Cover Letters and Thank You Letters and Interviews, OH MY!

Are you looking for the real reason to use cover letters and send thank you letters? Look no further!

What is the real reason we use cover letters and thank you letters? Well, let me tell you. It definitely has nothing to do with lions and tigers and bears! I have a few good reasons you will want to use a cover letter and follow-up with a thank you letter.

Why a Cover Letter?

  • To show the employer how AWESOME you are
  • And to make them FLIP THE PAGE to your resume
  • This gives you a better chance to get the interview

There are a couple of things to be aware of though. When you’re writing your cover letter be sure not to brag but tell the employer how you can benefit the company. If you’re applying to a few different places, then be sure to change some of your wording in your cover letter for each company. Employers DO NOT have time to read pages about how great you are. It’s important to keep it short and sweet and to the point.

Cover Letter Info

Interview

Now, if everything goes right you’ll get the interview!

Why Send a Thank You Letter?

  • This is for after the interview.
  • It shows you have good manners, of course!
  • This is your last chance to leave a positive impression AND your last chance to get your name in front of them.
  • Did you forget to mention something in your interview? Thank you letters are the perfect chance to say it!

Thank You Letter Info

IMPORTANT

If where you’re applying to specifically asks that you don’t add a cover letter, then don’t. Not following instructions can cause you not to get the interview. So, make sure you know what the employer wants!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

I hope this helps anyone wondering why it’s important to use cover letters and thank you letters. Please let me know what you think! Best of luck to your future endeavors.

Emily Brugh – Business Major @ IUPUC

 

You on Paper

You as a person are ever changing. Just like yourself, your resume is ever changing as well. A resume is the professional part of yourself that you want to share with potential employers. On your resume you will include your contact information, work experience, and a list or references. A good resume should be concise to one page and appealing to the eye to read.

In the beginning of a career a resume may be a little short with less professional work experience and references. If you’ve never worked a professional job before you may list any experiences such as babysitting, responsibilities at home, or extracurricular activities at school.  References may be teachers, coaches, or family friends who can vouch for how responsible you are. This isn’t the ideal resume to have but everyone knows that you must start somewhere.

After having a career your resume will drastically change. Listing work experience with job responsibilities is a great resume upgrade. Even more important than that is the references you gain. Being able to list previous employers who you’ve done good work for can really set your resume apart. Overall your resume will contain more professional content that better reflects you in the professional world.

When going into the job market no matter how much you can put on your resume it is important to at least construct one. Making it eye appealing by using bullet points and different sized fonts is good for outlining different information. If you put in the effort and make what ever you put on the paper appealing employers will notice the effort you put in.

By Kyla Bessonov, Business Major, IUPUC

Horrific Job Interviews

Image result for job interview meme

Have you ever been involved in a horrific job interview? We have all been there waiting for the moment we are going to be answering those tough questions. Sometimes it goes smooth, but other times not so much.  Here are a few interviews that were horrific, but I must admit are quite hilarious!

Bathroom Explosion: A lady gets to her interview early. While waiting in the reception area, she decides to go the restroom to make sure her makeup is good. She places her things on the counter facing the mirror as she politely acknowledges another lady making her way into the bathroom. She goes back to doing her makeup while the other lady enters the stall. The next thing the lady hears is the sound of a gaseous explosion! The woman frantically tries to collect her things and leave the bathroom so this other poor woman can explode in peace. Before the lady could collect all her things and leave she was hit with the foul smell. Meanwhile, the lady goes to her interview only to find out the lady interviewing her is miss blowout herself. They are both embarrassed (for obvious reasons) and can’t make light of it because the lady’s colleague is there with her, providing support for the interview. The colleague then had to take over the interview process because the interviewer just couldn’t handle the embarrassment. The lady had no idea the answers she provided because she was embarrassed for the other lady. A pretty crappy interview to say the least. 😊 In this case I’m not sure what either one could have done to prevent this from happening. This is one of those scenarios of wrong place at the wrong time.

