How I Landed My Dream Job

recite-26914--1784031067-4lrdd6

Hello friends! As the days until graduation dwindle, I can’t help but look forward to the next phase in my life. I’m fortunate enough to have landed my dream job post-grad *YAY.* I don’t mean to brag, I really don’t, but it took a ton of work to get to this point, and I really want to help all of you reach your dreams. Here are 4 quick bits of advice to help you earn your dream job. 

1. Know your dream

This might seem like common sense, but you can’t really achieve a dream if you don’t know what it is. Look at the possibilities of your future career and aim high! Nothing is impossible. I don’t care what school you went to, what your degree was in, or what your grades were like – you can pretty much do whatever your little heart desires (so cheesy, but I’m being 100% serious). So put on your favorite PJ’s and get to dreaming.

2. Plan

Good things come to those who wait, not those who wait around. Once you have your dream in mind make sure you develop a plan that will get you there. You can’t just expect your dream job to fall into your lap without any effort.

Ask yourself: Who do I need to contact? What are the stepping stones? How do I even get started?

3. Network like nobody’s business

“It’s all about who you know.” People aren’t just saying this to hear themselves talk, it’s the truth. Before my first internship I knew NO ONE. However, after I interned with my first agency, I met a lot of people that had their own connections to other people in the industry. I ended up with a pretty good connection with someone at almost every major advertising agency in Chicago through my co-workers. Everyone knows somebody who knows somebody, so take advantage of those connections.

Side-note: don’t just network with industry people, network with your peers. They have connections too!

4. Embrace failure

The likelihood of you getting your dream job on your first try is slim. I was turned down the first time I applied to mine, but I said thank you and kept in contact. A “no” doesn’t always translate to “never,” sometimes they just don’t have room for you at that time. Take this time to gain more experience that will make you an even better candidate and try, try again.

 

Friday Favorites – 5 Professional Outfits for Women

For my last Friday Favorites blog post, I decided to feature some of my friends and coworkers in their favorite interview outfit. I’ve added some tips so you can see why they work, and maybe these outfits will inspire you to dress professionally when you have an interview, networking event or your first day of your new job coming up!

Outfits 5

Outfits 4

Outfits 2

Outfits 3

Outfits 1 Photos by UWW Career.

Friday Favorites – Different Types of Interviews

With graduation only two months away, many seniors are in the midst of their job hunt. One-on-one interviews are becoming less common, making way for unconventional types of interviews, such as phone interviews and group interviews. In this week’s Friday Favorites, I’m going to spotlight five types of interviews and tips on how to ace them.

Interview Pictures

One-on-One Interview

This is definitely the most common type of interview. These can also be the most nerve-wracking! At one point or another, you’ve probably experienced a one-on-one interview, where one person interviews you in their office or another private room. The tips below will help you calm your nerves before the interview and have confidence all the way through.

  • Be prepared. Do your research on the company beforehand so you won’t struggle to come up with answers having to do with the company.
  • Assemble a survival kit! For example, bring along a bottle of water, breath mints, hand sanitizer, lotion, and extra business cards. This tip came from the Top 5 Interview Tips Nobody Mentions.
  • Be confident. Even if you aren’t – pretend to be. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer, smile and be engaged in the conversation.
  • Body language says a lot about who you are. The way you stand, interact and how you talk can say volumes more than what you are actually saying.
  • Here is where you can talk all about your achievements, your proudest moments, or when you solved a problem at your previous job. Own it!
  • For more in-depth tips, check out a previous blog post, Top Interview Tips, and for advice on how to answer frequently asked questions, read Common Interview Questions & Answers.

Phone Interview

The good thing about phone interviews is that you can be more relaxed – not to mention, you can have notes sitting on your desk! What should you include on your ‘cheat sheet’? A short history of the company, bullet points highlighting your career-related achievements, and questions to ask the employer.

