Good Manners Matter When Job-Hunting

Dr. Randall Hansen posted a great article on the Quintessential Careers Blog in regards to showcasing good manners during the job search process.

Quint CareersBelow is the article:

Manners are one of the quickest methods for job-seekers to be remembered by employers.  Having outstanding manners will make your behaviors stand out from other applicants; while bad manners will do the same – only not the way you are hoping for!

If you are the best candidate for a job, should manners matter? Of course! Employers are looking for the best all-around candidate — someone who is best qualified for the job, yes, but one who can also fit into the corporate culture of the organization and who can work cooperatively with others.

Having good manners does not necessarily mean you will fit the employer’s criteria, but having bad manners is a strong indicator of future troubles.

So, when job-hunting, what are some of the good manners you should be showcasing? Here are 10 to consider:

  1. Politeness. Treating all people you meet with courtesy and respect.
  2. Dressing Properly. Wearing attire that matches the culture of the organization and job you seek.
  3. Punctuality. Arriving to interviews on time (and ideally, a bit early — but not WAY early).
  4. Listening. Conversing in a way that you are not interrupting or asking questions on topics already discussed.
  5. Knowledgeable. Researching the employer can showcase your insights, but also shows respect.
  6. Upbeat. Focusing positive energy and enthusiasm for the job/employer regardless of the mood you happen to be in.
  7. Communicate. Conversing for business is MUCH different than informal communications. Keep your talk and email formal.
  8. Avoid Interruptions. Checking your cell phone during a job interview is the fastest way to remembered — for the WRONG reasons.
  9. Table Graces. Interviewing over a meal or a drink has serious rules of engagement, so make sure you know them!
  10. Show Appreciation. Thanking everyone who interviews or assists you may seem excessive, but it goes a LONG way.

To read the full article, please visit the Quintessential Careers Blog: http://www.quintcareers.com/job-hunting_etiquette_tips.html

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Employer Advice Spotlight: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection. CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments. Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing. The series will be added throughout the spring semester.

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Do you remember the old computer game and TV show that taught geography through a fun, traveling secret agent persona? The agents would travel the globe learning about their destinations and travel routes in order to capture Carmen. The problem was that this series was produced in the late 1980s and early 1990s before MapQuest and Google Maps. The agents would have no problem catching Carmen today. And think of playing this game if you had Google glasses!

So let me put this gently – in today’s world with iPhones, Google Maps, Wi-Fi access all over and a million apps to help you get to where you are going…DON’T BE LATE FOR AN INTERVIEW!

Nothing says “throw my resume in the wastebasket” to an interviewer quicker than you being late. Being late to the interview for any reason demonstrates what you are going to be like as an employee: late, irresponsible, demanding, and generally a terrible employee. Showing up late for your interview or anything else is just disrespectful. I don’t know about you, but I’d be sure I was actually early for an interview.

Here are a few tips for being on time to your interview.

1) Don’t just map the location out on Google Maps or another app. That is not enough. What if the GPS is wrong? What if the company recently moved? What if there is an accident and the road you want to take is closed? If the company is local, drive the route the day before to know exactly where to be.
2) Leave 30 minutes earlier than you think you should. It is far better to sit in the parking lot reviewing your notes and qualifications than it is to be rushed because you’re late.
3) When you are late, you rush and make mistakes making the situation worse. Imagine being 15 minutes late for your interview and running into the building to save time? Now you are late and sweaty. Not a good start.
4) “Early IS on time”. Think about it for a second. It also means that, “on time = late and late = forgotten”.
5) No matter how early you are, do not go into the building/office more than 10 minutes early. You seem too eager.
6) Bring some cold water for your trip and turn on the AC. When most people are nervous, they perspire. Use at least these two tricks to help reduce your anxiety.
7) Get gas the day before. Having to get gas will put you behind schedule. And nobody wants to smell like gas when they walk into a room.

