Tag Archives: interviewing skills

Aug02

3 Tips for Interviewing the Interviewer

Interviewing the interviewer

If interviewing is a new skill for you then pay close attention to these three tips for interviewing the interviewer.

Research the company and the people who will be interviewing you

This is easier than ever to do these days with professional networks such as Linkedin and other social media pages like Instagram, Facebook or Youtube. Look for similar interests, previous places of employment to see if they may know people that are connected to you and associations or organizations the interviewer has affiliation with. In addition, consider who they follow on Linkedin to understand where they like to get their news from. These are great facts to use to generate engaging questions. Conversations related to past careers and topics from channels they follow on Youtube can be used to develop instant rapport.

Be prepared to answer questions about your skills and achievements

To prepare, look at your resume and and identify bullet points that are measurable accomplishments. They should look something like this, “Consistently overachieved delivery goal of 10 new postcard designs a week.” Now all you have to do is use your resume during the interview to point out the achievement on the resume and discuss how you actually overachieved that goal on a regular basis. If you have several of these achievements on your resume (which you should) then you will always be able to answer any question that sounds vaguely familiar to, “Why should we hire you?” or “What experience do you have?”

Show interest in the position by inquiring about next steps

Don’t leave the interview without finding out how you can follow up. You may have additional questions in the future as you continue interviewing. Ask the interviewer if they have a timeline for hiring? Is it one month, 2 weeks or did they just start interviewing and they still have 10 candidates to meet? This will show that you are interested in following up so ask for their business card or email/phone to do so. If you are truly interested in the position, let them know that the position sounds great and you look forward to taking any next steps they recommend.

Jul03

Intern Spotlight: Michael Koh

Michael Koh

Interviewee Name: Michael Koh

Intern Position Title: Associate/Writer

Company: Office Lease Center

Company URL: OfficeLeaseCenter.com

Location: New York City, NY

Tell us the steps you took to land an internship or entry-level position?

I first moved down to NYC from Buffalo after getting my Bachelor’s and spending an extra year copyediting and proofing a manuscript for an author. I put myself out there in NYC and actively looked for internships—I got in touch with Marc at CreativeInterns.com, who was extremely helpful and willing to connect us recent graduates with people looking to find internships or entry-level positions.

How did you find CreativeInterns.com?

I Googled internships in New York City and I’m glad I did!

Coffee or tea?

I love tea, I love coffee (black, please), but right now, I’m hooked on this energy drink called Runa. Check it out; the advertising agency I intern at has their fridge stocked with it.

What made your internship experience unique?

I get to attend some really cool technology events and meet fantastic people. Also, free beer and pizza (sometimes).

What skills did you learn or improve while at your internship?

Networking skills, definitely. You need to be comfortable with yourself to be approached and approach other people at events. I also learned to have a pitch when introducing yourself.

Can you describe what a normal day is for an intern at your company?

I go to events around six or so, but at the events, I’m usually introducing myself, trying to promote the company, and then when the event actually starts, I take notes for the article I write to recap the event.

Give us one word to describe your workplace environment?

Busy!

What advice would you give to someone just starting to look for an internship or entry-level job?

Chin up, back straight and always smile. Wear something nice, too. No hoodies or stuff like that unless it’s a laid-back culture at the office.

What do you do to fill the inspiration gas tank?

Laughing and drinking a lot of caffeine.

What’s next for you?

Hopefully a full-time job in the advertising world!

 

Jun26

5 Things to Do After a Job Interview

Follow-Up

You just had a great interview, and you think to yourself “this is it” — it’s the end of the process. You go home to hope and wait for the good news. However, it’s not over yet, so don’t just passively wait. Make sure you do the following things after the interview to maximize your chances of being hired.

Get the Interviewer’s Contact Information

At the end of the interview, always remember to obtain the business card of the people who you interviewed with. Make sure you have the cards of everyone you’ve met during the interview and have all their names, titles, emails, and mailing addresses correct.

