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  • emily 4:15 pm on October 6, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Interviewing,   

    5 Tips to Nail an Interview Presentation 

    You have made it through the first and possibly even the second round of interviews for a job or internship. Congrats! Now you are asked to give a presentation in front of your possible future employers and colleagues. Regardless of your comfort-level speaking in front of groups, here are some important tips to a smooth, professional, and confident presentation.

    1)      Know yourself. You are going to be standing in front of a group of people, so all eyes will be on you. To be your most professional self, it is key to understand how you react to this sort of attention. Do you get very flushed? Wear a shirt with a high neck or collar. You will most likely already be wearing a jacket or blazer, so not to worry about getting warm, the extra layer should cover that. If you tend to fidget during a presentation, make sure you are not wearing rings or a watch/bracelet. Plan to keep you hair away from your face if you have a habit of touching it when nervous. Understanding yourself and how you react will allow you to plan ahead of time to make sure you look smooth and confident. That way you will have an easier time forgetting your nervous habits.

    2)      Know your topic. You will get questions after your presentation. Be prepared to answer them by understanding what you chose as a topic and why. The presentation is an opportunity for the employer to get to know you and how you prepare for assignments, so make sure you have spent enough time picking a great topic and creating a clear presentation with a beginning, middle, and conclusion.

    3)      Practice. Index cards or notes should contain only the briefest outline of your presentation, the rest should be memorized. You are telling the story, making your case, or sharing the facts, the slide is just a visual aid for the information you are providing. Practice the presentation as you will give it, so if you intend to move around and use hand gestures, rehearse them. If you tend to pace or shift, practice standing in one spot.

    4)      Have a backup plan. Technology is notorious for failing at the last minute. So bring at least one backup copy of your presentation on a USB, even if you sent the employer a copy ahead of time. In case of total technology meltdowns, bring paper copies of your notes or index cards.

    5)      Visit the Career Center. From discussing possible topics to practicing in front of others, the Career Center advisors are here to help. You can also reserve a room in the Career Center to record yourself giving the presentation so that you can watch and improve your speed, gestures, and content.

    Each interview and presentation is another opportunity to improve your speaking skills and will help you get one step closer to the right job or internship.


  • Sue Gordon 9:24 pm on January 7, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Interviewing   

    Skype Interview? Clean your room, and other tips to succeed 

    messy roomNormally, you don’t need to think about cleaning your room before a job interview.   But with the increase of online live and recorded interviews, you just may want to tidy up a bit

    If you are seeking a job or internship in 2014 and beyond, then it’s likely that at some point you will be asked to conduct an interview via Skype or another online tool.  Online interviews are growing at a rapid pace.   A story in the Wall Street Journal  reported that in 2011, companies increased usage of online videos by as much as 42%.  There are two types of online videos- those that are recorded, a one-way approach in which the interviewee records answers to taped questions, and sends the completed interview to the employer.  Also common are two-way interviews that are live, and are largely used in lieu of phone interviews. Skype interviews also offer a great alternative to in-person interviews when a candidate is geographically far from a perspective job. (More …)

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

    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?”

  • Jennifer Carignan 5:32 pm on February 6, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: Interviewing, , ,   

    Introversion and the job search 

    An effective job search generally requires a heavy dose of interaction with other people, particularly in networking and interviewing situations. For extroverts, this process is often stimulating; the energy these individuals get from communicating with others often helps to carry them through their job search. For introverts, however, fighting against a natural preference for quiet self-reflection can seem like an uphill battle. As an introvert myself, I empathize with students who feel anxiety about the amount of interpersonal interaction required in the job search.

    If you are an introvert who finds yourself in this situation, the following resources might be helpful to prepare and guide you through the job search and beyond.

    (More …)

    • Julia Beyer 8:01 pm on February 12, 2013 Permalink

      Love this blog post- thanks for these useful resources for us introverts. I am including this in the SOC spot newsletter.

  • Sue Gordon 5:43 pm on January 25, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Interviewing,   

    Last minute interview? Get ready with our online interview tool! 

    It’s 4:00 PM, and an employer just called and asked you to come in for an interview tomorrow!  This can be great news, and nerve-wracking, too.  How can you prepare with so little time?  Your career advisor’s appointments are booked and you’d really like to practice.

