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Month: June 2016

5 Ways to Prepare for Your Big Interview

5 Ways to Prepare for Your Big Interview

interview-1018333_640Newly minted college graduates are beginning their job hunts; undergrads have already gone home for the summer and are now searching for the perfect summer internship or part-time work. This can only mean one thing—it’s interview season! Even if your resume is spot on and your cover letter could bring a hiring manager to tears, you need a solid interview to seal the deal. Janette Bell, staffing manager, and LaCoya Williams, training and performance management manager, from UD’s Department of Human Resources spoke to a Career Development class about how to prepare for an interview that will be memorable for all the RIGHT reasons. Here’s what they said:

Research the company.
“Always assemble relevant information about the company,” said Bell. “Be prepared to talk about why you’re interested in them and the work they do.”

But don’t go too far by trying to connect to your interviewer or recruiter via LinkedIn or Facebook before the interview. According to Williams, that’s inappropriate. But going through the company’s Twitter account is fine. And learning about their upcoming initiatives or marketing campaigns will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in working there.

Prepare answers to the most common questions.
The most common type of interview consists of behavior-based questions in which the interviewer will ask you to describe a time when you were faced with a situation or encountered a problem.

“You don’t want to sound like a recorded message, but you do want to have practiced what you’ll say when the interviewer asks you something like, ‘What is your biggest weakness?’” said Williams.

For a list of other common interview questions, click here.

Practice telling stories.
“Review the information on your resume and cover letter, and craft a story about how you did what you did,” said Williams. “Focus on STAR: Situation you were in, Task you were given, Actions you took, and Results you achieved.”

Most importantly, be ready to relate your story to the job qualifications.

Have at least two questions ready.
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, don’t respond with any version of “no.”

“By the end of the interview, you should have thought of a couple of questions. But if you haven’t, have a few prepared ahead of time,” said Bell.

Questions about the training program or the person who previously held the job are good examples. For more sample questions you could use, check out the OPCD website:

Dress up, and don’t be late.
Bell says your clothes should be cleaned, ironed and comfortable—nothing too casual and nothing too revealing. And always err on the side of being overdressed. “Even if you’re not sure that everyone in the office wears a suit, you would be safer wearing one than not,” she said.

Williams adds that you should carry a padfolio or a small notebook. “Don’t bring a research binder, just something that can hold copies of your resume and paper for notes.”

Check out the OPCD site for more info on proper interview attire (what to wear and what not to wear).

Finally, practice your route and prepare for traffic BEFORE the interview. Know exactly how long it will take you to make the drive, park and enter the building. Be prompt, but not too early. Bell advises to arrive about 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time.

Visit the OPCD website for more career planning information.

Dos and Don’ts of a Successful LinkedIn Profile

Dos and Don’ts of a Successful LinkedIn Profile

Statistics show that about 80 percent of today’s jobs are landed through networking. But how, exactly, do you go about finding opportunities to network? Robert Yale, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business, spoke to Director of Career Services & QEP Julie Janik’s career development class about making professional connections and building your personal brand through LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is not Facebook for the over-40 crowd,” said Yale. “It’s a social network for professionals with over 450 million users. It can be the bridge between you and potential employers if you work diligently to create a profile that sets you apart.”

Here are the dos and don’ts that make for a successful student LinkedIn profile:

Do get a professional photo
Eye tracking studies show that recruiters spend 20 percent of their time focused on the photo in a LinkedIn profile. Because of this, Yale says you must use a professional image: “Use a tightly cropped photo. Wear business attire and make sure you’re recognizable.” And make sure you’re the only person/animal/object in the photo: “Don’t use an image of you with a dolphin unless you’re a dolphin trainer.” And beware: if you don’t upload a photo, LinkedIn will choose one from another of your social media accounts. What first impression do you want to make?

Don’t list your class year
According to Yale, listing your class year (freshman, sophomore, etc.) can exclude you from a recruiter’s searches. If, for instance, you forget to update your status from sophomore to junior, any keyword searches looking for juniors will bypass your profile. Another note about searches: list your degree by its acronym (BA, MBA). That’s what automatic searches are programmed to look for.

Do complete the experience section with future employers in mind
This means don’t list your title as “student” in the experience section. “College is about more than being a student,” said Yale. “So in the experience section, list all of your volunteer and extracurricular activities, as well as your internships and summer jobs.” Think hard about what you learned and how those experiences translate into transferable skills. List those skills in your profile.

Don’t sell yourself short
When writing about your experience, don’t minimize the work you did by over-clarifying the position. If you were a student worker, list your job title only — do not list it as “student worker for XYZ Department.” Don’t describe your work at a day camp as a “short summer job.” Instead, focus on how you met your employer’s expectations and what skills you gained as a result of the experience.

