Category Archives: Job Seekers

Why Should You Be Hired?

“Why should you be hired?”  The dreaded interview question right behind “Tell me about yourself”.   If you are unable to confidently answer why you should be hired, then an employer certainly will not know either.

Employers seek confidence supported by tangible evidence answering why you are the best candidate for any given position.  Often times, interviewees come down with a dangerous case of timidity and humility during interviews which results in disaster almost every time.  The source of your job search marketing campaign is you and employers look to you for confident answers to their questions.  Balance that humility with confidence.  As you plan for your next interview, take an inventory of your approach to answering questions.  Humility is highly admired, but do not portray yourself as overly humble at the risk of showing lack of confidence and ability to succeed in the prospective position.

When responding to why you should be hired, delete the following from your answer:

1. I feel, I believe, I think:  If you are not confident in your ability to succeed, then the interviewer most certainly will not.  Ask yourself this question: How would you feel if a surgeon told you he felt like he could remove your appendix?  Know what you can do.  Be confident in your ability.

2. To gain experience:  Employers do not hire to just give people experience.  Employers hire employees who can deliver positive results.   You should be hired because of what you can do not because of what you want to receive.

3.  You want to see if you will like the career:  Once again, employers hire people who can deliver results.  You may not have direct experience in a given career, but you do have skills.  Identify the transferable skills from your past and confidently connect your past success into your future success.

Always show confidence in what you know you can do coupled with the humility of what you seek to learn.  Be a solution.

 

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Career Answers Every Prospective MBA Should Know

MBA Admissions activity is in full swing.  Programs are in the process of traveling the globe to recruit the best of the best. Work experience, GPAs and GMAT/GRE scores are top of discussion in MBA Admissions offices.

If you are planning to get your MBA, think of what you can offer as a candidate and future business professional.  It’s not enough to say that you want to advance your career and are open to any career path.  What do you want to do with your future?  How do you plan to achieve your goals?  Develop a marketing plan which includes a targeted value proposition message that you can deliver to both business school programs and potential employers.  The job market for MBAs is competitive, so any potential MBA must be ready to meet this competitive challenge not just in the classroom but also in the job market.

As you start to think about seeking an MBA, make sure you have solid answers to the following questions:

  1. What is your value proposition?  What do you have to offer?
  2. How can you contribute to the education of your fellow classmates?
  3. What are your goals?  You don’t have to have specific answers, but a successful prospective MBA must be able to talk future direction.
  4. Why do you want to transition into management? Career changers coming from a non-business background have to provide a better answer than to just want to make decisions and manage people.
  5. What indicators for success can you demonstrate to a potential MBA program as well as a future employer?  Prove your skills that transfer from your former career or position into the career path you plan for the future.

Whether you are changing the trajectory of your career by seeking an MBA or planning to completely change careers, start with your skills as place to start building your “employability” case.

As you attend MBA recruiting events both around the world and on campus, be confident in knowing what you can provide a potential program.  You must be able to talk about why you want to get your MBA and how the program and future employer can benefit from your knowledge, skills and experience.

 

Seeking H1B for Just a Few Years

It is a common career goal to work in another country for a couple of years for that global experience.  International students come to the US for an education and hope to stay for at least a few years for this very reason.  US Citizens look for international experience themselves for this very reason.  After that time, they typically plan to return to their home country to be close to family and their home.  From a completely internal point of view, that is natural and perfectly acceptable.  For employers, it’s an entirely different story.

It costs thousands of dollars to recruit, hire, train and replace employees in today’s marketplace.  In many positions, it takes almost a year if not more for a candidate to get up to speed with all of the ins and outs of a position and company.  It is expensive to hire and retain the best in today’s market.  Therefore, it is incumbent upon the employer to identify talent who will not just succeed in the short term but also long term with a career with that organization.  It’s just good business sense.

What should international students do about this news?  They should structure their career decisions and job search plans to match that of business’s need today.  You may eventually want to return to your home country one day.  Someone within the United States might take a position in another state with the hopes of returning closer to home one day.  But, don’t forget that as a job seeker, you are marketing a product to a prospective employer.  The employer is the buyer.  As the manager of your job search marketing campaign, you must align your goals with the needs of business today.  You want to be employed in a profession that matches your goals, strengths and experience.  At the end of the day, business hires people who can help the company make money.  They want to hire people who can learn the company and stay long enough to make a profitable impact on the organization.

The sweet spot for any career manager is to identify where your goals and skills overlap with those of a prospective employer.