Ask for Expected Decision-Making Time

It’s also important to ask at the end of the interview about a time when the final hiring decision will be made. Usually the decision takes about 1-2 weeks. However, some might take 3-4 months or even longer. Be sure to receive a clear answer from the company so that you can have more control and flexibility to arrange your future availability.

Send a Thank You Letter

A thank you letter is very important — it shows your interest and passion for the company. Make sure to send the thank you letter within 72 hours after your interview. It doesn’t really matter if it is a handwritten thank you card or a thank you email. Although a personal card is preferable, an email also works if you don’t have much time. Your thank you letter should include your appreciation of the interviewer’s time and interest, a reiteration of your capability for the position, and your desire for a further discussion with them. You should also personalize your thank you letter to every recipient by referencing something memorable or specific. See How to Write a Professional Thank You Letter.

Send a Follow-Up Email

Normally, one or two weeks after the interview is a good period of time to send a follow-up email if you haven’t heard anything. The follow-up email should be short and contain your inquiry of the current application status and whether the position has been filled. Make sure to restate your qualifications and why you think you are the good fit in the company at the end of the email. Learn more about this and other job search tips in Jumpstart Your Creative Career.

Make a Follow-Up Phone Call

If you still haven’t heard back from the company after sending the follow-up email, you might want to consider a phone call. Although many companies try to avoid job inquiry phone calls, it never hurts to give it a try. Maintain a professional phone etiquette, speak clearly about your desire and interest in the position, and ask if they need any further information from you. If no one picks up the phone, leave a voicemail and try to call again on another day. But don’t call more than three times — the hiring manager could get annoyed and it could backfire on you.

Written by Cathy Qiu

Jun19

How to Rise Into Fame & Stardom

creative interns

Whether you dream of on-stage spotlights or scoring victoriously on the basketball court, breaking into stardom is no simple task. If rising from mediocrity to fame and success were easy, then who would make up the population of average people? Along with innate talent, acquired skills and boundless determination, future stars can achieve their wildest dreams.

Jack of All Trades

Expand upon your single-faceted skills. Whether you’re in school for an acting degree or want to try theater, step outside your comfort zone and throw yourself into the trenches of artistry and performance. Test out singing, dancing, your live energy on stage and onscreen presence. A multi-talented individual can fulfill a wide range of mesmerizing character portrayals, which helps in scoring that one big break.

Tom Hanks perfectly embodies the ideal actor who has exceptionally diverse acting capacities. In 2013, Hanks will appear on the Broadway musical “Lucky Guy,” thus demonstrating that Hanks isn’t restricted to any role or genre.

You are Your Character

The ability to effortlessly and veritably portray a character with depth grows and improves your acting repertoire. Magnetically convincing audiences and directors takes work, and successful actors actually live as their characters. Place yourself in the character’s world. Feel their fear, pain and euphoria. Uncover the true nature of any character and how he or she impacts the storyline. As her role in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” Rooney Mara earned an Oscar nomination because of her dynamic “ability to convey a range of often competing emotions,” describes InterviewMagazine.com.

Confidence is Essential

To obtain star power and shine, an individual must be comfortable and self-assured. For example, young athletes who dream of going pro need to maintain a high level of confidence, especially during disappointments, losses and moments of self-doubt. Incredibly talented athletes who just need a little growth and experience also have to learn how to drop their egos while on the field or court. Accept criticism, let go of defensiveness and practice what you’re taught. Follow in tennis extraordinaire Roger Federer’s footsteps as he rose to become a world-class, victorious pro athlete despite a year of rival losses and a No. 2 ranking.

“I’m not over-confident, just very confident. I know my game’s in place now. Once I win a certain number of matches, I know what I can do, what I can’t do…” (Roger Federer).

