Monday, March 31, 2014

Attention AU Seniors: Prepare for Your Interview!

by Stephanie Rankin, Career Services Center Intern

Graduation is right around the corner and many AU seniors have already started applying for full-time jobs. In most cases applying for a job is not the problem, however - the interview tends to stress people out the most because they want to make the best impression of themselves and this may be the only time they get to do so. Therefore, it is important for soon-to-be graduates to impress prospective employers with information about themselves, their skills, experience, goals and objectives with the hope of being offered a position.

To prepare for the interview is it is important to research the following information about a company:

  • What is the organization looking for in a candidate?
  • Requirements, necessary qualifications and responsibilities of the position.
  • Facts about the organization (size, services, products, reputation, location).
  • Purpose of the organization (vision, mission, values, culture).
  • Current events, news and publications that the organization has released.
  • Relevant information about the specific department of interest.

The Career Services Center offers mock interviews, which are a great opportunity to practice answering and asking questions before your interview. The interviews are recorded and reviewed for strengths and weaknesses by a Career Services Specialist. (The recording will be deleted after the appointment.) Creating an outline of all your past experiences (jobs, internships, leadership/volunteer experience, career goal, skills, strengths/weakness, etc.) is another great way to “study” for your interview.

Don’t forget to prepare materials to bring along with you to your interview. Make sure to bring extra copies of your résumé, reference letters, and lists of references. If you have a portfolio or extra copies of work samples from portfolio bring those as well. Prepare a mental or physical list of questions to ask the interviewer.

It is also important to dress in professional attire for your interview. While you may not wear a suit to work every day, wearing a suit to an interview shows you know how to dress as a professional and that you want to present your best image possible.

Tips for Women:

  • Select a suit (skirt or pants) in a conservative color (blue, black, gray, brown) and make sure suit skirts are at knee level or longer.
  • Choose a closed-toed and closed-heel shoe that coordinates with your suit and has a mid-sized heel.
  • Wear a blouse with a conservative neckline.
  • Wear pantyhose at all times (even in warm weather). The color should coordinate with the suit or remain neutral.
  • Keep hair, makeup and accessories professional; everything in moderation.

Tips for Men:

  • Select a suit in a conservative color (blue, black, grey or brown) with a light colored shirt underneath.
  • Choose a professional tie which coordinates with your suit color.
  • Wear shoes that are black or brown and coordinate with your suit color.
  • Wear a belt in a color that matches your shoes.
  • Choose socks that match your shoe color.

For more information on prepping for and following up after interviews please check out the Interviewing Guide on the AU Portal.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Elizabeth Papantonio Wins "Best Intern" Award, Taylor Zorman Recognized as Finalist

Elizabeth Papantonio was recognized by the Northeast Ohio Councel on Higher Education as Northeast Ohio's "Best Intern" on Thursday, March 27th - one of two Ashland University students who were finalists for the award. She received the award at the Expys Award Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Independence.

Elizabeth Papantonio, senior hospitality management major, was nominated for her internship at Ecolab, and Taylor Zorman, senior international business major, was nominated for her internship at FlashStarts. The fact that two of the five "Best Intern" award finalists were from Ashland University is remarkable, since students from all higher education institutions in Northeast Ohio, and students from other institutions who completed an internship in Northeast Ohio were all eligible in this competition.

Congratulations, Elizabeth and Taylor!

Taylor Zorman (left) and Elizabeth Papantonio (right) after the Expys award luncheon.

To read more about the Expy Awards, and for a list of all finalists, visit the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education website.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NOTED Job Fair Checklist

The NOTED Career Fair is tomorrow, so we wanted to share a final checklist of tips for students who plan to attend. We hope you've already checked out our Tips on How to Prepare for the NOTED Job Fair from last week. Today, we'll share with you a few checklists of things that you can do to make the most of your time tomorrow.