  • Prepare. Make sure you have a fully charged cell phone, a glass of water with you, a copy of your resume, your planner, and a notepad and pen handy so you can take notes if you wish.
  • Disable phone features, such as noise notifications if you get a text message or beeping noises if someone else calls you.
  • Plan to be at a quiet location when your interviewer calls. Your bedroom or study room is a good place to be. If you have pets, tie them outside or lock them in another room. You don’t want to be distracted playing with Fido while your interviewer asks you why you quit your previous job.
  • Give yourself time. Some people try to squeeze a phone interview in during their lunch break, but most interviews these days take about a half hour. Always plan for the unexpected.
  • While it’s a good idea to have notes to reference, be careful not to doodle or zone off.
  • It sounds silly, but don’t forget to smile! ‘Smiling will express confidence and positivity, even if the employer can’t see your face,’ according to USA Today College.

Skype Interview

With the advancement of technology, having an interview over Skype is more common than you think. While phone interviews might be the preferred way to interview, interviewing via video can present its own advantages.

When I was studying abroad in Ireland, I didn’t have access to a telephone, so the only way I could interview for this social media internship is over Skype. Luckily for me, I didn’t experience any internet connection hiccups. Skype interviews can be very tricky, but these tips should prepare you for one!

  • Perfect your video background setting. Check which angle gives you the best lighting (natural lighting is the best), make sure the background is clean, and test your microphone and volume.
  • Check your background. ‘Beer bottles, dirty laundry and your 12 cats shouldn’t be visible!’ via 5 Ways to Wow an Interviewer via Video.
  • Set up a back-up plan. If, for some reason, your internet shuts down or the connection is very fuzzy, plan with your interviewer a second time to interview or to do it over telephone.
  • Sit up tall, relax your shoulders, and make sure the camera angle is a flattering one. You have power over the video and how it can make you look. Make it work to your advantage!
  • Dress professionally. Even if the interviewer won’t be able to see below your collarbone, if you need to get up to grab an important document, your planner or to get a glass of water, you don’t want your interviewer to see you wearing sweatpants with your blazer.
  • As hard as this is, make sure you look into the camera, not the computer screen. This is one of the most noticable errors interviewers make.

Group Interviews

Group interviews are used when there are a number of positions to fill, or when the position includes having to work with other coworkers most of the time. There might be a potential situation that you and your group will have to figure out, working on a team-building exercise and possibly a personal assessment to finish with. Some employers choose to interview candidates in groups to assess how you work in a team, your leadership skills and interpersonal skills.

  • Remember – you will be watched from the moment you enter to the moment you leave. This type of interview will test your behaivor and personality, so be on your best behaivor!
  • Dress to impress. People may think that group interviews are more relaxed than one-on-one interviews, but they’re not. Dress for this interview as you would for a one-on-one interview.
  • Be prepared for role-playing activities. These type of activities will test your ethics.
  • Good communication, listening, and team playing is key in this type of interview. Here is a review: what is communication? The process of transferring signals or messages between a sender and receiver through various methods. These include written words, nonverbal clues and spoken words, according to How To Develop Good Communication Skills.
  • Don’t take over the group discussion, but don’t sit in the corner staring at the floor. Balance is key. Contribute to the discussion and encourage the shy group members to speak up as well.
  • You need to stand out among many other candidates. Put on your game face, be a team player, and you’ll be sure to ace that group interview!

Lunch or Dinner Interviews

The last type of common interview I’ll go over is the interview over lunch or dinner. These might occur when your interviewer wants to ‘evaluate your social skills and see if you can handle yourself gracefully under pressure,’ according to Alison Doyle for About.com. Interviewing over a meal can be stressful as it is, but hopefully these tips will help you succeed!

