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How I Landed At IBM

By Sophia Caputo

October 11, 2018

Sometimes you really ought to look before you leap. 

Other times, though, you just need to do the leaping before the looking. And that’s exactly what I did this past April when I was presented with the opportunity to work for IBM as a Financial Analyst Co-op.

It was mid April, a week or two after spring break, when I got an email from the career relations liaison at my school notifying me that IBM had an open co-op position for the June – January cycle, and that the dean of the business honors program had referred me (and three of my classmates) for the position. I responded within the minute saying that I was most definitely very interested and excited about the 6 month, full time, paid co-op at IBM (as one does when there is only one available position and four individuals emailed about that position). And about 5 minutes later I realized that it was a paid, full time, 6 month commitment – so naturally I started to freak out a bit. Still, my name was sent in to the hiring manager for the entire finance organization at IBM, I filled out an application (as a formality), and my interview was scheduled within a few days.

I’m sure some of you have been there – at your current place of work, smack dab in the middle of application season, which means interviews, which means scheduling phone and video interviews on your lunch break. Yup, I did that too. I was sitting in my horribly bare cubicle that seemed huge because of the lack of decoration when I talked to my now manager for about 40 minutes. Prior to my interview, I hopped on the phone with a friend and mentor of mine who went through the same co-op program I was interviewing for, and had received a full time offer upon graduation (he’s working at IBM now). 

When you’re interviewing for a company, it is always a good idea to prepare. Learn about the company, what they’re selling, what the culture is described as, what they describe their culture as; understand the company and their values. Speaking with someone who understands from first hand experience is the best way to prepare, in my opinion. 

We talked about how IBM is in the cognitive era, how they are more of a software company now, and how they are continuously striving to adapt and stay relevant. I was able to use this information during my interview which helped in the sense I already had some understanding of what my manager was talking about. I also had the opportunity to discuss some of the classes I took, one of which was Emotional Intelligence – the cool part was that IBM just started Emotional Intelligence education sessions for their finance managers.

The interview felt more like a conversation, and by the end of it I was pretty sold on the idea of joining the IBM family. Now, I just had to convince my family.

You see, I live about 40 minutes north of New York City. For a good 18 years before that, I lived in Central California (and if any internships ask, that is my permanent address and yes I would appreciate a relocation stipend); that’s still where my parents and younger siblings live. Also, I still hadn’t even finished my first year of college when I got that email – I came in a year ahead of the game (thank you AP credits). The cherry on top was I had an offer for another internship that would have me part time in D.C., and part time back in my home town. My parents preferred the idea of me coming home for a bit, but after a bit of coaxing and convincing (and realizing I wasn’t just chasing a paycheck), they were fully supportive. 

Now, 4 months in, my day to day is very different than most co-ops. Although I’m a financial analyst, I’m not forecasting or budgeting. Currently, my team is working on a project to restructure the way in which attract talent and recruit on college campuses – and I’m actually getting to take the lead on it. We’re running a design thinking workshop which involves bringing in IBMers with anywhere from two weeks to forty years in order to get fresh points of view and perspectives to help us brain storm innovative ways to attract talent; this is just one instance where I’ve gotten exposure to higher ups within the company. I also organize various social and professional events for new higher and co-ops, including round tables with executives (SVPs, Directors, and CFOs). As the co-op on the Finance & Operations team, one of my other responsibilities include running Slack education sessions for various teams within Finance. 

IBM was not a part of my plan, but I am so grateful that it has opened my eyes to the world of corporate finance and exposed me to a positive culture that I value and could see myself at in the future. Because of the my attitude and my work ethic throughout my first year of school, I was recognized as a strong candidate for an amazing opportunity – no matter what you’re doing, people will take notice if you’re working hard and striving for success. Wherever you end up, there are ways to add value to a company and take ownership of the work you’re doing; IBM has truly given me that opportunity…and landing at this company was not part of my initial plan. 

As you continue on your path, don’t be afraid to sometimes leap before looking. You might not know where you’re going to land, and you very well might get spooked…but if you’re willing to leap, it will be worth it. 