If something happens and even with all your pre-planning you are going to be late, call well before your interview time to give the interviewer notice. Leave a clear, concise message.

Part of the world outside the university setting is timeliness. You are expected to be places and do things on time, if not in advance. Show that you are prepared for that leap by being at your scheduled location prior to the time you were given. I promise you the interviewer will be putting a “bonus point” in your column while others are getting dinged.

And by the way…I don’t think the agents ever found Carmen. Maybe you will see her on your way to your interview if you aren’t running too late!

Employer Advice Spotlight: Sometimes Overlooked Interview Items

By Joshua Pringle

Joshua Pringle is the Director of Marketing at CO2Meter, a leader in Carbon Dioxide metering, sensing, and detection.  CO2Meter designs, manufactures and distributes industry leading devices to consumers and companies in diverse business segments.  Mr. Pringle has put together a series of articles providing advice, from a company’s perspective, on interviewing.  The series will be added throughout the spring semester. 

78dc1fd7-7a8f-4b20-b084-8789c91af08dMost of what you read or hear about interviewing is about preparation, questions and speaking to your skills.  These items are 80-90% of the interviews success.  But the other 10-20% is often overlooked mostly because they are considered “soft skills” that most people are either not aware of or that make them uncomfortable.  Think of “cold calling”.  Most people think “telemarketer” and are repulsed by the idea of cold calling.  But those in business know it is a skill that is essential to the success of almost every organization.

Here are a few of the overlooked items that are important to your interviewing success.

1)      Take a look on the internet and study your interviewer(s).  LinkedIn is a great tool for this.  Best case scenario – you have a common connection that can recommend you.  Worst case scenario – you know the interviewers work history and where they went to college.  Knowing that they went to ERAU or MIT will make for an easier icebreaker than “wow, it’s hot out there.”

2)      Call or email the day before to confirm your appointment, the time, and location.  Confirming says to the interviewer that you are thorough and interested.  It also ensures that you are at the correct location on time.

3)      Be on time.

4)      Think about getting business cards for yourself.  Check out Vista Print.  Good cards will cost you $25-$30 and your University may have printing services too.  A card says you have planned and are serious.  It also ensures that you can exchange contact information with your interviewer.

5)      Get your interviewer’s card so you have all their contact information.  There is actually business etiquette to exchanging business cards.  Review it.

6)      Make eye contact.  Interviewers are turned off by people who don’t make eye contact.

7)      Bring a copy of your resume and any relevant work examples (see the Seven P’s).

8)      Ask the great questions you’ve prepared in advance.

9)      Please take a few minutes and ensure that you have a great business handshake.  Practice on friends and family.  “The Cold Fish” or “Grandmotherly” handshake is a kiss of death for your interview.

10)   Smile.  Research done in 2012 by professors at the University of Kansas has proven that smiling releases your AND others’ tension.

Most importantly you must write either a hand-written thank you note or an email within 24 hours of the interview.  This is an absolute.  No questions asked.  I can guarantee you that a spectacular interview gets knocked down several notches if the interviewer doesn’t receive a thank you note.

Your thank you is your opportunity to show gratitude for the interview opportunity, for you to rectify any issues the interviewer saw in your candidacy, and for you to reinforce your qualifications.  Not sending the thank you note screams unprofessional, rude, and a bad fit.

I actually suggest two thank you’s.  The first is electronic sent within 12 hours of your interview, a quick thank you that informs your interviewer you are sending a hand-written note.  The second is the hand-written note that is your main follow up tool.

Conventional wisdom is that hand-written notes are out of date and old news.  Business professionals know that hand-written notes leave lasting impressions of professionalism, class, and respect.  I have cemented dozens of business relationships simply by sending a hand-written thank you note.

Be prepared.  Have great questions to ask.  Be ready to address your skills.  Also, consider some of these areas that are often overlooked.  As a reminder, be classy and respected, not old news.