  • Prepare for these kinds of interviews by attending etiquette dinners hosted by your university. They will teach you all about table manners and social skills.
  • Check out the restaurant ahead of time to find out what kind of food they serve and where the bathrooms are located. This will hopefully prevent anxiety the day of the interview!
  • If your interviewer has been to the restaurant before, ask them what their favorite dish is. They’ll be flattered that you want non-career-related advice from them.
  • How you treat a waiter says a lot about you. Be polite to everyone you come in contact with.
  • Follow the lead of your host or interviewer. Don’t start eating before them and always engage them in conversation.
  • Your interviewer will be expected to pay for the tab and tip. To thank them, follow up with a personalized thank you note.

Career & Leadership Development holds mock interviews for most of these interviews listed above. If you’re nervous about an upcoming interview, the career advisors would be more than happy to conduct a mock interview with you. Hopefully the advice above will help you in your next interview!

Photos by francoisepSos.de, Tamaki Sono and Dominic Alves.

Friday Favorites – What NOT To Do

This past week, our tweets have been focused on what NOT to do while job hunting, interviewing or at your current job.

Keep these ‘what NOT to do’ tips in mind, and you will avoid wanting to pull your hair out at an interview or at work!

Streeter Seidell, Comedian

When Networking…

  • Networking is key and takes time and practice. Don’t overwhelm the businessperson you’re talking to.
  • Don’t demand any information about the person you’re talking to, their boss, the address of where they work, etc. Let the conversation pan out smoothly, and when the time is right, then you can ask for their contact information.
  • Genuinely be interested in the people you’re talking to; don’t fake it.
  • Don’t be desperate. Networking is a small albeit important factor in the job-searching process. Don’t blow it by being vain and irrational.
  • Never say no to an opportunity.
  • You don’t have to stick to strictly work-related talk. Small talk can go a long way!

When Job-Hunting…

  • Do not say right off the bat that you need a job.
  • Social media is a great resource to use – don’t pass it up! Create a LinkedIn profile, tweet your way to a job, research about the company through Facebook, or use Pinterest to get a job. You can even use YouTube to find a job!
  • Make sure your resume is up to date. Avoid grammatical and spelling errors as these can make you look very unprofessional.
  • You don’t need to stick to only looking up jobs online. Try checking the newspaper or talking to people who already work at the company you’re interested in. Word of mouth is also very powerful.
  • Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Create a new website or blog, start your own business, have one of your works of art published, or volunteer with an organization you’re passionate about. Be sure to mention that during your interview.
  • Never give up! Job hunting isn’t easy, but with determination and confidence, that dream job will soon be yours.

When at an Interview…

  • Dress appropriately. Don’t look like you’re going to a funeral…or like you’re going out clubbing.
  • Don’t show up unprepared, late, or looking unprofessional.
  • Practice what you are going to say to some of the most popular interview questions. Avoid filler words such as ‘um’ and ‘like’.
  • Don’t chew gum, check your phone, fidget in your seat or fiddle with your hands or hair.
  • Never bad-mouth your former boss, coworkers or situation.
  • Don’t ask if the person you’re talking to if they can pass your resume along to their supervisor. It is their decision what to do with your resume.
  • Interviewing is about the company, not about you. Keep this in mind: What can you do for the company? NOT: What can the company do for you?

At Work…

  • Your job is to work, not to gossip about the new hire or your crazy night at the bars last weekend. Stay productive.
  • Remember: there are two sides to every story. Don’t be closeminded.
  • Avoid drama in the workplace! Try not to mesh your work life with your personal life.
  • Be considerate of your coworkers and managers. Don’t think it’s all about you.
  • Don’t be a debbie-downer. Trust me, nobody likes that person.
  • Don’t create problems. ‘It could be said that the main reason you have a job is to solve a problem.’ From The Fast Track
  • Put your whole heart and effort into any project you complete. Don’t do anything carelessly. I guarantee your boss or manager will notice.

I hope these ‘what NOT to do’ tips have helped you out and will continue to help you out at your future job! Do you have any ‘what NOT to do’ tips?

Photo by Zack Klein.

