Tag Archives: career tips

Apr09

10 Verbal Reasoning Test Tips You Need to Know

There are a number of verbal reasoning tests, however most are fundamentally the same. Reality is that verbal reasoning tests are used in a variety of interview and career scenarios nowadays. Learning what’s involved, what to expect and also some tips on how to master verbal reasoning will help you stand a better chance of getting the job you want.

10 verbal tips 9948597_orig

  1. Determine what kind of verbal reasoning test you will be asked to take.  The usual format is being provided with a short block of text and then questions with the choices of true, false, can’t say.  Usually the information that your prospective employer provides you with will tell you what the format of the test will be.
  2. Practice verbal reasoning questions prior to taking the test.  Do as many as you possibly can.  Get started preparing today to get ahead of all your competitors and start to practice with questions.   Practicing will help to improve your timing, accuracy and speed so that on the day of the real test you will be able to perform at your best. Here are some great tips on verbal reasoning for all ages.
  3. Practice your questions in exam-like conditions.  It should be a quiet environment that you can practice taking questions in without being disturbed for as long as the real test will take.  If you get used to taking questions in exam conditions it will make your real test much less intimidating.
  4. When you do practice questions, also take the time to review the ones you answer wrong.  This is an important thing to do since you will learn a lot more from your mistakes than the questions you answer correctly.
  5. Read news articles for practice and try to understand their main messages and key points.  Get accustomed to identifying what the key themes are and absorbing information.
  6. The night before your test, be sure to get a good night’s sleep.  Before sitting for the test, try to relax as much as possible.  Before you get started, take a deep breath.  It really can help with boosting your performance and calming your nerves.  View the test as a chance to demonstrate the knowledge that you have instead of a hurdle that needs to be jumped over.
  7. During the test, be sure to carefully read the questions and passages.  Re-read the questions you don’t understand.
  8. When answering the question, only use information that is contained in the passage.  Don’t use your own knowledge.  This includes even if you happen to be an expert on the subject matter that the passage is about.
  9. Before sitting for the test, carefully follow all of the instructions you are provided with.  Take note of how long the test is, along with the number of questions you need to answer within that time frame.  Quickly calculate how much time you have for answering each question.  That will help you stick with your time budget.  Move on if you happen to get stuck on one specific question.  Sticking to your time frame is very important when it comes to performing well on your verbal reasoning test.
  10. Take advantage of all of our learning resources.  We have numerous verbal reasoning tests that you can use to practice, in addition to articles full of tips and hints on how to effectively prepare for your test and improve how you perform on it.

So, follow these tips and you should be able to make more of your verbal reasoning test when it comes about.

Apr06

Student Excuses for being late

Train

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with students in the capacity of a School Director, Director of Career Services and CEO of CreativeInterns.com. These positions often required students to either arrive on time for an appointment, interview or class and therefore enabled me to hear numerous reasons why students were late or just didn’t show up.

Over the past couple years, I started taking note of some of the more unique and often used excuses, truths and sometimes absurd flat-out lies that were told to me. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if these excuses were given in truth or to create empathy, shock or exemption from discipline for being late or not showing up. Enjoy!

Excuse #1

A homeless guy punched me because I was wearing a red hat.

Excuse #2

There was a really long line at the coffee shop.

Excuse #3

My shoe untied and I fell up the steps.

Excuse #4

There was fog and the ferry was delayed.

Excuse #5

My best friend was sick. (Note: can replace “best friend” with any living thing)

Excuse #6

I got my period.

Excuse #7

My train was delayed.

Excuse #8

I got lost.

Excuse #9

My alarm didn’t go off.

Excuse #10

I don’t know why I am late.

 

Written by: Marc Scoleri

Apr24

Intern Spotlight: Kailey Sibley

pName: Kailey Sibley

Intern Position Title: Social Media for CBC Olympics and Hockey Night in Canada

Company: CBC Sports

Location: Toronto

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m a tiny sports fanatic living in downtown Toronto. I’ve recently finished the Radio & Television Arts program at Ryerson University, and am working my way into the world of sports broadcasting. I can tell you anything you need to know about the Stanley Cup, loose-leaf tea, and Orca Whales. I’m a huge fan of a good goal celebration, 4th-liner jerseys, and a solid playoff beard.

Can you tell us the steps you took to land this internship?

I actually applied to do a shot-listing internship for Hockey Night in Canada. I had to send in my resume and cover letter around four times before I was contacted for an interview. The interview was terrible. I was told I would never get to actually watch any sports during the internship because I’d be too busy getting coffee for people and running up and down the stairs. I asked if they had any writing and social media internships available. I was told no. A month later they asked me if I would do a writing and social media internship for the Olympics. I said yes, obviously.

