Control Your Social Networking Sites

31 01 2009

Let’s face it. We all go through that phase when we LOVE and cannot get enough of social networking sites. When I was a sophomore in college (2004) I signed up for Facebook and when I was a senior in college (2006) I signed up for Myspace. At first, I posted tons of pictures and logged on every single day.  I stopped doing Facebook  as much when I realized that I was already in touch with my close friends. The people that I connect with via Facebook didn’t need  to see my pictures from parties, friend’s weddings, etc. I walked into my old job one day and a co-worker I barely knew recited everything I did that weekend because he had seen my Facebook pictures. And then I stopped. There was no need for people that were not my real friends but my “Facebook Friends” to know all about my personal life.

I have heard several horror stories about students that were not hired for internships or college grads that were fired because of their Facebook/Myspace pages. Keep this in mind when reading the below.

Tips on How To Control Your Social Networking Sites

1. EVERYONE is on it. Is everyone in the world really on Facebook or Myspace ? No. But enough people are that you really need to think of it like that. Everything you write, everything you type, every picture you post – EVERYONE is going to see it. EVERYONE means your parents, friends, ex-friends, ex-boyfriends, relatives, and more important, your BOSS.

2. PICTURES. If you are going to post a few pictures of yourself on your social networking site, that’s fine. Just remember, that these pictures are a representation of YOU. These aren’t pictures that are just viewed by your friends anymore. These are pictures that people of all ages are viewing. I understand that you may like to Party – in every sense of the word. But, save that for your personal emails. Don’t post drunk pictures, smoking pictures, sexual pictures, really goofy pictures on the Internet. Just don’t do it. Always think before posting, “Is this appropriate for my boss to see?”

3. EVERYONE TALKS.Many students will read this and say , “Well I have my profile settings private so only my friends can view these pictures.” Here are my thoughts on that: Most students have not only their close friends on Facebook/Myspace but also their acquaintances, people that you know, but aren’t really your close friends. People talk, especially when it comes to competitive internship/job situations. You don’t want anyone that you don’t trust to see these pictures of you and risk them telling someone, who tells someone, who tells your boss (you get the idea).

4. ACT APPROPRIATELY. There is this big misconception that when you are in college you are granted the ability to act like a silly goose in public. Now that we have the ability to post pictures for all of our networks to view, you really cannot risk acting out. You don’t control where people post pictures when they aren’t taken from your camera. Next time you are at a party, stop and consider your surroundings and think before you act. We all must take responsibility over our actions. It’s not worth loosing a job opportunity or an internship because you felt the need to take “wasted” or “sexy” pictures.

5. STAY OFF AT WORK. When you are interning or working make sure you are not checking your Myspace or Facebook page. This is one quick way for your boss/internship coordinator to determine that you don’t care about your work, or that you are being lazy/wasting time. You are on their clock. Save your Facebook status updating until you are on your personal time clock.

6. KEEP PROFILE RATED G. Again, keep in mind the “Everyone Is Watching” factor when creating/reviewing your proile. Make sure you don’t have any comments that could be suggested as “too sexual” or “too much information”. Keep your interests unique to you, but still appropriate.

7. MODERATE YOUR COMMENTS. Many of these sites have functions where you can moderate comments before they appear on your “Wall”. If you don’t have this feature set up make sure you are constantly monitoring what others are writing. You don’t want someone writing dirty or graphic messages on your wall. Also, make sure that your wall isn’t filled with curse words.

 

Is it standard for an employer to check your social networking sites before hiring you ? No. But, in this new tech-savvy environment, where everyone is online and joining these communities, it is definitely happening. Watch yourself and have control of your social networking.

I asked my Twitter (Tweeps) how they felt about the subject:

“No naked pictures and no booze.” @publicrelations, Shelle Michaels, Teacher and volunteer,  http://www.theladiesofliberty.blogspot.com/.

“As an employer, I ask not just “can they do this job” but “how will they represent me?” That is where soc.media can hurt you. Not appropriate: The last keg party you attended, your tailgate streak, photos of your new tattoo.” @JMegonigal, Jordana Megonigal, http://www.insideblackbox.com/?cat=10.

“Well, my advice is to not have them. But, I did write about this issue: http://tinyurl.com/7t9wk7 .” @heatherhuhman, Career Advice Expert and Columnist, http://heatherhuhman.com/.





What NOT to do at your Internship

29 01 2009

We are always told what we should do at internships. But what about the things we SHOULD NOT do ?  Some may think that it is common sense.  I don’t think so. It’s just as important to point out what you should NOT do as it is to point out what students SHOULD do.

This is the official Intern Queen list of what NOT to do at your internship

  • Do NOT break the dresscode. Even if you are comfortable at the company and see other employees wearing jeans or flipflops. Don’t dress down unless you are specifically instructed to do so by your internship coordinator/director.

