Posts Tagged how to

Using the STAR Method in an Interview

Posted on April 24, 2014 with No Comments

Computers shaking handsOver the last few years, we’ve written various posts about the interview process and how to best prepare for such a daunting step within the job search. However, the one thing we haven’t discussed is the importance of learning and practicing the STAR method, so you’re probably asking yourself; what do we mean by the STAR method? Well, it’s a tool you can use when you’re asked either a situational or behavioral question during an interview. STAR is an acronym for:

Situation, Task, Action, Result/Resolution

So, if an interviewer asks you:
“Tell me about a time when you led a team and it went well?”

    • By using the STAR method, you’d describe an example when you led a team and it was a success- the Situation.
  • For example, “Last year, I coordinated and led a team of volunteers on an Alternative Spring Break in New Jersey where I was responsible for 6 students for a week.”

    • Next, you’ll want to describe the work or Tasks you performed.
  • For example, “I drove all of us to New Jersey to help a small community center with the restoration of their town center near the waterfront where Hurricane Sandy occurred.”

    • At this point you’d want to describe your role as the leader- your Actions.
  • For example, “As part of my role, I collaborated with the Community Center Director each day to determine the top priorities, whether it was clean up or restoration of the building, then I’d delegate a job for each of our student volunteers.”

    • Finally, you’d want to describe the result of your leadership- Result.
  • For example, “By giving each volunteer a job, we created a more efficient work environment and ended up finishing the restoration sooner than we had expected.”

    So, what are the benefits of using the STAR method?

    • You’re guaranteed to answer questions with clear examples.
    • It should keep you within the suggested 2 minute time frame for your answers.
    • And it will showcase the skills you’ll bring to the position you’re applying for.

    Practice using it, and then try it in your next big interview. It’s guaranteed to help you succeed.

    ~Danielle

    Don’t Forget to Say Thanks!

    Posted on April 9, 2014 with No Comments

    Hand writing thank you with a penSo you passed the interview stage.  Now what??

    Send a thank you message within a few days of the interview.

    In addition to being courteous, a thank you demonstrates enthusiasm, reiterates interest in a position, and provides another shot at selling yourself for the job.  Plus it demonstrates strong communication skills!

    It’s always beneficial to add more than just “thank you.”  But what should be included?

    • Start with the pleasantries. Thank the employer for taking time to meet with you.  Tell them you enjoyed your conversation.  Discuss interest or excitement about this position and the company.
    • Get specific. Talk about a key moment or expand on an answer.  Discuss personal skills and experiences and how they would be assets for the company.  If there was an important detail left out of the interview, highlight it—briefly.  If part of the interview didn’t go as well as planned, address that here (but don’t make excuses).  Make a connection to information the employer gave during the interview.  Say something like, “When you told me about x, I thought about y.”
    • Sign off. Let the employer know how you’ll follow up, and thank them again.

    Whether to email or mail the thank you depends on the preference of the employer or on the type of interview (phone vs. in person).  The time frame for notification could also dictate how it should be sent. (You don’t want the employer to receive your the note—by mail—the day after they’ve made their decision, right?)

    Here are a few more tips:

    • If the interview was with more than one person, send each one a customized note.
    • Keep the thank you concise.  It doesn’t need to be as long as a cover letter.
    • As always, remember to proofread… Don’t send a note that reads “thanks you.”

    After the thank you has been sent, wait.  If you haven’t heard from the employer by the time they specified, follow up by phone or email and express your continued interest.

    You’ll find a lot of different advice on how to say thank you.  The most important thing is that you do it – one way or another.

    ~Abbey, Career Peer Mentor

    Savvy Seniors: Finish Strong

    Posted on April 9, 2014 with No Comments

    Silhouette of person at the light at the end of a tunnel

    Seniors:

    Are you seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? As Spring appears and graduation nears, it’s time to dust off your motivation and get geared up for the final push of your college career.

    Advice abounds for college seniors, but here are three tried and true secrets to success in the world of work:

    • Networking is worth your time.
    • Your first job is your first job – not your destiny.
    • Professionalism will be noticed.

