Announcing Summer I, 2016 Class Schedules! Pick up your schedule in Room E-108 or in the Registration office.
Everyone has physical habits they rarely notice. In an interview setting, these nervous ticks offer a physical outlet for the stress you’re under. But they come at a price. Rather than focusing on what you’re saying or the experience you’d bring, the hiring manager’s attention turns to your nail-biting or hair-twirling. The scariest part? You may not even realize you’re doing it.
Poor body language can send messages that you’re incapable, nervous or unhappy – all adjectives you don’t want an interviewer associating with you. An interviewer may forgive you for a subpar answer on the fifth question you’re asked, but if your body language offers physical evidence you don’t work well under pressure or you’re not confident in your abilities? It’s going to be hard to come back.
Don’t undermine how qualified you are with poor habits. Practice avoiding these common moves before they cost you your next job.
Remember when your mom would tell you to stand up straight? She was on to something.
Slouching makes you look as though you’re bored and disengaged, and leaning forward too much can make the interviewer feel crowded. Standing up straight instills a sense of confidence and ownership of the situation. To the interviewer, it makes you look taller but also more capable and self-assured.
Think about the last social gathering you attended where you didn’t know anyone. Did you cross your arms? Put your hands in your pockets?
Crossing your arms or hunching over (which most of us have a habit of doing without realizing) can make you seem insecure. Although it can feel comforting to fold your arms in front of your chest, the movement sends a signal that you’re uninterested or unapproachable in the conversation. Some even view it as aggressive.
You want to appear open, approachable and friendly during an interview. To avoid the hunch, remember to keep your arms relaxed by your side or hold your resume folio in your hands to prevent yourself from resorting to old habits. Having good posture throughout the interview will make you look – and actually feel – more confident.
Avoid rolling your eyes or giving any signs you’re nervous or frustrated, but that doesn’t mean you need to remain absolutely serious during an interview. You should also try to showcase your personality. An easy way to help break the ice is to smile. When you do, you’re telling your potential future employer in that 1) you’re normal and 2) it would actually be fun to work with you on a daily basis. Most importantly, a smile will help you relax so you can present the best version of yourself.
Whether it’s tucking your hair behind your ear, touching your face or tapping your foot, nervous gestures creep up out of nowhere. They can make you look distracted or, worse, showcase insecurity. Be self-aware. Take control by placing your hands on the table or on the armrest.
Not sure how to act? One way to instill a sense of trust during an interview is to subtly mimic the movement of your interviewer. Without acting like a copycat, try to mirror your interviewer’s body language. If your interviewer is leaning forward during the conversation, lean slightly forward as well to show you’re interested in what she has to say. This subtle technique shows you’re on the same team.
Your handshake alone can set the stage for the rest of the interview. No pressure! A too firm handshake can signal you’re overcompensating. A too light handshake hints at a lack of confidence. If you offer a weak handshake during a high-pressure situation like an interview, the interviewer might wonder how you’d handle meeting an important stakeholder. Practice makes perfect so try some mock introductions with friends or family to get it right.
And don’t be afraid to be the first person to extend your hand. A strong handshake is one of the few ways to appropriately touch someone in a corporate setting, and it can instill a sense of kindness and warmth – if done right.
A word on eye contact
Think about the last few conversations you had. Did anyone stare at you for too long? Did they frequently look away? What was your gut reaction about that person?
Maintaining eye contact with your interviewer demonstrates you’re confident and can hold your own in a conversation, but staring too long can feel unnatural. If you consistently avert your interviewer’s gaze, your interviewer may find cause for concern – a shifty gaze signals you can’t be trusted.
Find the happy medium (eye contact about 70 percent of the time) that will demonstrate your emotional intelligence without scaring anyone away.
At its worst, poor body language can send a message that we’re incapable of the task at hand. When your dream job is on the line, you don’t want to risk losing out because you crossed your arms at the wrong time. Create a neutral canvas to give yourself the best start for your next great opportunity.
A version of this article was originally published on Career Contessa, an online platform facilitating honest conversations by real women about work and life—to help you achieve fulfillment and balance in both.
Like most things, networking events get easier with practice. However, that’s hardly useful advice when you’ve never been to a networking even before. And though it may take some time for you to get used to networking, that doesn’t mean you can’t hit the ground running.
Here are 6 keys to making the most out of your first networking event.
1. Know why you’re there
Many people find aimlessly wandering around networking events wondering, “What am I even doing here?” In truth, this is actually a good question – but one best asked and answered well before the event begins.