Sophia Caputo packed her bags and moved from California to New York to study Business Finance at Mercy College, where she will be graduating in May of 2020. She aspires to gain a wide array of experiences in finance, in both the corporate finance and banking world, while pursuing opportunities to give back to the theater community, which has impacted her life since it first became her passion in her childhood.

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5 Thoughtful Questions to Ask in an Interview

By Jocelyn Yeung

October 2, 2018

A successful interview requires thoughtful and diligent preparation. As you review common interview questions, research the company, and polish your résumé, be sure to also think about any questions that you would like to ask your interviewer. By asking thoughtful questions during an interview, you can demonstrate your interest in the position and learn more about your potential employer.

Before I discuss some examples of questions you can ask during an interview, I would like to point out that it is best to avoid asking questions that can be easily answered by a simple internet search. This is where company research comes into play – try to become familiar with the basic job description, company background, organizational values, and other easily accessible relevant information before you walk into your interview. 

Now that you’ve done your research, here are some examples of thoughtful questions you can ask in an interview:

1. How would you describe the training process for this role? This is a great way to learn about what your life might look like during your first weeks or months on the job. While some companies offer highly-structured new-hire training, others might assign you a mentor or simply expect you to hit the ground running. You can set yourself up for success by knowing what to expect during the training process.

2. What elements of your company’s culture set it apart from its competitors? This question will help you determine whether or not the company is a good fit for you. Organizational culture can be difficult to accurately observe from the outside, so it can be helpful to hear about your interviewer’s personal experience at the firm. If you receive multiple offers, this might be an important factor in your decision. 

3. In my research, I saw that diversity is one of this company’s core values. How do you feel that the company’s leadership and initiatives reflect that? This question can be about any of the company values that really resonate with you. It’s easy for a company to say that they care about diversity, ethics, or employee wellbeing, but what really matters is how they actually implement those values. Again, this is a way for you to assess the company’s culture and see if it is a good fit for you.

4. How will I know if I am successful in this role? Will I receive candid and constructive feedback? This question demonstrates your growth mindset and motivation to succeed. It can also help you learn more about how your potential employer defines and measures success. This knowledge will be critical if you aspire to move up within the firm. 

5. What is the next step in the recruiting process? May I reach out to you if I think of any other questions? This makes it clear that you are interest in moving forward in the recruiting process. It can be stressful to spend weeks staring at your inbox, so be sure to inquire about the timeline for the remaining interviews rounds or hiring decision. Don’t forget to request your interviewer’s contact information so you can send them a follow-up email!

I know that interviews can be stressful, but remember - if an employer is taking the time to interview you, it means that you are qualified for the job. They want to get to know you! 

Be prepared, be confident, and be yourself. Good luck!

Jocelyn Yeung is a Finance major at the University of Houston - Victoria (Class of December 2019). Jocelyn is passionate about diversity, education, and innovation, and she aspires to become a strategy consultant and future business leader!

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The Declassified Finance Survival Guide: Navigating Finance Recruiting for Undergraduate Women

By Anagha Mulpur

September 25, 2018

If I could define one trait that helps women succeed in recruiting for finance positions, it would be tenacity.

Finance recruiting season, the lesser-known fifth season of the Earth, runs for nearly eight months, from March of your sophomore year through October of your junior year (for a traditional four-year degree). At its best? Exhilarating. At its worst? Stressful and discouraging.

Throughout this period, students run a rat race of keeping up with emails, meeting professionals from all over the industry, and in general casually ponder questions like “why am I here?”, “what drives me?”, and the all-encompassing “where do I want to be in five years and why?”.

My Recruitment Experience

An important distinction to make is that recruitment may not look the same for everyone. Universities can largely be broken down into target, semi-target, and non-target schools. These labels are mostly based in firms’ interactions with the school: how many alumni from that school are present within banks, whether the school hosts on-campus visits and interviews, and the general standing of the school’s business and liberal arts programs.

For the University of Michigan, banks began to come to campus in February. I, as a Political Science major, was not well-versed in finance. I applied for a diversity program and was accepted, and there I received mentorship and banking training. I did two rounds of interviews, which included a superday (a day full of final round interviews back-to-back) at the company’s headquarters. Three months later, I excitedly accepted a capital markets offer, having gained some experience with interviewing and networking along the way. Let me show you how I did it.