What attracted you to this company?

CBC Sports is the pinnacle of sports broadcasting in Canada. I grew up watching Don Cherry and Ron MacLean on Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night. The opportunity to be a part of the CBC Sports team during the Winter Olympics was too good to pass up.

What skills did you learn at your internship?

I now speak in 140-character bursts.

Could you describe what a typical day was like for you as an intern?

The Olympics were a crazy time on the CBC Sports floor. We had an awesome social media team working 24 hours a day, every day from Day -1 of the Olympics, to Day 16. As soon as I arrived for my 8 a.m. start, I was updating Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube constantly. Covering hockey was my main focus. I would sit and watch every single game, live-tweeting them from one account on my phone and another on my laptop. I feel like I didn’t look up from my screen until the night shift arrived to take over social media duties!

What was the most challenging part?

The first time I tweeted a mistake. Everyone always says, “It’s okay to make mistakes.” When you’re representing a major corporation on social media, it isn’t okay to make mistakes. Always quadruple-check your work!

Most memorable moment?

Live-tweeting the men’s gold medal hockey game on the CBC Olympics and Hockey Night in Canada accounts. I literally skipped into work at 5 a.m. that morning. It was like Christmas for me. This is closely followed by the time I got to have a slice of Don Cherry’s birthday cake.

Give us one word to describe your workplace environment:

Exciting–there’s always something happening there.

What advice do you have for someone who is just starting to look for an internship?

Be persistent. Know everyone, and make sure everyone knows you. Never be that person everyone sees around but no one actually knows who you are. Offer to work on your days off. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Even if everyone else is in jeans, if your boss dresses up, you should too. Try not to yawn in front of your employers. Be enthusiastic about everything. Never apologize for doing your job. Triple-check your work…then check it again.

Who do you look up to in the industry?

My boss, Monika Platek. She does everything from writing, to social media, to on-air work. I swear she never sleeps.

What is your dream job?

Anything that involves talking about sports into a microphone.

Dec19

The Art of Building Relationships

Networking

“Networking” has become just a buzzword and we have lost sight of what is really behind networking – relationships. We have forgotten that your network isn’t the goal, but yet the relationship. My various encounters over the past few weeks has inspired this post to encourage others to go beyond the benefits and build lasting relationships.

Forget the network. Remember the relationship.

People often dive into networking thinking, how can this individual benefit me? That sort of thinking ruins the relationship immediately and inevitably destroys the network. Just recently I was approached at a holiday event and charity drive by a woman who immediately asked “where do you work?” There was no proper greeting, no introduction or even an exchange of smiles. I immediately lost interest in the possibility of a relationship being formed. I properly greeted her, told her my name, what I do, asked for hers and then politely walked away.

For some, approaching people may not be the easiest task. Food for thought – if you forget the network (the benefits for you) and just focus on genuinely getting to know the person, the approach will be that much easier. This leads to my next point…

Shared interests and values

To build a relationship, you must understand each other’s interests and values. More than likely you will share a similar interest with the person you are trying to connect with. To get to know what that interest might be, you have to be personable and authentic. Authenticity and even transparency (no that does not mean you have to bear everything on the table) will make the conversation easier.

The follow up

Follow up with the person that you share interests and values. Your follow up should consist of more than “it was a pleasure meeting you!” If through email or a personal hand written note, let them know why it was so great meeting them and always provide a call to action – maybe a follow up lunch or coffee to continue the conversation. The follow up will be the beginning of building an actual relationship, which will be more beneficial to your network. 

Oct22

Startup Tips From Techweek NYC

Aspiring entrepreneurs, digital media specialists, investors and all-around tech lovers gathered at 82 Mercer Street on October 17th for Techweek, the first to launch in New York City (it was originally founded in Chicago in 2011). This NYC edition was full of summits, workshops, the LAUNCH startup competition and fashion tech runway show.

It was great to see so many passionate people following their dreams and who are eager to become their own bosses—many of them students or recent graduates. So this was definitely an event to take notes if you’re thinking of starting your own company, not to mention a great opportunity to network like crazy. Here’s a quick list of some of the key points that I learned from spending the day surrounded by such innovative and inspirational people with contagious entrepreneurial spirits.

