Have something to showcase.
What steps are you taking today to achieve your ultimate career goal?
What projects are you pursuing that demonstrates your commitment to your stated area of interest?
What are you doing to prove that you are more than just talk?
For example if you have an interest in fashion how does your resume and experience showcase your dedication to this area? What have you done that illustrates your passion and excitement for this field? For example have you interned with any designers? Do you write or contribute to fashion blogs? How about a YouTube show where you discuss fashion trends? It isn’t enough to have lofty and exciting goals, you must also demonstrate your commitment to these goals based on your activities. Your activities serve to a potential employer as proof of your stated area of interest. If you can’t showcase your interest then it’s just talk.
This is a sample college recruiting cycle based on a traditional fall and spring semester academic year. Students should be ready in the fall to interview and connect with employers. Begin early and utilize the resources your career services center has to offer.
Be an Interview Star
How many times have you been on an interview and an employer has asked you a question that begins with something like “Give me an example when you had a difficult time with a customer how did you manage it?” Or maybe the question sounded something like “Describe a time when you applied effective time management.” These questions are behavioral based and the premise is that if you can provide concrete specific examples of how you addressed past challenges that will give employers some insight on your performance in the future. The key to a successful response is to use S.T.A.R. This stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result.
- Situation- Describe the Situation.
- Task- What problem did you face?
- Action- How did you address the problem? .
- Result- What was the result of your action? .
Responders tend to be very vague however interviewers want something specific.
Take a look at the responses in bold below to a question about dealing with difficult customers:
SITUATION – What problem did you face?- As a server in a restaurant I had an issue with a customer who came in an ordered a meal .
TASK- What problem did you face?- When I brought the meal out it was not prepared according to her specifications. The customer was irrate and she began to state that she would never return to the restaurant. I sent it back to the kitchen and her meal was incorrectly prepared a second time. The customer was very upset. I did my best to calm her down and apologized for the mistake. I offered to try once more but she declined and agreed to eat the meal.
ACTION- How did you address the problem? I realized the customer was upset and that the error was our fault so I asked my manager if I could provide her with a gift card to apologizee for our error and to encourage her to return to the restaurant. My manager agreed so I presented her with the gift card.
RESULT – What was the result of your action? The customer returned at another time and she actually requested me to be her server. She apologized for her past behavior stating that she was having a bad day at the time of her last visit. I took special care during her second visit to ensure that we got her order perfect and it was. She also used her gift card to pay for her meal.
So next time you are asked for an example or to describe a stituation when something happened remember to use the STAR techique to answer the questions. What are some common behavioral-based interview questions that you’ve encountered? Please share so that we can discuss the a great response.
A lot of students pursue major areas of study for reason other than their love and passion for the subject. If you are one of those students chances are your lack of love is reflected in your grades. Your major is like most things in life if you don’t love it you will avoid it and as a result refuse to give it the time and attention that it deserves. This will be evident in your grades. While grades are not a measure of intelligence they are a measure of how much time and effective effort you give to a particular area. Usually the more time and effort you spend on something the better you will be.
For many students average grades in your major area of study means 1. you are average in the area that you have chosen to devote the most of time in studying 2. You are not giving it much time or serious effort. Would you hire someone to perform average work in an area that they claim to love? If not, why would an employer pay you a salary for average effort in an area in which you have majored. Pursue something that you and enjoy and supplement what your major does not teach you with other activities and involvement on and off campus. If you enjoy your major it will be evident. You’ll enjoy your undergraduate experience so much more.
It is up to you
No one is going to give you chance. Employers don’t have the luxury of giving out chances when there are so many qualified candidates who can actually perform the essential functions of their jobs. With so many people with the knowledge, skills and abilities to work why should someone give YOU a chance? As if people are in business to give out chances, no most people are in business to generate revenue and that is not done by taking pity on the under qualified and giving them a chance. Your goal as a worker in this economy is to ensure that you remain abreast with the demands of the job market in order to equip yourself with the knowledge, skills and abilities employers find valuable. Rather than focusing on people giving you a chance, give your attention to what you have to offer that will contribute to the productivity of an organization. If you discover that you are sorely lacking in knowledge, skills and abilities that would be valuable in the contemporary market place take on the task of training your self to improve your marketability.