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  • Anna Litman 9:55 pm on April 11, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: analytical reasoning, , Employers, ,   



    According to the annual survey of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, one of the top skills sought by employers is a combination of critical thinking and analytical reasoning. Our own sample of 162 employers who attended the Job and Internship Fair in March 2016 has confirmed this finding: 89% of them were looking for candidates with this particular skill combination. These employers range from not-for-profits and businesses to government agencies and international organizations in various fields and industries.

    What do the employers mean by “analytical” and “critical thinking” skills? Why are these skills so much in demand? Do you possess these skills? If you do, how would you demonstrate that to your potential employer? What activities would help develop analytical reasoning and critical thinking?

    Find out this and more in my two part blog. (More …)

  • Anna Litman 10:17 pm on October 27, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: Employers, job interviews   

    Anna’s Pondering Question of the Week Series: More on Job Interviews! 

    The Interview topic is in the air! Right after I decided to focus on job interviews for this part of my blog series, I discovered that “My Career Advisor Blog” has two recent blogs on the same topic!  But it won’t stop me! The more interview tips AU students can learn , the better their chances are to get these jobs!  From my perspective, I would like to ponder employer’s expectations and interviewee’s winning attitudes and strategies.

    As a career advisor, I often see students stressing about the best way to study for possible interview questions and the “right” answers as if they are preparing for a school test. But the job interview is not your school test. School tests are all about YOU as they assess your subject-related knowledge and skills.  Job interviews are all about THEM – your prospective employers, who hope to determine whether their organizations/companies can benefit from your abilities and personality traits.  So, job interviews are more about figuring out how you can HELP employers function, grow, and successfully compete (for grants/investments, markets, or influence) rather than judging who you are and what you know.

    My tip #1: Try to develop a helpful attitude towards your prospective employer and show it at your job interview.  To do that:

    • Learn more about the organization and about its needs (as related to its mission, services/product, environment, competitors, etc.)
    • Reflect how your knowledge and experience can be useful to meet these needs
    • Practice explaining your usefulness referring to your knowledge, skills, and experience, and
    • Come to the interview prepared to be engaged in the conversation not only by talking but also LISTENING actively.


    Keep in mind that by inviting you to a job interview, your prospective employer has expressed its satisfaction with the level of your academic preparation, experience, and interest in the position. Now, the employer would like to figure out whether your thinking process and problem solving abilities fit the needs of the organization. The employer may want to give you problems, cases, or scenarios to see if your analytical skills and your logical reasoning are sufficient for the job.  To check this, they would like you to “think out loud.”

    My Tip #2: Practice thinking out loud but also learn how to think to yourself before  “thinking out loud” in order to organize your thoughts.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is also part of a good thinking process. The employer would like to see if you are capable of identifying missing information.  Also, don’t be afraid to be creative and thinking out-of-of the box at the job interview.  Most employers welcome creativity and unorthodox approaches.  

    The employer would like to hire a person who will fit the culture of the organization. At the job interview, the employer may ask you to talk about your behavior in situations that could be indicative to certain personal characteristics that represent the cultural fit, or misfit.

    My Tip #3:  Many job descriptions nowadays describe, to some extent, the organization’s culture. Review job descriptions carefully and also research organizations on Careerbliss.com or Glassdoor.com, or through social media (following organizations on Twitter and Facebook). Come up with several stories based on your life/school/work experience to illustrate such characteristics.  Also, don’t forget that employers are people and they want to hire likable people. Be nice, respectful, engaged, and smile!  Get Hired!


  • Jennifer Carignan 2:19 pm on March 27, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Employers, ,   

    Email etiquette tips 

    Yesterday’s Job and Internship Fair attracted more than 130 employers across a wide range of industries and disciplines. For AU students and alumni attending the fair, the chance to speak to a recruiter in person offered a valuable opportunity to ask questions, learn more about jobs and internships, and convey their relevant skills and experiences. Luckily, these interactions don’t have to end in Bender Arena. Following up with a thank you email after the fair is an important way to thank the recruiters for their time and maintain the new relationships formed yesterday afternoon.