1. Collaborate.

A great way to get your company out there is to work with other like-minded businesses. Whether that may be through some special cross-promotions or creative partnerships, there are so many different ways to do this. Think outside the box. This is how you can set yourself apart. An awesome example of a company coming up with cool collaborations is  Warby Parker, the affordable and stylish eyewear company that also helps others (for every pair that is sold, a pair is given to someone in need). One of their most popular collaborations was with the Man of Steel movie franchise, bringing the iconic Clark Kent-style frames to life. They’ve also teamed up with Ghostly, The Standard Hotel, and Pencils of Promise just to name a few. Through these projects, they’ve been able to put themselves on the map and are becoming a go-to eyewear destination, both online and off.

DSC_0666

Tim Riley, Director of Online Experience at Warby Parker

2. Be open.

I think the best way to thrive in such an innovative environment is to have an open mind. Sure, you have this fantastic idea, but always remember that things can change quickly. Zack O’Malley Greenburg of Forbes said it best during his panel on making it in New York City, “Don’t get married to your idea, be open to redesign.” He wrote Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went From Street Corner to Corner Office, a book that takes a look into how the hip hop mogul took the business world by storm. Great ideas take time to develop and sometimes you have to go through quite a journey before reaching the final product—Jay-Z is no exception. Having an open mind makes this process much smoother.

DSC_0670

Kelly Reid (left) interviews Zack O’Malley Greenburg (right)

3. Build up a strong team.

Yes, you want to be independent, but everyone could use a solid support system. When starting up your own company, there’s a lot of planning (and stress) that goes into it, so it’s important to put together a reliable team of people you can depend on to help follow through with your vision. The co-founders of Hukkster, Erica Bell and Katie Finnegan, agree that “when you start your own thing, it’s constant pounding the pavement. When you have a team, it’s nice to have people helping you along the way.” Hukkster is a shopping app that aims to help customers find the best deals. They formed their team from a network they created and got references of people who would be fitting for the company.

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Hukkster co-founders Erica Bell (centre) and Katie Finnegan (right)

For more info on Techweek, be sure to visit www.techweek.com

Oct01

Intern Spotlight: Taylor Hicks

Taylor HicksName: Taylor Hicks

Intern Position Title: Styling Intern

Company Name: Emily Current and Meritt Elliott (MAUDE)

Location: Los Angeles, California

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Taylor Hicks. I am currently 18 years old and I live in Los Angeles, California. I attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, where I major in Merchandise Marketing. I was also recently chosen to be the Fashion Director of FIDM’s student-run magazine FIDM MODE. Finally, I have had four amazing internships in the past year at companies such as Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, Jimmy Choo, WhoWhatWear, and Teen Vogue.

 

Can you tell us the steps you took to land this internship?

I am currently interning with celebrity stylists and designers Emily Current and Meritt Elliott. I landed this internship by essentially doing my research and frequently following up. I knew I had a deep interest in celebrity styling and therefore, wanted to gain valuable experience by interning for major stylists. I found Emily and Meritt’s official website and after doing a little digging, I came across a contact email for inquiries. I immediately sent an email to the contact, explaining my previous experiences and interest in styling. I had to follow up at least two times before I received a response. Once I heard back, I was given an interview a week later and got the internship on the spot! I have been interning for them ever since.

What attracted you to this company?

I have always had a passion for pop culture and styling for as long as I can remember. Also, I have been a massive fan and admirer of Emily and Meritt’s work with their denim line Current/Elliott and celebrity clients like Emma Roberts and Mandy Moore. That said, it was a no-brainer when it came time to decide which celebrity stylists I was most interested in interning for. Today, Emily and Meritt have a total of six celebrity clients, including Jessica Alba, Emma Roberts, Sophia Bush, Mandy Moore, Ashley Tisdale, and Nikki Reed. Their styling aesthetic greatly represents the young, experimental lady who is seen by many as a true trendsetter, which is exactly where my heart lies when it comes to celebrity styling.

What skills are you learning at this internship?

There are an abundance of skills that I have learned from interning for Emily Current and Meritt Elliott, which include time management, networking, project management, decision-making, etc. The skills that my internship has taught me are invaluable and have helped me grow in my professional career by allowing me to dive head first into the world of styling and maneuver my way through every situation.

What has been a highlight so far?

The highlight of my internship has been all of the individuals who I am fortunate enough to work with on a daily basis. From Emily and Meritt’s team and their celebrity clientele to the employees at the public relations companies; each of them have made my internship more incredible and educational. I pinch myself every single day because I have been given the opportunity to work with people who believe in me and trust me while allowing me to live out my dreams.

Most challenging part?

The most challenging part of my internship has to be accepting the fact that nothing is ever going to be perfect and that obstacles and set-backs are inevitable. I tend to be a perfectionist and I am a tad bit OCD when it comes to organization and execution so it has definitely been a challenge to accept that I will make mistakes and there are always problems. However, I have come to learn that being a stylist is so much more than just creating looks because a large aspect of the career is problem-solving, which is a challenge in its own right.

