About the Blog

This blog and its resources are here to assist all students throughout their college years and into their careers. Blog is moderated by a Certified Professional Career Coach and Master Tutor Trainer. Site moderator, Neil O'Donnell, is an EOP graduate of Buffalo State College and can be reached at odonnenp@buffalostate.edu.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Career-Minded Student

For too long, college students have gone about their undergraduate years without guidance, true guidance, on how to best prepare to compete for jobs immediately upon graduation (if not beforehand).  Those days are over.  As a career and academic advisor for 20 years, I have compilled my experience and guidance into a new book to help students achieve career success as soon as possible after completing a degree.  A book that should be read by high school students intent on pursuing college as well as current college students.  The advice worked for me, and it has helped many of my students excel in classes AND in their careers (yes - the book includes study skills).  Take care!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Interview: Part 1 - Preparation

So, you got the call and now have an interview scheduled.  What's next?  Well, the résumé certainly did it's part.  Now, you have to step up your job search game and really invest time.  To excel in interview situations, it's not just about what you say during or after an interview that matters.  The first step is to prep for the interview.  How?  I'm glad you asked.  Below are steps to take BEFORE the interview even happens:

1) Research the company you are interviewing with.  When you walk in to the interview, you should have a good understanding of the company's history.  Who started the company, and what changes have been made over it's history?  Did it change it's products and services at any time?  What innovations has the company provided to the market?  What is the company's local, regional, national and global presence?  Has the company won any recognition or awards?  You should also understand what the companies short term and long term goals are.  What is it's five year plan?  What is the company's ten year plan?  You will likely be asked about how you see yourself fitting into the company.  Researching the company's history and long & short term goals will help you answer that company (such research will also help you understand if this company is actually a good fit for you).  By the way, usually one of the first questions most of us who have lead the interviews of candidates ask is "What do you know about our company?"

2) Determine who is interviewing you and research her/his/their background.  This may not be so easy as often times a committee is assembled to interview candidates (and most of the committee members are from different departments within the company).  If you don't know who is interviewing you, call the office and ask the secretary he/she may know and be willing to let you know.  In the event you cannot find out the specific individual(s) interviewing you, research the department and its staff.  Their names will likely be posted on the company's website.  You may also be able to scan LinkedIn to determine who staff members of the company are.  Even a basic Google search can reveal this information.  As with the research of the company, check into the staff/committee members' backgrounds thoroughly.  Find out their education and career background.  Look into hobbies and accomplishments (publications, presentations, awards, etc.).  Find out what contributions they have made to the company and the field.  Read any publications they have to understand their views on the future of the field.  Such information could help you in answering questions you are asked.  For instance, if you know that one of your interviewers is interest in a specific technology or software program based on her/his online bio, make certain you are familiar in some way with such tech and find a way to incorporate it into your answers.  Bottom-line: You should know these people as if you were longtime friends!  The more you know, the better you'll do answering the interview questions!

Next post:  The Interview: Part 2 - Preparing for Typical Questions

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Site Resources tied to my new book

For those visiting this site via the link in my new book, Writing Standout Résumés, I will be writing a sequel on Job Interview Strategies.  That book will be posted on this site and will be FREE!!!!  Stay tuned as I hope to have the book up by end of January (sorry - but if I don't get back to my fantasy novel, my publisher is going to kill me).

In the mean time, if you have questions about how to best prep for an interview, send me an email at npo113@hotmail.com.  Take care, and have a safe holiday season!