Tips and tricks from professional development conference speakers
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 22:09
While summer vacation might seem far away, it’s never too soon to start thinking about the internship and job search. Finding the perfect internship or job is a long process and although the semester is busy, it’s necessary to put aside time to make your dream a reality.
On Saturday, the Center for Career Development (CCD), hosted an all-day conference where they provided students with the necessary skills to find the internship or job they desire. The conference highlighted all of the resources available to students across campus, from Husky Career Link, a university run website where job and internship listings are posted, to the CCD’s résumé and cover letter critique sessions. Out of the plethora of advice dispensed by CCD professionals as well as outside professionals, these standalone points are key for any student on the semester long process of finding a job or internship.
1. Do your research. Research companies you think you might have an interest in and discover what values and goals they have, as well as how the company is run. If the company shares the same values as you do, it will most likely be a good fit and you will be comfortable in the environment if you are hired. Knowing the logistics behind the company and the people who manage it is crucial, not only to your understanding of the company, but to feeling confident about your application. If a company values innovation and creativity, be sure to include how you display these values in your cover letter and résumé.
2. Proofread everything you send. Whether it is your cover letter or a thank you e-mail, be sure that you have flawless grammar and spelling. Nothing leaves a lasting negative impression like a commonly misspelled word or a lack of punctuation. Reading all your correspondence and application materials backwards will help you identify errors by forcing your brain to think about each word and sentence. Impeccable writing that adopts a professional attitude will give any candidate a leg up in the search.
3. Relax during your interview. If you are lucky enough to be called in for an interview, don’t worry so much. The interviewer often is just as nervous about the situation and many of them will actually be more nervous. That said, don’t relax completely. Sit up straight, think about your answer before you babble and ramble without answering the question.
4. Do not fear networking. Networking is a scary word for most people regardless of their personalities. Networking 101 can be boiled down to a few key points. Firstly, keep your focus professional. Introduce yourself, ask your companion a simple question, such as where they are from, and establish rapport. If you get comfortable in your conversation, move onto work related topics. Ask about their work and talk about your own. Be cautious of talking too much about yourself. Taking an interest in another person’s work is the surest way to make a positive impression. At the end of your networking experience, be sure to get the person’s contact information and follow up within the next week.
5. This last point might be obvious, but clean up. Dress professionally for meetings, interviews, and professional events. Make sure your social media presence is clean and that everything about you on the Internet is something you’d let your grandmother see. Future employers base a lot of their decisions on how you present yourself to them. Although you might only be 22, the best bet is to act like a seasoned professional who is ready to accept any challenge.
With this advice, students are prepared to present their best selves to job and internship employers, while relaxing and feeling confident.