Could you describe what a typical day is like for you as an intern?

A typical day for me as an intern is insanely busy and unpredictable, which I love. I usually begin my day at the studio, organizing all of the racks of clothes to be set up for a fitting or returned to PR companies. After I have returned all of the clothes and accessories to PR companies, I head back to the studio to get prepared for pick-ups of new clothes and accessories for the next fitting. Then, there are some days when we have fittings or photo shoots and my day is completely spent preparing for those or working at them. The most exciting part of my internship are the fittings and photo shoots because everything is so hands-on and in the moment. These two events are when I am able to learn the most and see how my bosses work their magic.

Give us one word to describe your workplace environment:

Stimulating.

What advice would you give to someone just starting to look for an internship?

The best advice that I can give to someone that is just starting to look for an internship is to have a deep passion for what you’re doing and to never stop trying. You will always have to follow up with people because of their busy schedules and not everyone is going to tell you ‘yes.’ However, this should never stop you from chasing after your dreams because I know so many people who are living proof that ambition and hard work can take you wherever you want to go. Also, kindness is always in style and it will take you far in life because people who are nice are always remembered.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is to be in styling, whether it’s celebrity styling, editorial, or being a fashion director for a major department store. I love merchandise and that is exactly what I want my career to surround itself around. Ultimately, I want a career that allows me to indulge myself in every aspect of fashion and I think working at a magazine like Teen Vogue or a department store like Bloomingdale’s could allow for that.

Sep24

Get Blogging

Blogging-TipsIf you’re hoping to break into a creative industry and are constantly trying to get your foot in the door, the first step to gain exposure is to start by branding yourself. I’m sure you’ve heard that a thousand times, but it’s really something that is necessary when you’re trying to establish a career for yourself. One of the most beneficial methods of doing that is to take your online presence to the next level. Sure, you have Facebook and Twitter, but a great way to get noticed is by having your own blog. Blogging can get you published on your own terms and to share your work with the world, whether you are a writer, videographer, photographer, or whatever field you may be in. Take initiative to get a blog up and running as a way to showcase your talent. You can build up your portfolio and direct potential employers to a URL in addition to a standard resume.

Blogging can also bring about tons of unique opportunities. You never know when a company might be looking for someone with your tone of writing and your perspective. It’s a tool that wasn’t accessible to people back in the day, so take advantage of what is available to you now. It’s simple and free, so why not? Here are some tips to help get the blog roll going.

Find your niche.

Decide what type of content your blog will consist of. Are you a sports fanatic? A movie buff? A fashionista? A tech wiz? Or even a combination. There are so many different topics that you can focus on, so find what suits your interests and let your creative juices flow. You could be as specific or as general as you’d like, just be true to yourself. Let your passion show through the content you create and people will take notice.

Choose your platform.

Next, you might be wondering which blogging platform is right for you. From Blogger to WordPress to Tumblr, the list goes on. All of them have their pros and cons, but it really depends on your personal preferences. I’ve used multiple platforms and have found the one that is most comfortable for my style. I chose Blogger, but WordPress and Tumblr are both great options as well. Give them all a test run and it’ll be much easier to find one that works best for you. The great thing about having your own blog is that you have complete creative control and freedom to take it in whatever direction you want—you can play around with layouts, fonts, colors, the works.

Share, share, share.

Spread the content that you’ve worked so hard on producing! Share on all your social networks and get it out there. You can always use your different accounts to connect your work. Write a blog post, tweet about it, post it on Facebook, the more the merrier. You’ll gain more exposure and bring in a wider audience. Although, you must keep in mind that people like unique content, not spam. Show your readers the value of your content.

Collaborate and connect.

With so many people now online, it’s so easy to find others with similar interests and connect with them over the web. Having a blog instantly makes you a part of a blogging community, which is great for meeting new people and engaging in interesting conversations, all while building up your own brand. Join different groups and take part in Twitter chats to find other bloggers who you could potentially collaborate with in the future. You really never know who you might meet and where these connections could lead.

Be consistent.

Once you’ve got your blog up and running, stay committed. You’re building up an audience now, who want to follow what you have to say, so be actively posting. You have this awesome voice and perspective, so put in the effort to make your blog as great as it can possibly be. Keep it up-to-date and always post fresh content to keep your readers coming back. Soon enough, you’ll gain an audience that is eager to see what you post next.

I hope this has inspired you to start up your own blog. Don’t worry if it’s just your friends and family reading in the beginning—you’ve got to start somewhere! It’s definitely worth it, so get on it. Happy blogging!