Learning How to Perfect Your Soft Skills

by Valerie Kielmovitchconversation

What are soft skills? Why do they matter to an employer?  Unlike technical skills, which are specific to an occupation, soft skills are also known as interpersonal or people skills.  This skill set encompasses communication style, conflict resolution, team building, strategic thinking and more.  Technical skills are needed in most positions, but soft skills help contribute to a person’s ability to perform a job well and fit in with a company’s culture.  Employers want to hire well-rounded individuals who have both the technical expertise and the ability to work and communicate effectively with co-workers.

Many candidates obtain Bachelor of Science degrees and maintain high GPAs, but what sets one candidate apart from another?  Sometimes it comes down to their soft skills.

The top soft skills that employers look for in candidates vary based on the position.  However, many employers emphasize communication, positive attitude, professionalism, team work and flexibility.

How does one improve their interpersonal skills?

  • Practice
  • Be self-aware: ensure you are using eye contact and that your words flow well together
  • Ability to discuss skills/abilities in an interview setting
  • Brush up on writing ability
  • Join clubs/organizations where collaboration/team work is needed

To perfect your soft skills, work to enhance your abilities and develop skills you may lack. Feedback from trusted peers, supervisors and mentors is a great way to identify areas in which you may need improvement.  Once you know what to work on, practice these skills, utilize resources, including Career Services resources available to you, and implement soft skills in your job search and professional career.

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University since 2010.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina.  Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

The Art of Having Confidence

by Valerie Kielmovitch

confidenceConfidence!  This is something that you cannot purchase or steal.  You cannot gain it overnight and it cannot be given as a gift.  Confidence takes time to acquire through personal experiences, knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

Gaining confidence begins with inward reflection.  Assessing your positive attributes help you portray confidence.  In addition, your outward appearance adds to developing a strong self-esteem. The art of having confidence is combining your internal assessments and portraying your traits outwardly. Confidence is an important part of everyone’s life, but it is especially important for those seeking a job or internship.

The job or internship search really shakes even the most confident person.  Apply to numerous job postings, interviewing for only a few, and then not getting offered a position can hurt one’s ego.  It is important, however, to maintain confidence throughout the job/internship search process because if an employer suspects a person has low self-confidence or low self-esteem, why would the employer want to hire him or her?

Below are some suggestions to keep your morale high during this tough process:

  • Make a list of your strengths and achievements – This list can be reviewed often to help maintain confidence.  Look it over right before you interview as it will help you focus on your best traits.
  • Talk to yourself in the mirror – Take time every day to tell yourself about your great qualities.
  • Ask for reassurance from loved ones – Those who are special in your life probably have a million wonderful qualities they love about you.  Ask them to remind you every so often to keep your confidence high.
  • Seek feedback after an interview – After interviewing with a company in which you thought you did extremely well, but were not selected for the position, ask the employer for some feedback.  There are so many contributing factors that go into a hiring decision that it might be beyond your realm of control.
  • Take time for yourself – During this hectic process, make sure you take plenty of ‘me’ time.  Participate in a hobby you enjoy or try a new activity.  Taking your mind off the mundane process every so often can help you maintain your confidence.
  • Seek others in the same situation – You probably know a few other people going through this same process.  Take time to discuss strategies and even hardships with them.

Confidence in a job/internship search comes from knowing that you are following the correct steps.  Take time to perfect your resume, cover letter, and other application materials.  Practice your interview skills through Perfect Interview (can be found on your main EagleHire Network once you logged in).  Use the Career Services advice and resources to ensure you are putting your best foot forward.  For more helpful information, please visit our website: careers.erau.edu.

Throughout this process, you must maintain confidence in yourself and maintain confidence that the right position is out there for you.  Helen Keller said it best “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” 

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for the past two years.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina.  Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

How to Create Your Brand: Part One

by Kristy Amburgey

brandPersonal branding is a great way for any job seeker or professional to establish his or her expertise in industry or in the market, and a personal brand, especially in the online world, allows you to be more easily found and makes it easier for someone to comprehend your brand.  Before you start to implement actual branding ideas, you first need to understand your brand…YOU.

