April222014

Know Before You Go- Joey Ciampa

Hey guys! Today I’m going to help you all prepare for your next interview. I’m going to list and talk about some common questions that one might be asked in an interview. Potentially knowing what the interviewer might ask before you get interviewed can be extremely beneficial. It can help your confidence and really set you apart from other applicants.

A vast majority of the questions that you would be asked in an interview would be about yourself. Questions like “Tell me about yourself,” “Why did you choose your major,” or “Tell me about the class you’re taking.” I’ve personally been asked both of these questions in interviews. The point of an interview is for the interviewer to learn more about you as a person. So they are usually going to ask you questions about who you are as person, to get to know you a little better before hiring you. Talking about yourself can be very difficult, so make sure you prepare what you what you might say if you’re asked about yourself.

Some of the other questions are usually about the job. Questions like “Why do you want to work for us,” or “What made you apply for this job.” These questions are geared to understand your enthusiasm for the job. Interviewers want to know that you want to work for them and for their company. They ask you questions about the job, to see how interested you are in working for them. To prepare for these questions gain some general knowledge on the job and company. Know what you are going to do and who you are going to do it for. Having this little bit of excess knowledge can give you an upper hand in the interview.

Being prepared is the key. If you are ready to be interviewed, and know what the interview might ask, you’re golden. Like I said, know before you go.  

April172014

Temp Agencies: A Way to get Experience (Mohua)

We’ve all dealt with this problem. You have no job experience so you apply for an entry level position to get experience. Problem is that position requires you to ALREADY HAVE THE EXPERIENCE! It’s silly and frustrating. Getting out of college at the age of 21 or 22 we shouldn’t be expected to have all the experience we need in our pockets. Sadly many companies need experienced employers ASAP and have no time to train newcomers. Well, I have discovered a means to get that experience.

Some people may not think highly of temp agencies, but they are probably one of the best ways to get your foot in the door to some wonderful opportunities. If you have basic computer skills, writing and reading skills, and math skills a temp agency can offer you just about anything. The jobs, of course, are only temporary. When a company is in need of an employee to temporarily replace either a retired secretary or an injured worker, or if the state needs extra hands-on-deck, they look to temp agencies to fill the holes. That is where we come in! We can get the experience we need, and temp agencies offer a variety of jobs you can do, so it’s easy to make connections and network. We can diversify our experience with all the jobs a temp agency can offer.

Soon, I’m going to interview for a state test scorer position through a temp agency. If I get the job I may get a nice foot in the door in the State Department of Education! Okay maybe my hopes are a little high, but still, it’s good to dream and stay ambitious. I might get some useful experience too while also helping others to boot! I recommend temp agencies for any student right out of college that is having a tough time finding a permanent position. Get your life started! Build that resume!

The temp agency I’m currently looking into is Kelly Services. Check them out at: http://www.kellyservices.com/Global/Home/ and http://www.kellyservices.us/us/ushome/.

April162014

The Beginners Guide to Resumes- Joey Ciampa

Hey Guys! Hope everyone enjoyed the day off Tuesday, and long weekend for some, I know I did. Today I want to talk to you guys about resume. Resumes are extremely important when applying for jobs and internships, they’re  like an employer’s first impression of you. They are the first thing an employer looks at when deciding who they want to hire. If your resume isn’t up to par, employers won’t even call you back for an interview. I’m going to give you a few quick tips to improve your resume. 

  1. Build your resume. Before you can even write all your information on your resume, make sure you are actually going out and doing things that can go on your resume. Get good grades, volunteer, and just be active around campus.
  2. Start by finding a resume format/template that you like. There are tons of resume building websites online that can help you.
  3. Only list your college grades and extracurriculars. When you’re in college, your highschool grades and activities aren’t as relevant as they used to be, so leave them out.
  4. Be professional. Make sure everything you’re writing is proper and professional. your future employer is reading it.
  5. Keep it updated. If anything changes with anything on your resume, make sure to keep it updated and make changes accordingly.
  6. Visit Career services (shameless plug). Career services, here at UA, will look at and help you edit your resume to make it perfect. I went last semester to get my resume looked at, and I ended up fixing so many different things, even though I thought there was nothing wrong with it.