  • Do NOT park in any spot but where you were assigned to park. The last thing you want is for a security official to have to track you down and have you move your car. You don’t want to block an executive in and be a burden to anyone.

  • Do NOT keep your cell phone on. Vibrate is not acceptable. Turn your cell phone completely off. Don’t even get caught pressing the IGNORE button. It should sit in your pocket or purse the entire day and not be touched unless you are on a break or lunch.

  • Stay away from surfing the net. Be as focused as you can at internship. Make sure you are not checking Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. Trust me, it is VERY awkward to get caught on there from your boss/internship coordinator.

  • Never sit around. Make sure you volunteer yourself when you aren’t doing anything. Many internship coordinators don’t realize that you have completed tasks. Take the initiative to approach them and see if they need help.

  • Try not to chew gum, use curse words, show up late, or anything that you would have been in trouble for in highschool.

  • Don’t interrupt. Being eager is a wonderful quality as an intern, but don’t interrupt people when they are speaking – even if to ask for help. Wait your turn.

  • Know your place. Let’s face it, as an intern, you are starting from the bottom. If important work related conversations are happening, take a step back. At least pretend like you aren’t listening and show the executives/boss your full respect. Don’t give your boss any “great” ideas unless he/she asks for them. Some people might take your ideas and brainstorming as you feeling “more entitled” than others.

  • Ask before you eat. Make sure you ask if it is ok to eat at your desk before just taking out your lunch and eating. Some companies are very sensitive about food around their computers.

  • Don’t give a half-effort. Make sure you complete every task to the fullest extent possible. You want to go above and beyond in order to stand out and for people to remember your name and your work.

  • Don’t give a “girly” handshake. Even women need to give firm handshakes whenever they meet new employees, clients, guests, etc. Firmly grip the other person’s hand. This automatically shows that you are a professional.

  • Don’t use only your first name. When introducing yourself to people, state your first and last name. You want everyone to remember you. This distinguishes you from other people with the same first name.

  • Always Ask. Make sure to ask questions. Even if you feel stupid, it is so much better to ask questions than to just do something wrong. Make sure you know what you are asking and that you are coming across clearly.

  • Make clear copies, don’t jam the printer, don’t spill the coffee, don’t mess up the coffee, don’t print on paper with holes unless you are instructed to, don’t use colored pens, don’t speak too loudly, don’t draw too  much attention to yourself with your personality or appearance.

I asked my Friends (tweeps) on Twitter what NO NOs they could think of for interning:

“What not to do? Troll facebook or myspace, text message all day long, sit with nothing to do – Take some initiative – ASK!” @Claudinerenee, Career Services Professional at Purdue University. 

“Don’t tell your supervisor how to do their job. Don’t hide mistakes.” @sweetcareers, Grace Kutney, Career Services Professional and Blogger, http://sweetcareers.blogspot.com/.

“Don’t think you can’t. Don’t say you can’t. Don’t act like you can’t. You can!” @panah, http://www.bloggingot.com/.

“Don’t just sit there. ask your manager, What can I be doing?” @applegirl, http://www.lovesfool.com/.

More Helpful Links

Quint Careers on Internship Dos and Don’ts : http://www.quintcareers.com/internship-dos-donts.html

FUNNY – Grey’s Anatomy on Internship Dos and Don’ts: http://blogs.abc.com/internsteve/2008/06/first-week-old.html

Monster Trak on Internship Dos and Don’ts: http://www.monstertrak.com/career-guide/college-internships/dos-and-donts





What To Bring on The First Day of Your Internship

27 01 2009

The first day of your internship can be nerve-racking. You don’t know who you will meet, how they will treat you, and what to expect. I put together a list of things that students should bring with them to their internships. Read this over and bring everything I mention. As always, best to be overprepared. Think of this as your “Internship First Day Survival Kit”. 

Good luck !

xo The Intern Queen.

What To Bring On The First Day of Your Internship

Notebook: In your notebook, you should write down the following information before your internship begins:

  • Information about the parking situation. DO NOT wait until the first day of your internship to find this out. This will cause you to be late. Make sure to get clear instructions from your coordinator the week before you internship and write them down in a notebook designated for internship information.

 

  • Any extra notes on the Dress Code. Unsure what shoes you can wear ? Make sure to ask any questions you might have about the dress code for the company before your first day. Listen and take notes the first time so you don’t have to ask multiple times. Be the intern that gets it right.

 

  • The company mission statement. Get this from the website. This will help you learn why the company is doing certain things and where they are headed. This will also allow you to see how your work is helping to acheive the company’s larger goals.

 

  • Put the company address in your notebook. Get in the habit of always  including cross streets when you write an address. This will come in handy as you continue on your career path. Also make sure you have the direct number for you internship coordinator in case you get lost or are running late. Don’t run late.