When you decide to attend a networking event, set realistically obtainable goals for yourself in advance. In this case, “get a new job” is not a realistically obtainable goal – there are too many factors that are out of your control. A better goal would be to introduce yourself to 5 new people.
2. Dress the part
The whole idea of attending a networking even is to meet new people and extend your professional network. This means you’ll be making a lot of first impressions – and we all know how important those can be. It’s no secret how integral your attire can be to making a favorable first impression, so be sure to choose an appropriate outfit. Make no mistake, a networking event is a professional event, and you’d do well to dress the part. Even if the invite says “casual,” better to err on the side of business.
3. Introduce yourself
Here’s a little secret about networking events – everyone else is there to meet new people too. Help them out by being prepared and excited to introduce yourself. Practice your elevator pitch before you go to the event, and then actually put it to use.
It should go without saying that you need to be ready to explain who you are and what you’re interested in professionally, but even though networking events are professional events, remember that it doesn’t have to be all-business. Your personality can be one of the most effective tools at your disposal at networking events.
Of course, simply introducing yourself isn’t always enough. The best networkers know how that, as great as it is to meet people, it’s even better to have people meet you. Making a positive lasting impression can be tricky, but it’s a lot easier if you know how to be a good listener.
It can be easy to forget that a conversation should be a two-way street, especially if you’ve spent a lot of time and effort perfecting your personal introduction and your elevator pitch. The ultimate goal here is to find commonalities and make connections, which can be extremely difficult to do if you’re not listening carefully.
5. Be sincere
You’ve probably heard before that most people like to talk about themselves. While some people may use this information to defend their own behavior, great networkers use it to forge connections.
Ask people questions about themselves, and ask follow-up questions that show you’ve been listening to them. You can even structure your sincerity – set a goal to learn 5 things about the companies in attendance that you didn’t know before the event.
6. Follow up
It is arguably the single most important part of going to a networking event, yet many job seekers still don’t follow up with new contacts. By not reconnecting outside of the event itself, you’re essentially undoing all the work you put into preparing for and attending the event in the first place. There is simply no excuse for not reaching out. Even if you’ve secured a position through different channels, solidifying a contact and building your professional network is always worthwhile.Just remember these steps – your survival may depend on it.
The restaurant industry employs 13.5 million people in the United States. This equates to 10 percent of the nation’s workforce. Whether you consider your restaurant job a lifelong passion or simply a way to make ends meet, a role in this dynamic industry can teach you valuable lessons like these.
1. Words can Never Hurt You
Unless you’ve worked in the restaurant industry, you might be under the misconception that restaurants are full of good natured people. There are the diners, who are surely keen to soak up the experience of being waited on hand and foot, and the hosts and wait staff who are never seen without a smile on their faces.
However, in truth the people you’ll encounter in the restaurant trade can be pretty terrible. While some diners are appreciative there are many that are just plain hangry, the deadly combination of hungry and angry that wait staff fear. They’ve had such a bad day that they can’t face standing in their own kitchen, so they’re bringing their misery into your working environment. And then there are the chefs who have such exacting standards that they can reduce a humble busboy to tears with a cutting remark.
That’s a pretty bleak picture, but it describes many of the encounters that restaurant employees will regularly face. However, every diner that makes you feel insignificant and every chef that makes you feel incompetent will simply make you stronger. Soon the insults and complaining will simply wash over you and you’ll be able to focus on the job at hand.
This is a valuable lesson to learn because people in most workplaces will encounter unpleasant customers and colleagues from time to time. Your tenure working for a restaurant will give you the thick skin you need to deal with any problem calmly before moving on.
2. Together a Team Can Do Amazing Things
Working in a restaurant teaches you to appreciate the value of team work. Every employee is a cog in the machine, from the servers manning tables to the chef creating culinary masterpieces. If one cog doesn’t work as well as it should, the whole operation suffers. As a restaurant employee, there are probably many days you weren’t quite sure you’d survive. Perhaps it was the time your restaurant catered a lavish wedding, or the Mother’s Day that was booked solid from opening to close. These occasions are exhausting, but they drive the lesson home. On your own, you’d never have satisfied all the diners. But together, a team can do amazing things.
Some roles are in other industries are more autonomous than others, but it’s rare for workers to operate completely independently. Recalling those busy nights in the restaurant will help you consider the input of others and support your colleagues to create something great.
3. Stress is Inevitable, but it Can Be Managed
Those busy shifts will inevitably get you hot under the collar. The shift work and overtime hours that are an inevitable part of restaurant work also makes stress levels rise. And then there are those fiery customers and colleagues mentioned earlier. All these ingredients could lead to a meltdown, but as a restaurant employee, you discover ways to cope.