Who Lies Before Me: A manager was reviewing resumes for an open position and hiring process. He noticed that one applicant listed she was fluent in sign language. Although the position didn’t require the use of sign language, the manager found this interesting because he had taken sign language courses himself. He set the interview up with the potential candidate. As he entered the conference room he started to use sign language to communicate to the interviewee thinking it would be fun. However, the lady had no clue what he was saying and had to admit she did not know how to sign language, but her roommate did. Her dishonesty led the manager to have a negative impression of her and the interview only lasted five minutes. This is just another example of why you should always tell the truth.

What’s the President’s Name?: During an interview, an applicant kept getting her details mixed up at her own expense. She stated the president of the company’s name wrong numerous times. After the interview, the interviewer sent an email detailing they were going to go in a different direction and explained the name mix – up as unfortunate. She responded back to the email in confusion and cited the president’s name wrong again. Always make sure you have your facts right especially when you are going to go out of your way to provide the information.

A Little Too Honest: While a man is being interviewed he is asked ‘why he would want to work for the company.’ He responded by stating ‘he really didn’t, but figured that the job would do for the time being.’ The interviewer appreciated his honesty, but realized this wasn’t the man for the job. Obviously, people use jobs as stepping stones to get to better opportunities, but to say this in an interview is more than likely not going to land you the job. Instead this man should have stated one or two things he liked about the company, and how he could add value to it.

These are just a sample of the many horrific job interviews I’ve read about recently. However, each story (except the gaseous blowout; that was just hilarious) provides a valuable lesson we should all learn from. You should always be honest, but you don’t have to volunteer everything that is on your mind. Tact can go a long way! And always make sure you have your facts right before you start volunteering information.

 

By Ryan Clark, Business Major – IUPUC

Do You Hear What I Hear???

 

woman wearing headphones standing beside man

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Listening to me and Hearing me are two different things. How well do you listen? According to PR Daily, less than two percent of the country’s population, have had formal education on how to listen. Did that not just blow your mind, because mine is flabbergasted. We communicate everyday with people from around the world, only to realize what we are saying to each other is only being heard, and not comprehended. I have three quick points on how we can enhance our communication skills, by simply improving our listening abilities.

  1. Pay Attention
  2. Open Your Mind
  3. Interact

These tips do not have to be completed in order, but it is much easier to understand the conversation if you do. Let’s break these tips down into a simpler form.

  • Paying attention is the key to any conversation. This allows the sender and receiver the opportunity to feel each other out. It is also needed to retain pertinent information.
  • Open your mind to all ideas whether you feel like they are good or bad. You never know what someone else can bring to the table, not to mention we all fall short of knowing everything, so always be willing to learn something new.
  • Both the sender and the receiver should interact with each other. By doing this the other knows if the message sent is clear. Interaction could be as simple as eye contact or a nod of the head. The point is you are letting the other know you get it!

I have found in relationships with others in my life, communicating effectively is so important. Not understanding what someone is trying to tell you after they have said it over and over and you have heard it over and over is beyond frustrating. That is why during the communicating process, we must openly listen to each other and pay attention to the details in the message so that we can respond to effectively. Considering there are so many cultures that make up our country, some ways of getting a message across will vary. These steps might not work for every situation, but they can assist with the process.

Researching Potential Employers

When searching for a job, it is equally important to research potential employers. Having a good understanding of the employer can tremendously help you prepare for a job interview. By doing this research beforehand, you will have a greater understanding of what you are walking into on interview day. Questions that you may have had prior to an interview could be answered by simply doing your own research ahead of time.

What exactly do you look for when researching a potential employer? Some of the most important aspects to look at would be how long the company has been in business, and if the business has been successful. Obviously, no one wants to start a job just to find out the company is going downhill. You want to make sure the employer has built their business on a strong, solid foundation. Another part would be the company culture and morale. Other details to look at would be location, schedule, a general idea of salary and benefits, and employee retention rate. Again, researching these things before a job interview can help you come prepared for any further questions you might have.