 

  • If you know anyone that works at the company, or have already made friends, write down their names and emails. You want to keep track of all of the people you meet.

 

  • Write down the company website. You want to appear very knowledgable about the company. If you are asked to go to their website that should be a no-brainer.

Folder: The folder is to make sure important documents that you bring and may recieve stay clean and uncrumpled. The following things should be kept in your Internship Folder:

  • Photo Copy of your Drivers Liscense/ID
  • Photo Copy of your Social Security Card
  • Any Passport/Visa documentation you might need (only applies if you are coming from another country)
  • Any past paperwork you have recieved from your internship coordinator
  • Your internship paperwork from your school counselor/career center
  • Any parking passes that you might need to later validate

In Your Wallet: You should have the following items in your wallet on the first day of your internship:

  • At least $15.00 cash for lunch on your first day
  • Drivers Liscense
  • Social Security Card
  • Credit Card (just to be safe)

Also bring a few Pens and Pencils to be ultra prepared. I also suggest bringing some sort of snack (nuts, fruit, granola bar) you never know when/if they will give you a lunch!

 

I asked my friends on Twitter for their “First Day” suggestions. Here is what they had to say:

“Interns should always bring an upbeat attitude to take on whatever is thrown their way.” @TodaysMama, http://www.todaysmama.com/.

“A legal pad, pen, and a protien bar.” @AMCreations, Allison Martin, PR Grad.

“Bring an open mind, a smile, a good attitude and a pen. Anything not specified will probably be provided.” @DavidSpinks, Student and Web Enthusiast, http://davidspinks.com/.

“One thing that interns should NOT bring is a cell phone glued to their ear. I remember one gal on her phone the whole 1st day.” @JamesFreudo, http://blog.jvf.com/.

“They should bring a big book to write down the things they learn. Also a bottle to fill it with water.” @jjamie, Blogger, Internet Lover, http://brkopp.wordpress.com/.

“Enthusiasm, interest, patience and maybe a snack bar or something.” @Luzemanek, Luanne Zemanek, Graphic Designer, http://www.typedes.com/.

“Ask your supervisor to do introductions,and if he/she doesn’t, do them yourself. People will see you’re open and ready to help!” @CCCallahan, Student, http://colleencallahan.wordpress.com/.

“A notepad and pen, and comfy shoes in case they’re running errands!” @MarieClaire, Marie Claire Magazine, http://www.marieclaire.com/.

“A can do attitude and enthusiasm to work hard and learn.” @panah, Entrepreneur, http://www.bloggingot.com/.

Other Helpful Links

More Advice From The Intern Queen At: http://www.lalawag.com/advice-from-the-intern-queen/

Entry Park on First Days: http://www.entrypark.com/career_advice/32/first%20day/

Yahoo Answers on First Day Advice: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080504182108AA7ZtTH

 

 

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Internship and Job Interview Tips

15 01 2009

Interviews can be awkward and nerve racking. You never really know who is going to be sitting on the other side of you, what tone they will have, what shoes they will be wearing, what they will think of you. I always feel like I could be the most prepared person in the world but if they just don’t like me, then they JUST DON”T LIKE ME. I put together the following list to help prepare you as best I can for an Internship or Job Interview. This is for the “In-Person” interview situation. Good luck !

How To Nail A Job or Internship Interview

  • Know the Mission. An internship or job is not school but you still have homework to do. Go to the company website and look up their mission statement. Memorize this information. This gives you a clear look inside a company’s goals and mindset. This is their statement to the world about what they want to achieve and how they want to achieve it. Take this statement very seriously and into consideration when answering questions.

  • Be Familiar. When you are surfing around a company’s website, the important information is again the Mission Statement, the clients, the current news, and the employees. Try to have an idea of who runs the company. If  a name is dropped during the interview and it is the name of the CEO – you should be aware of that and able to follow along. You should know everything that is currently going on with the company as well as any major bumps they’ve had in the road. You don’t want to speak about a company that they’ve recently battled with legally or suggest they work with a client that they already cover.

  • Dress the Part. Not sure what to wear or how to wear it ? Scroll down on this blog and check out my HOW TO DRESS FOR AN INTERVIEW Blog. I suggest always sticking to a pants suit. This is for Men and Women. Look clean, tucked in, and polished. Remember combed hair, manicured fingers, no sandals.

  • What to Bring. I suggest bringing a folder or portfolio with your Cover Letter, Resume, and any Letters of Rec that you might have. If you are an artist/actor/writer/etc than bring your necessary clips/materials. Always bring two pens with you and a small notepad. I also suggest bringing your Drivers License and Social Security Card. Also, bring mints so you are at your freshest ! Don’t forget to check your mirror for food in your teeth before you go inside.

