5 Things To Research Before a Job Interview

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

Interviewing for jobs can be stressful and difficult.  You’ll be asked a great deal of questions about your background, education, experience, and goals.  You’ll be asked about what you know regarding the position and company.  It’s always good to do your homework ahead of time so you can provide thoughtful answers during your interviews.

In order to have a successful interview, these are a few areas in which you should prepare to discuss and research before the big day.

Services

It’s not just enough to know the company you’re interviewing with is a construction company or a marketing agency, you must also know the services they provide.   Do they help clients grow their businesses?  Do they offer copywriting or video production services?

Understanding the company’s services, what they offer or don’t offer, will allow you to present the skills that you can bring to a company in an effective manner.

Current Events

Has the company been in the news as of late?  Are they rolling out any new products?   Was there a recent change in leadership?  Did they just go public?  Companies change all the time and by keeping up to date with news and current events, you can show your interest in the company and its success.  You can search this information on a company’s site, as most will have a news page or press center.

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Clients

Researching the company’s performance and work with clients can provide valuable insight on its operations and values.  By looking at past case studies, testimonials, success stories, and campaigns, you will be able to offer your own thoughts on approaches, tie in your own experiences, and find ways to improve.

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Once you’re hired, this insight will help you do your job as it will give you a sense of the types of  work you’ll be doing with clients.

Company Culture

What type of environment will you be working in?  Is there a formal corporate structure or is it a smaller and less formal office?  Will you be expected to show up at a specific time and dress a certain way or will the office be a little loose where people come and stay late while taking breaks at the ping pong table ?

This is important to know, as only you know the environment in which you perform best.  Some people need a structured organization while others work better in a looser environment.  There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as it’s right for you.

Some companies also stress the importance of a proper work/life balance by providing access and facilities that help their employees become more productive and live better lifestyles.  Last year, Fortune examined The 15 Best Workplaces in New York that featured companies like Google, Goldman Sachs and Whole Foods for their fitness centers, workshops on balancing work and family life, and free office meals.

Person Interviewing You

When you receive the phone call or email to set up your interview, make sure you find out who you’re interviewing with.  You’ll want to know the first and last name, as well as their title.  Once you have this information, you can do some research on LinkedIn or the company’s website to learn more about this person’s background, role, and responsibilities.  You don’t have to stalk this person on Facebook or Instagram but finding something that you both share like education, the city you’re from, or a conference or workshop that you both attended could be a good ice breaker.

 

Questions?  Can you think of anything else to research before an interview?

 

 

 

 

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3 Tips to Maximizing the College Experience for your Career

Helpful tips

You survived your first year in college, now what? Universities often focus programs and services to first-year students that help them get ready for the transition from high school to college. Then you become a sophomore and you see fewer programs targeting the second-year experience. These tips will help you stay on track and make your college experience more meaningful:

  1. Get to know the professors in your major. Yeah, yeah, yeah – how am I supposed to do this? Easy. Identify who they are, their areas of research, the classes they teach, and their office hours. Most of this information can be found on the college website. Professors are people just like you and they, too, were students. Once you learn about who these faculty are and their accomplishments, make an appointment to meet with them. If you can get 15-30 minutes of their time, ask them about their areas of expertise, their passions, and their career paths. At the end of the meeting, ask them for the top three things you can do to be successful in life. Yes, life, not college. Their answers will get to the heart of their most valuable life lessons which you can apply to all facets of life. Follow up your meeting with a thank you note and check in every now and then to let them know what you are learning. Faculty appreciate the relationships they develop with students and they often seek students to share opportunities.
  2. Gain experience. Get an on-campus job, an internship, or a volunteer gig. Attend on- and off-campus events. Join a club, a team, or a committee. Don’t wait until you are a senior to get experience. Getting involved early can help you develop professional skills, résumé-worthy experience, a professional network, and a better idea of what you want to do in life. Nervous about doing this alone? Ask a classmate to attend an event with you or introduce yourself to a student leader and ask him or her to show you around.
  3. Get help. After completing your first year, you have a better idea of what you need to develop personally and professionally. Check out the services your school provides. Maybe you need a tutor, career services, personal counseling, or financial advice. Your tuition covers the cost of these services, so use them! Successful people know what they need help with and seek it out. Be a successful person.