Now the question is, HOW do you research a potential employer? With the internet right at our fingertips, it should be easy! A couple of my favorite websites are:
• Glassdoor – A free website with information compiled from anonymous employees around the world. You can narrow down your search to certain geographic locations, if you wish. The website provides information regarding salary, benefits, interview process/questions, pros/cons of working there, etc. It is a great website to research potential employers.
• LinkedIn – Search for the company page on LinkedIn. Is the employer well known? Do you have any mutual connections? If so, are they people whom you would want to work for/with? These are important aspects to look at when researching a potential employer.

Aside from those helpful websites, it is also imperative to review the company website. Is the site valid, updated, and user friendly? Do you feel welcomed when looking at the site? Click around on all the tabs throughout the site. You should be able to gain a great understanding of who the employer is and what they do by looking through their website. Some employers will share employee testimonies on the career page. This can give you insight on why people like working there!

Researching a potential employer can be quick and simple. It is always a good idea to do your research before heading into a job interview. The more information you know ahead of time, the more prepared you will be. Knowing what to look for in a potential employer and where to look could be the key to your next successful job interview!

By Samantha Winters, Business Major – IUPUC

A Typical Job Interview

I’m sure many of you if not all of you have been through at least one job interview in your lifetime so far. Well, how many of you actually took time and effort to prepare for the interview? Probably not as much as you wish you would’ve.        An interview consists of many simple but huge steps you should always follow. After completing all your resume steps which should have been done in order for you to get an interview, you want to make sure those files and documents are accessible to yourself as well as your future employer. Make sure you always plan ahead and maybe even bring an extra copy of your resume. You should always go into the job interview feeling confident and strong that you have a place to fill the position you’re trying to get. Employers have many jobs other than being a hiring manager. Time is money, don’t waste their time. Most employers will only bring you in for an interview if they feel like you will be a good fit for the position and team. Most interviews for very serious businesses are put together to get to know you more personally. If they know you can do the job, they will always have you come in for a face-to-face interview that way they can get to see how you act in person. Most of the time you’re going to be at work and so they want to make sure they like you at a personal level as well as a coworker/team.        In order for you to do good in an interview, you should always be conversational with the employer. Don’t be shy, speak up and speak to them as if you met a new person. A lot of times people feel discouraged in an interview which results in them being quiet and not showing themselves at a high potential. You don’t want to make them feel awkward, the more you talk the better you will be off. You should always be prepared physically as well as mentally. Going into an interview you should be wearing something that is at least a bit dressier than a regular day for yourself. Maybe slacks, jeans, polos, clean shoes, etc. Dress yourself accordingly to the job title. Although not everyone can look as nice as one another, you should always try to be at your best physical appearance that way they know you are serious enough about their opening position.        Expect the greatest but don’t let that tear you don’t fit the requirements for the open position. You can expect to receive a drug test, background check, legal citizenship, and other requirements for the job. Hopefully this has given you a few helpful tips about a job interview.

 

By Corey Wall, Business Management Major – IUPUC

Why must we listen?

When you were young do you recall your parents telling you to LISTEN?  Perhaps you remember them saying ‘I know you hear me but are you LISTENING to me?’ At the time did you wonder ‘What is the difference?’ Let me try to explain what the difference is and why it is an important life skill.

Hearing is a physical activity that refers to the vibrations your ear receives then turns into sounds. On the other hand, listening is much more involved and can be a physical AND mental activity.

There are also different types of listening. For example, active listening involves not only the physical activity of listening to what is being said but also in watching the body language of the speaker. Effective listening requires focus, and concentration which requires both physical and mental activity. Both types are extremely important in our daily communications.