Remember, resumes are VERY important, almost every professional job you are going to apply to requires one. Get it done now before you start looking for your job.

April142014

A recent interview experience- Samantha

So recently I had an interview for an on-campus organization. I was applied a few weeks ago and was finally going to have the interview that I was both looking forward to and dreading. I heard the format of the interview was board room style- a seat for me, facing eight or so members of the organization, who would each ask me questions. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty intimidating to me. 

Anyway, I’d like to think I do pretty well in interviews. The one-on-one is the easiest for me, group interviews are a little challenging because sometimes they’re looking for the clear leader and sometimes they want to see the person who is willing to fall back- it can get tricky. But this was my first interview with multiple people asking the questions. As counterproductive as it sounds, the questions are the part of an interview I dislike the most. I know you’re thinking, ‘umm, Sam, that’s what an interview is..”- but, actually, I disagree. See, with a one-on-one interview, you can assume roughly how many (and typically what type) of questions they’ll ask, so you have some breathing room to let your personality show a little bit. You have some time to talk, maybe trail into a relevant story, etc. But with eight people sitting in front of me, I was prepared to be flooded in questions. 

So with that being said, let me share some of my tips on staying calm and preforming well in an interview! 

If you can’t guess, believing in yourself is step one. Psych majors, think self efficacy. If you know you’ve preformed well in the past, convince yourself you’re still equally, if not more awesome. You’ll do well again.

Dress for the occasion.  While some interviews may be obvious suit-and-tie events, others can be a little tricky. Interview for on-campus organizations for example. My method for an interview that you’re certain isn’t suit worthy is to always go at least* business casual. Even if you see someone going in denim, stick to dress pants and a nice shirt/ blouse. If it feels too formal, wear a fun necklace or skip the tie and unbutton the top button. It shows the interviewer you take it seriously and if you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you’ll interview better. 

Be educated on the program/ job/ organization. Give yourself some homework, and go into the interview with some extra knowledge or opinions or ideas to show the interviewer you took your time to learn about their organization. This also helps you answer questions more thoroughly than other people, and, at the end, ask informed questions.

Last, fake it until you make it. If this is your first interview, or you just feel super nervous- fake it. You’d be surprised how quickly fake confidence can become real confidence. The first few minutes of an interview are usually a little uncomfortable, but if you just really put your head into it and, as cliche as it sounds, be the best you there is, you’ve done all you can.

Reward yourself with a happy dance afterward. 

I always do :)

Samantha

April102014

Leaving our Comfort Zones (Mohua)

As students in college we sometimes don’t appreciate how easy and stable we have it. Since we were kids teachers and parents have made clear our goals and told us exactly what to do to get there. College is no different. If we want a good grade, a good degree, and good skills then we do a list of specific predetermined things to get there. It’s pretty nice. A comfort zone. But when you graduate you will leave this zone, and you may be unsure of what to do next.

This semester I graduate with my Masters, and I’m already feeling the weight of the real world. When it comes to job hunting it usually depends on who you know, how well prepared you are, and also just being at the right place at the right time. However, even if we take every step that should get us the job we want, sometimes it just won’t work out. Our efforts may fall flat so many times that it will eventually be hard to not let it discourage us. We will no longer have that stability that we were so used to growing up. Now we have to worry about budgeting, income, taxes, rent, food, and so much more! This is where the real life challenges start. Your new life may start up right after college, or maybe a few months later. It will be tough but to grow as a person, as an individual, there is no other way. It’s all about getting used to your new situation.

Change can be very terrifying, but it is also an opportunity. That’s what I keep telling myself, because I am so terrified of the future. That anxiety that I felt starting college has pushed me to grow as a person, and it has prepared me for something bigger. We have to find our own stability, and our own rhythm in life. Now that I have graduated I feel so terrified not because I have no opportunities out there, but because I have so many, and it’s just so hard to choose which path is right for me. What if I change my mind? What if I don’t like my choice? I personally have been thinking about joining Teach for America, as it is a wonderful program that I think really suits me. How prepared am I for it? Is it right for me? I guess I’ll have to see. One thing I know for sure, I look forward to learning more about myself.  

April82014

Putting Yourself Out There- Joey Ciampa

Hey Guys! Today I wanted to talk putting yourself out there. Going out of the way, to make yourself known to others. Being confident and social are both very important traits to have when searching for a job, as well as in life.