Square One

The first thing I learned was that it can be difficult to distinguish between the various branches of a bank if there has been no prior experience or interaction with the world of finance. I know that I felt overwhelmed walking into that first company event and seeing posters designating areas for investment banking, sales and trading (securities), capital markets, corporate banking, and other divisions.

Having gone through that confusion, my general advice is to:

1. Talk to an older student in the industry to help you understand the basic setup of a bank, and
2. Read up on it online- Mergers and Inquisitions is a favorite blog of mine for learning the basics.

You can also ask people at the recruiting events, but you don’t want to waste time learning fundamentals: rather, you should aim to learn what their motivations for working in their division are. Never miss a networking opportunity!

This leads me into my second piece of advice: optimize time spent networking.

Networking and Building Relationships

What is networking? Networking is, simply put, the process of establishing mutually beneficial relationships with people in your field of interest. The key to good networking is (paradoxically) to avoid making it seem like networking.

There are two parts to establishing this kind of relationship, and those are professional and personal.

Professionally, during networking events you need to have an “elevator pitch” for who you are and what you care about. At this stage of the process, the why of your interest doesn’t matter nearly as much, since you’re there to learn. You want to demonstrate your excitement to learn and your work ethic.

In my opinion, the personal part of this equation matters more than anything else. Being a good cultural fit for your dream bank will put you above and beyond the rest of the applications, and establishing a personal connection with a professional will ensure you get boosted through the process.

Demonstrate your confidence in yourself and be outgoing when you speak to everyone. Many people will subconsciously be running you through the airplane test (“if I was stuck with them for 5 hours in an airport, would I still be alive at the end of it?”).

The crucial final step to networking is to always follow up with your contact! Sending a quick thank you note and perhaps referencing something memorable you spoke about goes a long way to cementing a professional relationship with the people you met.

You can also include a quick “ask”, which can be asking for a brief coffee chat, scheduling a phone call, or even just asking to be connected to other people in more specific positions within the same company. Remember to always be cognizant of their time- they get emails like we get texts, so it’s easy for yours to fall through the cracks if it’s not short and sweet!

Next Steps- What Now?

So, you’ve read up on different divisions of finance, networked with some professionals to get a feel for the day-to-day environment, and understood where you think you might begin to fit. What do you do now?

One unique opportunity that we as women have is diversity pipelines aiming to bring top performing women into the banking spotlight. These processes require a typical application (see: Forté essays), resume drop, and sometimes rounds of interviews. They usually offer accelerated interviews and/or direct offers at the end of the program; I’ve experienced both.

These pipelines are extremely robust and not only are they a way to secure an offer, but they connect you to top female talent within your divisions of interest. They will most likely become your mentors and friends, so it’s extremely important to take advantage of the situation.

The best places to begin to look for these opportunities would be on bank and consulting firm websites, by contacting campus recruiters and attending career fairs to ask about such opportunities, and through older women in business who may have attended them in the past.

Networking is a crucial component of this process, because it puts a face on your resume and shows them firsthand what your passions are and why you’re applying before they even read your cover letter.

Moving Forward

Congrats on finishing your survival course! You’re ready to go out there and kick some butt.

This is a great place to start for most freshmen and sophomores who are interested in getting ahead. For upperclassmen, networking is more important than ever! You’ll hear about valuable information first if you take the time to make personal and professional connections within your field of interest, as you may not necessarily have advantages like diversity programs.

Throughout this period, remember to take plenty of personal breaks and enjoy your life and hobbies. Your confidence and health will shine through and make a bigger difference than anything, so go ahead and be that fascinating and talented woman you’ve always been meant to be.

Finally, although this period may seem overwhelming, remember that it’s an exciting beginning to what will be a shining career. These days will pass sooner than you would believe- trust me. I’ve been there.

Anagha Mulpur is a junior studying Political Science at the University of Michigan with a Sustainability scholarship, intending to enter finance full-time. Her dream job would be antique book collector and seller: there’s no feeling like holding a hundred-year old book’s pages in your fingers, and no sight like a well-kept personal library.