To create your brand, you need to take the time to figure out what skills, qualities, experiences, accomplishments, etc. upon which you are going to build your reputation.  You need to evaluate what makes you unique as a job seeker and what traits your desired companies value and marry the two together into one cohesive brand.

Depending on where you are in your career, you can draw from your academic, co-op/internship, project, volunteer and work (part-time and full-time) experiences.  Consider the experiences that are most closely related to the career you want and remember to include the accomplishments that make you stand out from the typical candidate.  Directly related experiences should be prioritized as you create your brand, but you also need to apply experiences that are not typical of your industry to further show a connection between you and what the employer needs. To understand industry expectations, you should have several targeted companies in mind and know what the “typical” candidate looks like for them.

You may have a grasp on what skills, accomplishments and qualifications you are going to use to build your brand, but you must also know what you expect to achieve with your personal brand.  What job(s) do you desire?  What outcomes are you seeking with your brand?  It is difficult to create a brand when you don’t know who your target audience is or what your own goals happen to be.  When creating your brand, understand who you want to see your branding efforts and keep their personalities and preferences in mind.  When you are seeking employment, it is even more important to understand your audience and know what job you want before developing your brand.

Creating a personal brand is a valuable way to communicate information about you.  Before creating the brand, you must have a clear picture of what you can offer and what you want in order to create a strategy that works.  And you need to honestly evaluate your connection to these areas before beginning your branding efforts.

Next week, we will continue the idea of creating a brand with How to Create Your Brand: Part Two.

Kristy Amburgey is the Associate Director of Career Services – Daytona Beach campus and currently manages marketing and employer relations for the department.  She has been with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for approximately 10 years and with Career Services for nine years.

Alumni Career Spotlight: Kruthika Srinivasan

Kruthika Srinivasan, DB 2011

Kruthika Srinivasan, DB 2011

Kruthika Srinivasan is a 2011 graduate of Embry-Riddle’s MBA program. Born and raised in India, Kruthika left her home country at age 17 to work on a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics from the University of Nottingham. Soon after receiving her degree, Kruthika realized she wanted to immerse herself in the aviation industry and decided that a degree from Embry-Riddle would be the best way to move forward with her goals. She moved to the United States and began attending Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. As an MBA student, Kruthika landed an internship at Southwest Airlines. Soon after completing her internship, she interviewed for her current position. Kruthika is a Senior Analyst in the Network Planning Department, where she has been working for the last year.

Tell us about your position at Southwest Airlines and what you enjoy about working for them.

As a Senior Analyst in the Network planning department, I am part of the team that is responsible for routing and scheduling the approximately 520 aircraft in our network. We are constantly living in the future while we optimize the balance between the commercial requests of the schedule and the operational feasibilities. The fact that we are a point-to-point network just makes our lives as planners a lot more interesting as we solve this massive puzzle made up of at least 3000 flights a day. It is a very fulfilling job where I get to see my schedule working in the real world while making good profits for the company. I personally love working for Southwest Airlines. We, as a company, have a very different approach towards work which needs to be experienced firsthand. The culture at Southwest is outstanding, there is an excellent work-life balance, my co-workers are very friendly and the people here in general have a very positive outlook towards life. 

Many international students want to gain some work experience while in the U.S., either during their studies or after graduation.  What advice would you share with these students?

My advice to international students trying to get some work experience in the U.S.:  

  • Start early and plan ahead. This is most important.
  • Do a good amount of research about the companies that you are interested in.
  • Work closely with Career services and take advantage of the experienced counselors there.
  • Show the employer that they have a lot to gain by hiring you – not just in terms of knowledge and skill set, but also because you could bring a global perspective to their business practices and add to the diversity of the company.

