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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.

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Good Luck Canes!

End on a High: Productivity

By Sterlie Achille, Peer Advisor

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The semester is coming to an end faster than we think and soon finals week will be here. Ever wondered about the ways you could you improve your studying and productivity?

 

Well, read on for some tips!

1) Do not take on unnecessary tasks

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Time is the one thing money can’t buy.  While it is tempting to go through every problem in the book or read every chapter listed on the syllabus, it is important to prioritize and narrow down your studies. Every exam will test on a specific set of materials. Make sure to focus on the areas your professor advises so that you are not overwhelmed. Focus helps to make a study session productive!

2) Create reasonable to-do lists

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To-do lists help you keep in mind the things that need to get done and can help motivate you to be productive. However, to-do lists of more than 10 items are counter supportive to helping you reach your goals.  Large lists set a large expectation that can be overwhelming or discouraging if everything from this list isn’t accomplished. Instead, attempt to limit your to-do lists with no more than 6 items at a time. That way you can prioritize your tasks even further and set realistic expectations.

3) Keep an organized working area

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An organized workspace will help remove distractions and make for a more productive study session. The last thing you want to happen when motivation hits is to have to search for space to set down your work or fight back the flood of stuff on your desk.

4) Take Study Breaks

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Studying for long hours is actually hurting you more than it is helping.  If you spend more than 8-10 hours at a desk without moving around much, then you will notice that you have less energy.  Productivity is not measured by the number of hours you sit at a desk.  So take breaks! 10-15 minutes is usually a great refresher for going back to your task with a clearer mind!

5) Set Self-Imposed deadlines

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(AVOID situations like the one above as much as possible)

Set a personal deadline and hold yourself as accountable to it as you would any other important cut-off date. Deadlines are often stressful. Unfortunately, they’re a necessary evil. You may not always meet them but, it will help you to avoid procrastination and get as much done as possible.

College is what you make of it! As the semester comes to a close, best of luck (and preparation) to end strong. Happy studying!

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You’ve got this!

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.

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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!

Email Etiquette

By Sterlie Achille, Peer Advisor

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With the close of Spring Career Expo, many of us might have to reach out to professional recruiters by email. Whether to network, apply for a job, or follow-up after an interview, it is important to keep things professional. An easy way to ruin your chances of success is to send a conversational email filled with grammatical errors.

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Here are some tips that can improve and sharpen your professional email writing skills!

1) Strong Subject line

This is one of the simplest parts of the email, but it can often be the hardest to create. Keep the subject line brief and simple to convey the main idea of the email. Avoid leaving the subject area blank or with meaningless words that do not convey the specifics of the email. This section should give the reader an idea about the email before they open it. It should be an accurate description with any relevant dates or deadlines.

2) The Greeting

Most mistakes with the email greeting happen because people get too personal. The best way to greet someone is with formality such as “Ms. Last Name” or “Mr. Last name”. Unless instructed by the person directly, it is generally not a good idea to address them by their first name.

3) Organization

It is important to have a well-organized email that clearly conveys a message. Structurally, the email should include an introduction, body, and closing paragraph. In your intro, highlight your reason for contacting the person, then give all the information they need. Finally, end your email by letting them know if you would like them to contact you, or if you will be reaching out to them at a later date.

4) Timing

Make sure to send follow-up emails after several days have passed.   It is best to allow the person enough time to see your message. However, it is still important to send your reply emails on time to keep the interest of the recruiter. Once you have a reply, it is your responsibility to respond as soon as possible.

5) Proofread

Once your email is complete, proofread it for grammar and punctuation errors. Avoid making the mistake of sending it quickly without reading it over several times. Taking that extra step shows you care and will help you stand out in a positive way!

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Happy writing!

Meeting with a Full Time Advisor

By Lindsey Shanck, Peer Advisor

So you have already come in for a walk-in appointment with the peer advisors…what’s next? You have had your resume and cover letter critiqued, maybe had a mini mock interview and a LinkedIn session.  Your next step is to meet with a full time advisor!

The full time advisors at Toppel are your go-to help for any questions you might have. While the peer advisors act as a liaison to share resources available at Toppel and keep your documents professional, the full time advisors can help you make the road map to a successful career after graduation. They can help set goals based on your major and career aspirations and give you tips in the industry you are interested in. With experience in the real world and with employers in your industry, they are essential in your career education.

Each of the eleven advisors are in charge of different fields and industries, but they are all experts in career education, and have the tools you need to make you successful post graduation. Devin is in charge of STEM fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Carly is the pre-health expert, and specializes in nursing and health science, life sciences, and psychology, and Edward is the pre-law guru. Ali is Toppel’s artsy advisor with specializations in architecture, art, art history, and theatre, and Debbie advises on music and communication. Richard and Kim specialize in the school of business, and Richard also advises athletics. Hilary resides in Washington D.C. and advises through Skype and phone on all things government. Betty handles the social sciences, RSMAS, and all international opportunities, along with Anna who also works in the school of education. Last but certainly not least, Esther works with graduate students, alumni, psychology, humanities, and liberal arts students.

