Monday, April 8, 2013

The Skype Interview

This week I have two, yes that's right, two Skype interviews.

I honestly never thought I would get to this point where people would actually be interested enough in me to go out of their way to make arrangements to have an interview even when I'm not in the area! Both companies I'm interviewing are very exciting and have lots of potential growth for me! I'd be honored to get either job.

When I was asked by the first company to do a Skype interview I got incredibly nervous. It's been so long since I've Skyped anyone and I've never done it professionally before! So after some research and advice from friends I've compiled a list of tips for anyone in my position!

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice!
    How long has it been since you've used Skype? Weeks, months, years? It probably means you need to update your software. Test your Skype and settings out before the interview. Make sure all of your software is updated and try to Skype with a friend or family member to make sure your microphone and camera are all working correctly. 
  2. Check what's behind you.
    When testing your Skype with your friend or family member make sure you take a look at what's behind you. The less clutter the better. Try to have a simple background, either just a wall or if you have to have the entire room behind you make sure there is as little clutter as possible. You want the attention to be on you, not your messy bedroom.
  3. Dress to impress!
    My roommate told me a horror story of a guy who did a Skype interview wearing a shirt and tie on top and just his boxers on the bottom. The interview went really well until at the end the interviewer asked him to stand up, revealing he was in just his boxers! I'm not sure what the outcome of the story was but needless to say dress yourself from head to toe! Not only will you look put together but you'll feel more professional!
  4. Prepare as you would for any other type of interview!
    Just because this is a Skype interview doesn't mean it isn't a real interview! Sometimes companies can't afford to fly everyone they want to interview to their office so the next best tool is Skype! Treat it like you would an in-person interview. Don't try to hide notes on your lap or on your desk, you wouldn't be able to do that for an in-person interview.
These are just a few of my tips I've found most useful in preparation for the Skype interview, do you have any tips of your own? Comment below!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Dreaded Phone Interview

The time has come for my first phone interview and I can honestly say I am terrified. I would say there is nothing worse then phone interviews, even skype would be better, but at the same time I can't really complain because it's an interview, right? And my first interview as a real person for that matter!

If any of you are looking for jobs outside of where you live then you'll most likely come across a phone interview or two. I've compiled a list of tips and tricks on what to do and how to handle this part of the interviewing process.

  1. Print Everything Out
    Have a printer nearby? Print out your resume, cover letter, job description, company description, interviewers name and information, if you think you'll need it print it out! Don't waste your time and more importantly your interviewer's time trying to find that webpage that will give you the answer to the question you need to answer. Have all of your papers in front of you fanned out so you can quickly look from page to page. If you think it's necessary highlight important areas! Remember phone interviews are short, you want to make sure you're making the impression you want to give off.
  2. Pay Attention to Your Body Language
    Believe it or not your body language will be reflected in your voice. It's normal to be nervous but unlike face-to-face interviews you can control your nerves much easier. Whether your a pacer or a statue place yourself in front of a mirror and observe how you're speaking. Don't focus too much on yourself though or you'll lose track of the interview! Use hand gestures and emotions and it will reflect much better in the interview than if you try to stifle everything. Just because you feel silly doesn't mean you sound silly!
  3. Answer Your Phone Professionally
    I'm guilty of answering phones by just saying "hello!" (even at work, whoops) but for the interview you obviously know it's coming. Instead of just saying hello say "Hello, this is your name." This way it avoids that awkward moment when you have to verify that they have the right number.
  4. It's All About Convincing
    The purpose of a phone interview isn't about getting the job, it's about getting the face-to-face interview. Convince them you are not only capable to do the job, but excited about it too! Employers want to higher someone who is good at what they do and passionate about it too. If there's no passion the job won't last long.
  5. Don't Forget About Phone Etiquette
    It's simple to get nervous and your thoughts get all mixed up while you're being interviewed but try not to leave too much dead space in the conversation. If you're worried about keeping track don't be afraid to write things down while you're being asked questions. And don't be afraid to ask to have a question repeated. It's better you understand what their asking than give a bad answer.
  6. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!Just because this interview is over the phone doesn't mean it isn't a real interview. As soon as the interview is over make sure you get your interviewer's email address and send them a thank you note expressing your appreciation for them taking the time to interview you as well as your excitement to work for this company. Don't be afraid to ask any follow-up questions in this email, it shows you're interested!
I hope these tips help! If you have any more tips and tricks feel free to add them in the comment section! I'm sure everyone reading would appreciate it!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Who exactly am I?

Welcome to my blog and thank you for stumbling upon it!

I thought I'd start off, as most blogs do, and give you a little background information as to who I am. My name is Liz and I am currently a senior at the University of Dayton, located in Dayton, Ohio.  I'm majoring in Communication with an emphasis on Public Relations. The dreadful/happy day I will graduate will be May 5, 2013. As of right now I am still in pursuit of a job and/or internship following graduation.

Finding a job right after graduation was not my initial plan at all. I wanted to join a volunteer organization and travel across the country (preferably to Alaska) and put off real life for another year or two (who could blame me?). Then reality hit me over winter break that I really do want to have a job and start my life after graduation. I'm tired of waiting.

My sister is getting married this coming November (yay!), which was also another deciding factor in getting a job over volunteering. I wanted to finally be close to home while everything was going on since I've been about 7 hours away for the past four years. Because my sister is getting married in New York City I thought, "wouldn't it be nice to find a job a NYC? I can totally find a job in NYC."

Mistake #1: Thinking I could easily find a job in NYC.

As many of you already know NYC is a tough city to break into, especially in the field of PR. Not only are internships basically considered entry-level jobs for PR but they're also really really difficult to get in NYC when you go to a kind of small Midwest Catholic school. People looking at my resume are probably just laughing at this small town girl looking to get into the big city (I pictured that phrase with a bit of a hick accent). Don't get me wrong, I love my school, but East Coast people despise the Midwest. Even through all of that though I decided to just try to apply to internships in NYC instead of jobs.

Mistake #2: Thinking I could easily find a full-time paid internship in NYC for graduated students.

Have you ever tried looking through internship descriptions as someone graduating in May? It's depressing. No one wants to pay you. They just want to give you school credit and send you on your way. Granted, it narrows down where I'm applying to a lot but if they don't specify that in the description you end up with a lot of rejection letters.

Through all of this though I am really improving my cover letter writing as well as my professional email writing skills (always have to look on the bright side, right?). I know I'll eventually find something whether it's in NYC, New Jersey or even Pennsylvania (but definitely not Ohio, sorry Midwest but I need to get out of here).

This blog will be about my journey of applications, rejection letters, graduation, moving out of college and starting my life as a real person. Along the way I'll be posting all of the advice I receive from various sources (everyone has an opinion) so for those of you also looking for a job or internship hopefully this blog can be of some help to you!