You represented Southwest Airlines at the recent ERAU Industry/Career Expo.  Being on the recruiting side of the table, share a few things that stand out to you when you are talking with someone about working at Southwest.

Most students that I spoke to at ERAU seemed to have done their homework about Southwest Airlines and I definitely appreciated that. I would advise any student approaching Southwest to be confident, cheerful and have a good time. This is a company that gives importance to not only your work ethics and knowledge, but also to your all-round character.

We know that many times the education received at college is a solid foundation for the work world, but it does not completely prepare you for the career position you will have.  What skill have you found that has helped you adapt to your new position quickly?

Yes, I agree that just having a formal education does not prepare anyone for work in the real world in its entirety. However, I do believe that it is very important to have a good foundation in school as it is the basis for your thought process.  Education may not prepare you for every possible scenario, but it helps train your mind to identify the right to approach any problem.  Personally, I have found that keeping yourself up to date with the latest developments in the industry and associating how knowledge learned in the classroom could be applied to a real world problem will prepare you to hit the ground running. Also, team projects are an excellent way to learn and build on your emotional intelligence, leadership skills, time management techniques and most importantly, ability to be a team player.

Is there any other advice you would share about preparing to be successful in the work force?

Focus on the task at hand and aim to be a perfectionist. After attaining a certain level, when you are working with some of the best minds in the industry, hard work, the right attitude and good work ethic are the only things that will help you stand out in the crowd.  At the same time, don’t forget to have fun.

Using Study Abroad Experiences after the Experience

by Sandi Ohman

Brazil … Berlin … Istanbul …  London … Luxembourg … Madrid … Paris … Sienna…

ERAU Study AbroadSounds exciting – learning in a new environment, seeing sites you’ve only researched on the internet, and making new friends!  The Study Abroad experience is part of many students’ college experiences.  There is a lot of excitement leading up to the experience, and most students are still excited once they are home.  However, the dilemma can be how to use this experience for professional development or for the benefit of the job search once the student is back in the country.

Students will typically take classes while they are abroad, so they will have some tangible education, knowledge and/or skills that can more easily be demonstrated on a resume.  It is the broader, intangible knowledge and skills that are harder to demonstrate.  Some of the intangibles learned and experienced from a Study Abroad opportunity are:

  • Exposure to working in an international environment
  • Experiencing international cultures
  • Learning a different language
  • Learning in a different language
  • Network of international contacts & friends
  • Problem-solving skills in challenging situations

Other ways that a Study Abroad experience can be beneficial after the experience is over include:

Work Experience – A variety of departments on campus will employ students to work in their offices.  Experience having lived and/or studied abroad can be desirable since there are bound to be international students that visit those departments.  Some specific departments that have an international connection are: International Admissions, Study Abroad, Language Skills/Language Institute, Campus Visit, International Student Office, Housing, Diversity, and Career Services

Graduate School – International experience can help with admission to graduate schools in the U.S. and Abroad.

Scholarships – Scholarships exist that allow undergraduate students that have studied abroad and want to return to pursue graduate studies.

Job Search – International experience and educational study is recognized by companies with a global presence.

Additionally, Study Abroad experience can enhance your resume.  This experience can be incorporated in a resume in a few different ways.

Summary/Objective Statement – This is typically where the writer will share with the resume recipient the purpose of that resume.  Sometimes this can be a one sentence objective statement, and other times, a couple of sentences including skills offered to the company or position are more effective.  Skills that can be mentioned here are language skills, working with different cultures, adaptability/flexibility, working in challenging situations, problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Education – Study Abroad experience can be mentioned on the resume in the Education section as a subsection under the college/university they completed the experience with or as a separate educational experience.  Mentioning the classes or course of study completed while on Study Abroad could be done here as well.

Project Experience – Depending on the educational accomplishments, list project experiences (group or individual) and highlight them in this specific section.