 

Negotiating Internship Offers

Typically internship salary offers are not up for negotiation.  Funding for internship salaries usually comes from a completely different budget pool than full-time salaries and are fixed making it very difficult for companies to provide salary adjustments for interns.   With that said, companies do not use an internship salary/full-time salary formula when making offers. Graduate level salaries are evaluated in a much different manner.

How does a potential intern know if their offered salary may be up for negotiation?  Here are some tips when evaluating your internship offer:

1.  Is the internship part of a formal and established program?  For companies with formal internship programs, interns are almost always brought into the company receiving equal pay packages.

2. Has a bonus, relocation allocation or living stipend been attached?  Be sure to consider any additional benefits when reviewing your internship offer.  If a company is providing you living expenses or a company apartment for the summer, remember that these funds are a part of your salary/benefit package.  Some companies may offer a smaller salary if living expenses are provided.

3.  Was the selection process for the internship highly competitive?  If you were among thousands of candidates experiencing multiple interviews, it is extremely unlikely that you have any foundation for negotiating your internship offer.

4.  What is the opportunity itself?  If you are seeking to intern with a smaller company, a start-up business, or a “foot in the door” industry, such as sports, make sure that your salary expectation and the opportunity itself are comparable.

5.   Is the salary a good offer?  This may be the most important point of all to consider.   If the internship provides an opportunity for a full-time offer in your chosen field and industry, focus on the long term opportunity rather than the short term gain.

Internships are meant to provide you and a prospective employer an opportunity to evaluate each other for a future partnership.  Be careful not to focus on salary when a long term career opportunity is being considered.

 

 

8 Tips to Overcome a Negative Internship Experience

Written by guest blogger:  Jessica Newcomb, Assistant Director, Graduate Business Career Services, Mays Business School, Texas A&M University

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” What a succinct and striking piece of advice that rings true in many life situations. You can never go wrong by focusing on the opportunities in front of you. However, many students have completed 4 or 5 weeks of their internship by now, and some are finding themselves looking around and thinking that other interns were given better projects or are somehow having a better experience. If that statement describes you, consider taking these steps to turn it around.

1. Reach out to other interns. Ask how they approach their supervisor and continue to make connections in other areas. Remember that you don’t necessarily know about the backgrounds and unique skill sets of the other interns.

2. Talk to your supervisor. Do not throw up your hands and resign yourself to spending all of your time on the internet or looking out of a window. Instead, make a commitment to yourself and take a personal leadership role. Suggest ways to expand what you are doing or offer to take on another project. Describe your skills in better detail, and your supervisor will likely learn something he/she didn’t know before.

3. Find out what training exists. Ideally, you are aware of training programs for interns at your company. You may be currently pursuing that training or have completed an onboarding process of some kind. If that is not true for you and you are wondering how you might plug into opportunities, ask your supervisor or others in your department, area, or company. Take advantage of everything the company has to offer because the internship will be over before you know it.

4. Be a voracious reader. Read business journals and articles and seek out additional knowledge that can help you in your full-time job search. Be aware of trends in your industry, growing companies, and keep looking where others are not. Find materials written by leaders in your field or great business leaders in general.

5. Reconnect with your career coach. Contrary to popular belief, career services office are open for business over the summer. While a lot of planning is underway for the upcoming year, we are still here to answer questions and offer advice.

6. Look ahead. You may not want to work at the company for which you are interning. Even if you want to work there, they may not extend a full-time offer for a variety of reasons. Take advantage of being in a new city to meet with contacts and gain insight on where you might head next, and keep your ear to the ground for opportunities you may not have considered before.

7. Offer to be helpful. This point applies to contacts within your internship employer and outside of that company. Everyone is attracted to the person who offers to take something off their plate or contribute in a meaningful and unexpected way.

8. Develop a new skill or ability. Don’t leave things hanging out there on your future “to do” list. Get busy now making sure that you are ready for the job that you want. Self-assess and talk to others who are successful in your area.

If you find yourself feeling a little lackluster about your internship experience, remember that you have a lot of control over that experience. Be proactive and make the most of your internship experience.

These Are a Few of My Favorite Blogs

You are going to spend the rest of the day humming this beloved song from the Sound of Music in your head like me aren’t you?  Today I want to say thank you to just of few of my favorite bloggers for their insites and inspiration they have instilled in my personal and professional life.

