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  • Felicia Parks 4:35 pm on April 16, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , Phone Interview   

    Interviewing with Employer By Phone? Here’s 9 Tips 

    Phone interview_studentAs the semester winds down, many students are anxiously awaiting a phone interview with an employer. Whether for an internship, part-time or full-time job, many are concerned that the phone eliminates their opportunity to be charismatic and impress the employer with their interpersonal skills. Since recruiters often use phone interviews as the first step to clarify the background of several candidates, those offered a particular day and time to chat should see it as a positive opportunity. While your Career Center Advisors are more than happy to help you prepare, there are several steps to ensure a successful phone interview. A quick summary of Laura DeCarlo’s “9 Keys to Telephone Job Interview Success”  are listed below, however, you can read the full article on Job-Hunt-org.

    1. Know whether you can take the call when it comes, i.e. schedule when you won’t be interrupted or lose service on your cell phone.
    2. Have the documentation you need at your fingertips – this includes the job description, your resume and the application you submitted to the employer
    3. Know answers to the common interview questions. Be sure to tell a complete story and refrain from brief responses
    4. Smile while on the phone! Placing a mirror in front of you is a big help.
    5. If you have a web portfolio or a complete LinkedIn profile, then be sure to direct the interview to it.
    6. Focus on your language and voice – which includes voice intonation and speaking positively
    7. Avoid selfish questions during the interview. Asking about salary is too early at this point
    8. Don’t hang up without asking for the next step plus contact information.  This will reduce anxiety about the next call or email you should receive.
    9. Say thank you, but write a thank you note and either email it or send it through the mail

    American University students and alumni can schedule a mock interview with their Career Advisor through the AppointmentPlus website.  Also consider practicing from the comfort of your room with InterviewStream.

    Congratulations and best of luck!

    Phone interview_employer

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  • emily 5:24 pm on March 24, 2015 Permalink
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    Here’s My Card 

    Love it or hate it, there is almost no way to avoid it in DC. The business card. It’s a networking staple and an easy way to stay in contact with people. Having your own is a great way to show initiative and professionalism during your job or internship search.

    How to get started on creating one of your own:

    The essential information to include is your name, email, phone number, and your basic education information. Additional information, like your Twitter handle or other social media account, can be included, but be careful. If your social media account or blog is original and professional (articles, photos, videos, etc.) and you want to showcase your work, then go ahead. But if your accounts are full of selfies and cat videos, better to leave them off.

    For your education information you can include American University, your school, and your class year (ex. Class of 2015). An extra title that indicates your professional interest is a great addition as well, for example “Student Videographer”, “Future Educator”, or “Marketing Professional”.

    Today it is simpler than ever to create your very own business card. Here are some fast and cheap sources:

    DeLong Lithographics – Get the American University business card, logo and all. This is a fast way to get cards with easy instructions. It is also a good option if you want a professional card with the university’s logo front and center.

    UPS AU Campus Location – The UPS store on campus offer business card printing services that include templates with the AU logo.

    Vistaprint.com – Prices depend on paper quality and some additional fees, but prices start at $16 for 100 cards.

    Moo.com – Another online resource for business cards. Prices start at $19.99 for double-sided cards.

    This is an opportunity to be creative, have fun with creating a professional business card. Are there other resources for business cards that you have used? Share in the comments section below.

     
  • John Nunno 4:14 pm on March 19, 2015 Permalink
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    Get a Second Chance on these Career Center Library Books of the Week 

    There are over 20 million books written on career related topics. Okay I made that number up, but when you are browsing Amazon it does feel that way. The Career Center does not have 20 million books (it’s more like 400), but the books it does span a wide range of career topics. You can find anything from how to write a cover letter to how to use social media to find jobs. To help you navigate the jungle of career related books, each week the Career Center highlights a “Book of the Week” from its own library.

    Here’s the recap of the Career Center Library’s Book of the Week from the fall semester. Remember, any of these books can be checked out from the Career Center for seven days and renewed for an additional seven. Click the link to the library record to learn more about the book!