Friday Favorites – Top Interview Tips

Now that October has wrapped up, we’ll be rounding up our Interview Tip of the Week tweets.

If you aren’t following us on Twitter, you should be! We post a few jobs a day from Hawk Jobs, as well as interesting career-related articles and career-related events going on at UW-Whitewater.

Here are some short and sweet interview tips in 140 characters or less!

Wendy bonds with Alicia

Before the Interview

  • Prepare! Being well put together and organized will make you stand out.
  • If you’re bad with directions, drive to a company before your interview to make sure you can find it.
  • Make sure you have a polished resume. Career & Leadership Development has resources to help you.
  • Shopping for interview outfits? H&M, Macy’s, New York & Company, Nordstrom and TJMaxx all have great outfit options!
  • Use perfume or cologne sparingly, or not at all. Remember, your interviewer may have allergies or sensitivities.
  • Your attire should be appropriate but shouldn’t take center stage. Don’t confuse ‘business function’ with ‘party’.
  • When picking out an outfit, stick with the classics. A navy, gray or black suit is always stylish and appropriate.
  • For women – No jewelry is better than cheap, flashy jewelry. Wear pantyhose and keep makeup and hair simple.

During the Interview

  • Relax, be yourself, and don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm for the job!
  • Your personal brand can make or break a job interview. Choose your words wisely, know yourself and know what you want.
  • Protecting your online reputation is important, especially when interviewers take a peek. Be smart about social media.
  • Have a positive attitude and engage in the interview!
  • Have you studied abroad or been on a travel study? Make sure to mention that during your interview.
  • Never be late to a job interview! That reflects poorly on your personality and can aggravate your interviewer.
  • Remember, interviews are two-sided conversations, designed to let both sides figure out if they’d be a good fit.
  • Be confident when answering questions! Provide articulate answers, avoid nervous habits and make eye contact.
  • When your interviewer asks if you have any last questions, make sure you have a few questions you plan on asking.

After the Interview

  • After the interview, ask the interviewer what the next step will be. They might have a second round of interviews.
  • Once the interview is over, ask for their business card. It will have all the information you need to follow up.
  • Be polite. Say thank you to the interviewer, staff and receptionist. A nice ‘thank you’ can go a long way.
  • Send a thank you e-mail or handwritten letter no more than 24 hours after the interview. And proofread!
  • If you don’t end up getting hired, accept the rejection with grace and keep your head up! If you do get the job, congrats!

Hopefully these simple tips will help you on your next interview!

Photo by Gangplank HQ.

Friday Favorites – Common Interview Questions & Answers

For this week in Friday Favorites, we’ve rounded up five common interview questions. I’ve taken these five questions from this infographic. Chances are, you will be asked most, if not all, of these questions in an interview. Prepare yourself by picking out the perfect interview outfit and selling your personal brand, and then by reading these smart answers!

01 (161)

Tell me about yourself.

This is usually the first question interviewers will ask, and your answer will set the tone for the rest of the interview. Everyone’s favorite topic to talk about is themselves, so it sounds pretty easy to talk about yourself for a few minutes, right? It is easy…except you need to talk about the right things.

Thanks to Monster.com, they’ve provided a few helpful tips that I’ve narrowed down in this answer. Focus on a couple of your strengths that could help you get the job, then write them in a script that can be memorized easily. Practice, practice, practice. The better you know yourself, and the better you know the right answer to this question, the easier it will be to sell yourself.

Why did you leave your last job?

‘Interviewers generally ask why you left your former company so they can “understand your motives and gain insight as to how [you] handle work relationships,” says Duncan Mathison, author of Unlock The Hidden Job Market: 6 Steps to a Successful Search When Times Are Tough.‘ (From Monster.com) Interviewers ask you this question to see what kind of person you are, what integrity you hold, and how reliable and responsible you are.