    This scenario is not uncommon, and the great news is the Career Center offers a fun and easy tool to practice answering real interview questions on your own computer- at any time of day or night.  InterviewStream is available to all AU students and alumni simply by logging in to your AU CareerWeb account and creating an InterviewStream account.    All you need is internet access and a webcam.  (More …)

  • Sue Gordon 11:58 pm on January 5, 2011 Permalink
    Tags: Interviewing, ,   

    Sticky Interview Situations 

    An InterviewRecently, a young friend of mine, Mary, walked into a second interview for a job she coveted. She immediately noticed a photo of the interviewer’s wife—who happened to be her old boss from her summer internship. This would seem a great opportunity for ice-breaking conversation, but to make matters complicated, Mary had a full-time job offer pending from the wife.

    She was in a quandary; should she acknowledge that she knew the spouse, and how, or let this ice-breaking opportunity go?

    Here in the Career Center, we love to advise you on how to express yourself in an interview— (More …)

  • John Charles 12:40 pm on November 8, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , ATF, , CIA, clearances, FBI, , Interviewing, , , tips,   

    Intelligence and Law Enforcement Careers Panel Highlights 

    The opening event of the Career Center’s Federal Careers included a panel of speakers from ATF, FBI, CIA and ClearedCommunity.com, who shared tips about success in the law enforcement and intelligence fields.

    Here is some of the advice:

    “Get experience doing interviews. I am shocked at how many candidates are unable to explain why they want to work for my agency.”

    “Show your relevant academic work–thesis, research papers–to potential employers. It will demonstrate your writing ability and intellectual strength.”

    “When you change jobs, don’t just go for a higher salary…look at the whole picture. Getting paid more money is not worth it if the work is not interesting.”

  • Sue Gordon 2:44 pm on September 13, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Interviewing, , , Senior Day, , , ,   

    Seniors, NOW is the time: Can’t miss events just for you 

    Seniors, NOW is time to prepare for your post-graduation plans! Whether you are thinking of graduate school or working after graduation, the Career Center is hosting an event that is just for you.

    Thinking of Law School? On Thursday, Sept 16 at 4:00 pm come hear representatives from WCL share insights into legal careers and law school admissions.  Learn more and RSVP at http://www.american.edu/careercenter/calendar/?id=2619665

    Wondering when to start your job search? On Tuesday, Sept 21 the AU Career Center is hosting Now and Later: Career Spree for Seniors, a full day dedicated just to Seniors. We’ll have drop-in advising throughout the day.   In the afternoon, we’ll host programs that will inform you on why it is important to begin your job search NOW;  what not to do  in an interview– you’ll see mistakes to avoid;  and you’ll learn how to use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media for your job search.  We’ll end the day with an informative Employer Round Table Discussion in the evening—hiring managers will tell you what they expect in resumes, interviews, and more!  For details on time and place, visit the Career Center events calendar at http://www.american.edu/careercenter/calendar/?id=2606982

    Want to find a job or internship? Don’t miss our Fall Job and Internship Fair on Wednesday, Sept. 29 in Bender Arena

    Interested in applying to grad school? On Thursday, October 7 American University faculty will share their thoughts on what makes a great applicant and application.   RSVP at http://www.american.edu/careercenter/calendar/?id=2618612

    Remember, through  your senior year and beyond, AU Career Advisors are ready to help you plan for your next steps.

  • Travis Sheffler 6:12 pm on August 26, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: Interviewing, , , , SPA   

    Tips for the Prepared SPA Senior – What to do this year 

    So you’re an SPA senior who’s had several internships related to careers of interests.  You’ve gained valuable leadership experience through student activities.  You’ve excelled in your coursework and even completed several class projects and papers specifically relevant to your career interests.  Now it’s your senior year and you are asking “what do I need to do next”.  Well, there are several things that you can do to make the transition from student to employee smoother.

    First off, start the job search early; your senior year will go by quicker than you think, and you don’t want it to be a month before graduation without significant job search progress.  (More …)

  • Travis Sheffler 7:19 pm on July 28, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , Interviewing,   

    Selling Your Abilities, Not Just Yourself 

    Carl Diehl, co-owner and franchise director of an exercise company based in San Francisco, provides an insightful article on how a job search candidate can really sell him or herself to an employer through the cover letter and interview process.

    Perhaps you’ve submitted hundreds of job applications, or have been a candidate in several job interviews, and have not had the type of response you have been hoping for.  It is not unusual to be a recent college grad and not to have landed a job come July.  Still, you might want to take the time now to do an inventory on how you have been going about the process.  In your job application materials (i.e., your resumes and cover letters), have you really been trying to show the employer how you would fill the needs of that specific employer and of that specific position, or have you instead been trying to “sell yourself.” (More …)

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