The term “putting yourself out there” is all about going for what you want. You can’t just sit around, waiting for things to be handed to you; you have to go out and get it. This idea is very important when searching for a job. If there is a job or internship that you feel would be a perfect fit for you, do whatever you can to obtain it. Call the company after applying to follow up on your application. After being interviewed, email the person that interviewed you, to let them know how pleased you were to meet with them and thanking them for their time. I do this every time I apply for a part time job. Days after applying, I call the company and ask to speak to the manager, or however is in charge of hiring and ask to “check up on my application.” By doing this, the manager knows who you are, and your name will be in their head when they’re looking for applicants to hire. This small act makes you look really good to employers.

Putting yourself out there is also very important in social situations. You can’t always expect someone come up to you and start talking to you, if you want to get to know someone, you need to go up to them, introduce yourself, and start a conversation. It’s all about breaking your shell. Being a freshman here at UA, I had to break out of my shell when I first got here. I probably wouldn’t have any of the close friends that I have now if I hadn’t.

Putting yourself out there in school, work and life is vital. If you what something, you need to go out and get it, you can’t just sit back and wait for it. Get up, go out, and go for it. 

April72014

Spend a break in a helpful way! (Samantha)

So I know I seem to preach a lot for doing productive things over semester breaks (really guys, Summer classes are where it’s at), but hear me out- spend a break doing community service! With various programs throughout the country, there is always an affordable opportunity to volunteer over Winter, Spring or Summer break. Some opportunities span a weekend, some a week, some for several weeks to a month! 

Thus far, in college, I have went on two ASBs, or Alternative Spring Breaks. First, through Habitat for Humanity to Lynchburg, VA, where I spent a week working on the construction of a home for a single mother of two. Most recently I went to Washington D.C. for a week to work with homelessness and hunger programs in Baltimore through United Way. While both trips were very different in the work I was doing (and there is a lot of variety in the work you can apply to do), they were the same in that for way less money, I was able to contribute to a lot of good work over a break where I probably wouldn’t have been doing much of anything otherwise. This coming summer I plan to join with United Way for their Break A Difference summer service week doing recovery of the Jersey shore. 

'So why do it?' you're asking to your computer screen. Well, a lot of reasons! For starters, you have a lot of chances to go out with friends, sleep in and watch Netflix. Don't get me wrong, those are all awesome things to do, but things that can happen any time. Depending on the program and season, with a week of service, you usually get to go see a new city or even country, learn about the community and the culture of that area and help real people who need it. They are usually much cheaper than a week in Miami would be- the two programs I did provided me with fundraising tools to help me raise the money to cover the costs of the trip (which paid for my sleeping arrangements, transportation, and food for the week). You also get to meet really great peers, some you wouldn't have met otherwise. On this last trip, my group had college students from China, Japan, Puerto Rico, and of course various states in the US. And as if I haven't already sold you on what an awesome opportunity alternative breaks are, they are also a great resume builder and speaking point of an interview. These trips contribute to strong leadership skills, group work, volunteerism and show that you have experience trying something new!

So get out there and start helping!

Samantha

April22014

Phone Interviews! (Maddi)

Recently, I’ve been applying to internships for this summer. I’m hoping I get one in the city and because I currently live in Albany I am not available for an in-person interview. This means phone interviews! I have my first phone interview this week and I’ve never had a phone interview before so I’m pretty nervous. I’ve been brushing up on some phone interview tips online (from valid sources of course) and asking friends who have had phone interviews what to expect.

There’s both positive and negative sides to phone interviews. Unfortunately, you wont be able to ace these interviews with your firm handshake or appearance. You’ll have to rely on your words so the most important thing to do is prepare your answers. Even though it’s over the phone don’t rely on being able to have your laptop in front of you to look up answers. Trust me, you don’t want an interviewer asking you a question and then having to respond “hold on” while you make them wait 5 minutes. Instead, prepare yourself to be asked typical interview questions like what are your strengths and weaknesses, why’d you leave your last job, etc.

