Current Career Topics for Mount St. Mary's University Students
Keyword: career center
Posted by: Meghan Orner
Posted by: Meghan Orner
No matter what company or organization you apply to, there will undoubtedly be some kind of competition among applicants for the job. That is why during any interview, employers will most likely ask you the following questions: "Why are you interested in this organization?" or "Why are you interested in this job?" By preparing an answer to this question before the interview, you will stand out among the other candidates, so keep reading to learn how to perfect an answer to this question!
There is a very simple rule to follow when answering this question in an interview: ALWAYS have an answer to this question! Whether you are applying for an entry level position or a position at your dream job, you should always have a well prepared response to convince the employer to hire you. Employers receive numerous applications every day for various positions within their company or organization, so they are looking for the applicants that went above and beyond in their preparation for the interview. They are looking for individuals who really want to work at their company and who show a sincere interest in helping the company or organization fulfill their purpose.
So when you are answering this question, be sure to share an informed interest and passion in their mission. But in order to do so, you will have to complete some research before the interview. Some helpful things to look for are the organization's mission, products, size, reputation and history. Most of these elements can be found on the organization's website, and be sure to research if the company has been in the news recently. However, it is not enough to show the interviewer that you have completed some research before the interview. You should also include in your answer an explanation of how you can make a contribution to the company's goals. Talk about their needs and how you can fulfill those needs. Be confident in your skills that you will be able to benefit the company or organization.
If you have any questions concerning any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, Career-Center@msmary.edu or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment. The Career Center offers interviewing tips and mock interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so be sure to take advantage of this great resource. And to learn how to answer more of these common interview questions, check out the Career Corner Blog on the Career Center's website.
Posted by: Meghan Orner
As we continue our series on the top five most common interview questions, the second question is one that you will undoubtedly be asked in ANY interview: “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.” Although this question may seem straightforward, it is important to prepare a well-thought out answer to this question, and here are some tips to provide an answer that will make you stand out as a candidate to the interviewer.
When answering this question, you should always start with your strengths to give a positive first impression. But when you do list your strengths, it is important to relate your skills to the position that you are currently applying for. Provide specific examples of how you have used your strengths in a school, work, or even a social setting. Examples provide evidence that you really do have the experience necessary to succeed in the position you are applying for, so you should always have a variety of examples prepared to back up your claims. Some personal characteristics that interviewers usually look for are: loyalty, a strong work ethic, and good interpersonal and communication skills. Typically for this answer, you should really only give your top 3 or 4 strengths so that you do not completely overwhelm the interviewer, but make sure that your strengths will make you stand out from the crowd!
The much harder part of this question involves sharing your weaknesses with the employer. As humans, we all have faults and weaknesses, but the trick is to present those weaknesses in the most positive light possible during an interview. You should give 1-2 weaknesses that do not directly disqualify you from receiving the position. By asking this question, employers are looking to see if you are self-aware and are taking steps to better yourself. So when concluding this part of the question, it is important to put a positive spin on your weaknesses by mentioning that you are working to overcome them.
If you have any questions concerning any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, Career-Center@msmary.edu or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment. The Career Center offers interviewing tips and mock-interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so be sure to take advantage of this great resource!
Posted by: Meghan Orner
As most of you may know, LinkedIn has become the world’s largest professional network, which is why everyone should take advantage of this great networking tool. The important thing to remember is that it is never too early or too late to create a profile on LinkedIn, but the sooner you do, the better! If you are unsure of where to begin, keep reading for some great tips on how to get started on LinkedIn – the right way!
As the name of this social media network suggests, LinkedIn is NOT Facebook. One of the most common mistakes that young professionals make is that they treat LinkedIn and Facebook as the same thing. Facebook exists so you can keep in touch with friends and family. LinkedIn, on the other hand, exists so that you can connect with people who will actually help you advance in your professional career. When connecting with people on LinkedIn, always be sure to ask yourself why exactly you are connecting with them before you accept or invite them to connect with you.
Another common mistake young professionals can make involves their profile picture. This picture is the first thing potential employers will see when they look up your profile so it is very important that you make a good first impression – even before you meet them! In your profile picture, you should be wearing professional dress with a professional background. Young professionals should also be aware that they should include all previous work and volunteer experiences in their LinkedIn profile. You never know what experiences employers are looking for, so it is important to make your profile as versatile as possible.
