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Interviewing: General Advice

Recruiter Advice: How to Stand Out in the Crowd

My money says that you want a job, perhaps not this semester, but eventually. The problem is that all of your peers reading this also want a job, possibly even the same job you want. There is a lot of competition in the job search. Many of your resumes are practically identical to each other. Same first year project, same list of technology, a similar list of organizations, and a quick print of a degree audit shows that your classes and GPA are also neck and neck. So how do you stand out?  Show them what’s not on the resume. Show them you. Show them that you are professional and prepared.  

It seems like common knowledge, but many recruiters report that students aren’t prepared and/or lack common professional behavior. You can’t add classes or gain industry experience a week before a job interview, but there are things that you … 

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Post Interview Checklist

The interview is over, and the waiting game begins. It seemed to go well, but you’re still waiting to hear back. What should you be doing after the interview?

Send a thank you.

A thoughtful thank you should be sent to the recruiter(s) within 24 hours. CareerBuilder conducted a survey, which showed that 22% of employers are less likely to hire a candidate who did not send a thank you, and 91% of employers liked being thanked for the interview. Recognize that many company representatives conducting interviews are taking on recruiting as an addiitonal task to their engineering job, so thanking them for the the extra effort can go a long way.

Refer to your notes after the interview and write something thoughtful. Email is the quickest way to follow up. A nice additional touch would be promptly mailing out a personal, hand-written thank you note.  

Follow the interviewer’s guidelines, and … 

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Identifying Companies That Value "Work-Life Balance"

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This quote might be true if my career was as a professional athlete or a famous musician, but since I am neither, work is still work. I may love my job, but at the end of the day, I want to turn off the emails, shut down the computer, and enjoy the evening without the stress of work following me home. The phrase “work-life balance” has become such a buzz word that employers may say their company values it, but in reality, the demands of the job prevent you from having a life. How can you tell if a company encourages work-life balance or are all talk? Below are four tips to help you figure out if the company truly values work-life balance.

  1. Do online research prior to the interview.
    As with all … 

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How to recover from a bad interview

We’ve all been there. We go into an interview feeling confident, and we leave thinking “what just happened?” Maybe you didn’t do enough prep work or questions were asked that you never anticipated. Maybe you forgot to turn your phone off--and had an awkward moment. Whatever happened, it is important to successfully recover so you can walk into your next interview with resilience and optimism.

First things first. Even after a bad interview, you’ll want to send a thank you email to your interviewer. If what happened during the interview warrants acknowledgement/an apology (i.e. you were late, you said something inappropriate, etc.) then now is a good time to address it. You may be able to salvage the interaction with an honest, professional message. Even if you don’t get a call back, you can at least feel confident that you did what you could to rectify the situation … 

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How to answer the “strengths” question

  • Tell us about your strengths.
  • What would you say are your three greatest strengths?
  • What is your greatest strength?

More than likely, you are going to be asked a question like the examples above during an interview. Surprisingly, this can be a difficult question for many students to answer. “Should I only talk about technical strengths that relate to the position?” “Are certain strengths better to mention than others?” Although strengths-based questions can seem tricky, with a little reflection and preparation these questions can be a great opportunity to make a positive impression on employers. As a mnemonic, there are three basic components to developing a good strengths answer: Reflect, Select, and Support. 

Reflect

What are you good at? Think back to previous jobs, projects, or organizations where you feel you really thrived in your role. What was it about those situations that you enjoyed doing? Maybe you found … 

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