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Interview Tips

“Tell Me About Yourself;” A Trap?

By Qismat Niazi, Peer Advisor

Ah, the dreaded “tell me about yourself.” Many students, myself included, have been stumped by the broadness of this very inquiry. Do I tell them about my dog? Do I tell them I have a very unhealthy obsession with chocolate? All probably extremely interesting points, but it’s not what the employer is really asking you.

 

One important thing to note is that the employers, although they might have an interest in you as a person, want to know more about how you and your unique traits will be of value to them; your obsession with chocolate might not cut it (unless you’re interviewing for Hershey but that’s a different story).

 

I have come up with a three step answering process that seems to touch base on everything the employer wants to know while not deterring from the question at hand. I call this the Past, Present, and Future Method.

 

Past:

By starting out with your past, you are giving employers a little background to lead into your current and future endeavors. You can briefly touch upon where you’re from or a monumental life-changing experience that you feel is necessary to mention, but you should really set this up in a way that highlights any past experience you have had in the field of the company you’re interviewing for. This is a good leeway into talking about how you got interested in what you’re currently doing: any research, jobs, even the reasoning behind which you chose your particular major(s).

 

Present:

This is your chance to, in plain terms, brag about all the amazing things you are currently doing. You want to make sure this ties into what you did in the past or address why it doesn’t quite align (I found my passion to be something completely different). Again, you want to make this company specific; mention characteristics/skills that would be useful in the position you’re applying to and brand yourself.

 

Future:

This is where you can outline your vision of the company in the future. Talk about where you want to take the company, if you have any new initiatives, and where you see yourself involvement wise. This shows the company that they have your interest and you definitely see yourself aligning with their mission.

 

This three step method has really helped me structure my interview answers and make sure I’m hitting all the necessary talking points, and I wish that it does the same for you! Good Luck Canes!

How to Interview

By Cayla Lomax, Peer Advisor

With Expo ending and summer slowly approaching  many of us have been gearing up for interviews for upcoming jobs or summer internships (or may have already landed the job!).  During this time of frenzy here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying to put your best foot forward for the interview.

Before I go in to the nitty gritty of this article, I do want to mention one key point. According the website The Balance, “the key to effective interviewing is to project confidence, stay positive, and be able to share examples of your workplace skills and your qualifications for the job”. This quote really encompasses the what your main focus point should be when interviewing: Confidence, Positivity, Reliability, and Experience.

I’ve gathered the following tips from The Balance, The Muse, and Live Career:

1.Research the Company and Position

Success in an interview is dependent on solid knowledge of the company and position you’re applying for. You want to know the background of the company, obviously, as well as what the position entails, but don’t neglect researching the company culture and mission statements. By getting a sense of “who” the company is,  you can better structure your answers to fit the what they are looking for and become a more attractive candidate. Find as many resources as you can such as friends, contacts, Google, Glassdoor, press releases, company’s social media, etc. to better your knowledge about the company.

 

2.Anticipate Interview Questions

First and foremost, you should prepare and practice your response to the typical job interview questions, such as the “Tell me about yourself” question, which though seemingly simple, can trip up those who are not prepared. You also want to ask the hiring manager what type of interview to expect – different firms use different types of interviews, so it’s best to be prepared for anything that’ll come your way. Your main goal when answering interview questions is to come up with answers that are detailed, yet concise, that focus on specific examples or accomplishments.

 

3.Be Aware of Body Language

Though the content of your answers in incredibly important, employers will also be focusing on what is unsaid – that is, your body language. You want to make sure you have eye contact, good (yet comfortable) posture, and smile and nod occasionally to show that you’re actively listening and engaged. You want to avoid slouching, fidgeting with your chair, or playing with a pen or your hair.

 

4.The Follow Up

Common courtesy and politeness go far when interviewing. Generally you should send your thank you note or email within 24 hours of your interview.

 

With these tips you should be well prepared for any interview that comes your way. Good luck Canes!

Career Expo Craze!

By Morgan Henry, Peer Advisor

Get Hyped for Spring Career Expo 2018!

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The University of Miami’s Spring Career Expo is Wednesday, February 21st from 1-5pm at the Watsco Center. This event will feature over 100 companies that are eager to make connections with both students and alumni from UM. It’s a great way for you to make connections to strengthen your personal network, discover different potential career paths, as well as continue to develop yourself professionally. With all these benefits on the line, it’s important to stay on top of things and budget yourself enough time to have a great Expo experience.