Do be polite and state exactly why you left your previous job, but also bring it back and let the interviewer know that you are looking for a better fit and a challenge.

What do you know about our company?

Make sure you do a bit of background research on the company you’re interviewing with. Research about their history, their competitors, and the CEOs and other big wigs. The more you know about the company, its priorities and its needs, the more knowledgeable and confident you’ll come across.

Why do you want to work for us?

Okay, so we know you want a job. But why do you want a job with that specific company that you’re interviewing with? Is it the position you’re applying for, the great benefits, or that you strongly agree with their mission? Are you looking to gain experience or explore other opportunities? Decide what makes it a good fit for you and find out what’s motivating you to apply for that position. And don’t be afraid to show enthusiasm during your answer!

Tell me about your experience at ________________.

One reason why interviewers ask this question is to see how your previous jobs may prepare you for this job. If you’ve had the same job since you were 16, mention that. It will show that you have integrity. If you’ve volunteered at various schools, with organizations or for benefits, mention that. It will show that you have compassion. If you’ve had an internship, mention that. It will show that you are driven. Explaining your experiences, whether or not they are in your field of study, can hold a lot of power in an interview. Explain what you learned and how that will benefit you if you get the job you’re applying for.

Hopefully these answers to some of the most common interview questions will help you out in your next interview! What are some questions you’ve been asked, and how did you respond? I’d love to hear your stories. E-mail me at MediaCLD@uww.edu.

Photo by Victor1558.

Friday Favorites – 5 Interview Tips

Now that you’ve scored an interview and have plenty of tips on what to wear, your next step is to sell yourself in that job interview! How do you set yourself apart from the rest of those being interviewed? Our five Friday Favorite tips will help you. The tips reflect the Interview Tip of the Day tweets (if you’re not following us on Twitter… you should be!)

Tip One:

Be yourself! One way to shine is to let your personality show though.

Owly Images

Tip Two:

Your personal brand is ‘A unique message that gives the other party an idea of who you are, what you bring to the table in terms of your skills and experience, why you are unique, and why what you have is of value to them.’ (TheSavvyIntern)

This is the part where you need to sell yourself and make a good impression on the interviewer. Be confident, charming and know your personal brand up and down and inside out. Never question who you are and what you could bring to the company you want to work for, and your interviewer will notice.

Tip Three:

This infographic by Mashable gives some great tips on how to protect your online reputation. Interviewers may Google you or take a look at your Facebook page, and it’s very important to be smart about what you do online and what you post or tweet.

Tip Four:

Remember your manners.

‘Use of polite terminology should be standard during an interview, but it also reflects well to be equally courteous when addressing receptionists and other office workers.’ states MSN Careers. They also have four more great tips to review before heading into an interview.

Tip Five:

If you’ve studied abroad or been on a travel study, now is the time to talk about it! But don’t talk about how you disliked your roommates or about a funny story about public transportation. Discuss your interactions with other international students and locals, what problems arised and how you solved them, how you managed your time and how that experience benefited you. For more tips on how to market your study abroad experience, check out this article from a student’s point of view.

Hopefully these five tips can help you market your personal brand and set you apart from the rest. If you have any interview tips, I’d love to hear them! You can e-mail me at uwwcareer@gmail.com.

Friday Favorites – Interview Outfits for Men & Women

So you’ve scored an interview – that’s great! Now, the tough part is deciding what to wear to said interview. For this week’s Friday Favorites, the theme is how to dress for an interview. Check out these six great links with tons of tips on how to dress for an interview, divided into a men’s and women’s section:

Men

01 (113)

Hey guys, are you stuck on how to dress for a job interview? We’ve got you covered. This gallery provides ten tips on how to dress – Interview Outfits for Men

This great link will give men tips for how to dress for three different interviews – smart casual, casual, and corporate. You can even click on each article of clothing or accessory and it will take you right to where you can purchase it - 3 Interview Getups

