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February 2014 Archives

Mary Shapiro Head Shot.jpgThere's been a lot of press about the importance of personal branding lately.  "You've probably heard the old adage around how to get a job or promotion:  it's all about who you know.  But that's only half the story.  It's also what they know about you.  That's your reputation.  That's also your brand, says Mary Shapiro, Professor of Practice at the School of Management (SOM). She points out the power a person's reputation can have.  It determines who gets the job, who gets promoted, who gets a "yes" to a special request, and who keeps their job and who gets downsized. 

Professor Shapiro will address the Simmons community as part of the CEC March Career events and Senior Series. She explains that her topic, Your Personal Brand: Your Reputation, Your Future "will help you think about the brand or reputation you want to have in the 'marketplace' of life."  Participants will through a fun exercise, she says, "create what you want people to think of when they think your name, and then analyze what you are currently doing to promote that brand....and what you may need to do differently going forward to be all you can be."  Her presentation, which is co-sponsored by the SGA, is open to the Simmons Community, and will be held on March 20 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm in the SOM Building, M223. 

For information on additional CEC March Career Events, including Senior Mock Interview Day on March 19, Senior Lunch and Learn, co-sponsored with the Class of 2014 Council on March 24, and the Spring Career and Internship Fair on March 26, visit the Events Page on the CEC website.  

skype3.jpgAccording to research conducted by the Aberdeen Group, a market research company, 32 percent of companies used video interviews for recruiting last year.  Given their increased use by employers, your chances of having a video interview are greater than ever before.  While this technology has provided the expected convenience and cost savings for companies, video conferencing for job interviews has been shown to have negative consequences for both the candidate and employer.  A study from McMaster University De Groote School of Business reported that job applicants are viewed as less likeable by interviewers,  and interviewers are seen as less competent by candidates, when this technology is used .

Willie Weisener, associate professor, Human Resources, at DeGroote, and co-author of the study says, "These findings suggest that using video conferencing can adversely affect both applicant reactions and interviewer judgments.  Video conferencing places technological barriers between applicants and interviewers."   Consequently, the researchers recommend that video conferencing be used only for preliminary screening interviews.

So what do you do if you have a Skype interview with a potential employer?  How can you minimize the negative effect of that technological barrier?

First, remember that a Skype interview is still an interview.  Prepare for a Skype interview the same way you would 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.
  • Practice aloud the answers to interview questions as you would for any interview.

Then review these ten additional tips to help you prepare and overcome the technological barrier that the Skype interview presents:

  1. Create a professional Skype profile.  The first thing the interviewer will see is your Skype username and picture.

  2. Be sure your technology is working perfectly. Check the audio to be sure you can hear and be heard. Close other windows and programs on your computer.

  3. Secure a quiet private space where you'll have no interruptions and be sure your surroundings are neutral. Remove anything distracting behind you so you will be the focal point.

  4. Test the lightening in the room to ensure it doesn't appear harsh or cast a shadow on your face.

  5. Do a Skype run through with a friend who will be able to give you feedback about both technical and presentation issues.

  6.  Dress professionally as you would for an in-person interview.  It's expected, even if you feel awkward all dressed up and talking to a computer.   

  7. Look at the camera not at the screen image or you will be looking away from your interviewer.                                                                                                                                                                         

  8. Position yourself correctly so that your screen image is of your face and upper shoulders.  

  9. If you find the small image of yourself on screen distracting, cover it with a post-it note.

  10. Watch your body language: sit up straight and remember to smile appropriately to demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest. 

For more information about interviewing and a list of typical questions, check out the CEC's Prepare to Interview webpage.  Then get ready for your close up by viewing this TIME video, How to Ace a Job Interview on Skype

 

 

 

Photo compliments of usatodayeducate.com

 

 

 

 

When you first matriculate as a college student you are usually somewhere between the ages of 17 and 19 years old. These years are defined by exploration and growth, a growing knowledge of yourself and the world of opportunities around you.

When you graduate -- in most cases, we hope, four years later -- you're in your early twenties. And that's what The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of them Now, is all about. Slate.com said of the book: "Any recent college grad. . .dazed by the freedom of post-collegiate existence should consider it required reading."

The author's view  

The author, Meg Jay, is a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia. She also has a private practice and focuses her practice, research, and writing on adult development and twentysomethings.


Meg Jay-author.jpgJay sees several trends for today's twentysomethings -- entry-level jobs going overseas; many out of work, working part-time, or underemployed; earnings lower than those of the previous generation; debt racked up in the college years; many moving back home.

But, Jay says, despite these and other pressures on this age group, the twenties are the critical foundational period for one's later adult life. "With about 80 percent of life's most significant events taking place by age thirty-five," she writes, "as thirtysomethings and beyond we largely either continue with, or correct for, the moves we made during our twentysomething years."

In separate sections titled "Work," "Love," and "The Brain and the Body" the author addresses the critical tasks facing individuals in their twenties, deftly interwoven with actual case studies of clients from her practice that resonate with authenticity.    

Book Jacket-Defining Decade.png

Identity capital

The author also introduces a new concept in her section on work: identity capital, which she defines as follows:
 
"Identity capital is our collection of personal assets. It is the repertoire of individual resources we assemble over time. These are the investments we make in ourselves, the things we do well enough, or long enough, that they become a part of who we are. Some identity capital goes on a resume, such as degrees, jobs, test scores, and clubs. Other identity capital is more personal, such as how we speak, where we are from, how we solve problems, how we look. Identity capital is how we build ourselves -- bit by bit, over time. Most important, identity capital is what we bring to the adult marketplace. It is the currency we use to metaphorically purchase jobs and relationships and other things we want."  

For Jay, identity capital is largely positive, a way to value one's attributes and experiences and look at them as the glass half full, not empty, and as a platform for moving forward.

Implications for college students 

The twenties will always be a time of further exploration, of trying on occupational and personal roles and relationships, of learning more about oneself and one's place in the world. 

You can perceive the twenties as a time of continued learning in a real-world setting, a setting that your years in college have prepared you for. The variety of experiences you have had both in and out of the classroom have supplied you with your own identity capital, to review, assess, and present to the world as you take your own next steps.

For more information

This is just a brief glimpse into Jay's work, a well-researched, well-written, and compelling case for continuing to explore and move forward with one's life, not to wait, during one's twenties. For Jay, thirty is definitely not the new twenty - far from it, as her book makes abundantly clear.    

To learn more about The Defining Decade (now available in paperback) and author Jay and her work, visit her website. You can also screen her 15 min. TED talk, "Why 30 is Not the New 20."