To make an appointment with your advisor, log on to Handshake, and start planning your career!

Interview Questions

By Kiera Adams, Peer Advisor

The Spring Career Expo is coming up February 22nd, 2017! This is a great way to make connections in order to get an interview for a job or internship. There are many components that make a good, solid interview. A part that isn’t always utilized or is forgotten about is asking the interviewer questions. Monster.com gives a nice quote saying, “Interviews aren’t just about giving the right answers—they’re about asking the right questions.” Here are some good questions that you can ask an interviewer:

About the Job:

1) What’s the most important thing I can accomplish in the first 60 days?

This is a good question to ask because the interviewer will be able to explain what the expectations are for you right away. This can help you determine how demanding a job will be and if you will be able to handle those demands.

About the Company:

1) What do you enjoy most about working here?

2) Can you give me some examples of the company’s culture?

Both of these questions give you an idea about the type of work environment you will be immersed in. For some, type of environment is super important so you don’t want to go through the whole employment process just to enter a culture that isn’t something you would be happy or thrive in.

To the Interviewer:

1) Has your role changed since you’ve been here?

This question will tell you about opportunities for growth within the company. You want to join a company or organization that will support you growing as a person. Even if it’s a short, summer internship, so you should get all the information you need now just in case the company becomes a long-term option in the future.

Questions not to ask:

1) What are the requirements of the job?

2) What does the person in this job do?

It’s important to do your research before going into an interview. You should have a general idea of what the position you’re applying for does. But feel free to ask the employer about more expectations they have, examples of what you would be expected to do, etc.

3) What is the salary for this position?

Even though this answer is important, you shouldn’t ask this question right off the bat.  This is a better question to ask once you’ve been offered a position.

 

Good luck interviewing, Canes!

Resume Quick Tips!

By Kimberly Wilks, Peer Advisor

It’s that time of the semester again! Dust off your dress shoes, grab your best suit, and brush up your resume because it’s time for Career Expo! On Wednesday February 22nd from 1:00 -5:00 PM, there will be a long list of employers and grad schools here waiting to meet YOU!

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Be sure to stop by Toppel beforehand to prepare. Your resume is the paper representation of you and it needs to be spick and span! You can find sample resumes on hireacane.com! Toppel’s Peer Advisors, such as myself, are very excited about helping our peers land their dream job or internship. You’ll definitely want to stop by before the career fair to make sure that you are ready to impress these employers.

Here are six quick tips to remember when working on your resume:

1) Your name should be the largest words on the page. Employers shouldn’t have to search in a tiny corner to find out who’s resume they’re holding. Claim all the hard work that you put in and on that resume!

2) Avoid having paragraphs of information. Use bullet points!!! These will aid in the flow of your resume.

3) Use your experience statements to talk about what you did in the company and include results if possible. Employers are more interested in what you did, rather than what the company did altogether. However, avoid personal pronouns such as I, me, or my.

4) If you don’t have relevant experience, then emphasize the relevant skills that you have gained from the experiences you do have.

5) Find the right balance of information to make your resume look just right. Your resume should not have too much white space but it also should not be packed with information in size 8 font.

6) Last but not definitely not least, be completely honest! This way you can get a position that fits!

Toppel Peer Advisors are here to help! Good Luck Canes!

Finding THE ONE

By Varuna Rampersad-Singh, Peer Advisor

With Valentine’s Day approaching, many of you may be getting restless,—- did you think this was a post to help you with your love life? Unfortunately for some, it is not. For others, today is your lucky day and you’re going to learn how to find your one and only internship.

With the spring semester just beginning, summer may be the last thing on your mind. However, in the world of internships, now is the time to start looking and applying in order to land the best one for the summer.

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How do you land the best internship?

First, you should figure out what you are looking for in an internship. Do you want something in your area of study or are you trying to widen your horizons? Are you looking to get paid or is a great experience payment enough?

Check out Handshake, LinkedIn, Glassdoor or other websites where employers have their job postings. This can help you get a feel for what types of internships are out there. Select a few that you would like to apply for and pay attention to what they are looking for in an intern.

Reach out to employers or the Human Resources department asking for more information about the internship. When you apply, it won’t be the first time they are seeing your name which will be a nice advantage to have.

Come in to Toppel to have your resume and cover letter looked over. If you bring some information about the internships you are applying for, we can help tailor your documents to the specific internships.

If you land an interview, do a practice interview with one of our peer advisors to help you get a feel for the interview process and hopefully get rid of some of your nerves. Send a thank you email or letter after an interview.

Even if you don’t get the position, send a thank you so they will remember you if you decide to apply again next year. You probably applied to more than one internship and if all goes well, you’ll land the others.

Then you’ll be ready to check out our event “How to Rock Your Summer Internship” on April 11th at 6:30pm (more details on Handshake).

Good Luck Canes!

 

 

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