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Tips for Networking

By Megha Karthikeyan

March 27, 2018

Business students have heard the buzz word “networking” plenty of times, but many don’t realize the significant role it plays in recruiting and getting internships. Big banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and Barclays travel to college campuses all over the country and the world and host information sessions, coffee chats, and even mock interviews. Many have “discovery days” where students can visit the offices and attend workshops with recruiters. A lot of this information is given at networking events, making them very important. It can be confusing to figure out what events to go to since college students are very busy, but if you have the time, it is beneficial to attend as many events as possible. There are ways to maximize your time at networking events which I’ve broken down below. 

Information Sessions

Information sessions can be hectic because there can be tons of students with a few recruiters. Usually recruiters will have a panel or presentation that discusses the company and different job functions with people giving their personal anecdotes of how they got to the company and why it was the best fit for them. This is the time to write down the names of the people whom you’re interested in talking to, along with some basic content that they said. If there are multiple panelists, it can get confusing to figure out which person said what, so bringing a notebook can be very helpful. 

After the presentation ends, recruiters will often talk about “discovery days” or conference programs they have that will give you greater exposure to the company. These require applications, so paying attention to deadlines and requirements is important. The recruiters may end by going over internship timelines along with how the selection process works, and then open the floor for questions. Although it is important to ask questions, in crowded events like information sessions, you may not be able to get your question in. Don’t worry if this happens! At the end of these events, there will be time to speak individually with recruiters or at least get into smaller groups to ask your questions.

When this happens, it can be stressful because everyone is vying for the attention of the recruiters and it can seem competitive. Be patient, listen to others, and feel free to chip in to any conversations others are having while being respectful and not interruptive. If you can get a few minutes of one-on-one time with a recruiter, use that time to ask any specific questions or introduce yourself. Start up a conversation to connect yourself with the recruiter, and at the end, ask for their business card. 

The key part of getting the business card is using it. Make sure to thank the recruiters you spoke with and even refer to specific points in your conversation, so they remember who you were amongst the many students that came. 

Coffee Chats

Coffee chats are by far my favorite form of networking. They are usually one-on-one with a recruiter or an analyst and you can gain so much information from a short, 20-minute conversation. When companies come to campuses, they will have sign ups for coffee chats, so sign up as soon as possible. They often have a finite number of time slots, so getting yourself time with a recruiter is important. 

I recommend bringing a copy of your resume to the coffee chat. Since this isn’t a formal interview, you can often ask the recruiter or analyst to look over your resume and ask them for any improvements or tips. It will show them that you are prepared and give you valuable insight. Since coffee chats are so personal, it is crucial that you come with questions in mind. From personal experience, these chats are driven by you, not the recruiter. They won’t have a presentation or elaborate talking points, so it is expected that you come up with good questions for them to answer. They can range from logistics questions about the application to division specific questions about company roles. 

Because this is a one-on-one conversation, making a good impression and building your connection with the recruiter is important. They will be more likely to remember you since you did a coffee chat than someone they met at an information session. However, this will only happen if you keep in touch with them after the coffee chat. Getting their business card, asking questions and getting them to put you in contact with other analysts is a good way to maximize your coffee chat connection. 

Mock Interviews/Prep

Some firms will offer interview prep sessions or even mock interviewers with recruiters. These are useful to go to because you get more insight into what interviews will be like and you get a chance to practice. If you’ve been to the information session, attended a coffee chat, and then attend the mock interview, you will be showing a greater interest in the company. Even though it is a practice interview, it is important to have some preparation done beforehand. You aren’t expected to ace the mock interview or be an expert, but showing that you are trying your best on the mock interview will send the signal that you are prepared and care about getting the internship. Some people are afraid of doing mock interviews because analysts or recruiters from the company are interviewing them and they don’t want to mess up, but these interviews are the time to get feedback and tips for improvement. As long as you try your best and seem prepared, you will come out with stronger interview skills and a greater connection with the recruiters. 

Megha Karthikeyan is from Vienna, Virginia and attends the University of Virginia. She intends to double major in Economics and Commerce at the McIntire School of Commerce with finance and information technology concentrations. Megha will graduate from UVA in 2020. She hopes to work in the finance industry as a finance or risk analyst, but is also looking at working in investment banking.