Activities – As a resume becomes full with relevant experience, i.e. research and internship experiences, the study abroad experience might not be so prominent on the resume.  The activities section can be a place to move Study Abroad experiences to, allowing for more room higher on the resume for more relevant experiences.

Take note that resumes should be customized, depending on the positions being applied to, by highlighting experience that demonstrates a good fit for the company and the position.

Experience living abroad has become an experience that many employers value.  Companies that have a global presence appreciate international experience, since they have international customers and opportunities arise within the company to work and travel abroad representing the company.  Government agencies have indicated their interest in candidates that have worked, lived or studied abroad, especially if the agency has any connection to homeland security, i.e. CIA or Department of State.  Some graduates have found an unexpected career from their time studying abroad: teaching English as a second language, for example.

International experiences are definitely valuable opportunities – they broaden the perspective of the student at the time, but this experience can also give the intern or full-time candidate an extra point to market to an employer.  That is a definite synergistic bonus!

Sandi Ohman is the Senior Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.  She has been with the university for over 9 years and has advised students in most all degree areas while in Career Services.  Sandi brings additional experience having worked in the finance industry for over 6 years in her previous career.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Florida, and her Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. 

Cover Letters Uncovered

by Valerie Kielmovitch

Bad Cover LetterYes!  You finally find the job posting for you and are ready to apply, but then you see it…submit a cover letter with your resume.  Your resume is top notch as you have been working on it for months, but you have never written a cover letter before and are uncertain of how to begin.  Let us uncover several top tips for generating a great cover letter.

One popular myth to uncover is that you can write one generic cover letter for all positions to which you are applying.  This is not the case, however, as it is important to tailor your cover letter to each specific position.  Find key words in the job description to include in your document, match them to your particular experiences and attributes, and integrate them into your cover letter.

Cover letters should go beyond the information that is included in your resume and really speak about your soft skills (i.e. communication, presentation abilities, etc.) that you have not included in your resume.  To expand on your related soft skills and accomplishments, you should include examples of accomplishments and achievements that will establish you as the ideal candidate for the position.

Another cover letter tip is that the format of a cover letter is important.  This document is considered a business letter, and everything is left justified on the page without any indentation.  You should also set up your cover letter in a 3-4 paragraph structure, which is described below.

You will begin your cover letter with your address, followed by the date and then the company contact information to include the contact’s title and address.  If you do not know a contact at the company, do some research on LinkedIn or Google to find a contact; if that is not possible, then address the letter to ‘Dear Human Resources Manager’ or ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ as it is more personable than the generic ‘To Whom it May Concern.’

The first paragraph should explain the position you are interested in and how you heard about it.  In addition, you can include information you know about the company or why you are interested in their organization.

The next paragraph(s) is/are where you discuss your skills, abilities, experiences, and education, all supported by concrete examples.  In this section you should concentrate on 2-3 traits and how you acquired and applied those.  Focus on how you can positively impact the company and what you can contribute.

The final paragraph is where you invite the employer to read over your resume to learn more information about your qualifications.  At this point you will want to make a call to action. This could include requesting a meeting/personal interview or stating that you will follow up with the employer in a certain amount of time. Make sure you thank the employer for their time and consideration of your application and include your contact information (both phone number and email address).

End the letter with a professional closing (i.e. Sincerely, Cordially) followed by four lines then your typed name.  If you print the letter, make sure you sign your name in black ink.  Including the word Enclosure will also signify that your resume is included as well.

Formatting aside, here’s another tip to uncover.  Writing an effective cover letter takes time and patience so make sure you begin early and give yourself plenty of time.

A final tip is to ask others to proofread the cover letter as you do not want any grammatical or spelling errors in the document.  Also ask the person to review the cover letter for clarity and use of strong, positive language.

Cover letters can communicate so much more than just what is written on the resume, so it is imperative that you uncover the best cover letter tips and use them to your advantage.  To find samples and more resources, please visit the Career Services website.

