How to Ace a Job Interview: 6 Tips for Success

 

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While job interviewing can sometimes seem like a juggling act, these tips will help you succeed at your next job interview. By investing some time prior to the interview, it will alleviate some of the stressed involved and help you feel more comfortable during the process.

 

  1. Do your homework

Research the company thoroughly to learn as much as you can about the organization’s missions and values as well as its services, customers, and competitors. This will give you a better chance of selling yourself and allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the company’s challenges and needs.

  1. Practice Practice Practice

Taking the time to review commonly asked interview questions will provide you a framework for your responses and prevent you from scrambling for an answer while you’re in the hot seat.

  1. Be on time

Plan to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your scheduled time. While you should never arrive late, arriving too early should also be avoided, as it will create an awkward situation with your hiring manager. If you’re running ahead of schedule, I suggest walking around the neighborhood or ducking into a nearby coffee shop.

  1. Say cheese!

Don’t underestimate the value of a smile. Not only does it express enthusiasm to your interviewer but it will also help you feel better about yourself.

  1. Turn the tables

Always remember that an interview is a two-way street so in addition to being observant of the atmosphere of the organization, ask your own questions. This is not only a great opportunity for you to learn more about the company and your potential role within that organization but it also reinforces the idea that you are knowledgeable and the ideal candidate. Some questions you could ask include:

  • What kind of training do you offer new employees?
  • How would you describe the culture of this organization?
  • What is the biggest challenge facing this organization right now?
  1. FOLLOW UP!

Don’t forget to send a thank you note within 24 hours of your interview. This is your opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position and briefly mention anything you may have forgotten to address during the interview. Here is a sample of something you could send:

 

Dear Ms. Smith,

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me yesterday about the staff writer position with San Francisco Chronicle.

It was a pleasure meeting with you, and I truly enjoyed learning more about the role and the company. After our conversation, I am confident that my skills and experiences are a great match for this opportunity. I am very enthusiastic about the possibility of joining your team and would greatly appreciate a follow-up as you move forward with the hiring process.

If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

Cal Student

 

Best of luck!

 

Kelly Li
Fourth Year Sociology Major
Peer Advisor

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Why Should I Apply for an Internship?

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Why would I apply for an internship and work for free?

Well…

Here’s why:

1. Internships allow you to explore the field you’re interested in

If you’re lucky, you come into college knowing exactly what you want to do. But if you’re like the rest of us, you are still unsure of which major to choose, let alone what career path to follow! Doing an internship for a career in the field you’re interested in gives you real work experience and allows you to decide whether or not you want to continue pursuing the field.

2. Internships will boost your resume 

Even though you’re a student at the #1 public university in the world, competition for jobs is still pretty intense. Let’s be honest, although leadership positions are great, experience in a real work environment could make you more qualified for the job you’re applying to. Also, how else are you going to apply for those jobs requiring years of experience? Internships, duh! Not only is it easier to get a job with an internship, it’s becoming way harder to get a job without one!

3. Internships often lead to employment

Interning at your dream job is the most effective way of getting your foot in the door. Your employer trains you on company standards and ethics, you become accustomed to their specific work environment, get acquainted with the staff, and attain more knowledge about the company than your peer applying for a job at the same company with no internship experience. Although employment isn’t guaranteed, it definitely increases your chances of getting a job at the place you interned (by 65% according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers).

Those are some reasons why you should apply for an internship, if you’re still not convinced, take a look at page 7 of our Job and Internship Guide for more reasons.

I hope this motivated you to head out to the Early Bird Internship Fair at RSF from 11am-3pm today 10/13/16. If you can’t make it, no worries. You can always search for internships on Handshake!

 

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P.S. not all internships are unpaid– if getting paid for your summer job is what interested you, look for paid internships on Handshake as well.

Good Luck!!

Vanuhi Vartanian
Peer Advisor
Sociology ’17

 

 

How to Write a Cover Letter

cover-letterWhen you’re asked to write a cover letter, it’s your chance to expand on the experiences and abilities briefly listed on your resume by showing your future employers a little more about your character and convincing them that you’re the best fit for the position.

Your cover letter introduces you, explains your purpose of writing, highlights one or two experiences or skills, and request an opportunity to meet personally with the potential employer.

Because of this, first impressions do count, and you should take your time into making sure that your letter is detailed.

It’s also important to remember that not only does your cover letter tell the employer how skilled you are, it also shows how effective you can communicate.

What to include in a cover letter

 Limit your page to ¾-1 page only. Just like your resume, your cover should not be too lengthy.

 Assess the employers need or skills. If you are going to be talking about experiences for example, go in depth about one or two experiences as well as your reaction to those experiences. If you just list what you did, it won’t be different from a resume where you are just listing as well.

 As much as possible, tailor your letter to each job opportunity. If possible, exhibit knowledge of the company/organization to which you are applying.

 Show some personality. Like I said before, if you start hard selling, or a gimmick, it’ll start sounding like a resume, so to differentiate that, start fast; show interest immediately.

Questions to guide your writing

 Who is my audience?

 What are the objectives and needs of my audience?

 Is the letter my best effort?

 Is the format right?

 Is the letter addressing who the person who is doing the hiring process?

Visit our Job and Internship guide fore additional formatting information.

Good luck!

Jesus Sanchez
Fourth Year Linguistics Major
Peer Advisor

Is there only one way to write a resume?