  • On Time. Punctuality is a rule that never goes out of style. Plan to arrive at your interview 30 minutes early. This allows for getting lost and figuring out where to park. Always ask where to park ahead of time so that you aren’t lost and calling the employer franticly at the last minute. Arriving early shows that you are organized and on top of your game. Check in with the receptionist and wait patiently. Interviews are rarely ontime so expect to wait. Don’t plan anything important right after the interview.

  • The Walk In. Once you park and enter the building, EVERYONE is looking at you. Even if they aren’t, you need to think that way. Your attitude should be sincere and polite with everyone from the doorman to the receptionist. Make sure to not get frustrated with any of the employees at the building. You never know who the employer communicates with on a day to day basis. Stand up straight and walk with confidence. You are going to land the position.

  • The Greeting. When you are taken into the employer’s office make sure to wear your confidence and appear pleasant and happy. Take a deep breathe to calm your nerves and avoid speaking to quickly. Give the employer a FIRM handshake. Girls, you cannot give whimpy handshakes. You can greet the employer by saying, “Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me. I really do appreciate it.” If the employer starts to small-talk than follow their lead. Otherwise, let them get down to business. You don’t want to take up too much of their time.

  • Q & A. Now it’s time for the real interview to begin. Check out my recent blog on PRACTICE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS and review these before the big day. Answer everything clearly and in detail. Try to avoid simple “Yes” or “No” answers to questions. This is your time to shine. You want to seem confident in your abilities, excited about the opportunity, and truly passionate about the field. Make sure your answers to the questions reflect this.

  • Ask Questions. Don’t be afraid to shoot the employer some questions as well. I usually ask what my daily responsibiities would be and what they believe the biggest challenge of the job will be. This leaves no room for surprises once the job/internship starts. Make sure you are clear about the time commitment they are asking for as well.

  • Speak Positive Thoughts. Whatever you do, do not bad mouth any previous experiences/employers. If you do, an employer might think that you will one day speak poorly about them. Take the good qualities out of each experience and don’t bring up the bad.

  • Conclusion. When the interview is done, you can thank the employer again for their time and let them know that you will be following up.

  • Thank You Note. Try to get a HandWritten thank you note over the the office the next day. Try to reference part of your conversation in the note. If you don’t hear anything back, a Follow Up Call is appropriate one week after the interview.

Want more INTERVIEW Advice ? Here is what my friend’s on Twitter had to say:

“Dress fashionably and professionally and be yourself, but be your prepared self. Do your homework. Maintain eye contact.” @ckc411, Award-Winning Communications/Advertising Firm.

“To impress interviewers, research firm, competitors & your interviewer on web! ” @TriumphCIO, Mark Cummuta, IT VP/Entrepreneurial CIO.

“Don’t rush your answers and be careful about babbling and too many vocal tics – take the time to answer clearly and consisely! Be relevant and sell yourself by promoting the skills that you have that could really benefit the company.” @campuscompare, http://www.campuscompare.com.

“Always overdress, better to look the best you can than risk underdressing. Guys: get a nice business suit with a subtle tie.” @tombetti, Tom Betti, PR guy, http://www.tombetti.com/public/Welcome.html.

“Emphasize your past achievements & how you would bring that same value to their team. Also, ask great questions & be passionate.” @heatherhuhman, Heather Huhman, Generation Y Author, Columnist, and Speaker, http://heatherhuhman.com/.

“Have an abbreviated portfolio folder you can leave behind with your best work. Include a DVD of video/Web work if appropriate.” @evanspatrick, Patrick Evans, http://flacker.net/.

“Having ideas is always a good thing, too. If not during the interview itself, maybe include some in a follow-up email.” @Unigo,http://www.unigo.com/.

“Understand my business, my company, my clients. Look/speak professional. How can you help me, not vice versa.” @SDSU_NewsTeam, http://sdsu.edu/.

Other Helpful Links

Mark Cummuta on Interview Advice:

http://advice.cio.com/mark_cummuta/week_12_preparing_for_executive_level_interviews

Allison Doyle on Interview Questions and Advice:

http://jobsearch.about.com/od/interviewquestionsanswers/a/interviewquest.htm

Vault.com on Interview Advice:

http://www.vault.com/nr/ht_list.jsp?ht_type=10

 

 





How To Dress For An Interview

8 01 2009

We’ve all seen what others wear to internship or job interviews and been very judgemental. That skirt’s too short. Is she trying to be seductive ? Those pants don’t match that jacket ! Why is she wearing hooker heels to a professional interview ? Why does he look like George of the Jungle for an interview ? Her dress looks like it’s from the 1984 Ann Taylor catalog.

Anyhow, I wanted to go through a list of tips so that we all are aware of what IS acceptable to wear to an interview and what is NOT. These tips are for the average business interview (ie: marketing, journalism, public relations, finance, law, advertising, media, etc). Just because you are interviewing to be an intern does NOT mean you get to DRESS like a college kid. The same dress code standards should be obeyed – as if you were an employee of the company. Good luck.