By being both an active and effective listener you can help in preventing miscommunication, misunderstandings, establish a connection with the speaker, and also improve the interpretation of what is being said.  I am sure we have all experienced a variation of miscommunication or misunderstanding. What if you had a simple misunderstanding while working on project and someone was hurt? Could a  miscommunication from a co-worker lead to clients losing their investment? Would you lose your job? Unfortunately, all of these things can and have happened.

Here are some ways you can improve your listening skills.

Maintain eye contact. By keeping eye contact with the speaker your mind will wander less and the distraction of those around you can be kept to a minimum.

Remain attentive. Once eye contact is established you can remain attentive and you are likely to absorb and retain more information.

Keep an open mind. Save your questions and judgements for the end of the speech simply because they may be answered at the speech progresses.

Listen to the words the speaker is saying and when you hear them in context and it will help in interpretation and limit misunderstandings.

Don’t interrupt. Of course this goes without saying however we often need reminded.

Employers are providing workshops and seminars to their employees simply because of they want to emphasize the importance of listening. Listening is a skill that is not only required but essential for the workplace, relationships, and everyday communication.  How well do you think you listen?

 

 

By Lindsay McIntosh,  Senior at IUPUC

 

 

Murderer, Widower, or Both?

“He’s cute,” said Penny. “Doesn’t that teardrop tattoo mean he murdered someone?” asked Bernadette. Canned laughter ensued. I was watching The Big Bang Theory, and that one statement was all I knew about teardrop tattoos. I have since researched teardrop tattoos and learned that, while the tattoo can have many criminal connotations, it may also simply signify the death of a loved one or some other tragedy the wearer has experienced. At the time, however, based on the information I had, teardrop tattoo equated to murderer; and this was further supported by my past experience of having a coworker with a teardrop tattoo, who, rumor had it, had been convicted of attempted murder.

Clearly, how we present ourselves matters, and in the workforce, it matters based not on what we mean to portray, but based on how we are viewed by those we are portraying ourselves to. Tattoos are an example of nonverbal communication, something that gives people an impression of us based on their own interpretations of how we look. A first impression is made in a matter of seconds, and, later, is very hard to overturn, which means that how we present ourselves can be our biggest weapon or our greatest downfall. Navigating the world of nonverbal communication is especially difficult when dealing with a workforce comprised of multiple generations.

A Harris research poll found that nearly half of millennials and a little over a third of Gen Xers have tattoos, while barely over 10% of Baby Boomers sport tattoos. In a workforce composed of at least these three generations, a tattoo will mean different things depending on the viewer. The fact that first impressions are made within the first few seconds of meeting someone means that, in an interview, a decision to NOT hire a candidate may be based on the nonverbal communication that occurs before a job applicant even has a chance to open his/her mouth.

As a millennial myself, I am not arguing that people should not express themselves via tattoos. I am simply urging readers to know their audience. An interview at a start-up begun by millennials like ourselves and an interview at a long established company with Baby Boomers in the positions of authority should be approached differently in regards to physical appearance. The same goes for actually working at these different establishments; being taken seriously at one may require a different appearance than being taking seriously at another. We can argue about the ‘injustice’ of the subconscious discrimination occurring or we can take control of the only aspect of it we are truly in charge of: ourselves. As Oscar Wilde says, “It’s the spectator, and not life, that art truly mirrors.” In other words, that teardrop tattoo can signify your heartache for your late wife all you want, but if the viewer thinks it means you murdered her…chances are…you won’t be hired.
By: Stephanie Baumgartner, Biology major at IUPUC

What is an elevator speech and how do I give one?

An elevator speech is just that, an elevator speech.  This is the type of speech that you would give to a potential employer that you have been trying to get an interview with as you catch them getting in the elevator or walking down the hall.  An elevator speech has also been called an “elevator pitch”.  You may use this kind of speech to sell your product or services to a potential buyer or client.  You want this speech to be no longer than the ride in the elevator, which can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and you need to really be able to sell yourself in the time that it takes to get from the first floor to the top floor or vice versa.  Your elevator speech needs to be clear, consistent, compelling, and to the point.

