November 6, 2014

Knowledgable, Relatable, and Good-Looking

An article posted on Business Insider last week has been trending like mad: the writer interviews Russell Reynolds, a headhunter who has recruited CEOs for the biggest companies for the past 45 years. You can read the article here, but when asked what characteristics companies want in the person who leads them, Reynolds said they looked for someone knowledgeable, relatable, and good-looking.

This guy looks like CEO material!

Now, we might not be looking to head a company just yet, but these are some traits that we can start working on so we're ready to take on the world!

If you know your stuff, you'll impress employers now and the Board of Directors later! Stay up to date on trends in your industry. Be the person that folks consider the expert, and see how far that will take you!

Being perceived as a team player who is contributing to your office will help you now and in the future as well. Networking will help you get the job, and relationships will also help you move into a better job. Learning how to walk that line between tooting your own horn and making sure that your work is noticed and appreciated is a skill that you should acquire now and that you'll hone throughout your career.

...or is this guy CEO material?

Being good-looking was actually the first one on Russell Reynolds' list, but I thought I would save it for last.

 First of all, people have to look good. They have to dress for the role. That may sound superficial...You have to look like you belong to the group. You have to look a little better than the group.
 First impressions are very important. A good smile, a good handshake. Being neat, well groomed. Good posture. You want to stand up straight, you want to have a body that leans forward, not backward, an initiator, not a reactor. So that's the superficial part. It makes a difference.

Okay, we've all seen those articles about how beautiful people get paid 10-12% more than their less attractive peers, but I think that this quote puts that stuff into perspective. It's not about being able to win a beauty contest-- although that doesn't hurt!-- it's about making a good impression. We can all do that without working on perfecting Zoolander's Blue Steel!


October 17, 2014

You Don't Need To Learn That Latte Art!

You don't have to be a barista when you graduate if you don't want to be!

If you are majoring in the humanities, you’ve probably heard that old, horrible joke about how you should practice saying “Do you want fries with that?” or feared that you’ll only find a job in a coffee shop. This post is here to tell you that you have everything you need to make it-- in the major you love!

Of course, certain majors seem to have careers built into them. It’s easier to find a job if you major in certain things. When you major in accounting or nursing, you’re likely to end up as an accountant or a nurse. However, you can find a rewarding job and not be living on someone’s couch no matter what your major is.  Peter Weinberg, a history major and the author of “Two Reasons You’re An Idiot If You Don’t Hire Humanities Majors,” says this:

McKinsey says 30% of an average day in Corporate America is spent sifting through e-mails. And when we’re not wrist deep in Outlook, we’re sitting in meetings. 25 million meetings occur every day in this great country --- experts say they gobble up 40 – 50% of your time at the office.

Now I’m not a statistician, but according to my TI-83, that means the majority of an average workday is spent reading, writing, and speaking (aka the only skills humanities majors have), not fiddling around on an abacus or fixing a dam, or whatever you quant nerds learned how to do in college.

And let me tell you this: no one writes a more cogent e-mail than an English major. No one can sift through 10 million pointless messages faster than someone who had to skim through Anna Karenina to write a term paper. You need to have majored in English just to understand what all of you non-English majors are trying to say in your meandering, incomprehensible e-mails. It’s like reading Proust most of the time.

It’s all about how you frame yourself.  If you were at Neelam Ghiya’s lecture on Wednesday, you know that the CDC is hiring graphic designers and English majors. The skills you’re honing in class are important and in demand!

Make sure that you come by Career Services if you are wondering what you can do with your major, but keep in mind that passion always translates well—you get higher grades, are involved in more major clubs and extracurriculars,  and network more within your field when you are interested in what you’re doing. All of those activities and the skills that you’ve gained will make you a competitive candidate and an excellent employee. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! 

October 10, 2014

The Worst Interview Ever

I’ll always remember my first interview. My aunt had encouraged me to apply for the receptionist position at the resort where she worked, and we’d prepped together so that I felt comfortable. The morning of the interview, my aunt called me, shouting into the phone, “GOOD LUCK AT THE INTERVIEW! YOU’LL BE GREAT! DID YOU BLEACH YOUR TEETH?!” 

Yes, I had. I had also accidentally answered the call instead of quietly rejecting it, so everyone in the silent office had heard my aunt, including my interviewer. Yikes! 
The same face my interviewer made!
CNN, Thought Catalog and LinkedIn asked HR professionals for the worst answers they’d ever heard during an interview. Here are a few of their responses:

When I asked about her employment history, she said, “Didn't you look at my resume?”

Me: “What made you leave your previous position?”
Her: “My boss fired me because I gave him herpes.”

Me: What’s one of your weaknesses?
Him: Well. Sometimes after lunch, I can get a little gassy.

He said, “At the moment I don’t give 100% because I am not satisfied with the job and as you can see I’m looking for a new opportunity.”

"I was a Chamber of Commerce Executive hiring a secretary. The candidate asked 'What does a Chamber of Commerce do?'"

Me: Tell me about a time you have had to resolve a conflict.
Interviewee: A guy tried to start a fight with me last Friday, so I knocked his teeth out.

Do you have any embarrassing interview stories? Share them here, and avoid making more-- make an appointment with Career Services!


October 2, 2014

Come to The Academics Expo Tomorrow!


In this economy, just attending class isn’t enough. New graduates who are looking for ways to stand out from other applicants for grad school or jobs must reach out to experiences beyond the classes in their major.  There are many ways to make yourself competitive, whether that’s through a minor or certificate, a fantastic study abroad experience, or working with a career counselor. Luckily, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with all of the people who can help you Start Strong at the Academics Expo tomorrow!

Whether you just started at Armstrong or you graduate in a few months, you’ll get a lot out of the Expo, including door prizes and a chance to win a scholarship from the bookstore!

See you there,