 

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When it comes to resumes, it can be daunting having to list what you have done during your time here as an undergrad in a coherent manner. On top of that, we can find ourselves wondering how we might make a fully functioning resume. Before I go into detail about how to go about it, I think it’s important to say why we do this. Imagine you’re an employer and you have two resumes in front of you. One is filled wall-to-wall with text and uses four different fonts. It’s also layered with dozens of bolded, italicized and underlined words and phrases. The second resume also offers a lot of information, but you can quickly scan the document, because it makes good use of white space, features clear and consistent section headings and uses bullets to make important items stand out;

Which resume would you look at first?

If you’re like most employers who may have to evaluate hundreds of resumes each week, you’ll proceed directly to the second resume.

Why? Because it’s inviting to your eyes and your attention span, while the first resume is just the opposite. Now that we have that idea let’s begin talking about different types of resumes.

Resumes vary dependent on the field of study, which is important because you might have to emphasize a particular category more than others. Most think of a resume as having to be “chronological,” but for example, when STEM majors need to highlight skill-sets and projects during their time whereas someone in Anthropology would emphasize research and fellowships, one might be better off with a hybrid or project-based resume based on these emphasis areas. Every student’s unique experience will thrive in a particular type of resume, and it is up to you, your experiences, and the nature of the position you are applying for to decide which the best fit is.  Here is what I mean by the Chronological, Hybrid, Project Highlights, and Skills resume. Good luck, and remember that the Career Center is more than welcome to help you out with drop-in hours (with peers like me), 15 minute, and 30 minute appointments.

-Jesus Sanchez (Peer Advisor)

Bearly Accurate – Common Career Conundrums: “It’s okay to let a professional relationship end badly — I’ll never see that person again!”

“Don’t burn your bridges.” This is one piece of advice my mom told me growing up that has really resonated with me. It is relevant in so many different situations… but what exactly does it mean?

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Everywhere we go, we make connections. These connections are valuable and should be treasured, especially since you never know who you’ll encounter in the future. We meet people everywhere who have the potential to become lifelong friends, study partners, mentors, co-workers, counselors, physicians, bosses, etc. These connections are important and help us expand our networks.

However, relationships are not always easy to maintain and can sometimes turn sour. This is where the “don’t burn your bridges” mentality comes into play. Whatever happens, you should make amends or end relationships on amiable terms. You never know if and how this individual may re-enter your life, whether through mutual friends, as a co-worker, on a date with his/her best friend, or even as your interviewer for a job… you just never know.

This concept is also particularly relevant in professional work environments. So when you are at your internship (or future job) this summer, make sure to maintain a positive relationship with everybody you encounter. For example, your boss may ask others in the office for input when evaluating your overall performance or writing you a letter of recommendation. Make sure that you are a reliable and responsible individual. If a conflict arises, be able to communicate openly and honestly. It is important to handle situations maturely, regardless of where you are working.

Working at the Career Center this past year, I have learned that recruiters from different companies know and talk to one another; after all, they frequently attend the same events. To avoid being labeled as the not-so-stellar intern, complete your responsibilities in a timely manner and be courteous to all you meet in your professional and personal life.

Internships?! Who?! What?! Where?!

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Hi! It’s Angie and I’m here to tell you about that thing on all of our plates: internships. Yeah I know you just did a really deep sigh, but I’m here to give you some tips. If you’re a freshman or a senior starting a new year, get your Callisto on point! It’s the Career Center’s main interface and your source for internships. Of course there are other sources out there, but I can tell you employers are looking specifically for Berkeley students on that website. So, step one is to get your Callisto up and running.

The second step is to figure out the type of internship you want. What kind of people do you want to work with, and what environment (i.e. in an office or somewhere in the mountains where you can grow a beard, we don’t judge) would you feel best in? All of these questions will help you narrow down your search. What you might be interested in might surprise you as well as what is available to you. It’s going to sound cheesy but shoot for the stars with internships! The career you want has many paths for you to get there, so take some risks and have a bit of fun when checking out the internships.

The third step is to get your resume ready, which is what the Career Center is for in case you couldn’t tell by title. Peer advisers, like me, and our staff counselors can help you get your resume looking better than a large pepperoni pizza, or at least pretty close. Come in for drop in’s from 12-4pm Monday through Friday to see a peer advisor, or make an appointment online with a counselor and you’ll be on your way to creating a strong resume.

Lastly, reach out and network! Attend info sessions, career fairs, etc. This may seem like the most frightening thing, but it gets easier once you start. Again, if you need help with anything, visit the Career Center website and come see us in person!

 

Use Your Winter Break Wisely

Hey everyone, this is your fellow peer advisor Jesus Sanchez! We are almost done with the semester, and if you’re like me, you are already thinking of plans over the winter break (sleeping in, hanging out with friends, etc.). In addition to doing these things, I highly encourage you to make use of your free time over the break to advance your career, whether it be working on your resume, cover letter, or searching for jobs and internships.

I am a huge fan of Callisto, the free job/internship database exclusively for Cal students.“But Jesus, there are so many job/internship choices, I don’t know what to choose!” Don’t worry, I got your back. Stop by the Cal Career Center during our drop-in hours (M-F 12-4pm), and we will be able to assist you with how you can advance your career.

So when you’re like this,

overwhelmed

we’ll help you get to this

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