  1. Use Toppel! Whether your resume needs tweaking or you want to start from scratch, Toppel Career Center has great resources to help you out. Walk-in Advising is Monday through Friday from 9AM to 4:30PM, so be sure to stop by in the dates leading up to Expo. We can also help you develop the perfect elevator pitch!
  2. Research the Companies. After you register for Spring Expo using your Handshake account, there’s a great feature that lets you see a list of every company that’s attending the fair. Go through, pick out your favorites, and learn more about them. Prepare some questions for the company representatives and stand out from the other hundreds of students that will attend.
  3. Make a Strategy. Whether this is your first Expo or you’re a seasoned vet, it never hurts to have a bit of networking practice. MAXIMUS will be coming to Toppel as Expo time nears to give students valuable input on what networking means and how play to your strengths within this setting (February 20th, 5:30pm). Make sure to register for this event using Handshake!

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Remember, there are so many resources out there that want to help you! Take advantage of them, and give yourself plenty of time to prepare. See you at Spring Expo 2018!

Good Luck, Canes!

Dressing the Part to Rock the Interview

By Kara Davis, Peer Advisor

Congratulations! You scored an interview for the job of your dreams, but what are you going to wear?! Proper business attire can make or break your chances of being offered that position.  Since you’re going for an interview, it is safer to go with business professional rather than business casual.  What’s the difference? Business casual is often worn in a casual office setting, but is still considered appropriate for the workplace. This includes khakis or slacks and casual button-down shirts for men and a skirt or pants with a dress shirt or a dress for women.  Typically, business casual does not include jeans, flip flops, or tank tops.

Business professional is exactly as it sounds, professional. For men, this is usually a dark-colored suit with a tie and dress shoes. For women, business professional can include either a dress with a blazer or a suit with pants or knee-length skirt; shoes can either be closed-toe heels or closed-toe flats. Wearing business professional attire to your interview will be a benefit to your future employer’s first impression of you. Are you worried that you don’t have the right items to put together your professional look? Come to Toppel and make use of Sebastian’s Closet! Here you can borrow various items of professional clothing for FREE. It’s better to be dressed for success than under dressed without your dream job!

Good luck, Canes!

Communication & Job Searching

By Kiera Adams, Peer Advisor

We hope everyone had a great time at Expo last week! Expo having just passed means it’s about that time when recruiters are starting to reach out about jobs or internships. It’s always a question about how you should approach the next steps: Here are a couple of tips to guide you on how to follow up with employers!

First question is: when exactly should you follow up? When talking to a recruiter, it’s not a bad idea to ask at the end of the conversation what the next steps would be. From their answer, this should give you an idea of when you should except an answer. If they don’t give you a specific date, it’s recommended you wait a week or a week and a half before following up.

One tip to keep in mind is not to invade their personal space: Not just physical space, but also over the Internet. Don’t contact the employer asking if they made a decision the day after you speak with them. You want to show interest, but don’t want to seem like you are desperate.

Another question is what method should you use to follow up? Should you call or email? Employers don’t have the time to talk on the phone to every candidate especially with the quantity they meet at a career fair. Emails can be easier to keep track of and leaves a paper trail. Make sure when you are writing your emails that you say something that will remind the recruiter of your previous conversation. They hear from a lot of people so it can be difficult to keep track and remember people just from your name on the email signature.

 

Here are some do’s and don’ts from an article about this topic from LiveCareer:

Do be patient. The process often takes longer than the employer expects”

Don’t stop job-hunting, even if you feel confident that you will get a job offer.”

Do write individual thank you notes or letters to each person who interviewed you”

And finally:

Don’t place too much importance on one job or one interview; there will be other opportunities for you.“

Article: https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/interview-follow-up-dos-donts

Hopefully these tips help you get to the next step in your job search! Good luck, Canes!

Why Career Expo?

By Sterlie Achille, Peer Advisor

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Career Expo will be the place NEXT WEEK on September 6th from 1pm to 5pm! Join us at the Watsco center to engage in an incredible chance to explore internship options, full-time job opportunities, and graduate programs. You absolutely DO NOT want to miss this event. There are several reasons why attending this career fair will be a great way to progress your job search.

1) Attending Career Expo allows you to meet directly with the hiring managers and or representatives who have an impact on hiring decisions. Career expo has nearly 100 registered employers that will be attending this year. These recruiters are from a variety of industries ranging from American Express, Carnival, Chewy, Maximus, Miami Heat, Stryker, Visa and so much more! What better way to learn which companies you might want to work for and which open positions would be most relevant to you, than in person?

2) Career Expo will be a less-formal setting to practice your elevator speech and get to know more about the company’s you are interested in. Even if you only get to communicate with them briefly, you will have the practice of talking about yourself and your strengths. Be bold. Take advantage of the fact that you can talk to a variety of people that could have a need for your skill set and experiences. You have so much to offer!

3) Attending this signature recruiting event would allow you to better align your resume with the company’s needs! Knowing what these companies are looking for sets you apart from the competition. So come join us and talk to employers, build your network (and your LinkedIn connections) and most importantly, practice your elevator speech! Make sure to come professionally dressed, bring your University of Miami Cane ID, and have at least 20 copies of your resume.

Are U  excited, yet!?

