have your resume in order, and the Career Fair is around the corner, you’re practically home free. But there is one more hurdle to overcome before you can land that killer internship or career that you are there to snag! You have to actually talk to the recruiter! Many students have some sort of stigma about approaching a recruiter— they are like a god, wielding the power over your future with a heavy hand based on first impressions and snap judgments. Is there a way to guarantee they will like you? No. But you can give yourself the best chance of impressing them possible.
Let’s divide this endeavor into two main categories: preparation and execution.
Part I— Preparation:
How do you prepare for talking to a recruiter at a career fair? Well the first step is going to be having all of your materials in order. Resume printed out, edited, crafted to fit their company as best as it can. Of course you already got help with this at career services, so you have that point crossed off your list. Next, you need to work on your presentation— if you show up in a sweatshirt and your favorite pair of worn jeans then nobody will take you seriously. Wear a shirt and tie or nice skirt/pants and jacket, which are reliable business casual outfits. If you want more information on what might be acceptable professional dress, there are plenty of blog posts on that if you need to read more. Or if you want to know what not to wear.
You need something to carry your papers in! Don’t use a backpack, use a portfolio: a nice notebook that you can neatly tuck your resume into, along with any papers the recruiter hands you. Finally, if your resume is on two pages, or if you are coming in with a cover letter too: don’t staple them together, instead use a paper clip.
The other part of preparation isn’t based on appearances, it’s what you have to know before you can go in, so go find out which companies are sending recruiters to OSU, go to their websites, and do some research on them. You should be able to talk with a recruiter about the company— about their goals, their projects, and their values. This is how you’re going to really impress them, because even if you’re wrapped up nicely, they won’t like somebody who can’t put in the work.
Part 2— Execution:
Now it is officially time to go to the Career Fair and get your name out there. I’ve gotten a lot of questions from students about how it is best to approach a recruiter. They feel awkward walking up and just asking about jobs and recruiting; it’s time for your research to come into play. One approach is to open up with a question or comment about a recent project their company has gone into:
“Hello, my name is Richard; I was really excited to see NVIDIA’s recent expansion into grid GPU for manufacturing and construction corporations.”
Another is to ask them about what their job is at the company, and how that job function might interact with the job you are looking to fill for them. Regardless of which approach you take, there is one key part to remember: recruiters and representatives are not some alien species that we need to observe from afar. Go up to them and express just as much interest in them as you hope they will express in you, and you will leave a good impression.
It’s easier than you think. And you can do all of these in the first two weeks of the term.
1. Show up to all your classes. On time.
Showing up is the first step to success. It sounds simple, but sometimes getting past all of the basics of negotiating life every day can make it tricky to fully “show up”, and especially to be there on time and prepared. Showing up on time and fully engaging in the activity in front of you speaks volumes about your ability to manage a schedule, assess other people’s expectations and contribute meaningfully to growth and learning. All of those things are essential to growing successfully in your own career!
2. Talk to a professor.
Epic career development, like the epic responsibility of becoming a successful human, is not a project meant to be done in isolation. Translation: make friends and connect now. Professors are typically more experienced versions of people, who have not only had to build their own careers, but have also been instrumental in providing guidance and learning for countless others’ careers. Most hold office hours and are available for networking and learning from NOW, not just during the term before you graduate.
3. Check out clubs and activities on campus.
How will you know where you’re going unless you know where you’re coming from? Getting to know yourself is an unending process and is supported by getting involved and learning more about how you operate in different environments. And there are SO MANY options. Did you know that there is a club for people who like water? And one for zombie apocalypse survivalists? And a place that provides access to a TON of opportunities to volunteer?
Now is a fantastic time to put your professional YOU down on paper. Why? Because it’s waaaaaaay easier to stay updated in real time, rather than try to catch up after the fact. Do an awesome project in class? Write it down! Finish up that summer job? Write it down! Learn the basics of a new computer program? Write it down! If you want some help or advice on how to put a resume together, check in with our fantastic Career Assistants during drop-in resume/cover letter hours, which are Monday through Thursday, 1-4pm!