As we all know, technology can fail. So before you start a phone interview make sure you’re in a place where you have good service and your call wont be lost. Make sure your phone is charged (duh, but imagine how embarrassing it’d be if it died), and get rid of all distractions/possible loud things around you like your TV, alarm clock, whatever. Turn call waiting off so your phone isn’t interrupted and keep your phone on high volume when you’re waiting for the call.

Have your resume in front of you and even a copy of your cover letter/ references in case they have any questions where you’ll have to review this information. This seems corny but SMILE! They wont be able to see but when you smile it shows in your voice and your responses. It’s also helpful to look the part even though they can’t see you. When you feel professional it’ll help you to act professional. Take your time don’t rush! You’ll need to speak clearly and not rush your words. They’ll easily get lost in translation. Also, it’s important not to interrupt the interviewer. This can be easy to accidentally do over the phone.

These are all helpful tips but it’s never a bad idea to look up more when preparing for an interview. There are plenty of sources online and career advisors will be happy to help you in Career Services on campus. Also, if you’d like to schedule a mock interview, you can do so at Career Services as well.

If you ever have a phone interview I wish you the best of luck!  

April12014

All Work and No Play? - Joey Ciampa

Hey Guys! Today I’m going to talk about one of the most important things that needs to be mastered in college: Balancing work and play.  This is key to surviving and enjoying college. It is no lie, college can be very stressful. Homework, papers, exams, deadlines; all these words make me shiver. In order to manage all these painful things, you need to learn how to balance all your school work, with things that you enjoy.

First thing, school work comes first. In almost all scenarios, school work is your number one priority. I know how stressful school can be, but putting off your paper due at midnight, can turn that perfect 4.0 GPA to something MUCH worse.

Second, make a schedule. This something I didn’t do during my first semester here at UA. I thought I would do it  out this semester after one of suite mates told it helped him manage his time. On this schedule, I write down days assignments are due, when tests are scheduled, and when I have time to do things I enjoy. During those free periods, I am able to relax, and not worry about everything that has been stressing me out. Using a schedule this semester has proven to be quite successful.

Last but certainly not least, enjoy yourself! You’re in college, this is the time of your life. Live it and love it. 

March302014

So you need a letter of Rec? -Samantha

Hi Everyone! Welcome back from the much needed week of Spring Break!

So as everyone knows, particularly Juniors during their Spring semester, letters of recommendations are things. Things we need. From internships to graduate schools to jobs or even certain extracurriculars, students need solid letters of recommendations from professors to support their resumes and personal statements. This can be especially hard (though not impossible) if you don’t plan ahead.  So whether you’re a Freshman or a Senior, here are some tips for getting a letter of recommendation. 

First, plan ahead. Ideally, if you are a Freshman or Sophomore, try to take smaller classes. Sit in the first few rows, raise your hand, go to office hours. Even if you are an upperclassman, these are the basics to getting a LOR but the perks to starting early are that you can establish yourself as a name and a face AND a personality, and continue to take these professors throughout college to maintain and build upon that identity.

Come up with meaningful things to talk about with professors- they are busy people so make your time with them valuable. Something I’ve done before is to find something interesting in a lecture (no matter how large and how non-interactive) and shot the professor an original idea or thought about the topic. Either way, you need to be more than an ID number. Office hours are also great for this because it shows the professor that you’re willing to commit more than just class time to the class. 

Try to do this with two or three professors. Most programs (that I’ve heard of) ask for at most three, but even if it’s one, a back up is always good. If you haven’t identified with many professors, think about what other academic individuals in your life could write you one. Are you in Project Shape? Middle Earth? A Research Lab? It’s probably no secret that this is how I plan to get some of my letters. On campus, academic commitments that aren’t necessarily class can still open up an opportunity to a LOR. 

Once you have your relationships, maintain them. Check in, and let these people know you plan on asking them for a LOR. Depending on your relationship with them, you might want to send a formal email, asking for one. When the time comes, give them ample time to write one- upwards of a month is what I’m planning on doing. It takes time for these people to collect all their thoughts on how wonderful you are. And help them with that! Give them a copy of your resume, your degree audit, and tell them a little about what type of activities you do. If there are any specific forms, questions or what have you that they need to fill out and answer, provide that for them. The idea is that they are taking the time out of their schedule to help you get something, so make it easier for them (and a thank you never hurts!).

Happy Asking!

Samantha

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