  1. Draft and prepare a 30-second introduction for the open fair in the morning. If you haven't already prepared one, this earlier blog post can help!
  2. Have your resume proofread for errors and print out copies on high-quality resume paper. We have walk-in hours available at the CSC today, and we also sell resume paper.
  3. Review the list of school districts attending NOTED and do some research on the school districts with whom you are most interested in working.
  4. Pick out what you plan to wear. We would recommend wearing professional and conservative business-wear, including a suit with a blouse or shirt and tie. Either pants or a skirt would be acceptable for women, but if you plan to wear a skirt, we strongly encourage wearing hose. See this earlier post for more recommendations on dressing and behaving professionally at a career fair.
  5. Think about what you plan to take to the fair. Here are some things to consider:

Packing List

  • Perfect (Typo-free) Resumes on resume paper - bring more copies than you think you will need.
  • Portfolios are optional, but can be a nice touch. You could substitute a neat folder. You could purchase either at the AU Bookstore.
  • Directions - don't count entirely on the GPS.
  • Multiple pens to write notes.
  • A writing pad or notebook - this should be in your portfolio if you take one.
  • A schedule or planner in case you are invited to a follow-up or on-site interview.
  • Water and snacks - although there is food sold at the John S. Knight Center, it is important to keep your energy up through the day.
  • Mints

Tips from School Districts

School districts from past career fairs have two particular suggestions for students attending these career fairs:

  • School Fit. When asked about what school environment (size, type, student population, and/or subject area) a candidate is interested in, most students usually respond that they are "Open to anything." You might be tempted to portray yourself as flexible, but sometimes the school district really needs to know your preferences. For instance, some school districts are very large and full of very different schools. A school district may include urban, suburban, and rural schools all within one district, for instance, so in many ways knowing a candidate's preferences can assist in putting them in a position that would be the best match, benefiting the candidate, the district, and the students.
  • Questions for School Districts. In most interviews on-site, candidates have just a few minutes to ask questions to the school districts. School districts want to be able to answer the questions you the candidate may be concerned about, so take the opportunity to ask questions that are best answered in person and from the interviewer's perspective, not questions about the process of applying or logistical questions like the timeline for hiring. Those questions could easily be asked via email after NOTED. The Job Search Manual for Educators (pg 62) suggests a number of deeper questions you could ask at an interview.

Additional Assistance

Please see the myAU Portal for the slides from our recent Job Fair Preparation Workshop, which includes much more information and many suggestions on how to prepare for a job fair. Also, please contact the Career Services Center with any questions. Good luck tomorrow!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tips on How to Prepare for the NOTED Education Job Fair

The NOTED (Northeast Ohio Teacher Education Day) job fair is almost here - education majors, are you ready?

Make sure to take a look at the schedule of the day - available here - and budget your time wisely. The format of the day is open networking (a traditional career fair-style event) from only 8:30 am until 11 am. During that time, school district representatives will be scheduling candidates for interviews which will take place in the afternoon. Expect to spend most of your day at NOTED - you won't want to miss the chance to interview!

If you are interested in a Cleveland-area or Columbus-area school district, which are some of the most popular school districts among the students attending the event, we would encourage you to arrive early (before the doors open at 7:30 am) and make that Cleveland-area or Columbus-area school your first stop at the fair. If you don't visit them right at the beginning of the event, they may run out of available interviews before you visit.

Check out the list of participating employers, on the NOTED job fair website. This list should be updated again before the event.

For more tips, check out these videos NOTED put together a few years ago. Some of the information is dated (registration and the red tickets are no longer required), but most is still accurate and valuable.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Joyce Badertscher - February Intern of the Month

The Career Services Center would like to congratulate junior Joyce Badertscher as February’s Intern of the Month! Joyce is an Accounting major with a minor in Finance and completed her internship with the J.M. Smucker Company. Joyce says “I believe that completing an internship is the most important piece to determine whether you are on the correct career path and prepares you for the college to workplace transition.” Joyce is also involved with Track and Field, the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and is an Honors Program Peer Mentor. Congratulations, Joyce!