5. Schedule an appointment with a Career Consultant.
Planning a career can be overwhelming and confusing. Just choosing how to start is sometimes difficult! The good news is, you’ve already started. The better new is, you don’t have to do all of this alone! You have friends, family, classmates, professors, advisors, coaches and more who are available to help. If you’d like to talk to someone who isn’t in one of those categories, schedule an appointment with one of our Career Consultants, through your Beaver Careers account. They are friendly and knowledgeable coaches and counselors who can help you sort through all sorts of questions: What major do I want? How do I find a summer job? How do I work on my grades? Where can I get involved? What is the difference between a resume and CV? Who am I, anyway?? And more!
6. Build a LinkedIn account! And then clean up your Facebook account. And Twitter. And Instagram. And blog. And Vine. And . . .
This is, like all the other steps, an ongoing process. Social media, in some form, is here to stay. And there are more options for engagement every day! If you want to use social media for professional purposes, creating a LinkedIn account is a great way to start now. It’s free and easy to use, and provides a lot of help and information for getting started and building your profile. Once you’re on, you can connect with other professionals, search jobs and companies, participate in discussions, join groups and write and receive recommendations from others.
With other social media, just make sure you clean it up. Over half of hiring managers and employers out there are using social media searches as “informal background checks”. Be sure that what you put out there is what you want your future boss to see!
What else do you do to keep moving towards an epic career? Tips? Questions? Let us know!
As much as none of us want to think about it, the truth is that summer is rapidly coming to an end and the academic year looms like a (hopefully) friendly giant. Wherever you have been for the summer, there are ways of maximizing use of virtual resources like social media, and good ol’ traditional strategies like having a cup of coffee, to keep learning and developing in your career and academic life. through any season or transition. This is one view of how using both your in-person charms and your social media savvy may help you move forward and grow:
What do you think? How do you build professional relationships online and in person?
Recently, I attended an award ceremony for seniors graduating from the language department with honors. The opening speech was delivered by the very charismatic German professor Sebastian Heiduschke discussing an article he had read enumerating the reasons why GPA doesn’t really matter to employers. You can imagine that this was a little bit of a controversial topic, since every student receiving an award had at least a 3.8 GPA, and had worked hard to make it that way. But as Heiduschke took us on a journey through the facts, it became clear that GPA truly does matter.
Let’s start off where he did, taking a look at the things that employers might look at rather than GPA:
Knowing how you learn— understanding how you learn is an integral factor in success in education and work environments
Applying theory to real-life situations— we have spent a lot of time getting a degree, we need to know how to use it too
Time management— balancing a work schedule with a healthy social life, as well as all the individual parts of your work life
Relevant Professional Experience— internships you have held, volunteer work in the field, and jobs that can relate to your professional life
Portfolio Work— don’t tell me that all of the work you have done in school is for nothing, you can take all those big projects that you were so proud of and put them into a portfolio
The ability to give and receive feedback— a lot of times employers will want to know that you can give input into a situation just as well as you can receive input and reform your projects
Presentation Skills— not all jobs require this, but being able to present yourself well as well as present in front of others will help you in the interview process at the very least
Writing Skills— and just general communications skills are important if you are going to be working with/for anybody
Your Network— the people that will really get you the job are the people that can attest to your qualities as a worker and person, building healthy relationships with people will come in handy
GPA— finally the employers will look at your GPA as a factor in your prospects as an employee
Heiduschke went on to point out that all of these skills are taught through language classes at OSU, whether they are taken to be a Baccalaureate Core requirement, a minor, or if you are a fully-fledged language major, you will pick up all of these skills in language classes. It just goes to show that language can be a key in our education even if it is not the focal point of our studies.
But, if employers are so interested in all of these before our GPA, why should we even care? Well, the fact of the matter is that all of these points will reflect on your GPA and so if you have a good one, you should flaunt it. But that doesn’t mean that you are out of luck if your grade point is sub-par, you will just have to work hard to get that foot in the door. Remember that it is your job to make yourself look good on your resume, so if you are lacking in one of these ten categories, it’s not the end of the world— just highlight the other categories and be confident in portraying what will make you unique to employers.
We spend a lot of time trying to develop skills that we lack in, but at the end of the day: “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” We don’t get jobs by telling an employer which skills and attributes we don’t have, or what we are working on. We get the job by showing them just how good we are at what we do best.
~Thank you to Sebastian Heiduschke for inspiring this topic, and providing a large amount of input for the post.~