Tips on writing an effective elevator speech:

  1. Know your audience. What are they looking for?
  2. Know yourself.   Why do they want you or whatever it is you are trying to sell?
  3. Make it exciting!  Make them think this is best the best thing they could ever have!
  4. Write it down and perfect it.  Eliminate useless information and keep it short and to the point.  It shouldn’t be more than 90 words long.
  5. Practice, practice, practice and more practice!  You want to have your elevator speech memorized so you can give it effectively and in the moment.

Here is an example of an elevator speech for a student trying to get a job:

“Hi, my name is Mary Jones. I am currently a sophomore student attending ABC college. My major is in business with a minor in art. I have volunteered with the student credit union throughout my first and sophomore year at college.

Last summer I completed an internship with The Museum of Modern Art, and I’m hoping to find an internship in finance this summer in the Boston area. I have always had an interest in art and I’m also finding that I have a knack for business. In the future I’m hoping to combine these two very different disciplines and find myself a career that includes them both.”

Here is an example of an elevator speech of someone trying to sell their services:

“I am Joe Smart and I am a partner at BPK&Z, a large local CPA and consulting firm. While we do the audit and tax work like everyone else, our real niche is some very high end work – serious tax savings, business valuations and litigation support, significantly improving business processes, closely held business advice, that sort of thing.”

You never know when you might need an elevator speech but having one prepared just might land you that dream job or top client!!!

By Tacita Dockins, Business Major, IUPUC

works cited:

http://www.ingenuitymarketing.com/pdfs/freetools/Ingenuity-ElevatorSpeeches.pdf

http://internships.about.com/od/networking/g/elevatorspeech.htm

What you said and what I heard.

What you said… What I heard.

Your non-verbal communication could be the reason you are not getting the job of your dreams or the promotion you really deserve.  Some of the number one reasons companies are not or will not hire you is not because of what you say verbally but what your non-verbal communication is saying about you. Some of the top reasons are piercings, bad breath, visible tattoos, wrinkled clothes, and messy hair according to Forbes magazine.

  • Piercings: 37%                                                                
  • Bad breath: 34%                                                                            
  • Visible tattoos: 31%     

But how far will employers go? For example American Apparel’s corporate policy states that shiny lip gloss and bangs are forbidden as well as over drying hair may cause excessive drying. Yet most companies don’t have a written policy on tattoos and piercings. Tattoos have come a long way from when they were only on felons and bikers. Today it is just as likely for Robin to have a tattoo as it is for me.  Roughly 24 percent of Americans ages 18 – 50 have at least one tattoo.

Although a tattoo may represent a fond memory, your personality, or that one crazy night in Vegas, they are nothing more than a body adornment just like a wedding ring or even the clothes you wear. They also project just as much non-verbal communication as the tone of your voice. Your voice can clearly let another person know what kind of mood you are in, if you are comfortable, or if you have a bad attitude. Same can be said for your tattoos and piercings. They could be misconstrued as negative simply because the tattoos could be misinterpreted.  An example is a petunia tattoo, a petunia in the flower world stands for anger and resentment. There are also Hindu tattoos such as a swastika. A swastika can easily be mistaken for having Nazi beliefs as opposed to a very common form of Hindu art meaning good fortune, luck and well-being.  The problem is most companies do not know what you are projecting with piercings and tattoos since they can be easily misunderstood.

An employer’s main concern is how to cover up the tattoos or sometimes will just write the potential employees off because of their tattoos. Companies may not be realizing that they could be missing out on the next best thing since sliced bread because of how they are interpreting the tattoo or piercing.  Be aware of what your non-verbal communication is saying about you. You may not get fired for having a tattoo but you also may not get hired.  As always, think before you ink.

Cites: Faw, Larissa. Visible Tattoos and Other Corporate No-Nos. ForbesWoman. Forbes.com. September 25,2011

By: Natalie Taylor

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