How To Dress For An Interview

  • The Business Suit. You can never go wrong when you wear a business suit to an interview. This rule applies for men and women. Each student should own one business suit that is tailored to fit their body/shape. You don’t need to buy an Armani suit by any means. I DO expect you do find a great sale and pick up a suit. Business suits don’t go out of style. Purchase something simple and basic. I suggest going for a dark color (Black, Brown, or Blue) that you can wear year-round.

  • Match. I always like to dress kind of funky and mix and match all kinds of color combinations. An interview however, is NOT the place to experiment with fashion. YOU want to get the job and grab the employers attention, not your outfit. Men, this means the color of your suit must go with the color of your shoes (Black suit = Black Shoes, Brown Suit = Brown Shoes, Blue Suit = Brown Shoes). The shirts men and women wear under their suits should also compliment each other. For men and women, I suggest sticking with simple colors underneath your business suits (Black Suit = white, grey, light blue shirt, Blue Suit = tan, white shirt, Brown Suit = tan, white, light blue shirt).

  • Man Rule. If you decide to wear a white buttoned down/collared shirt you MUST wear a grey undershirt with it. If you put on a basic “wifebeater/tanktop” under your white shirt it WILL show through. This is NOT attractive and does not make you look like a professional. Also, men’s socks should be dark and blend in. White socks should not stick out from under your pants. Make sure your collars are properly creased into place. The proper ironing should be done to your entire outfit. Wrinkles aren’t acceptable. Make sure that if a belt is needed, that you have a belt that matches your suit. Come to the interview as “clean-shaven” as possible. Typically speaking, employers aren’t too fond of messy hair, lots of facial hair, piercings, or tatoos. If you do have piercings, I suggest removing them for the interview and trying to cover up any other body piercings or body art.

  • Woman Rule. Again, interviews are definitly NOT the time to experiment with anything. Wear your hair the way you think it looks best. Avoid any crazy braids, pigtails, “messy looks”, etc. I usually wear my hair down and straight or pull it back into a neat pony tail. Jewelry should be simple. I do think you should accessorize with something that expresses some creativity (not too much). For example, I usually wear a long charm necklace or a cool bangle bracelet to show that I have some sense of style. Keep your accessories simple and have one piece that stands out. If you have a great necklace, keep the earrings, rings, bracelets simple. An interview is also not a cleavage show. As women, we want to avoid the cliche of the “seductress in the workplace”. I suggest covering up and wearing a basic top with an appropriate neckline to your interview. As earlier mentioned, a business suit is always a good way to go. A pants suit or a skirt suit is fine. Make sure the skirt is an appropriate length. The only way to really know is to look in the mirror and make a judgement call. We all know what “too short” looks like. You shouldn’t be showing any “legs” so if it looks sexy, its probably not the right choice.  When choosing your shoes, try to avoid the trendy “platform heels” (that I love!) and stick with a smaller heel. Think “lots of walking” and select from there. I do think that heels are a better choice than flats for an interview. If you don’t want to wear  a suit, select a simple dress or skirt and top combo. Remember to keep things simple and not too trendy. Button-down tops are nice but usually a little showing for women with larger busts. Some other ideas are pencil skirts, mock turtle-necks, suit jackets, boat neck tops. Stay away from Capri Pants, Jeans, Denim, Spandex, leggings, Flats, Flat Boots, Short Skirts. You should bring a simple purse with you to your interview.

  • No Jean. No matter what you wear to your interview, jeans are not okay. Even if they are black jeans, stay away from them. The phrase, ” I can’t believe they wore jeans to an interview”, is all too common.

  • Hestitation Equals No. If you aren’t sure about something you are wearing then scrap it. You should be confident in what you wear and if you are questioning anything than the employer is likely to question as well.

  • Straighten Up. Do a last minute check before you leave. Make sure your fly is up, buttons secured, collar pressed down, and everything is in place. You also might want to take a lint roller and make sure all dust, dog hair, etc. is off your clothing.

  • Where to Shop. Again, I reccomend everyone go out and purchase one solid interview outfit if you don’t already have one. This is an investment in your future. I still wear the same black suit from Macy’s that I got four years ago to all of my interviews and important meetings. If you ARE looking for something more high end, check out Banna Republic, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Brooks Brother (men), Saks, BCBG (women). If you are looking for something in the more “affordable” range check out JCPenny, Zara (men and women), Macy’s, Marshalls, Nordstrom BP (girls), Nordstrom Rack (men and women), WalMart, and Forever 21 (Girls). My favorites are Nordstrom BP and The Limited.

More “What to Wear” Advice (From My Friend’s On Twitter)

“Skirts. Pants are acceptable in the office; skirts make a better impression for interviews unless they have a great pantsuit.Visit the company a few days before and see what employees wear. At the least, match their dress. Best, match management.” @jennipps, Jenn Nipps, Freelance Writer/Editor, http://jensorganizedwriter.wordpress.com/about/.””