    10 Things Employers Want You to Learn in College by Bill Coplin

    The Start-Up of You  by Reid Hoffman (Cofounder of LinkedIn) and Ben Casnocha

    The Defining Decade by Meg Jay

    College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths  by Neeta Fogg

    The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career  by Nicholas Lore

    Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer of Facebook)

    Mrs. Moneypenny’s Career Advice for Ambitious Women  by Mrs. Moneypenny with Heather McGregor

    Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders  edited by Tracey Wilen-Daugenti, Courtney Vien, and Caroline Molina-Ray

    Social Networking for Career Success  by Miriam Salpeter

    101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions  by Ron Fry

    Who’s Got Your Back?  by Keith Ferrazzi

    Power Verbs for Job Seekers  by Michael Lawrence Faulkner and Michelle Faulkner- Lunsford

    I’m in a Job Search, Now What? by Kristen Jacoway

    If you have any career-related books you would like to see added to the Career Center Library then send your suggestion to JNunno@american.edu. Follow the Career Center on Twitter (@AUCareerCenter) to see the latest Book of the Week as well as Career Center events and career advice!

     
  • Anna Litman 10:10 pm on February 20, 2015 Permalink
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    Women In Science Career Night 

    Written by Howlader Nashara, Student Assistant to the CAS Career Advising Team.

    On February 18th, the Women in Science Club and the Career Center co-hosted a career panel with four alumnae who work in various fields, from audio technology to environmental science:

    • Anna Cetina: CAS/MS ’05, Director of the Audio Technology Program at AU
    • Brynne McCord: CAS/BA ’07, Program Manager for Engility Corporation
    • Jamey McEachran: CAS/MS ’11, Marine Resource Specialist for ERT inc., In-House Contractor for NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service
    • Kate Pinkerton: CAS/BS ’10, CAS/MS ’12, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow, working on the Hypoxia Team at the Environmental Protection Agency

    The most striking aspect of this panel was that the participants had newly established careers. All have graduated from CAS graduate or undergraduate programs, providing reassurance to current students that a degree, networking, and a little bit of hard work can indeed result in a job. The panelists were asked to provide examples of skills that they look for when hiring. Whether working in policy or research, the panelists placed an emphasis on having a background in science. McCord spoke about how it helps her to understand the depth and difficulty of projects, which in turn allows her to run a much more efficient office because she is able to empathize with her co-workers and their workloads. Pinkerton echoed the need to have a basic science background, and added that writing proficiency and the ability to communicate ideas about scientific concepts, both verbally and in writing, are extremely important. Cetina, the panelist with the longest career, stated that when she is hiring, she looks for someone that is humble about what they do not know and open to learning about those things. The need for flexibility was a sentiment echoed by everyone. This leads to the one concern that every graduating student or recent graduate has: where to find a job and how to plot a career trajectory. McEachran recommends looking at contracting and consulting when starting out, especially if a student is interested in natural resource management. Jobs often intersect with both federal/state governments and also within the non-profit sector, so there is diversity in what someone can learn from their work. Pinkerton recommends looking at federal/state government, the non-profit sector, contracting and consulting, and also research. Pinkerton is currently a fellow at ORISE and advised students to learn more and apply to the program as it is specifically designed for recent graduates.

    It is always interesting to ask people what they think about having a nine-to-five job. Some will say that they love it, and others will say a routine is the most boring thing a person could pursue. Cetina and McCord agreed that very few people truly lead that kind of scheduled life. Working in the audio-technology field, Cetina warned students that hours are often late. Working as the director of AU’s program, her main focus is to be there for students and advise them. However, even when she is on the field for a project, there are days that start early and end late, and then some that start late and end early. Pinkerton advised students to figure out whether they want a nine-to-five job or not; if they do, then maybe working in government is good for them. However, working in the non-profit sector means longer hours but the payoff is that the passion is what drives people to work. The most important piece of advice she provided about this was that students should pursue a work-life balance that is most conducive to their success and happiness in both their professional and personal lives.