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Job Opportunities in Business that are Different from Investment Banking

By Megha Karthikeyan

March 8, 2018

There are many lines of work one can do in business, but the most popular job that people go into is investment banking. Banking can be a very intense job and people often think that it is the only job when going into the finance industry. There are many different opportunities to work in business that aren’t just investment banking like finance, risk, compliance, and operations. 

Finance

Finance can often be split into treasury and tax subdivisions in many companies. Treasury involves analyzing the company’s finances and looking at how the company is doing in terms of debt, equity, and general financial health. It is a very important job because they regulate the company’s budget and collaborate with other divisions. The tax subdivision makes sure that the company is following tax regulation and analyzes the profit and losses of the company. They are responsible for making sure the financial statements that are prepared are up to par for external and internal purposes. 

Risk

In some companies, risk is a part of finance while others have it as a separate division. In this division, you do a lot of risk modeling where you look at lending structures and measure liquidity and credit risk. A lot of the work in risk requires data analysis and research skills. Doing work in the risk division will give you a broader understanding of how the company runs and give you a chance to work with different people and on different projects. 

Compliance

Compliance often has risk modeling aspects to the job but also deals with regulations and the law. They make sure that the private wealth management, securities, investment banking, and other divisions are following SEC regulations and that there isn’t any insider trading going on. Compliance can have various jobs within it like anti-bribery units as well as teams assigned to look at cryptocurrency markets and cyber terrorism. It is a very broad division with many different job opportunities, so depending on what you are interested in, compliance could be a good option for you. 

Operations

Operations makes sure that day-to-day functions of the company run smoothly, so people in this division work with employees from many different lines of work. They focus on efficiency and streamline various business processes so that divisions can do their work. This job will be great if you want to have a wide variety of responsibilities from financial analysis to designing processes. 

These are just a few of the jobs that exist in the finance industry that aren’t investment banking. Although investment banking is a great opportunity to work on deals and learn more about mergers and acquisitions, there are also other amazing jobs out there that will let you work in the finance industry. 

Megha Karthikeyan is from Vienna, Virginia and attends the University of Virginia. She intends to double major in Economics and Commerce at the McIntire School of Commerce with finance and information technology concentrations. Megha will graduate from UVA in 2020. She hopes to work in the finance industry as a finance or risk analyst, but is also looking at working in investment banking.

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Résumé Tips You Didn’t Already Know

By Casey Tsamis

March 6, 2018

It’s so important to have a solid résumé made before graduating college. It may be difficult when first creating it, because you may not have had much experience in the past, and that’s completely okay. Or maybe you’ve had a lot of experience, but are struggling with putting everything together and don’t know what to add or keep. Regardless, here are the best ways to really make your résumé stand out.

Need a layout? Try ​Canva.com

Canva.com has the perfect résumé templates, and there are hundreds to choose from. It also saves all of your designs with an account, so you’ll always have it and can refer back to it when necessary. Other templates like business cards, posters, and letterheads are available as well.

As for account options, canva.com has a free account plan and a $15 a month option, which would include more templates.

No need to put where you went to high school

If you’re currently enrolled in a university, you don’t need to have your high school listed. Make sure to list the school that you’re attending as well as your major and the degree that is being received. Also write your expected graduation month and year. For example:

Bachelor of Science, Major in Journalism
Emerson College-Expected May 2018

Have a section for achievements and awards

This is great especially if you’re feeling like your résumé has a whole lot of white space. If you made honor roll or dean’s list, definitely add that here. Scholarships are also great to include.

Make sure to create a section on related courses

It’s beneficial to the employer to see what you already know, so they don’t have to teach you later. If you’re applying for a public relations job and took a public relations or marketing class, add that into your résumé.

Use action-oriented words when describing your tasks at a previous internship or job

Action verbs are key to start with when describing daily tasks at a previous job. Action verbs like “Suggested, Developed, and Researched” are good examples of this. Another example:

-Pitched and developed content for magazine’s fall issue

Check out this page for 185 action verbs to use for a résumé. It’ll be super helpful when writing out your previous job description.