 “I think women should wear whatever feels like a second skin to their interviews. No outfit is a substitute for confidence.” @highonbeingdave, Artist and Entrepreneur, http://www.dave-baldwin.com/.

“Either is fine to me. Make sure the shoes aren’t too scuffy looking on top. No spike heels, mega boots. Conservative. Ann Taylor Loft has affordable prices and classy outfits. The suit- less important than arriving prepared with research and questions.” @heidicwilliams, Managing Editor of G Magazine, http://www.gvillemag.com/.

“Tie is good, but please know how to tie it; and it better be the right length.” @startuplawyer, Ryan Roberts, Lawyer, http://www.thestartuplawyer.com/.

“I would say yes to a suit, without fail.. probably a tie too – having one can’t hurt. Not having one if expected to could.” @Brentoe, Brendan Cartledge, IBM Intern, http://www.brendancartledge.com/.

“Marshalls and TJ Maxx often have name brand business attire that’s inexpensive. K&G and men’s warehouse are good, but cost more. For guys, I recommend Target. I was there the other day and they had some nice suites pretty cheap. Good enough for interns.” @Jamesfeudo, James Feudo, Personal Communications and Development Expert, http://blog.jvf.com/.

“I live at Forever21 and Macy’s is good also for interview clothing attire.” @heatherdamico, Heather Damico, PR Intern.

“Try Banana Republic. Nice suits for both.” @JMegonigal, Jordana Megonigal, Magazine Editor, http://www.insideblackbox.com/viewblog/index.php?blog=17.

“For women I swear by New York & Company. Affordable yet still fashionable.” @Jmsummers, Juana Summer, Student and Journalist, http://www.juanasummers.com/.

“Clean, nice shoes are the first thing people notice. also, neat and nicely shaped eyebrows.” @mimismartypant, Mimi Boskia, http://mimibosika.com/.

 

 

Other Helpful Links

DressForSuccess on What to Wear for an Interview:

http://www.dressforsuccess.org/

James Feudo on Dressing for an Interview:

http://blog.jvf.com/2008/08/06/dressing-for-success-2/

Monster’s, Peter Vogt, on What to Wear for Interviews:

http://www.monstertrak.com/career-guide/job-interview-tips/what-to-wear

About.com’s, Alison Doyle, on What to Wear:

http://jobsearch.about.com/b/2008/05/05/what-to-wear-to-a-job-interview.htm

Links to Clothing Stores:

http://www.bananarepublic.com

http://www.nordstrom.com

http://www.walmart.com/

http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/

http://www.thelimited.com/

http://brooksbrothers.com/

http://www.forever21.com/Default.asp?cookie%5Ftest=1

http://www.jcpenny.com/jcp/default.aspx





How To Nail the Phone Interview

7 01 2009

Traveling for an internship has become extremely popular. With summer internships around the corner, I thought, what better than an article on How To NAIL the Phone Interview. Most students that plan to intern at companies that are located in another city will first participate in a phone interview. The phone interview will decide if the candidate should be brought in the office for an in-person interview. In many cases, the phone interview can get you the internship. Personally, I conduct phone interviews with students that intern with me. About 50 percent of the companies I work with also conduct phone interviews that determine if the student gets the internship. This saves time and effort for both the student and the employer.

Phone-Interview Tips

  • Speak Clearly. Wake up at least one hour before your phone interview so you don’t sound groggly on the telephone. Your speech should be clear and properly paced. Communication is so important and an employer will know after the first minute of your conversation if they want to further communicate with you. Make sure you are speaking at an appropriate pace, not too quickly and not too slowly. Pronounce all of your words properly to avoid hearing,”What ? What did you say?” from the employer. Many internships require interns to communicate with clients or other organizations via telephone. The employer needs to be confident that you are alright on the phone.

 

  • Be Confident. I can always tell when a student is confident about themselves. If you have achieved great things tell the employer about them. You don’t need to carry on and on but explain your accomplishments clearly. Confidence is contagious. If you sound confident than you are likely to make the employer feel the same way about you.

  • Passion. Don’t be afraid to show your excitement for the internship/job. Even if you don’t have tons of experience in this field your passion will shine. Explain to the employer why you want this opportunity. Express that you don’t mind doing the smaller tasks and will give 100 percent at all times.

  • Be Prepared. Take a look at the practice questions I have listed on my blog and go over them. http://www.internshipratings.com/take_note/?p=57 is also a great resource for practice interview questions.  A few common phone interview questions are listed below.