    Thus when asked for some final pieces of advice, McCord advised students to really pursue what they love- and figure out what that is as soon as possible. She confessed that had she never taken physics, she would never have known that she wanted a career in science. If there is a class that a student is even vaguely interested in, she said that they should take it! This led to McEachron’s point: participate in campus networking events and practice communicating. Cetina encouraged students to take up internships and explore interests; there is no better way to explore potential jobs and work on skill sets at the same time than through internships. She explained that “when you go down a career path, it gets harder and harder to turn back,” so it is necessary to take advantage of all the opportunities available now.

     
  • Anna Litman 9:36 pm on February 20, 2015 Permalink
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    Public Health Career Night Panelists’ Perspectives on Career Direction and Job Search 

    Written by Howlader Nashara, Student Assistant to the CAS Career Advising Team.

    On February 11th, The Career Center and the Public Health Program co-hosted a career panel that featured five professionals working in various aspects of the public health field from health promotion, to policy and advocacy, to program development and more:

    • Brian Bowden: Associative Legislative Director at the National Association of Counties (NACo)
    • Evelyn Kelly: CAS ’01, Senior Program Manager at the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI)
    • Andy Melendez-Salgado: Senior Advisor for Program Integration and Health at the American Red Cross
    • Kim Smith: CAS ’14, Communication Associate at CommunicateHealth Inc.
    • Alyia Smith-Parker: Senior Associate for Health and Wellness at the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families

    All brought to the table diverse academic backgrounds, varying career paths, and wisdom and insights on working in the public health sector. Jody Gan, an instructor in the School of Education, Teaching, and Health in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Public Health, was the moderator for the night.

    The panelists were asked about their career paths post-graduation, and then asked to describe what kind of academic paths they saw themselves on prior to graduation. Melendez-Salgado, a graduate of Florida State, talked about his experiences working with migrant farm workers during school, and how seeing their health issues sparked his interest in public health. That interest guided him to change his major, and led to an internship at the Department of Health. Bowden, a graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, was not aware of public health as a field of work, and thus ended double majoring in medical sociology and biology, with the intent of going to a medical school. However, upon discovering that his interests lay elsewhere, Bowden received a Rotary Scholarship to attend University of Liverpool’s School of Tropical Medicine and pursue a master’s degree in Humanitarian Studies. Bowden advised that students should “Feel free to create your own path if it’s not there for you.” Important advice, considering how a common theme among the career paths of many of the panelists reflected change that occurred upon taking initiative in their lives.

    Kelly discussed the importance of taking initiative as well; she received her current position after hearing about the organization at a work conference, and then requesting an information interview with president of the company. Although no positions were open at the time, a few weeks after the interview, Kelly found out that the organization liked her enough to create a position specifically for her. Similarly, Smith-Parker received her current job through her supervisor by communicating openly about her professional interests. Her supervisor was able to point her to a job in the parent organization. The importance of networking and utilizing connections in order to gain employment or explore interests was emphasized by everyone on the panel. Smith, the most recent graduate, talked about how she used her connections at American University and in the D.C. area, including the Career Center, her professors, and contacts from previous internships, to procure her current position directly after graduating.

    The panelists who handle hiring processes at their respective organizations gave the audience advice on what they like to see in candidates. Among those qualities are critical thinking skills, knowledge about the organization the applicant is interviewing with, and the ability to transfer skills from other experiences. Collectively, they also advised applicants to really research organizations and target every cover letter and resume to specific employers. Melendez-Salgado added that students should start volunteering with organizations they are interested in, because even that tiniest bit of experience can turn into an internship or job. At the end of the night, the panelists were asked if they would do anything differently in their lives and offered some thoughts on their personal professional development. Melendez-Saldago expressed that although he speaks two languages, given that he works with an international aid organization, he wished he had learned more languages. Kelly wishes that she had studied abroad. Smith-Parker stated that she wished she had not been so linear in her path, and had taken time to pursue other non-public health related interests in order to be a more well-rounded individual. Bowden, his path was certainly atypical, advised students to follow their passions, be aware of natural talents, and use all of that to strengthen the skill set that they put forth in the professional world.