Lastly, be sure that your résumé is clean and is free of any grammatical or spelling errors. Use a font that is easy to read, such as Arial or Times New Roman. A 10-12 point font size is perfect.

Always send a résumé as a PDF file, so employers don’t have to download it and have it come up as a Microsoft Word document. A résumé shows off your talents and strengths, so make each word count and you’re guaranteed to get that interview.

Casey Tsamis is a senior journalism student at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She is a Division III athlete as well as the Vice President of her sorority, Xi Gamma Nu. Casey spends her free time exploring the latest fashion and beauty trends, and her dream job is to work at Too Faced.

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Beauty Products You Need For Your Next Professional Event

By Casey Tsamis

January 25, 2018

It’s always important to put your best face forward (quite literally) for a professional conference, networking event, or job interview. It’s sometimes difficult to find a product that will conceal under eye bags, but also seem like you’re not wearing tons of makeup. This list of beauty products will be sure to have you feeling your best and ace your next professional event.

BECCA UNDER EYE BRIGHTENING CORRECTOR-$32
This color corrector is a must-have since it can brighten any under eye area, and make sure you’re looking awake, refreshed, and ready to tackle on question that’s thrown your way. It comes in a small packaging, but the product itself lasts for months.

NARS RADIANT CREAMY CONCEALER-$30
After correcting with BECCA’s corrector, polish it off with this concealer. This is perfect to hide any blemishes or to start the first step of contouring. The applicator brush creates a smooth, matte finish that will even out different skin tones and look natural as ever.

FENTY BEAUTY MATCH STIX TRIO-$54

It’s definitely more on the pricier side, but for three products that can be thrown into your bag, it’s a steal. This trio includes a concealer, a bronzed contour stick, and a highlighter. Depending on the event or what industry the interview is for, a touch of highlighter on the cheekbones is completely okay. For all three stix, a little goes a long way, so use small amounts to start.

Drybar Travel Size Detox Dry Shampoo-$13
The travel size version of this product is perfect for fitting in your bag in case of a hair emergency. It has an amazing salon smell to it and will last for the next two days. Use this for the roots to mask any oils that may appear.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara-$24
This award-winning mascara is good for opening the eyes by lengthening the lashes and giving a dramatic, yet professional, look to the eyes. It won’t smudge or dry out either, and it’ll last for four months, tops.

It’s hard not to be nervous or intimidated before an interview or an event, but it’s proven that you will automatically feel more confident in a professional space if you believe you look your best. These products are used to enhance the features, not hide them. Show your best self and you’re guaranteed to do well.

Casey Tsamis is a senior journalism student at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She is a Division III athlete as well as the Vice President of her sorority, Xi Gamma Nu. Casey spends her free time exploring the latest fashion and beauty trends, and her dream job is to work at Too Faced.

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10 Things to Do Right Now to Get Ready for Recruiting Season

By Keana Bloomfield

October 3, 2017

No matter what industry you want to go into after you leave college, sometimes it can be so overwhelming trying to find what your first steps should be.  While there is no right answer, this list provides some tips from interview help to social media management to help polish your brand as much as possible to shine in the job market. And, even if you aren’t a senior, but just looking for internships, this should put you at the forefront of the game, while also giving you a sneak peek of what’s just around the corner for you!

Take advantage of LinkedIn

Whether that means updating your profile with your most recent professional experience leadership position that you hold at school, searching for jobs or internships, or even just creating your account, making sure that your most adult-ready social media account is active and live can be one of the most, if not the most important step when it comes to not only learning about different opportunities that may be available based on your skillset, but letting employers know about you and what you can possibly bring to the table.

LinkedIn is also a great way to become connected with alums from your school, especially since there is a filtering option that tells you where former grads from your university work now, what year they graduated and where they are located.  Sometimes that one LinkedIn connection could be the stepping stone to your very first job.

Talk to the Career Services at Your School

You probably know of them and maybe even stopped by there once or twice, but the career services at your school can be one of the greatest opportunities to helping you to succeed in the 24/7 world of professionalism by helping to edit your resume, craft the most creative cover letter or help to initiate mock interviews with employers. If you simply don’t always have the time to stop by, email them and ask if they can perhaps help virtually.