 

Ask Career Services

This feature will be recurring with questions on career related topics, industry insight and our services.  If you have a question that you would like featured on this blog, please email cs@nyit.edu with the subject line “Ask Career Services.” 

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I attended the all majors career fair back in the spring and I didn’t find anything I wanted in terms of jobs.  What can I do to maximize my time at the next fair or event?

I often hear this from students when we ask for feedback about our events.  There is plenty one can do before a career fair to get the most out of it. I advise our students to take a couple of steps in order to prepare.

  • Review the list of employers that will be attending. Most will have their open positions posted on NYIT Career Net or on the company’s website.  If you have done your research ahead of time and see a job posted on a company’s website, but it’s not listed at the fair, ask the recruiter about it.  Perhaps they are looking to fill that position with someone who has more experience or they already have a candidate.  For a full list of employers that attend, students can download the NYIT Career Fair App from the App Store or Google Play.
  • If they don’t have a job that matches your experience and interests, it doesn’t hurt to ask about future opportunities. See if you can keep in touch in case something comes up in the future.
  • Practice your networking skills. If there is a company that you are interested in but there are no opportunities that are a right fit, ask the recruiter for their business card or if you can connect on LinkedIn.  Network with other attendees at the fair or event.  You may make a new connection and learn about other opportunities that weren’t right for them but may be a great match for you.

Keep these steps in mind during our career fairs this year including the R:EACT Career Fair on October 26th, at our Manhattan campus.

I get nervous when I go on interviews.  What should I do? 

It’s normal to get nervous when you’re on an interview.  You’re being asked a lot of questions about your experience and background, and there may be a lot riding on how you do.  I encourage job seekers to go on as many interviews as possible as you will learn about yourself and the interview process the more you do it.  It also helps to ease some of the anxiety as you gain interview experience.  Other tips to keep in mind,

  1. Be confident. Easier said than done; try to remember that you made it out of the applicant pool to an interview, which is already an accomplishment.  The hiring manager probably sees tons of resumes every week and you were selected because there was an interest in getting to know you a little better and finding out if this is the right fit.  Be confident in your abilities and candidacy for the position.
  2. Think about some of the questions you will be asked and how you will respond.  Practice talking about yourself, your education, and experience.  Know what your goals are and what you can bring to the team.  Schedule an appointment with Career Services for a mock interview and we can provide feedback and tips for your interview.
  3. Relax the night before. If you’ve done the work and preparation, you should relax and clear your head the night before the interview.  Cramming and feeding into the stress before the interview can make things worse and make you more anxious.  After you finish preparing, take some time for yourself with a book, listen to some music or whatever it takes to relax.

 

I submitted my resume for review and I was told one thing, but then when I met with someone else in your office, I was told something else.  Why is that?

Our career advisors provide feedback based on our experience working with job seekers, employers, recruiters, and our own personal experience in the working world as well.  We each have different styles on how to format a resume, write a cover letter, and approach to networking.  Our style may differ but we utilize the same best practices.  For example, one advisor may recommend using an objective on your resume as long as it’s clear and concise while another may want to leave it out altogether.  At the end of the day, we each provide feedback that we think will best help you with the job search process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Helpful Tips For Your Job Interview

So you’ve sent out a ton of resumes and applied for more jobs that you can count.  If you’re lucky enough to land an interview, you want to be prepared for it.  Here are some helpful tips to remember for your interview.

Dressing for the Interview

No matter what the attire is for the job you’re applying for, dressing professionally and conservatively for the interview is the safest way to go.

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For Men

  • Two-piece dark colored suit
    • Appropriate colors: black, blue, gray
    • Solid or very light conservative stripes
    • Suit jackets are offered in single- or double-breasted
  • Crisp white or blue tailored shirt
  • Conservative tie that reaches mid belt
  • Dark blue, black, gray or brown socks
    • Match your suit – never wear white socks
    • Polished shoes that match the color of your belt

For Women

  • Two-piece dark colored pants or knee-length skirt suit
    • Wear neutral colored panty hose or dark tights if wearing a skirt
  • Crisp white or blue blouse, tailored shirt, or shell with conservative neckline
  • Polished closed-toe shoes with a low to moderate heel
    • Try to avoid shoes with very high heels

Research

Make sure you’ve reviewed the job description along with researching the organization, product lines, and competitors.  Review the company website, LinkedIn, and industry publications.  Keep up to date with new products or services as well as current events and news on the company’s blog.  For example, HubSpot’s blog provides marketing information that many of their customers would find valuable and utilize within their industry.

