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April 2013 Archives

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For many job candidates, the first step in the interview process is a telephone interview which is typically a screening interview.  If you do well, you will be invited to an in-person meeting.  Given its importance, you need to prepare for the phone interview the same way you prepare for an interview conducted in-person: 

  • Research the organization, the job and the interviewer.
  • Prepare to answer typical interview questions and prepare questions to ask.
  • Analyze the job description so you can speak to how your skills and experience are a good match.  For example, if the job requirements mention criteria  like "organizational skills" or "collaboration with team members", be ready to give examples of how you have demonstrated these behaviors in the past.

One advantage of a telephone interview is the ability to have the job description and your notes in front of you as a reminder of what you plan to say.  However, a major disadvantage is the inability to see the facial expression or read the body language of the interviewer as you respond to the questions.   It's important to be as prepared as possible to off-set this disadvantage.  Here are ten tips: 

 

Before the interview:

1. Obtain the names and job functions of the people who will be conducting your interview.  You will be better able to anticipate particular questions and you can address participants by name.

2.  Secure a private space where you'll have no distractions and good phone service.

3.  Dress for success.  The right clothes will put you in a professional state of mind.

During the interview:

4. Stand when you speak to better project your voice.

5. Smile as you answer. It will encourage you to demonstrate enthusiasm and interest in your tone of voice.

6.  Listen carefully to the questions, and jot down a quick note if needed.

7.  If you are unsure of the interviewer's response to your answer, inquire if they need more information.

8.  When the interviewer concludes the interview, affirm your strong interest in the position and your appreciation for the interviewer's time and the opportunity to interview.

After the interview:

9.  Send a thank you letter, just as you would after an in-person interview.

10.  Reflect on your interview and make a note of questions you found challenging or ways you could improve for the next time you have a telephone interview.

 

Remember that interviewing is a skill that you can learn.  Reviewing the resources in the Prepare to Interview section of the Career Toolkit will assist you.

You can also schedule a practice interview with a Career Coach.  Check out the Guidelines for Practice Interviews to get started.

Photo: Courtesy accentpersonnel.com/istockphoto

 

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Well, it's that time of year and that time of your college career: you are a senior and you are about to graduate - yikes! Where did those four years go? And now you need a job. 

First piece of advice: don't panic! Check out this article for college seniors from career website QuintCareers founder Dr. Randall Hansen, who says: "Your job-search plan -- which you should develop and implement as soon as possible -- includes all the sources of job leads you intend to use, including informational interviews, your network of contacts, career services office, college professors, job fairs, job boards, and cold-calling. It also includes all the activities you need to accomplish before starting your job-search, such as polishing your resume and prepping for job interviews." 

In the article Hansen also recommends that college seniors visit their career services office - brilliant advice!  You've got terrific resources at your dipsosal right here at Simmons, starting with the CEC website but also including in-person coaching and the deep career resources found  on the Beatley Library website. The Careers section of the Library Guides houses dozens of guides within it either tailored to your major or on key career topics, such as Job Hunting Online, each with multiple links and articles to get you headed in the right direction.

Still don't know where to start? Need a friendly voice to talk to? Then contact the CEC and set up an appointment with a career coach. We're here for you - and now's the time! 

Photo: Courtesy Boston.com/iStockPhoto 

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With Summer not far away, the thoughts of many sophomores and juniors will soon be turning to summer employment in internships that can help prepare them for life after college.

Internships, both in the summer and during the school year, can be a great opportunity to get your feet wet in a career or industry that you are considering for post-graduation employment.  With many entry-level job descriptions requesting previous experience in the field, internships have become the essential bridge between college studies and career.  You can even use a summer internship in place of a summer job (if it is paid) or earn academic credit in between semesters.

However, not all internships are created equal.  Some are paid while some are unpaid, and some will qualify for academic credit and others will not.  Some will give you the knowledge and experience that propels you forward into a particular field (or, as equally important, teaches you that some career paths are not for you), while others will teach you little more than being sure to not put decaf in the regular coffee pot.  It's important to ask questions and know the facts before you agree to take on any internship opportunity.

Some important points:

- Paid vs. Unpaid:  Many internship opportunities at for-profit organizations are paid and can offer valuable insight into that company and industry, while compensating you at an entry-level wage for your work.  However, some internships at for-profits, and many at not-for-profits, are unpaid and, in the case of not-for-profits, officially considered volunteer work.  According to the federal Department of Labor and the Fair Labor Standards Act (see here for more info), unpaid internships at for-profit organizations should be primarily educational and for the benefit of the intern, and should not displace entry-level employees or be of immediate benefit to employer (they shouldn't be directly making money off of your work if you are not being paid).

- Academic Credit:  Internships can provide you with academic credit and serve as the experiential component of your Simmons education.  However, it is important to understand that it is your academic department (i.e., your major) that determines whether an internship is eligible for academic credit, not your employer.  Often, internships for academic credit involve an educational component (such as keeping a journal of activities or attending a bi-weekly class, such as the Humanities 370 class lead by Career Education Center career coaches) in tandem with the work of the actual internship.  If you are interested in receiving academic credit from your internship work, check with your department on the requirements for internship credit before accepting an internship opportunity.

- Know Your Field:  Just not all internships are created equal, neither are all fields of employment.  Some expect little to no internship experience, while others may require not only internship experience during your college years but beyond, sometimes at little or no pay.  This can be particularly true in creative or artistic fields such as film and media.  It is important to see an internship as part of your ongoing research into a career field, but be sure that your research doesn't start (or end) with obtaining and completing an internship.

Want to know some of the best ways to learn as much as you can about internship opportunities?  Meet with one of our career coaches to discuss your interests and to find out more about possible ways to research the internship you want to land.  You can also visit our CareerLink website for listings of internships (as well as full-time and part-time jobs) from employers that are specifically looking to hire Simmons students. We offer extensive information on researching internships on our CEC website.

But the best resource of all is your fellow students - ask friends and acquaintances about their internship experiences, particularly if they are interested in the same field or are in the same major as you.  To make this resource (the knowledge of your fellow students) more accessible, the CEC and Simmons Technology have launched the Peer Internship Network.  Check it out to find a convenient way to connect with fellow Simmons students and recent alums and see what they have to say about the the internships that they've done.