Need a quick overview on grooming and accessories, as well as a few more tips about what to wear? This article has it all – Men’s Interview Attire

Women

01 (285)

While dark pantsuits are the norm for what women should wear to job interviews, you shouldn’t be afraid to dress it up a little and let some of your personality shine through! This gallery provides ten different outfits for interviews – Interview Outfits for Women

We all know that you need to dress professionally for a job interview. College Fashion provides us with three awesome outfit ideas for conservative industries, creative industries, and fashion industries, as well as a dozen tips at the end of the article - How To Dress for a Job Interview

Are you on the pursuit for the perfect pantsuit? This article has a ton of resources to help with your fashion-conscious hunt – The Hunt: Navy Suits

Now that you have some idea of how you can dress for your interview, go out there with confidence!

Friday Favorites: 5 Interview Infographics

This month, we’ll be focusing on interviews. Here are five great infographics you can use to help you have a successful interview!

 

Check out these four other great infographics!

Anatomy of a Job Interview

Job Interview Etiquette

What to Wear to a Job Interview

What You Wish You’d Known Before Your Job Interview

Careers in Biology: Tips from Sciences Employers

BPAE cells

Each year, Career & Leadership Development compiles an Annual Report of Employment & Continuing Education, a record of where the past year’s graduates are employed or are attending graduate or professional school. Here is a sample of where some of the biology grads from the past several years were employed after graduation:

I recently contacted some of the employers that have hired UW-W science grads, and here are some selected comments from them about employment preparation.

Online Image

  • Facebook is fine, but control access and privacy, and pay attention to what’s on your page. If you’d be embarrassed for your mother to see it, it is most likely not going to make a good impression on an employer.
  • LinkedIn – Use it! This is where you can really refine your professional online presence. Highlight your education, publications, accomplishments, and get recommendations from reputable sources (professors, respected researchers) as appropriate. Read LinkedIn profiles of recent grads from your major/profession to get an idea of what should be present on your page.
  • Twitter is good too, but tweets should be relevant. Tweeting every weekend about how awesome the latest party was won’t help you in the long run.

Resumes

  • Creative resume formats are not rewarded in science professions. Your resume should be professional, clean, and very easy to read.
  • Highlight your research topics and skills along with your talents and accomplishments.
  • Be succinct. Writing should be short and to the point. Run-on sentences or entire paragraphs will just get glossed over by a hiring manager.
  • Employers don’t care about anything from your high school unless you are an undergraduate looking for internships.

References

  • Be sure to contact your references to verify that their contact information is correct and to inform them that they may be contacted to serve as a reference. It is always most professional to ask permission of each person you desire to use as a reference. You want your references to be prepared to speak to your strengths.
  • Once a person agrees to serve as a reference, you should help them understand the company and type of role you are pursuing. This will allow the referee to tailor their comments accordingly.

Interviews

  • Go through mock interviews. Ask a career counselor, professor, or science professional to interview you as if they might hire you. Ask for honest feedback after the fact about your interview performance and demeanor. Make sure you do not have any nervous habits that can be distracting to a potential employer.
  • It’s difficult to overcome an unfavorable first impression. Portraying yourself in a professional manner is crucial for a successful interview. A significant part of a hiring decision is based on grooming, clothing, accessories, body language, eye contact and listening skills. It is important to carefully plan the professional image you want to project. Campus clothing and work clothing are two completely different worlds. Unfortunately, many recent grads underestimate the importance of conservative, professional clothing when interviewing.
  • Get a suit or other appropriate business attire. This is especially important when trying to get a job in industry. Showing up in jeans and your “nice” shirt will not send the message that you are serious. Consider the money for a good interview outfit to be an investment in your future.

Several science employers have scheduled recruitment visits to UW-Whitewater in April, and several others are in the process of scheduling. Watch for announcements for those events, and be prepared to impress the employers based upon the tips that they’ve provided.

Photo by Joseph Elsbernd.