    All of which boils down to: Find a job that feels like it could be heading in the right direction, work hard and make a great impression and solid connections.  You’ll be glad you did:  these experiences will help you to clarify your career interests and grow your skills.

    So how do you land that first job? Use our Job Search Readiness Checklist to make sure you have your bases covered.  Note which areas you need to work on and make a strategic plan to fill those gaps in the coming weeks.  This is the time to spring into action and take advantage of all of the great resources here at UVM. For example, if you don’t feel confident with using LinkedIn to network, then come to our LinkedIn workshop every Thursday 4:15 at the Hub (while school is in session).

    Also, don’t miss the final Senior Series Workshop:
    Career Boot Camp Thursday, April 17 12-1pm at the Hub.
    Special guest Green Mountain Keurig is coming to give you the essentials you need to get job ready fast.

    Good luck as you finish the last few weeks of your college career and may the odds be ever in your favor.

    ~Kala

    Informational Interviewing for Beginners

    Posted on March 28, 2014 with No Comments

    Two people participating in an informational interview

    Not sure how to learn about potential career fields?
    Start setting up informational interviews!

    What are informational interviews?
    They are formal conversations you set up with people who are in one of your fields of interest. During these meetings, you will have the opportunity to ask a professional questions about their job and their career, and gain insights into their industry. You can use informational interviews as a tool to explore many different careers!

    How should you go about setting an informational interview up?

    1. Identify people who have exciting jobs!

    • Ask parents, friends, professors, and others for people who are in jobs you are considering.
    • Use LinkedIn to network and find people who you might want to talk to. A good group to join is “UVM Career Connection.” This is a group that gathers members of the UVM community around career development.

    2. Schedule the interview

    • You can use e-mail, LinkedIn, or the phone to connect with the person you’d like to have participate in an informational interview.

    3. Prepare for the interview

    • Make sure to research the person’s company and field so you can tailor your questions and your conversation in order to make the most out of the time you two have.

    Once you are at the interview, try to relax and enjoy the conversation. Be ready to ask questions and take notes. However, be sure not to ask for a job during the interview. Remember this should not be a stressful meeting. It should be a way for you to obtain occupational information and further your career exploration.

    After your interview, be sure to send thank you notes within a day or two.

    To learn more about any of these tips and find examples of communications to professionals of interest and sample questions to ask, visit the Career Center website.

    ~Lauren – Career Peer Mentor

    Savvy Seniors: Want to Join the Team?

    Posted on March 5, 2014 with No Comments

    Blue Cross Blue Shield Staff on stairs preparing for race

    How to Interview like a Pro: Tips from a Local Recruiter

    For most people, an interview creates a lot of stress and anxiety—it is an intimidating way to make a great first impression. For most employers though, the goal of inviting an applicant in for an interview is to get to know them. It’s a meeting based around discovery. We want to know who you are and if you could successfully fit in with the culture of our organization, the position, and the department. We also want you to ask questions that can help you make a decision about whether our company is the right place for you.

    Quick tips for standing out & having a successful interview:

    • Dress for the job you’re applying for. It’s okay to ask what the dress code is when you’re scheduling the interview.
    • Make eye contact, smile, and shake the interviewer’s hand.
    • Bring a few copies of your resume with you to the interview.
    • If you have a samples of something that relates to the position you’re applying for, have it on hand (i.e. for a graphic design position, bring some of your design work).
    • Don’t over-think things. Trying to perfect every sentence comes off as robotic.
    • Be natural and be yourself; it is okay to smile and laugh! We can sense when an applicant is putting on a façade.
    • Work experience and qualifications are important, but they’re not everything. We’re trying to find someone who “fits” in with the department and the company as a whole. Try to find something in common with the interviewer and make an emotional connection.
    • As the interview wraps up, ask what the next steps are. In most instances, recruiters are happy to let you know where they are in the hiring process and when you should expect to hear back.

    ~Myra Fundis, UVM ‘11
    Human Resources Wellness Specialist with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont

    Want to learn more? Join us and special guest National Life for:
    Savvy Seniors: Interview Like a Pro: Tuesday, March 18, 12-1pm at the Hub

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