Perhaps you take up running or meditation. Singing loudly in the car or taking the mic on karaoke night might work for you. Whatever it is, as a restaurant employee you learn to manage stress. It’s unlikely you’ll work in such a high-pressure environment again, but when the going gets tough you’ll know you can cope.
4. Creativity Can Bring Great Rewards
The culinary world has moved well beyond meat and three vegetables. It’s an area of constant innovation, where the bravest chefs aren’t afraid to play with established flavor combinations and incorporate new ingredients into their dishes. Sophisticated palettes will come from miles around to sample a dish that’s like nothing that they’ve ever seen before.
Whether you’re working in the kitchen or bringing meals to the table, it’s impossible not to be impressed by the creativity you see. You’ll discover that the dishes which are outside the box often earn the biggest compliments. This will teach you that no matter what sector you find yourself in, daring to be different can help you stand out and bring great rewards to your organization.
5. The Value of Preparation Should Never Be Underestimated
Any goodrestaurant kitchen knows the importance of mise en place, a French term which translates to “putting in place.” This is the work that begins long before the diners arrive. Chickens are portioned, meats are marinated, and vegetables are peeled and chopped. It seems like menial work. The food looks far less glamorous than it will when it’s put in front of restaurant patrons. But these processes are essential for a smooth service.
That practice of spending time preparing for the work ahead holds restaurant employees in good stead. If they move out of the industry into the business sectors, they’ll remember to write an outline before a report and to plan a presentation before standing up in front of their clients or colleagues. They won’t see the early effort as time wasted, as some of their peers might. Instead they know that even though the preparation isn’t glamorous, it’s essential for smooth delivery.
6. Education and Background Don’t Determine Success
The restaurant industry is full of privileged men and women who’ve graduated from culinary institutes. They might have an encyclopedic knowledge of knife handling and sauce making, but that doesn’t mean they’ll rise to the top of the restaurant food chain. Technical knowledge and pedigree won’t beat out instinct and hard work.
The restaurant industry is a great leveler. It teaches you not to feel entitled to success, and what you need to do to taste it. That lesson can be applied not just across the restaurant sector, but the workforce as a whole.
The lessons you’ll learn working in the restaurant industry will serve you well in the future, whether you intend to stay in this dynamic sector or take on another career.
Image via Flickr by Bill Abbott
When I ask job seekers to name their biggest gripes with the job search process, one answer keeps coming up: Employers never respond to their job applications or resumes.
When I look at the resumes they’re applying with, I see many that are hurting more than helping job seekers present their qualifications for a new role.
Here is a top five checklist of items that you should consider in preparing your resume:
1. Professional appearance
Looks matter, and not just during the interview. If your resume appears slapped together, you’re not going to make a positive first impression and invite the recruiter to want to read the specific content.
- Does the resume look professional? There are free resume templates available on the Web. Search Google and find one you like, and edit it to reflect your experience.
- Are margins at least ½” on all sides, but no more than 1″?
- If the resume is over one page in length, is it warranted? A good rule of thumb: one page equals 10 years’ experience.
- Are bold and italics used selectively to emphasize important information?
Clean and simple is the best. It should be easy to skim and see the progression of your work experience. Is there enough information within each section to substantiate the need for a heading?
- Is there one space between each section?
- Is the content of each section single spaced?
3. Compelling content
Companies are interested in hiring people who can make their organizations better. List accomplishments—not tasks. Your resume should indicate how you’ve created success for your past employers.
- Is information relevant to your career interest area? If not, consider being brief in these irrelevant areas if your resume is exceeding a single page.
- Is information provided in short phrases, not sentences?
- Does the content focus on responsibilities and accomplishments?
- Does each entry include an easy-to-understand job title?
- If the job is not obvious, does the entry include three to five responsibilities, tasks, special projects or accomplishments to describe the job?
- Are numbers, data, dollar amounts or percentages used to quantify job duties and results (if applicable)?
- Do the skills and keywords have a high match rate to the most frequently desired skills by employers? Use CareerBuilder’s Explore Careers tool to find out.
4. Mistake free
Ask a friend to review your resume after you run a spell-check to correct simple mistakes that could rule you out of being considered.
- Is the resume free of errors in English grammar, spelling and vocabulary?
- Is the resume free of punctuation errors?
- Is capitalization used appropriately?
At the risk of stating the obvious…
- Is your name on the resume?
- How about your current address, email and phone number?
If you can confidently answer these questions and an unbiased friend confirms, your resume is much more likely to be recruiter-ready! Now you’re ready to start being discovered by potential employers.