  • Tell me about yourself. This is a very open-ended question. Keep your answer tight and try not to go off on small tangents. Keep your goals clear. A sample answer would be: “I’ve always been very interested in the public relations world. I’m from Clearwater, Florida and graduated school in Orlando at the University of Central Florida. I was a communications major and during college, I decided to become a part-time freelance writer. I was published in several magazines which provided me with the opportunity to meet and network with several editors, publishers, and PR Executives. I was fascinated by the world of publicity and decided I really wanted to be on the other side of things and be the person setting up the interviews. I conducted lots of research and contacted your company because I thought the clients you work with and the types of projects you work on, interest me the most.”

  • Why do you want this job ? Make sure you don’t sound desperate when answering this question. At the same time, make it clear that this is your dream job. Sample Answer: “This internship would be an amazing opportunity for me to observe and learn how a top PR Firm is run. I’m sure I will learn so much by just watching everyone do their day-to-day tasks and helping them do whatever they need. I really want to watch first-hand how you are able to take a client and raise their awareness in the public. I want to be a PR Executive when I graduate so I can’t think of a better place to start.”

  • What is your biggest weakness ? Be careful with this question, as it can get tricky. You don’t want to say anything too bad about yourself here. Don’t stick your foot in your mouth. I used to say things like, “I can be too much of a perfectionist at times which can slow you down, but I’ve learned to pick up the speed and work efficiently.”

  • What are your best qualities ? Before answering this question remember that each quality you mention should be applicable to the professional world. Some great descriptive terms to use are:dependable, loyal, hard working, strong work ethic, cooperative, attentive, punctual, energetic.

  • The Closer. At the end of the call make sure you get to say something along the lines of, “Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. I really appreciate it and look forward to speaking further.”

  • The Thank-You note. Yes, you do need to treat a phone interview like an in-person interview and write a thank you note. Want to know a secret tip ? Write the Thank You before you do the interview or at least write the majority of it. This note needs to be mailed THE DAY of your interview so that it reaches the employer asap.

More Phone Interview Advice (From My Friend’s on Twitter!)

“Do your best to avoid any “ums,” “ahs,” & other filler words.” @Jennipps, Freelance Writer and Editor, http://jensorganizedwriter.wordpress.com/about/.

“Don’t chew gum, don’t interrupt, don’t say um, ah, err to fill empty spaces. Listening is just as important as talking. Manners.” @JuliaRosien, Julia Rosien, http://www.naturaworld.com/.

“Do the interview in a quiet place. Your enthusiasm will show through.” @rachelesterline, Student, PRSSA.

“Phone interview tips: Got to showcase your enthusiasm fpr the job verbally, don’t be afraid to take the lead but be a good listener.” @MattWilsonTV, Matt Wilson, Young Entrepreneur, http://www.mattwilson.tv/.

“Be on time. Prepare for the obvious questions. Use stories, adapt them for the curve balls.” @JonathanGoodman, Jonathan Goodman, Sales and Marketing, http://teamgoodman.blogspot.com/.

“KNOW the company inside and out. Become a real fan. Also, share your energy. Employers love good energy in applicants.” @thebrandbuilder, Olivier Blanchard, Brand Strategist, http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/.

“Know your stuff. Be concise. Think about the most obvious questions you will be asked, and have a strong and confident response.” @RobMcNealy, Rob McNealy, Entrepreneur and Business Coach, http://www.startupstoryradio.com/twitter-policy-and-philosophy/.

“Have a few basic questions prepared such as ‘tell me about yourself’ and ‘why did you pick __’ ” @ExecutiveVision, Nicole Crimaldi, Social Media Expert and Blogger, http://careergirls.wordpress.com/.

“Enthusiasm and tone of voice are key. An online portfolio of work to reference during the interview helps too.” @Evanspatrick, Patricfk Evans, Public Realtions Executive, http://flacker.net/.

“Show enthusiasm by asking a lot of questions (esp. about the interviewer), give succinct but thorough answers to questions (don’t ramble)”. @Alicia_Wells, Alicia Wells, Public Relations Exec and Internship Coordinator at Peppercom.

 “Always land line, not cell; do your homework/research first; always ask if follow-up is OK in case you forget something.” @jamiefloer, Jamie Floer, Public Relations Executive.

Other Helpful Links

Heather Huhman’s Column for the Examiner.com

http://www.examiner.com/x-828-Entry-Level-Careers-Examiner~y2008m11d5-Acing-the-phone-interview

Monster’s, Peter Vogt, on the Phone Interview:

http://career-advice.monster.com/job-interview-practice/Mastering-the-Phone-Interview/home.aspx

Maureen Crawford Hentz on the Phone Interview:

http://www.quintcareers.com/phone_interview_etiquette.html

InternshipRatings.com on Practice Interview Questions:

http://www.internshipratings.com/take_note/?p=57





Get Great Letters Of Recommendation

6 01 2009

Are Letters of Recommendation really necessary ? Not always. BUT, this does not mean that you shouldn’t ALWAYS have a great LOR (Letter of Rec) on hand. Below are some pointers on how to make sure that your LORs are the best of the best !