Workplace Etiquette

By Kim Wilks, Peer Advisor

The end of the semester is quickly approaching and this means that students will be moving into their full-time jobs and summer internships. Whether the position is short-term or long-term, you want to be sure to leave a good impression on everyone you encounter. Every day will be a networking opportunity. Keep a positive attitude and stay motivated. Here is a list of 10 professional etiquette tips to remember as you enter the workforce.

  1. When introducing yourself to someone for the first time say your full name and stand up. The higher-ranking person usually initiates the handshake. Handshakes are generally three seconds long. Keep a firm but comfortable grip.
  2. Maintain eye contact and good posture. Remain confident.
  3. Men nor women should not cross their legs.
  4. Arrive on time and be prepared! To be early is to be on time. This way you can do any last minute preparation that may be necessary.
  5. Respond to emails in a timely fashion. Address the person(s) receiving the email and say please and thank you. Check your grammar and watch your tone.
  6. Keep phone usage to a minimum and keep your phone on silent/ vibrate.
  7. It is usually better to be overdressed than underdressed. However, try to follow the dress code.
  8. Try your best to remember names, but admit if you have forgotten.
  9. Follow directions and ask questions if something is unclear.
  10. Avoid controversial topics with co-workers inside and outside of the workplace.

These ten tips are just some of the things to keep in mind as you enter “the real world.” Beyond all of this, remember to have fun and be yourself.  Take every day as a learning experience. Admit your wrongs and take responsibility. Then, move on and improve with every passing day. You’ll do great.

Good Luck Canes!

Tell Me About Yourself Question

By Kiera Adams, Peer Advisor

Spring time. It’s the time that interviews are being done for summer internships or jobs. There’s one question that is asked in all of these interviews: some people’s least favorite question, Tell me about yourself. This question can be one of the hardest for some to answer. Here’s a guide to help you answer the question:

Time

People either say too little or go overboard when answering this question. Your answer should be focused and short, about a minute. You don’t want to go over 2 minutes because it’ll start seeming like you are rambling. You don’t need to fit all of your skills and experiences in that minutes that’s what the whole interview is for.

Present-Past-Future formula

First you start off with the present: what you’re studying, level of study, etc. Then past: briefly go over some key experiences and skills from those experiences (again-make sure this isn’t too lengthy). Then the future-what you hope to get from the internship/why you’re excited about it.

*Tip: Make sure when you are listing experiences and skills that they are relevant to the position you are interviewing for!

Practice

The tell me about yourself question is a good question to practice ahead of time. Using the formula above, you can create a little script in your head. That way you won’t be as nervous when the interviewer asks the question. It’s important not to try to memorize it word for word because you can end up sounding robotic and rehearsed.

*Pro-tip: This YouTube Tutorial by Antony Stagg is a great tool. It uses past, present, and future as the formula; however it does a great job of explaining! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW-yxxPMtro

Cover photo acquired from: http://turningpoint-academy.org/job-interview/interview-question-article-on-the-topic-tell-me-about-yourself/

Good Luck on Interviews!

 

 

Asking the Right Interview Questions

By Tina Humphrey, Peer Advisor

Congratulations, you’re at the interview! You’ve prepared so much to come this far and you’ve already grabbed the employer’s attention. Now it’s time to seal the deal. When you come to the end of the interview, your interviewer(s) ask if you have any questions. It’s always important to ask a few questions to show your interest in the company. Remember the interviewer will most likely remember not what you said but how you made them feel.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249028

According to Ashley Stahl, a career coach, here are the right questions to ask:

  1. What does success look like in this position?
  2. What would you say are the key challenges that the person in this role would be facing?
  3. What are the qualities of a person who you see excelling in this role?
  4. What is the employee culture like here?
  5. What do you enjoy the most and the least about working here?
  6. What does a day in the life look like in this position?
  7. How do you see this sort of position evolving over time?
  8. Do you have any reservations about my qualifications?
  9. How has this role evolved since it was created?
  10. What is the top priority for this position over the next three months?

Here are the wrong questions to ask:

1) How much do you pay?

This is like asking about marriage on the first date.

2) How much time off do you offer?

You want them to be focused on what you’ll give to them, not the paid vacation time you will take from them…

3) What’s your company mission?

4) What does your company do?

You should know this!

5) Are employees able to work on their own schedule?

6) What are the benefits in this position?

Don’t let them assume you’re going to be a diva!

7) Do you do background checks?

8) Do you monitor employee internet use?

Now they’re worried…

9) How quickly to people get promoted in this role?

They want someone who wants the actual job.

10) Do you pay for relocation costs?

You’re already making them see money coming out of their pocket! Don’t cover this until you have a job offer.

11) I’m actually even more interested in your marketing team—how long until I can be considered for those roles?

They want someone excited about the job they’re interviewing for, not someone who clearly sees it as a stepping stone (Although, let’s be honest… Everything is a stepping stone!)

Good luck interviewing, Canes!

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