Cover Letter Tips

Paragraph I: Express interest in the profession, industry, company, or organization.

Why do you want to work for them? (or work in that profession and/or industry, if an informational interview)

I am writing to you because I am very interested in XYZ organization, a leader in the field of ABC.

Paragraph II: Refer to your resume.
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Action Words for a Resume (by letter)

Source: Resumes That Knock ‘Em Dead

accomplished, achieved, acted, adapted, advanced, advise, addressed administered, allocate, analyzed, appraised, approved, arranged, assembled, assigned, assisted, attained, audited, authored, automated

 

balanced, budgeted, built

 

calculated, catalogued, chaired, clarified, classified, coached, collected, compiled, completed, composed, computed, conceptualized, conducted, consolidated, contained, contracted, contributed, controlled, coordinated, corresponded, counseled, created, critiqued, cut

 

decreased, delegated, demonstrated, designed, directed, developed, devised, … [ Read more ]

Networking Overview

Introduction

Most jobs, about 80%, are in the “hidden” job market, obtained through personal contacts and referrals. It is important that everyone you know be aware that you are looking for a job so that the “word of mouth” process can begin to work on your behalf. Following the networking diamond below, your networking process should include the people that are closest to you, … [ Read more ]

The Art of Networking

I. Target Your Search: Before you start your job search process, do some research on the market. Choose at least two career targets that are realistic for your level of experience and qualifications. DO NOT communicate that you will accept “any job”. If you reach a dead end with a target, you can always broaden or reformulate your job search target. 

II. Look[ Read more ]

Interview Preparation

Everyone has interviewed at some point in his life, it can be both an intimidating and exhilarating experience. However you view the interview process, the reality is that you need to understand and be prepared for this experience.

You are the Expert

The interview is all about you; you are the expert in this situation. Your job in the interview is to make sure the recruiter has enough information to make a yes decision at the end of the meeting. It is important to talk about your strengths and achievements throughout the interview. Try to make a strong case for the good fit between you and the … [ Read more ]

The Key is Preparation

It is imperative to prepare yourself for this meeting, do not wing it!

Preparation is two fold. You must do a self-assessment of how your abilities and experiences match the job and also research the organization well.

Focus On You

Review your resume with the job you are interviewing for in mind.

  • Identify all your achievements both from your work and education. Quantify when possible.
  • Identify leadership roles, honors, internships, class projects and volunteer experience.
  • Be prepared to answer the key question “Why do you want to work for this company and this industry?
  • Practice (yes, this is necessary!) Role play the interview, have someone ask

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Focus on Company Organization

  • Get financial information and research new developments in the company. Some resources are: a company’s web page, annual report, Lexis/Nexis, research in the Wall Street Journal and business sections of major newspapers for key articles about a company.
  • What niche does this company have in the market?
  • Make a list of questions that could be a problem for you in the interview; rehearse how you will

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Basics of Interviewing

  • Arrive early for the interview- get mentally prepared.
  • You are interviewing the company, it is a two-way street.
  • Be enthusiastic – you must show that you are interested in the job. This leaves a big impression on the interviewer.
  • Dress to your advantage- conservative is best.
  • If at all possible, do not discuss salary in the initial interview. This might be tempting, but you do not have enough

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Interviewing Approaches

You should be prepared for a few different approaches to interviewing. You may encounter behavioral interviewing or the case approach to interviewing. On occasion a company may give a stress interview to determine how a candidate handles himself under pressure. You may also get a panel interview, however employers often tell you in advance so you are prepared for it.

Behavioral Interviewing

This method is used by large consulting firms and multinational companies.

  • The purpose of this interviewing approach is to screen for certain skills and characteristics found in successful employees in the company.
  • Interviewer will ask specific questions about a candidate’s experiences to determine if he/she has demonstrated certain job characteristics such as: leadership, creativity, initiative.
  • The interviewer will ask pointed follow-up questions such as:
  • “Can you

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Tips for Behavioral Interviewing

  • Be as specific as possible. Avoid “usually” or “always” responses – no hypothetical answers.
  • Try to use examples related to education, work or extracurricular experience.
  • Take the necessary time to organize your thoughts and responses, “I’ll have an answer for you in a second.”
  • Ask for clarification if needed: ” Am I answering the question … am I on the right track?”

Case Method Interviewing

This method is usually used by management consulting firms and large corporations.

  • Employers use this method to assess if you think logically, have problem solving skills and know business principles.
  • Classic business cases are given to test analytic ability, the ability to sort out key facts and stay focused.
  • Some consulting firms think that this is the best test of a typical consulting situation for

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Tips for a Case Interview

  • Take notes, if necessary. Ask a few questions.
  • Take some time to organize your thoughts; don’t be afraid of a little silence.
  • Explain your thought process, state assumptions, work from hypothesis )
  • Push for a conclusion
  • Be quantitative and specific if possible

Sample Interview Questions

  • What are your major strengths and weaknesses?
  • How does your previous experience relate to the job for which you are interviewing?
  • Why are you looking for this type of position and why are you interested in our company?
  • Why should I hire you?
  • Describe a situation where you took initiative /solved a problem.
  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What courses in graduate school did you like the most/least?
  • What jobs/projects did you

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Good Questions to Ask an Interviewer

  • What would be a reasonable career track for someone starting in the position for which I am interviewing?
  • What opportunities will I have to learn new skills /gain new knowledge within the organization?
  • What are the most important characteristics /qualifications that you need in this position?
  • Where do you see this division/department/company/industry headed in the next few years?
  • Is continuing education/training encouraged?
  • How and when will I be evaluated

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