How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation

  • Write it ! My biggest tip is to approach a former employer, teacher, friend-of-family and say, “I need a letter of recommendation for an internship, if I write one, do you mind looking over it and signing it ? I know you are busy.” This ensures that your letter will read exactly as you like it ! Let’s be honest. Most employers are busy and don’t want or have time to write you that smoking letter that stands out. This is the approach I have used and employers actually appreciate that I’m trying to save them time. They will make any changes they see suitable and print out on company letterhead.

  • Letterhead. The letter is not official unless it is printed on school or company letterhead. Make sure that if  a teacher writes you a nice LOR that you have several copies on school letterhead. This is the same for companies. If a former employer writes you a LOR, make sure you have copies on company letterhead.

  • Get ‘Em Quick. The biggest mistake I made with LORs is that I waited until my senior year of college to ask a professor for one. At this point, I hardly knew any of my professors and had to ask a teacher from sophmore year to write one. He was nice enough to do it.  I knew he barely remembered me. I suggest getting one LOR after each school semester. Choose whichever teacher you feel the closest with. Also, make sure that you did alright in their class. They certainly will not want to write a letter if you failed their class. Approach your teacher and explain that you are searching for internships and want to make sure you have all of your materials prepared. Explain that you’d love for them to write you a LOR but if they are too busy you understand. If they ask you what it should say, you can offer to write a sample and have them look over it. This rule also applies with jobs. After each job you have (as long as you aren’t fired), ask your employer for a Letter of Rec.

  • The 3 LOR rule. I suggest always having 3 different LORs on hand. One should be from a professor, one from an employer, and another from a family friend (not a parent). The professor should speak about your work ethic, timeliness, ability to work in a group, etc. The employer (or former employer) should speak about your professional characteristics and the family-friend should speak about your personality/character traits. If you haven’t worked before, get two letters from different teachers.

  • Content Matters. These letters should read like rave reviews of yourself. These letters should put an “undecided” employer over the top and make them want to hire you. If you think that the letter does not speak highly of you – don’t use it.

  • One Page or Less. A LOR should not be more than one page. In fact, it should be short and to the point. (The point being that you are the best internship candidate in the world). I like LORs to be two paragraphs. The first paragraph should explain the purpose of the letter.  The second paragraph should give examples of your professional and personality qualities that make you THE candidate for the internship. See the sample below.

To whom this may concern:

This letter is to recommend, Lauren Berger, for your summer internship at FOX Television. I had the privledge of working with Ms. Berger throughout the Fall semester of 2008. Her responsibilities including tracking all incoming submissions, scheduling meetings for myself and my colleagues, phone/admin duties, attending marketing meetings, greeting guests, and providing coverage on several scripts. Ms. Berger did a fantastic job and I really felt she gave 100 percent to all of her tasks.

Lauren came across extremely energetic and full of life. Her personality was not only magnetic but inspiring to myself and those around her. She took on tasks that were both hard and difficult and was always the first to volunteer. At one point during the semester, Lauren offered to organize our script cabinet. I thought her initiative, hard work, and ability to work well in a group environment was extremely impressive and a breath of fresh air.

I highly recommend Lauren for this internship and believe you will be very impressed with her and happy with your selection. Feel free to contact me directly with questions or concerns.

Best,

Lolly Pop

Marketing Director

(555) 555-5555

lolly.pop@candy.com

  • Keep them clean. Keep these letters in a safe place. I suggest putting together a folder labeled “internship materials”. Keep your letters here so they are clean and ready when you need them. Letters of Rec are NOT something you want to be rushing around for at the last minute.

More Advice on Letters Of Recommendation (LOR) – From my Twitter Friends!

“Letters of Rec should have why/how the person is known, how long, and what makes them stand out.”  @IrisinNC, Iris Carter, Writer ,http://iriscarter.com/.

“I also like to get the letter directly from the person writing the recommendation, not from the person it’s for.”  @RobMcNealy, Rob McNealy, Entrepreneur and Business Coach, http://www.startupstoryradio.com/twitter-policy-and-philosophy/.

“I like to see some familiarity with the person; concrete examples of what the person has accomplished, so I know it’s not BS.” @RobMcNealy, Rob McNealy, Entrepreneur and Business Coach, http://www.startupstoryradio.com/twitter-policy-and-philosophy/.

“That they don’t expect to work 9-5 and that they feel it in their bones that this is the biz they want to be in.” @LizHarmon (when asked what she wants to read in a Letter of Rec), Lizz Harmon, PR Expert, http://www.harmontampa.com/.

Other Helpful Links:

Collegebound’s Letter of Rec Advice:

http://www.collegebound.net/content/article/recommendation-letter-breakdown/2406/

WriteExpress’s Letter of Rec Advice:

http://www.writeexpress.com/recommendation-letters.html