But, just as you hope that they read your emails, make sure to take the time to read yours, with new opportunities always on the horizon, don’t miss them when they are literally right at your fingertips!

Research, research, research!

When looking for jobs and internships, the application/interview process just as much as about you interviewing the company as it is about them interviewing you! So, in order to make sure that you don’t your time, nor the company at hands, it’s best to do your research beforehand about the company’s locations, what the job really entails, the company’s culture and reputation in its’ respective industry and whatever else you would want to know about your potential employer. 

Think in a year’s time: if you are working there, what are the key elements you wish you had known?

Create an application spreadsheet

As you’re researching and applying to several jobs and internships, unless you have the memory of an elephant, you are more than likely not going to remember every company that you have looked into, application deadlines, the status of the application, the company contact or any other notes you took into consideration.  Open a blank Excel worksheet and create a chart that lists the names of the employers that you plan on or have applied to and list columns that have the info you want to know and remember—it’s a simple and organized task that you will be glad to have made throughout this process.

Start thinking of professors you could ask to write letters of recommendation

As letter of recommendation act as one of the most important elements in an application, deciding who to ask, when and how can be extremely crucial to whether or not you’re the letter might just be what’s needed to push your application over the edge.  Think about professors that you really felt you connected with and if the class they taught had a special effect on you. 

But, you could also go the alternate route and ask a previous or current employer, coach or advisor that knows you and can and speak to you, your performance and accomplishments.

Practice interview questions with yourself

We already know how stressful interviews can be and when doing interview prep, it doesn’t make that stress just automatically go away.  However, many issues that people have when interviewing isn’t so much more so the technical, but the behavioral.  Being able to effectively give an overview of life experiences, ranging from your working in a teamwork to times you faced adversity and overcame it to even answering the infamous, but dreaded “Tell me a little about yourself” ice breaker question.

Once you feel comfortable enough, work your way up the practice ladder, first with friends, then family then career counselors or even mock interviewers until the big day.

Make new friends at school, but keep the old ones

More than likely, you aren’t the only one at your school trying to get a head start on jobs so bond with new people, because you both may share different insights into the recruiting process and specific industries. Don’t forget to reach out to some of your other friends and keep them in the loop—someone might just return the favor.

Take time to learn outside of class

Depending on your school, what you want to do post-graduation, etc. sometimes regular classes at college aren’t enough. It might be worth it to audit or pay for online courses that may cover topics you won’t have time to take this year or might not even exist in your college course book, so try taking the initiative to find the correct resources out of the classroom.  Courses likes these also look good to employers who can see that you are hard-working and full of ingenuity to want to take matters into your own hands.

Clean up your social media profiles

Even if your LinkedIn is perfect, it’s always worth it to be safe and make sure your other Big 4 (no, I don’t mean the consulting companies) are representative of you.  It’s incredibly easy to find anyone these days thanks to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. and depending on what they find that can be a good or a bad thing. Don’t ruin your chances at being hired for a job because employers find your public persona embarrassing and potentially offensive.

Keep improving your resume

This may seem incredibly obvious but your resume is probably the most singular important job prospect item in your entire application (it’s also a single page itself).  Employers don’t spend that much time on it, but it’s also the very thing that can determine whether you end up in the “Interview” pile vs “Rejected”.  There are over a million tips that can be given for the resume, but when you submit it for a job, the only thing that you should be thinking is if you were the employer, would you call yourself back? If so, you might have the gotten this job hunting thing down. 

Now it just comes to waiting to hear back…

Keana Bloomfield is a senior at Bryn Mawr College, a liberal arts college located outside the city of Philadelphia.  An English major and Economics minor, Keana has completed journalism opportunities at KYW Newsradio 1060, WHYY and the Philadelphia Inquirer, while also having developed financial acumen as a 2016 Girls Who Invest Scholar, an organization dedicated to putting more women in the investment management industry, and as an Asset Management Intern at PNC Financial Services within their Wealth Management division. As she completes her final year as an undergraduate, she hopes to become further immersed in the finance and business industries for both her professional and personal development.

 

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