    With this in mind, here are some tips about effective email writing that might be useful for follow up messages and future interactions with employers:

    (More …)

  • Anna Litman 7:11 pm on January 14, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Employers,   

    Anna’s Pondering Question of the Week Series: How to Cover The Most Important Points in a Cover Letter 

    Happy New Year and Happy Spring Semester Everyone!

    During the last couple of weeks of the Fall 2013 semester, I reviewed many cover letters prepared by students graduating in December 2013. Some of these letters suffered from similar drawbacks: lack of specific details about relevant experiences; insufficient targeting to the employer’s needs and too many words with not enough detail. I understand that it’s not easy to write a professional letter, which needs to be short but also informative about your intentions and experience. (I struggle with the same issue in writing this blog!) You can find good information on the Career Center website regarding the purpose, content, and format of the cover letter, as well as cover letter samples. Here, I would like to suggest more tips that I have found useful to mention to students.

    (More …)

  • marcsth 1:47 pm on March 18, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Employers, ,   

    Cover Letters…Writing about yourself without making it about yourself 

    Cover letters are your official introduction to an employer, whereby you intrigue them enough about your background and experience so that they’re compelled to read your resume and eventually say “we have to interview this person!” Yet, for most folks, writing a cover letter ranges from being an exercise in monotony to downright uncomfortable.  Cover letters for many go against everything they’ve been taught about being humble, while for other folks one page seems like not nearly enough to talk about themselves.

    However, the secret to writing great cover letter letters is keeping the following in mind: It’s About Them, Not You. The best cover letters are those which focus on the organizations needs and illustrate how your skills and experiences match those needs. An important part in ensuring whether your cover letter is focusing less on yourself and more on the employer is a basic one: grammar usage, specifically of the personal pronoun “I”. When a cover letter is filled with “I”, it can (albeit unfairly) leave readers with an impression that a candidate is self-absorbed, arrogant, and only concerned with what the company can do for them. To avoid this common mistake, Greg Simpson of Lee Hecht Harrison advises three simple steps to ensure that you don’t fall into the “I-Trap”:

    1. Gather some representative samples of your job search letters (cover, networking, follow up, etc.) written at various stages of your search.
    2. Look at each document and circle every use of the personal pronoun “I.” Then underline how many times you used “I” to start a sentence. Were the sentences consecutive?
    3. Practice re-writing the letters deleting all but one or two “I’s” and instead using “my,” “mine” or the pronouns we, our, you, and your. Shying away from the use of “I” not only engages readers but also projects confidence in your abilities without the arrogance.

    So the next time you’ve finished cranking out that cover letter, before hitting submit, review it and ask yourself “is this cover letter about me or them?”

  • Francine Blume 6:58 pm on July 28, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , competitive, Employers, Global mindset   

    Excellent Writing Skills, Microsoft Office, SPSS, and a Global Mindset 

    What are employers looking for? Well, besides experience, initiative, teamwork, and technical skills, more and more employers are lamenting the fact that the American workforce lacks a global mindset. Janice Mulholland argues in her piece, “Is Having a Global Mindset As Important As Technical Skills in Today’s Economy?” that the type of education needed to promote a healthier economy includes “greater access to an education that specifically nurtures critical global skills such as facility in a foreign language, an understanding of other countries and cultures, and the ability to function effectively in differing cultural contexts.”

    You have that chance here at American University. Take advantage of classes, opportunities, and both domestic and international internships which would promote your own global understanding. And make sure you highlight those in your resumes, cover letters, and interviews. That could be what gives you the edge in a very competitive job market.

    Photo by alles-schlumpf

  • Jennifer Carignan 2:10 pm on March 14, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Employers, , , ,   

    Strategizing the Job & Internship Fair 

    The countdown to the Spring 2011 Job and Internship Fair is on, and now is the time to start preparing your strategy.

    If you’ve attended the fair before, you know that it’s easy to wander aimlessly among the various employer booths in Bender Arena. While this can be good for general information gathering, it’s probably not the most efficient approach to meeting employers that you most want to work for.

    (More …)

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