     
  • Anna Litman 10:42 pm on February 5, 2015 Permalink
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    From the Anthropology Major to an Exciting Career: Meaningful Stories and Multiple Perspectives at the Career Night 

    On Tuesday, January 27th, the Anthropology department hosted a Career Night for Anthropology Majors in collaboration with the Career Center. The event included a panel of five speakers, a Q&A session, and time for students to network with the speakers while fueling up on pizza and salad.  The speakers shared with the audience of 25 students fascinating stories about their career aspirations and career paths, discussed challenges and successes in finding employment, and commented on the value of the skills they learned in the anthropology program.  The AU alumni and professors also shared practical career advice and provided thoughtful answers to students’ questions. (More …)

     
  • John Nunno 4:39 pm on February 3, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , , H1B visa, ,   

    Target H1B Visa Employers with Going Global 

    Going Global

    Job searching in the US as an international student can be tough. To assist with the search, the Career Center subscribes to Going Global’s H1B visa employer database. Going Global’s H1B visa database lists companies that submitted H1B visa applications for specific metro areas (including DC!) and all 50 states. The data is updated quarterly from the US Department of Labor. The database is an extremely useful resource that can help you target employers with a history of submitting H1B visa applications. Please note that these listings are not job postings.

    There are two different ways to search for employers within the database:

    1) You can search for employers based on geography using “Metro Search” and “State Search”. Information for the DC area is found under the “Metro Search” category.

    2) You can search for employers by industry, job title, or company using the “H1B PLUS USA search”.

    To access Going Global, log in to your AU CareerWeb account and click “Going Global” under “Quicklinks”. The H1B database is found under the “H1B Info” tab. If you have any questions about the resource feel free to email me at JNunno@american.edu.

     
  • Felicia Parks 2:04 pm on December 22, 2014 Permalink
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    Debunking the Myth – Employers Actually Hire During the Holidays 

    You’ve taken your last exam, put the finishing touches on your group project and you’re finally leaving campus for the holidays. But have you applied for a spring 2015 internship or post graduate job?  While many have heard [or were constantly told] that no one reviews your resume, calls you for an interview or offers a job during the holidays – this simply isn’t true for lots of organizations.

    Here are 4 true statements about recruiting during the slower time period of the year 

    1. Not every recruiter is on vacation.  A new year can also equal a new job for candidates that are flexible to interview during the holidays.  While an offer to meet with the employer could interrupt a day or two of your vacation, the December graduate could experience less competition for full-time positions that start at the beginning of the year. Since new clients, projects and business happen throughout the year, employers continuously post in AU CareerWeb, as well as contact the Career Center, about positions they urgently need to fill before the beginning of the new year.
    2. Holidays are for networking.Whether you attend a social gathering with your student organization, are invited to the company party for your seasonal job or feeling like a third wheel at your parent’s corporate celebration, these are great opportunities to network with new individuals as well as update current contacts in a casual and fun environment.  As you connect with people throughout the event, be sure to remember “active listening is key” and grilling any individual with tons of questions may appear desperate.  So bring your business cards, your enthusiasm and possibly add the notepad app to your cell phone so that you can capture individual names, titles, email addresses and phone numbers to follow-up.
    3. An email or postage stamp could lead to a job.  Whether it’s a holiday card, family blog or video that details your year in review, the design could impress the receiver with your skills and lead to a referral for a full-time opportunity.  After you finish designing your holiday greeting, be sure to polish your elevator speech, order your business cards and schedule a few informational interviews.
    4. Remain positive throughout your job search.  While this blogs offers several tips on applying for jobs during the holidays, it can feel overwhelming when family and friends continuously ask about your job search and potential offers. So keep your head up and your nose to the grind stone.

    We hope these tips have been helpful. Happy holidays from your Career Center advising team!