Do be definitive and declarative in all your profile entries
Don’t say you are “planning to go to graduate school” or “hoping to land an internship with a large accounting firm.” Instead, show the steps you are taking to reach that goal. Statements like “preparing for medical school” or “completing course work required to secure internship” are straightforward and goal oriented. As Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

Do make connections
Yale hears many students say they don’t have connections beyond school. “So get creative,” he said. “Start thinking about your parents and their friends, aunts, uncles, and your friends’ parents. Once you make your first layer of connections, the doors are open for you to connect with their connections, and so on.” This is also where networking comes in. When you go to a job fair, pick up cards from employers that interest you and add them to your network. If you notice that one of your connections is linked to a person that could help you or a company you’d like to work for, ask your connection if they will introduce you. “Be diligent, and your network will grow exponentially,” said Yale.

Visit the OPCD website for more career advice.

Executives on Campus: Jack Gibbons, CEO, Front Burner Restaurants

Executives on Campus: Jack Gibbons, CEO, Front Burner Restaurants

Everybody loves restaurants. And we all have opinions about what makes a good one. Ask your family members, neighbors, and coworkers and they’ll surely tell you about their great—and not so great—dining experiences. Jack Gibbons (MBA, ’05) is passionate about eating out, too. But he has taken his passion and turned it into his vocation. As the CEO of Front Burner Restaurants, Gibbons lives and breathes restaurants every day. On February 23, he shared his experiences as both a restaurateur and an entrepreneur with the University of Dallas Entrepreneurship Society.

Gibbons began his career in the restaurant industry as a waiter with the Pappas family of restaurants, a favorite in the Dallas area. He worked his way into management and eventually became brand manager for the group. While employed by Pappas, Gibbons came to UD’s Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business.

Gibbons said that obtaining his MBA from the University of Dallas helped him become a better businessman. “I would hear things in class—like what the great business minds have to say about something—and I would realize that it could help me solve problems I was dealing with in the restaurants,” he said.

Gibbons eventually realized that what he really wanted to do was take a risk and follow his own vision of what makes a great restaurant. He and partner, Randy DeWitt, created Front Burner Restaurants in hopes of addressing consumers’ unmet needs in a creative way. And they have been wildly successful.

According to Gibbons, putting together a strong team has been integral to the success of Front Burner. “I have surrounded myself with people who are smarter than me,” he said. “My team helps me create the unique brand for each individual restaurant.”

That uniqueness is important to Gibbons, so when he is cultivating a vision for a restaurant, he draws inspiration from a variety of areas. “I love to travel and experience new adventures in food. I study restaurants from around the country and decide what I like and what I don’t like about them,” he said. Gibbons takes what he’s learned through his research back to his team, and together they mold his vision into the DNA of the brand—what he defines as its “differences, nuances, and attitudes.”

Front Burner Restaurants certainly have attitude. A prime example is Whiskey Cake, located in Plano. Gibbons chose the area because he felt the DFW suburbs were missing out on unique dining opportunities. And despite the restaurant’s conservative surroundings, “counterculture” best describes the restaurant’s vibe. “We wanted the staff to really fit the ethos of the brand,” Gibbons said, “So our servers have dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings.” A farm to fork menu and a commitment to freshness and sustainability (they press their own juices and even recycle rainwater) have resulted in Whiskey Cake’s becoming the top-rated restaurant in DFW on the popular user-review app, Yelp.

Gibbons and his team are working on several exciting dining and entertainment projects that will take advantage of the phenomenal growth of the DFW area and its reputation as a testing ground for new restaurant concepts. With these new projects, Front Burner will continue to attract top chefs and culinary trendsetters. Anyone who likes a good meal will be looking forward to that.

For more information about the University of Dallas Entrepreneurship Society, click here.

How do you spend your time?

How do you spend your time?

The Office of Personal Career Development at the University of Dallas serves current undergraduate and graduate students, as well as alumni.  Right now, professional concerns may not be pressing, but eventually we all go to work. And we work a lot!

Time Use-page-001
Exhibit A


We believe that, in order to serve effectively, to best use one’s talents and gifts, discernment is essential, as is gaining experience to rule options in or out.  This process allows students to achieve their professional goals as they move beyond their education into serving their communities and families.

If you are a U.D. student or alumnus engaged in a professional discernment process, the OPCD provides ample opportunity to learn from experienced professionals via on-campus programming and to pursue opportunities to work in your fields of interest.  Visit our website to see our resources and contact us if you have any questions.  Be sure to check the University of Dallas Calendar of Events for employer and/or industry-related programming and recruiting on campus.