Valerie Kielmovitch has been working as a Program Manager in the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for nearly two years.  She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina.  Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

 

Interviewing Tips and Techniques

by Brian Carhide

A few months ago my brother-in-law had the opportunity to interview with two companies for a position as an aviation maintenance technician. Knowing that both positions were competitive and very desirable, he decided to call and ask for some advice. I proceeded to provide him with suggestions on proper dress, preparation, importance of the follow-up, and so on. Knowing him for many years and the fact he has been in the industry for over 20 years, I was confident in his ability to land the job.  However, at the end of the conversation, I mentioned one additional piece of advice – attitude.

In the month following while hanging-out during our annual spring turkey hunt, we were discussing his new job with the Home Depot corporate aviation department. Naturally as a career advisor, I had to ask him how the interview had gone. He proceeded to share some details, and one detail that continually stood-out was the information his manager shared with him after he had begun his new position: “our decision was between 3 candidates; we choose you because you were someone we would want to work with.” Albeit he is intelligent, competent, and very good at what he does, but in the end his attitude got him the job.

Of course you still need to possess a company’s desired skill set, but many times, if you have successfully made it to a personal interview, you have the skills. Now they are more interested in you as a person. In addition to attitude, I want to share a couple of techniques and approaches to help you be successful with interviewing.

Practice

If you are an athlete or a musician or have participated in any activity that requires skill, you have probably heard the old truisms – practice, practice, practice or practice makes perfect!  Interviewing for a job is no different. An interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, and sharpening your interviewing skills can help relax some of those nerves.

Mock interviewing can be an effective form of practicing. Whether you have access to a career advisor, a willing friend, or an experienced family member, you want to determine all your resources, take advantage of them and practice. This type of practice will enable you to perfect eye contact, mannerisms, and the delivery of answers. Mock interviewing will also help develop your story and help in selling the skills you have acquired to a potential employer. There is even software called Perfect Interview available on the EagleHire Network home page that allows you to video record yourself answering questions. Sometimes we are our greatest critics, and watching and listening to yourself can be a valuable learning tool.

Research

Following a recent Embry-Riddle career expo, several employers provided feedback about students which they interviewed. Comments made by the employers indicated students were lacking knowledge about their companies. This is the information age, and it’s very easy to Google a company’s name to obtain a plethora of information. That being said, there is no reason you should go into an interview without knowing general information about the company.

Besides the basic internet search, you may want to consider other methods of learning about a company. In the aviation industry, being that it’s a small network, there is a good chance an alumnus works at the company. Think about the pertinent company information an alumnus could provide and possibly about some specific tips for an upcoming interview. Knowing the culture of the company can be helpful information in an interview, which is also information an alumnus could provide. If possible, take a tour of the facility and observe the working environment and the interactions between the employees.

Gathering all the information you can and being knowledgeable about the company will show your level of interest and make you stand out from other candidates. It can also provide you with some quality questions to ask at the end of the interview, which will be discussed in a future blog post.

Follow-up

The follow-up can be equally as important because many people neglect this step in the interview process. I always suggest a handwritten thank you letter, mailing it off as soon as possible and no later than the next morning following the interview. If an email is all that you can do, it’s better than nothing. Again, the fact that many people neglect the thank you letter (or email) will make you stand out from the competition. Your follow-up should also include contacting the company a week or so after the interview to ask where they are in the process. This action will express your sincere interest in the position and your desire to work for their company.

Successful interviewing begins long before the actual interview. Each interview needs to be approached individually. However, with a well-developed plan of attack, basic knowledge, and practice, you can make that nerve-wracking experience a positive one.

Brian Carhide has more than 20 years of professional aviation experience. He spent many years as a professional pilot, including experience as a charter and airline pilot. Recently, he has been a leader in guiding young aviators in higher education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.   

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