    AU Career Center_2014 Holiday Party

     
  • emily 4:58 pm on December 2, 2014 Permalink  

    Interviewing in a Winter Wonderland 

    The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder. Here at the Career Center we want to help you embrace the winter wonderland as it coincides with your job search. The cold and wet weather can make arriving for an interview or new job a bit of a challenge, but have no fear.

    Here are some tips to make sure you make a good impression from the moment you arrive by looking professional and not like the abominable snowman.

    1) Layer underneath. Instead of piling on the sweaters and jackets, try wearing a warm base-layer. This allows you to look sleek without freezing on the walk to the metro. Long johns and tights/leggings can go underneath pants or you can wear thick tights with boots. Make sure you have a pair of warm socks, and your feet should be good to go. If it is very cold out, try a warm cotton shirt under your button-up or dress.

    2) Avoid frostbite. Packing a change of shoes and wearing boots can be tricky when you do not yet have a desk to stash the boots under. If you cannot store your big winter boots somewhere, then try wearing professional weatherproof boots or investing in weatherproofing spray. You can spray the nice boots you already have to minimize water or snow getting in. If all else fails, pack an extra pair of socks and change into those before the interview. Take care of other extremities as well. Wear gloves, because no one wants to shake hands with an icicle.

    3) Arrive warm, look cool. Some basics – though it may be warmer, avoid wearing any puffy winter sports coats. Instead opt for a pea coat or trench coat that is long enough to cover your suit jacket. Though for some it may be inevitable, try to avoid hat hair. If you are someone whose hair does not easily recover from a hat, wear earmuffs or a headband. Or, if you can bring a comb to straighten up after arriving. An alternative for people with long hair is to wear it pulled back in a way that is not as easy to muss up. Since you are already arriving early for the interview, do one last check in the bathroom to make sure you survived the cold in one piece. As much as you love your cat hat or giant mittens, wear practical but not comical hats, gloves, and scarves.

    Interviewing or starting a new position in the winter does not mean you cannot still look professional, it just may take a little extra work. For more advice on business attire, check out the Career Center’s website or one of the great books in the Career Center library.

     
  • emily 7:14 pm on November 25, 2014 Permalink
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    Creating the Best Writing Sample 

    Food, family, and a study break-Thanksgiving is not too soon to think about job application writing samples. This may sound daunting, but hear me out.

    The best advice when it comes to writing samples is to get some ready now. Having a variety of samples makes it easier to quickly apply for a job or internship opportunity when it comes. The exact requirements and nature of the writing sample will depend on the field, job details, and the preference of the employer. A research position or a well-cited paper or lab report, a communications position could want a catchy blog piece, and a policy organization could want a concise article.

    To be ready for the writing sample request, take a moment to look at what you have written or are writing now. You do not have to re-create the wheel with each application. Students and recent graduates can use academic papers or other work from college. However, it is less encouraged for alumni further out from their degree to do the same.

    Most of the time the sample will be no longer than two pages, five max. Chances are the best writing you have done for class has been significantly longer than 2 pages. So, how to cut down your favorite work without losing what made it so good?

    First, identify the meat of the paper. Where did you defend your thesis or conclusion the strongest? Where did you really flex your analytical skills? The goal of a writing sample is to measure your ability to write professionally, clearly, and succinctly. Just sending the first two pages of a much longer paper may leave out too much and seem incomplete.

    Second, be ready to edit. Even if you do not yet know the specific organization or job that you will apply for, do some preliminary research. Look at the writing style of some different organizations that you are interested in to edit the sample accordingly. When you do apply, use the style and tone of that particular employer and have the sample address a topic, theme, or issue that you could be required to work on in the position.

    The key is having something ready in your back pocket, or saved on your computer, that you are proud to share with a potential employer. Thanksgiving break is a good time to pick out blogs, academic papers, news articles, or other projects from this or previous semesters. That way when finals hit and you are applying for jobs or internships you do not have to create an entirely new piece. Preparation and a little research now could save you some precious hours of sleep come December.

    For more on writing samples check out the Career Center website.

     
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