It is no surprise that LinkedIn is one of the first social media sites employers will use to research potential candidates for a position in their company because LinkedIn allows your previous and current employers to “endorse” you directly on the site, meaning that they can recommend you for various skills and even write you a reference letter. Once you create your profile, you can also upload any projects you have completed throughout your education and work experience. This allows potential employers to see that you really do have the experience necessary to benefit their company or organization.
If you would like more information or if you have any questions, stop by the LinkedIn Information Session and Workshop hosted by ’94 Alum and Senior Recruiter at Paypal Kevin Dunn on Tuesday, February 4 in the O’Hara Dining Hall from 5 to 7 P.M. Pizza will be served and come dressed for a FREE professional photo for your networking profile. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to start or improve your LinkedIn profile!
Posted by: Meghan Orner
The approach of various job and internship fairs brings with it the inevitable interview. Interviews can be nerve wracking, but the important thing to remember is that like in everything else, preparation is essential in order to present yourself in the best possible way. Throughout this spring semester, I will be covering the five most basic interview questions, and this article covers the “tell me about yourself” question.
Although this question may seem simple and straightforward, the way in which you answer this question is very important since it will most likely be the first question you are asked during any interview. Although it is tempting to present your whole life story, your response to this particular question should really only be between one or two minutes. Keep your answer short to ensure that you are retaining your interviewer’s attention. If you answer this question for more than two minutes, you run the risk of either boring the interviewer or losing their attention, and clearly neither of those are good options. Although you may be nervous, it is important to remember to talk to the interviewer, not at them, meaning that you should always gauge the interviewer’s reaction to what you’re saying and remember that an interview should feel like a conversation.
This question presents the opportunity to verbally express the highlights of your resume, like your general goals, skills and background. It is also important to focus on the particular skills and experiences that you will apply to that specific position within the organization. To help prepare for any interview, you should mentally organize a response to this question. Since first impressions are key and this question will be the first time that you will actually be able to talk about your resume with the interviewer, it is important that you have a coherent and organized response prepared. Even though it should not sound like you have this answer memorized word-for-word, you should practice your two minute response until you feel comfortable with your answer.
If you have any questions concerning any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, Career-Center@msmary.edu or simply stop by the Career Center to make an appointment. The Career Center offers tips for interviewing and mock interview sessions to help students be as prepared as possible for the interviewing process, so don’t be afraid to take advantage of this great resource!
Posted by: Meghan Orner
Welcome back to another semester at the Mount! I hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing winter break and that the first week of classes went well. Each year, the Career Center looks for new ways to assist students in their major and career exploration, and the 2014 New Year is no exception. As this spring semester begins, the Career Center will be starting a new initiative: the Peer Career Advising Program.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this new program, the Peer Career Advising Program involves career coaching, which focuses on forging partnerships with students and providing support. There are several other colleges and universities in the surrounding area that also have this program, and the Career Center has researched those schools and their programs while individualizing the Peer Career Advising program to best benefit the Mount community. The Career Center hopes that this program will be both successful and beneficial to students.
Beginning the week of January 27, Peer Career Advisors, or PCAs, will have the opportunity to introduce students to the services and resources provided by the Career Center. More specifically, PCAs can offer information, tips and reviews of resumes, cover letters, reference pages, interviewing skills, networking, LinkedIn, College Central Network and overall professionalism. This is obviously such a broad range of subjects that PCAs can assist students with, and the Career Center hopes that everyone at the Mount takes advantage of this new program.
For more information or to make an appointment with a PCA, please contact the Career Center at 301-447-5202, Career-Center@msmary.edu or simply stop by the Career Center. Along with Clare, Matt, Naomi and the entire Career Center staff, I look forward to being a part of this program, and we hope you will take advantage of this new resource!
Posted by: Meghan Orner
I'm sure at this point of the semester we're all thinking the same thing: how is it already the end of this fall semester? It seems like just yesterday that we received the syllabus for each of our classes, and now we are receiving review sheets for all our final exams. This semester just seemed to fly by, and yet here we are in the midst of preparing for final exams.
I know that I am personally finding it hard to believe that it is already my last week interning at the Career Center this fall semester. This has all been such a great experience, and I could not be happier with my decision to intern here. This internship gave me the opportunity to improve my writing and editing skills by writing weekly articles for the Mountain Echo newspaper and the Career Corner blog, and I was also introduced to some basic marketing principles. I feel like I was really able to grow as a person and as a writer throughout this whole experience.
This internship also provided me with a very deep insight into the inner workings of the Career Center, and I was given the opportunity to understand more about professional marketing, promoting, and event planning on a daily basis. I look forward to continuing my internship in the spring and seeing how this experience will help me in my future career.