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Practice

Practice with your friends, using common interview questions..  Think of examples and scenarios from previous jobs or internships that can illustrate your experience, skills, and strengths to the person interviewing you.

Ask Questions

You will be asked a lot of questions about your resume, experience, and goals during the interview.  You will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

The interview is an opportunity for you and the employer to find out more about each other, and if this will be a good fit.  Here are some examples of questions you should ask and some you should not ask:

Ask

  • Can you describe an average workday here?
  • What kind of opportunities do you have for growth?
  • What are the most important characteristics or qualities that you are looking for in the person who fills this position?
  • How would you describe the company culture?

Don’t Ask

  • What’s the salary for this position?
  • What does your company do?
  • How quickly can I be promoted?
  • Who did you vote for?

Follow Up

Always, always, always follow up on the interview and send a thank you note.  This is one of the most crucial elements to an interview and sometimes the most forgotten.  Hiring managers interview many applicants and you want to thank them for their time and the opportunity to interview.

The best way to send a thank you note is via email and within 24 hours of the interview while you’re still fresh in the interviewer’s mind.  Something brief that thanks them for their time, recapping a particular subject or topic during the interview, and reconfirming next steps or the interview timeline if it was discussed.

 

Questions?  Comments?  Do you have any tips for job interviews?

 

Gaining Job Experience Without a Job

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One common question that we get when meeting with students is, “How am I supposed to get a job without experience, when every company requires that I have experience in my field?”  It’s a frustrating dilemma that can discourage people from finding that perfect job.

The job search process can be intimidating, but finding the right job without experience is not impossible.  Here are a few tips to gaining job experience before you land a job.

Internships

Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door with any company.  50% of NYIT interns are offered full-time positions upon graduation.  Whether the internship is paid or unpaid, interns have the opportunity to show their skills and establish a foundation for their career.

For companies, offering internships is a great way to evaluate potential employees at little (or no) cost.  It allows them to familiarize young talent with their business, services, and organization while determining if they want to offer them full-time positions.

The Vault is a notable resource for finding some of the best internships out there.  They surveyed current and former interns about their internship experience and were able to produce the Vault’s 50 Best Internships for 2017 report last year.

Volunteering

As a volunteer, you would be working without being paid and…wait, so what’s the difference between an intern and a volunteer?

An internship can be something you choose to do to develop the skills and experience in a specific profession.  As a volunteer, you can also do that, but it’s more about contributing to a cause.  For example, you may volunteer your skills as a graphic designer with a non-profit organization but may also be asked to help with  an event or with conducting outreach.  Volunteers typically help out wherever they are needed even if it is outside of their specified role.

Volunteering is still valuable and relevant experience that can provide you with great networking opportunities, even if the organization is not directly related to your industry.   Idealist is a great resource for searching nonprofit and volunteering opportunities.

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Networking

Networking is one of the most important skills in finding career opportunities.  In 2016, Lou Adler, CEO of a consulting and training firm specializing in hiring, conducted a survey that revealed 85% of all jobs are filled via networking.

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That figure is significant and emphasizes how critical effective networking can be, especially when you consider how much time is spent on searching for jobs, applying, and interviewing.

Students often ask, “Where and how can I improve my network?”  Networking goes beyond asking for someone’s business card.  It’s about making connections and building relationships.

You can build your network by:

  • Participating in conferences and speaking with industry experts
  • Attending special events and industry functions
  • Joining professional organizations via LinkedIn
  • Sharing ideas with friends and peers

Networking is free, takes hard work and communication, and enables you to build a community that can lead to future opportunities.

Freelancing

Consider giving yourself experience by working on your own. Freelancing is great for a variety of reasons.  It allows you to earn money while you seek full-time employment, and you can always continue freelancing for extra money once you find full-time employment.

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So where do you start?

First, decide on what viable skills you have, whether it’s in your field of study or a talent outside of your major area of focus.

Second, compile a portfolio or basic website to market your skills.

Third, start looking for clients.

But isn’t that the same as finding an internship or volunteer work?

The answer is yes and no.  You may have to work for little or no money in order to gain this experience and build your client base.  But remember, experience is the most important thing. As your portfolio expands, you’ll be able to pitch your freelance services at your desired rate based on experience and client testimonials.