Jun20

Career Tips From a Student to a Student

7658261288_c10e49f50f_oSo you just graduated high school and are about to embark on the journey that is post secondary education. Excited? Nervous? Worried? That’s natural. Wait until you get to your senior year and about to enter the real world—yeah, now that’s scary.

I always wish I had someone older and wiser during my first year of university to send me in the right direction, but I was on my own to learn the ropes. So here I am, a little older and wiser, and I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

Start early

Before you know it, you’ll be halfway through your undergrad and realize that you only have a couple more years to go. And it will fly by, I guarantee you. Put in the effort early and volunteer/intern as much as possible. Any contacts you make right off the bat are great and your network can only grow from there. Also, make the most of all the opportunities that come with campus life. Check job postings, bulletin boards, newspapers, everything—it never hurts to try! Get out there and take initiative.

Network, network, network

It’s always about who you know, in any industry. Start with your fellow classmates and people on campus. As a student, you have the luxury of being surrounded by so many talented people and who knows, any one of them could be the next Bill Gates. It’s also important to attend industry mixers, career events and anything else that relates to your field of interest. And once you’re there, don’t be shy to introduce yourself. By the end of your university experience, you want to have a solid bank of contacts that you can reach out to.

Get on social media

This does not mean you always need to be Instagramming your food or tweeting about the annoying person sitting next to you, think of social media as a platform for marketing yourself as a brand. Employers want to see what you have to offer and what better way than an online destination where they can get the best sense of you on a professional, and personal, level. It’s becoming more and more common to come across great job opportunities and career leads on social media sites.
Another way to use the digital tools to your full advantage is to start a blog. This is the easiest way to get your work out there and published for the world to see.

Positivity is key

There is absolutely no benefit of being a Debby-Downer when you’re going through your university experience. Yes, it can be stressful, but don’t let it get to you. Employers will take notice if you are always the one with a great attitude and are pleasant to be around. Why would anyone hire someone that sucks the life out of a room? Don’t be that person.

Surround yourself with the right people.

There’s a theory that you’re a reflection of the five of your closest friends and I agree 100 per cent. Even more than five people, I think the people around you play a crucial part in the type of path you end up on. If you have lazy, unmotivated people around you, they can—and will—get in the way of your success. Try to find like-minded people who can help you, rather than hinder your progress. Collaborate and grow rather than compromise and feel stuck. Once you have that core group of people who have similar goals and work-ethics, you can only go up from there.

I hope these tips will come in handy during your own university experience—Good luck!

Mar30

How to Write a Professional Thank You Letter

Thank You Letter

A thank you letter is without a doubt the most valuable part of the follow-up process. Sending a post-interview thank you letter shows your strong interest in the company and your professional attitude. To write a professional thank you letter, here are a few things to keep in mind:

– Keep it short. A good thank you letter should not be long and complicated. Usually one page or half a page is enough to express yourself well.

– Check for any errors. Make sure your letter is grammatically correct and polished. Have your friends, professors or career coaches proofread if possible.

– Pay close attention to the person’s name, job title, company name, and any other detailed information. Make sure they are all spelled right.

– Be timely. Send the thank you letter as soon as possible. The next day is usually good. Do not send the letter later than 3 days after the interview.

A thank you letter is simply composed of three paragraphs:

The first paragraph should have the key phrase “thank you” since it’s a thank you letter. Thank the people who you interviewed with for the time and effort they devote to your interview. Mention the date you met and the position you are applying for. Also, briefly indicate that you had a good time and enjoyed the conversation with the interviewers.

The second paragraph should indicate any ideas that you have exchanged with the interviewers. Tailor it to specific situations. Think about one or two highlights of your interview or anything else interesting about the conversation to remind the interviewers of you. In the meantime, reiterate your qualifications and explain why you are the best fit for the company.

The third paragraph is the final and closing part where you should restate your sincere thanks and positively express that you are excited and are looking forward to working with them in the future.

 

Here’s an example of a good thank you letter from Columbia Univeristy Center for Career Education:

Dear Mr. xxx,

It was a pleasure meeting with you yesterday. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you about the marketing analyst position at Apfel Incorporated. I am extremely excited about the position and believe that my skills and interests are a good match for the company.

As we discussed, while interning at American Marketing Company, I completed a project that is similar in nature to the work that I would be doing at your company. Developing new business presentations for sports initiatives was my greatest accomplishment at American Marketing Company and I believe that I could make an immediate contribution to Apfel.

Thank you again for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

XXX

Written by: Cathy Qiu