The Career Center will be starting a new initiative in the spring: the Peer Career Advising Program. The Peer Career Advising Program will most likely resemble the Peer Tutoring program here on campus, but it will involve career coaching instead of academic coaching. Peer Career Advisors, or PCA's, will have the opportunity to provide students with resume review and tips, cover letter information, reference page information, interviewing skills, networking and LinkedIn information, an introduction to College Central and Career Center resources, and overall professionalism. I look forward to being a part of this program. Be sure to lookout for more information about this program at the start of next semester!
I would like to thank Clare, Matt and Naomi for giving me this great opportunity. I encourage everyone at the Mount to consider interning at the Career Center. It is such a great work environment, and just like any other internship, it was such a great learning experience!
I hope everyone had a great semester, and good luck on your finals! Have a nice and relaxing break, and I'll see you next semester!
Posted by: Meghan Orner
An important step in the application process that is often overlooked is the cover letter. Cover letters are the first thing an employer sees, even before they look at your resume, so it is imperative that you make a good impression through this letter.
Similar to resumes, cover letters have a specific format that all applicants should follow. Not only does the cover letter introduce your resume, but it should also capture the attention of the potential employer. The cover letter should contain all of the same information that is seen at the top of your resume, such as your name, email address and the addresses of your current and permanent residences. You should always include a specific name of the person who will be reading your resume, or at the very least, use a job title. Avoid using "To Whom It May Concern" if at all possible.
After the greeting section of the cover letter is the first introductory paragraph. These paragraphs should be clear, concise and convincing. This first paragraph explains why you are writing to the person or organization. If you found out about the specific position you are applying for from a personal contact within the company, it is important to mention their name in this paragraph as long as you have permission to use their name. It is also important to show a sincere interest in the company and to explain why you are a good candidate for this position. Remember, cover letters should be convincing, so be sure to have good reasons as to why you want the position.
The second paragraph should give a brief introduction to how your education has prepared you for this position, while the third paragraph should explain how your work experiences and skills can benefit the organization It is important to show your experience in the cover letter because your resume will expand on that information. Briefly describe what you have learned at previous positions and how you will bring those skills into the new work environment. In the final paragraph, you should mention that you will follow-up and remain updated on any other opportunities in the company. This shows an employer that you are being proactive in your job search and that you have sincere interest in the company.
Since they are clear and concise, cover letters should never be more than one page, and always let your personality show! If you have any questions or if you need assistance in formatting or writing your cover letter, please stop by or make an appointment at the Career Center!
Posted by: Naomi Ruth
Written byMeghan Orner
On August 26, the Career Center gladly welcomed Matthew Pouss as the new Assistant Director and Internship Coordinator. With a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Shippensburg University, Matt comes to the Mount with plenty of experience as a counselor for college students, previously working at Gettysburg College and Penn State Mont Alto. Matt looks forward to meeting students and helping them in any way he possible can!
But helping college students find their vision for the future was not always Matt’s career plan. He also graduated from Shippensburg University with a degree in Geography, but soon realized that what he really wanted was to help people: “During my experiences, I realized how much I value human interaction. I love helping people as well, so that allowed me to transition my focus.” As the new Internship Coordinator, Matt will assist students in finding internship opportunities and guiding them in the various aspects of the career process, including resumes, cover letters, interviewing, and other any help a student may need.
Matt could not be happier with his decision to come to the Mount. Although he has only been here a few weeks so far, Matt has already come to know and admire the Four Pillars of our school: faith, discovery, leadership and community. The Four Pillars are all qualities that Matt values, and he has already seen the strong sense of community that ties us all together at the Mount.
Matt hopes that all Mount students will be confident and comfortable in undertaking an internship and finding the value in it.Internships are so important because they offer students the opportunity to learn more about themselves and the whole workforce in various fields.Matt would also like to emphasize the many resources offered by the Career Center. It is important to find those support structures and to learn more about the various resources out there.
Although college can be a great time to find oneself and explore career possibilities, Matt also believes that these college years can come with the challenge of discovering oneself. It is important for students to examine what their college experience will mean to them as they graduate and move forward in their lives.And with that challenge of discovering oneself, Matt would also like to encourage students to find their vision for the future, and to consider what you want your life to mean.
And if you ever need any help discovering your own vision for the future, then stop by the Career Center to make an appointment to meet Matt or stop by during the Career Center’s drop-in hours every Tuesday and Wednesday from 1-2 PM.
The Career Center welcomes Matt, and we wish him all the best as he begins his first year here at the Mount!
Posted by: Naomi Ruth