 

 

 

 

 

I Keep Getting Rejected!

Looking for a job can be a full-time job in and of itself.  You spend a great deal of time on the search process, applying, and interviewing.

Glassdoor produced a guide that looked at 50 HR and Recruiting Stats that detailed what drives job seekers and employers during the application and offer process, and how difficult it can be to find that perfect match.

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According to their research, there is about a 2% chance one will get a call to interview for a corporate job opening.

It’s hard enough to get an interview sometimes, let alone an offer.  What do you do if you keep coming up short and are unable to land interviews or get offers for your dream job?

Get Feedback

It’s important to learn from each interview and experience.  In some cases, you may already know what the problem was if you had a bad interview, if you were nervous, or if you stumbled on a few questions.

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If you don’t know what the issue is, you can follow-up and ask the interviewer for feedback.  The feedback (positive and negative) can be helpful in your preparation for the next opportunity.  The interviewer may be able to provide feedback on your answers to their questions, if you have the right experience for the positions you’re applying for, or if you lack some form of technical skills.  Whatever the reason is, if you know what the issue is, there is an opportunity to adjust and prepare for the next interview.

Keep Calm & Network

The job market is often a numbers game when it comes to applying and getting interviews.  You may have years of experience along with a great education, but the phone isn’t ringing.  Most employers and recruiters are reviewing dozens of resumes on a daily basis.

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In order to separate yourself from the pack, take advantage of opportunities to put yourself face–to-face with people in the industry.   Attend industry networking functions where you can meet prospective employers or professionals who can put you in contact with hiring managers.

Uncubed holds career events that emphasize building a community for people to learn, interact, and exchange ideas.

Networking doesn’t end once you leave an event.  It continues with the sharing of ideas and information with other job seekers, fellow classmates, and other professionals you may meet.  By expanding your network, you can increase your job opportunities.

Improve Your Skills

Technical skills can be a deciding factor when it comes to the job search process.  Some employers may not have the time or resources to train new hires on different programming languages or software that is necessary for them to do their job.

Whether you have experience with different applications and software or just want to improve your proficiency, it would be beneficial to take a class as you’re waiting for that interview or job offer.

The Muse compiled an extensive list of free classes to help boost your skills ranging from SEO training to getting a quick review of Google Docs.  This list of free online classes can be found here.

Take a Break!

You’ve applied to jobs every day.  You’ve gone on several interviews.  You’ve earned the right to take a break and recharge.  It can get pretty stagnant as you go through your daily routine of searching jobs on LinkedIn and other job boards, applying, and hearing nothing back in return.

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Relax a bit and go see that movie that just came out or catch up with a friend over lunch.  Check out the free activities in your city and go to a museum or get out and exercise.

Whatever it is, once you take a few days off and recharge, you will feel better about continuing with the job search process.

Stay positive, move on, and keep trying.  The right opportunity is not far away.

 

 

 

 

 

Developing Your Career Plan

Finding employment in any industry at any time can be a daunting task.  In order to find a rewarding career that you are passionate about, you should devise a plan to help you map it out.

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What is your career goal? 

The first and most important question that you must ask yourself, what do you want to do?  Whether it’s becoming an engineer, architect, a doctor, or a teacher, find something that inspires you.  Your family and friends may have their own opinions on the type of career you should have, but at the end of the day, you should choose a career that feels right for you.

Not sure about which career path to take? Think about the skills and interests you possess.  Are you good with numbers?  Do you have an interest in art?   If you have trouble figuring out your skills, try doing a self-assessment to evaluate your interests.

If you’re debating between a few different career options, opportunity is something to consider.  Choosing a career that has job growth could be a major factor in your decision.  You can research data collected on the job market and trends by The Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor.

What type of training do you need for your career goal? 

Once you figure out what your career goal is, you will need to figure out the type of training you need to get there.  Can your current major provide you with the background and education necessary for this career?  Do you need additional schooling such as a graduate degree or technical training?  What type of internships or on-site training can you obtain that will prepare you for this career?

Develop your career plan

At NYIT, we help our students start thinking about what they will do after graduation during their first year.  Our Career Services office can help explore professional development resources and answer many of the questions listed in this post.  We created a career plan that guides you toward setting short-term goals while working toward your ideal career.