Diane Gottsman: Modern Manners and Etiquette Expert.   Diane is also the owner of the Protocol School of Texas and author of Pearls of Polish.  The devil is found in the details of life.  Diane’s excellent advice stomps the devil out of poor manners and elevates professional etiquette to help today’s career manager truly excel.   Diane’s guidance helps readers learn how to positively stand out in business by simply demonstrating respecful manners.  Please follow Diane via Twitter @dianegottsman

The Savvy Intern by YouTern  Anyone seeking an internship or seeking to hire an intern must subscribe to the Savvy Intern sponsored by YouTern.  I found this blog of resources by following a Twitter chat recommended to me by a colleague.  #InternPro can be found each Monday night.  In addition to the chat, please add this blog to your daily reads to receive targeted advice concerning the internship job search.  Please follow YouTern via Twitter @YouTern

Keppie Careers by Miriam Salpeter  Social media heavily factors into an effective job search.  In addition to reading Miriam’s blog, please search for her on the US News career blog.  Creating a professional and branded online presence has become a key strategy for a successful job search. In addition to her overall stellar career coaching accomplishments, Miriam provides the best social networking guidance for job seekers and career managers.   While visiting her website, please take a close look at the career books she has authored and co-authored.  You can also follow Miriam via Twitter @keppie_careers

Bottom Line Ethics by Dr. Michael Shaub.  Dr. Shaub is a professor here in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M.  This authentic blog catches the eyes and hearts of each reader covering numerous topics that center around the same subject: Ethics!  I invite you to read Dr. Shaub’s insights into the varying subjects and news events.  I am amazed at the numerous POSTIVE comments he receives for each blog entry.  His former students can easily be labeled as his fans.  I promise you will subscribe and look forward to the journey of each blog post.  Bottom Line Ethics will entertain you and teach you life-long lessons that you will never forget.  You can find Dr. Shaub on Twitter @mikeshaub

Personal Branding by Dan Schwabel  If you struggle with answering the question “Tell Me About Yourself” then you cannot afford not to check out Dan’s blog and resources.  His book, Me 2.0, outlines a four step process towards creating an effective and results-driven brand for individuals.  You can find Dan featured in numerous networks and blogs.  Dan is a GenY expert; however, his message crosses generations.  Please follow Dan on Twitter @DanSchawbel

I could go on and on listing other blogs and resources, but I thought I would limit my list today.   This list of five excellent resources will provide information and guidance with etiquette, internships, social networking, ethical behavior, and branding.  Best wishes!

 

 

 

Career Prep Before the MBA Program

It’s the time of year when prospective MBA students are looking towards leaving their current employers and transitioning back to the world of academics. Almost every reason a prospective MBA student has for applying to B-School comes down to career. Whether they want to dramatically change professions or the trajectory, MBA candidates seek to change something in their careers. As with any new initiative, people start out extremely motivated and ready to work. At the beginning of their programs, most MBAs aggressively nod their head at advice from their career coaches and promise to stay actively engaged in their job search. Naturally, this energy starts to wane after the grind of academics kicks into high gear. After students begin to realize the amount of time and energy their academic program requires, they start to prioritize their time which sometimes results in the job search being moved down the list. Some students move their job search down the list farther than others, but suffice it to say that job search energy will decrease to some degree within the first month or two of an MBA program.

Knowing the importance of a successful job search in addition to the importance of successful academics, consider implementing the following early to get ahead of the job search process:

  1. Connect with your career advisor (coach) this summer to begin identifying your goals, strengths and weaknesses in regards to your future career goals. Learn what areas in regards to your job search that will require coaching and refining, so you can spend less time making mistakes this fall. National Career Fairs and internship postings start popping up on the calendar very early; therefore, MBA candidates must be prepared to compete effectively in the market.
  2. Start writing your resume NOW! Refrain from taking your original resume and adding a few updates. Start from scratch and construct a targeted resume that presents your professional brand. Seek professional advice from your career coach and learn how to write a new resume that connects your past accomplishments and experiences with your future goals and the skills needed for success with a potential employer.
  3. Join the professional organization most respected in your field of study. Anyone returning to school for a career in human resources should join the local and national chapters of the Society for Human Resources Management. Be sure to not just stop at joining the organization and looking for the next national conference. Engage with other members. Contact the organization officers or board of directors and ask questions on how you can get involved. Look for ways to connect and learn from others in your chosen profession. Share information with other members through a LinkedIn group or Twitter. Show the membership that you are eager to learn and someone to meet. The best way to do this is to focus on being interested in others. Be interested in career paths, companies, and latest trends in HR, etc. Help others help you.

One of the worst things that a potential MBA student can do is wait until the last minute to start thinking about how to activate the search for an internship. The typical professional job search can take upwards of eight months. Waiting to start your job search until the time you begin your academics will most definitely ensure that one of the two will have to suffer. The best job search approach is one that is steadily active and involves great initiative. Start today by seeking ways you can kick start your job search before you arrive on campus and establish a activity rhythm that will sustain you during the busiest of times. Don’t miss the perfect opportunity due to poor planning.