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

Selling Yourself Appropriately

Resumes are the first step into finding a job. A resume helps employers see where you have been, what you have done and where you want to go. This one document can help so much, but you have to know how to sell yourself appropriately. You need to know how many resumes to give to a potential employer. You need to know what to include in a resume, and you definitely need to know what not to include.

How many resumes are enough for the job search? In high school, I was taught to write one resume and include all my education and experience on that one resume. Before sending to a potential employer, I should just change the objective of my resume. When researching the topic of how many resumes a person should have, I came across this fact: the number of resumes depends on the person and what career goal(s) that person has set for him/herself.

If only one career goal is set, then only one resume is needed. There is no set amount of resumes an employer looks for. However, two websites say a person should have at most three. It all depends on the person’s specific goals. As long as the resumes are clear and concise. The resume is usually one of the first items that a potential employer sees regarding the job seeker. These are used to screen all the applicants. Therefore, make sure your resume is perfect.

7 Deadly Sins of Writing a Resume:

  • Fancy resume paper
    • Avoid using fancy, extravagant paper. www.lifeclever.com states “Avoid these like dog poop on a New York summer sidewalk. They’re too expensive and don’t make you look extra special.” (Rith, 2006)
  • Times New Roman font
    • Because this is the default print for Microsoft Word, it is the default print for most resumes. www.lifeclever.com states “Times’s letter spacing and word spacing is wretched in Word. The result is an unharmonious mess.” (Rith, 2006)
  • Teeny tiny font size
    • Teeny tiny fonts are supposedly elegant, refined and allow for more white space on the resume. www.lifeclever.com states “For all that elegance, no one can read it, because most people in hiring positions won’t have fresh baby eyes with 20/20 vision.” (Rith, 2006)
  • Grey text
    • If the color of font is too light, it becomes impossible to read and/or fax.
  • Excessive decoration
    • For resumes, some people may want to add a picture, border or decoration. www.lifeclever.com states “This is great if you want to look like a box of crayons melted on your resume. Otherwise, don’t try to be cute.” (Rith, 2006)
  • Weird paper size
    • In the United States, the standard paper size is 8.5”x 11”. Any other paper size fits awkwardly or not at all into a binder or file. www.lifeclever.com states “When it doesn’t fit, it gets thrown out.” (Rith, 2006)
  • Horizontal format
    • www.lifeclever.com states “In an attempt to stand out, some designers format their résumés in a landscape format. This is more annoying than innovative.” (Rith, 2006)

Employers don’t care about seeing a pretty piece of paper with flowers all over it. They want a resume to be clear and organized. When looking at a resume, they want to be able to find your educational background and experiences without having to search through pictures and decorations. Separate resumes according to career goals and have the information in the resume easy to find. A resume should be professional. I mean, after all, you are sending a resume to hopefully get a job. Good luck and be professional!!!

by Kathryn Persinger, Business major- IUPUC

Works Cited: 

Resume. (2011, October 11). Retrieved October 30, 2011, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C3%A9sum%C3%A9

Rith, C. (2006, September 26). The 7 Deadly Sins of Resume Design. Retrieved October 30, 2011, from Life Clever: http://www.lifeclever.com/the-7-deadly-sins-of-resume-design/

 

Interviews from hell – what not to wear and what not to say

Many people may not realize this, but studies have shown that it only takes 20-30 seconds to make a lasting impression in a job interview.  This is an extremely important factor that should not be taken lightly.  There are several things you should be aware of when attempting to make a positive lasting impression.  Factors such as appearance, body language, timing and even your hand shake can make or break your odds of getting the job.Bad Interview

When it comes to interviewing, your appearance is very important.  Some examples of apparel and accessories that should NEVER be worn to an interview include: hats, sunglasses, t-shirts, headphones, bright or large decorative clothing, short skirts, sandals/flip-flops, heavy makeup, facial piercings, visible tattoos, short sleeve shirts and strong perfumes or cologne.

Now that you know what not to wear, you should also know what not to say in an interview.  It’s difficult to anticipate and prepare for all the questions you’re going to be asked, but here are a few common questions that you should be prepared for.

Why do you want to work for our company?

Wrong Response:  I need a job bad, and I’ve been turned down everywhere else.

Interview-What Not to SayAppropriate Response:  After visiting the company’s web site and learning more about the success the company has had in the industry, I’m confident this will be a rewarding place to work and continue to grow as a professional.

 

Why do you want a new job?

Wrong Response:  I don’t get along with my boss, and my coworkers are difficult to work with.

Appropriate Response:  I’m looking for new and exciting challenges in an environment where I can use my skills to help my employer’s company succeed.

Why should we hire you?

Wrong Response:  I have a gambling problem, and I really need to pay off my debt.

Appropriate Response:  I have the skills to hit the ground running.  Now that I know more about what you are looking for, I’m even more confident that I can exceed your expectations.

Knowing what to wear and what to say takes practice, time and effort.  Do your research, dress for success, and do your best.  You are unlikely to get hired after every interview, but you are very likely to learn something from each interview.

For more great examples of Job Interview Dos and Don’t, please check out Vault Video’s Guide to Interview Dos and Don’ts.

By Brent Humphress, Business Major -IUPUC