Thursday, August 13, 2015

How much do you value your reputation?

By Anna Kenney, Assistant Director, Internships 

As a society, we are conditioned to assign value to things based on our experiences with them. Ex: “That restaurant on South Beach is great, because I saw a bunch of celebrities there. “ Or “The Grove is horrible, because I got a flat tire once.”

We also associate value, very often, by what others have told us about that particular thing. Ex: “That professor is amazing, my brother took his class and it changed his life.” Or “The staff member working at the dining hall is so nice; my roommate told me they gave her candy the day before her biggest final.”

All of these examples can be tied back to the reputation of an establishment, location or person. This reputation could be the deciding factor on how you perceive that person, place or thing forever.  The same can be said for us as individuals. One interaction can change a person’s opinion of you, change their perception of how capable you are and change their ability to see you as anything but that one interaction.

Developing a strong professional reputation is incredibly important and in the long run, as it relates to your career, it can prove very rewarding. A great reputation could mean multiple job offers, higher salary and better project assignments.  And guess what? You don’t have to wait until you have a full-time job to start working on your professional reputation. You can start NOW!

In the classroom
Show respect to your professors by being attentive in class. Visit them during their office hours so that they get to know you outside of class. Not only are they a huge wealth of knowledge, you never know who they know. They can be great resources for internship and full-time opportunities. They can also write some pretty amazing letters of recommendation!

Outside the Classroom
Get involved and work hard! It will make you stand out from the people who don’t. Take on leadership opportunities to master those “soft skills” such as communication skills, teamwork and problem solving.

Monitor your online presence! You’ve heard it many times before, but it is a reality. Raise your hand if you Facebooked your first roommate when you found out who they were. You probably determined in about 45 seconds whether they were your new best friend or whether you needed to find a new place to live ASAP.  I can guarantee that there are some companies/organizations that will do the same thing to you the day they get your resume.

Get a LinkedIn profile! Start building connections today to help you get that J-O-B! Use it along the way to get advice from professionals in your intended industry (or to explore them if you haven’t found it yet).

Involve Toppel

Utilize the Toppel Staff to polish and market that wonderful reputation that you’ve established for yourself. Attend our workshops; come in for walk-in advising to tweak that resume. Sign up for a practice interview to secure that internship. Participate in on-campus recruiting to land that full-time job! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

You're Welcome

By Carly Smith, Assistant Director, Career Education

Take the next 30 seconds to think of a reason why sending a thank you note is a bad idea.

How many reasons have you come up with? Probably very few or none at all. So here’s a little tip for you as you enter the world of interviewing: always send a thank you note after an interview. 

You might be thinking right now, “Yea, a thank you note is cute and a nice gesture, but is it that important?” The answer is yes, it is very important, and here are a few statistics that will show you why you are missing out if you’re not on the thank you note train, or you’re ahead of the game if you’ve been writing them. A survey done by CareerBuilder of hiring manager found these following statistics:

22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate if they don’t send a thank you note after an interview. That is reason enough to me to send a thank you note, especially when I just put in all the time to prepare for the interview.

86% said that not sending a thank you shows a lack of follow through. I want employers to find me dependable from day one. To be honest, I probably mark dependability as one of my major strengths when I am interviewing anyway so why would I tarnish that reputation before even getting the job?

56% said it indicates that the candidate isn’t really serious about the position. If you made the time to interview for this organization, you probably have at least some interest in the role. Employers want to hire individuals who are interested and enthusiastic about the work that the company does. Sending a thank you note can show that.

Finally, 89% said that is okay to send a thank you in the form of an email, which is an amount I feel will continue to grow as more tech savvy generations enter the workplace and are put in hiring positions. When it comes to email vs. hand written note, I am of the mindset that time is of the essence. Make sure your thank you is received in 48 hours, and if you can hand write a note and have it quickly shipped to your interviewers within that time frame, then go right ahead.

To sum it up, thank you notes convey your interest, show that you are gracious that the interviewers spent time getting to know you, and a great way to leave a positive impression before the employers make their decision.

Final tip: Each person you interview with should get their own thank you note. A big group thank you is easier, but an individualized note can be personalized and seem more genuine.

Now it’s time for you to actually write the cover letter, so check out our letter writing guide online to get started.

Thank You Note Etiquette.