Never Give Up

The pursuit of stardom, fame and ubiquitous recognition for your talent and passions shouldn’t be without letdowns and disappointments. The moment you experience self-doubt and the urge to give up, remember that more often than not, Grammy-award winning singers and bands who perform in front of a sold-out crowd had to overcome struggles too. Nate Ruess and his indie pop band, Fun., finally earned their deserved recognition by winning the 2013 Grammy’s Song of the Year. Lead vocalist Ruess is a self-taught singer from Glendale, Arizona who first acquired his taste of fame with his widespread, yet under-acknowledged band The Format. After The Format split, Ruess formed Fun. and has since broken into the music scene with star-studded prowess.

Written by Helen Macgregor: A successful designer of theater and movie costumes, Helen’s life is all about fashion and how it can be used to tell a story of one’s life.

Jun15

5 Tips to Be A Great Intern

creative interns

Now, you got an internship. You are excited to begin a new journey of your life. You are eager to enter the professional world and show your potential. With full energy, enthusiasm and ambition, you want to make the most of your internship and stand out from others. Well, here are some tips to help you become a great intern.

Be on time

Showing up on time is a way of demonstrating your professionalism at work. It directly affects what others think of you on your performance. If you happened to be late for once or twice, it might be ok. But if you form a habit of being late, people will remember it. I heard a true story from a friend of mine that’s a very hard-working person but is always late for work. She finally got fired because two times she arrived late and had missed two very important meetings. If you want to make a good impression to your company, arrive early, and don’t be the last person that everyone else has to be waiting for.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

An internship is a learning experience. As an intern, no one expects you to know everything. So don’t be afraid to ask a question if you don’t quite understand your assignment. People often feel embarrassed and pressured to ask questions, as they think it shows their inability. However, if you don’t ask and assume things should be done in certain ways, you might end up messing things up and wasting everyone’s time. Asking questions can show you are eager to learn and care about what you do.

Take initiative

You might find a time when you finish your tasks and have nothing to do in the office. Don’t sit still and wait, take the initiative to ask for more work and offer help to your fellow interns or any other employees in your company. If they don’t have anything for you to do at the time, they will remember you and will undoubtedly appreciate your efforts and proactive attitude.

Always take notes

Taking notes will help you organize your thoughts and remind you of all the tasks you need to do. Prepare a notebook and take it wherever you go. When you are assigned with multiple tasks, it is especially important to take notes so as to arrange your time more efficiently. It’s also good to have a to-do list to keep track on all your tasks, so that you will have a clear idea of what you have accomplished and what needs to done the next day.

Maintain a positive attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude at work is crucial. Being an intern, it’s often the case that you might have to do the tedious work, such as data entry, mailing or copy making, etc. Do not complain. Do the work well, no matter how small it is. Have a good attitude towards whatever task you are assigned to complete. If you make the best of the smaller tasks, larger more excite projects will follow.

Written by Cathy Qiu

May18

Attract More Applicants To Your Job Postings

graphic-designers-job-description

Applicants want to be more informed these days about the companies they apply to. With all the online resources available to job seekers such as Glassdoor, Linkedin and YouTube, it is easier than ever to learn about an employers’ culture and work environment. Written reviews and videos are often published about businesses on their company websites.

But how do you differentiate your open positions from all other written job descriptions listed online?

Here are some tips to make sure you have the best possible written description available for posting to online job boards and websites.

Get Specific. When posting job opportunities on career sites, add specific details to the description including: hours, location, office environment, and commission structures, reporting structure and day-to-day duties and activities. If the position requires someone to be on the phone 3-4 hours a day then indicate that in the description or if the ideal candidate is expected to be out of the office attending events 3 nights a week then it is best to include this type of information in the description. Applicants that enjoy going to events and talking on the phone will be more likely to apply to your position.

Get feedback from others. If you are writing the job description, get specific input about the position requirements from others at the company. For example, talk to an employee currently in the same or similar position. Whether you are updating a job description or hiring for a new role, make sure to ask others in the office for feedback on what the job description should include. Companies often change as they grow and new duties arise out of these changes. Stale job descriptions that do not match up with the actual position can cause confusion for new hires and the managers they report to.

Be authentic about what the position requires. Capture and list a couple quotes from current employees talking about why they like working at the company or what’s unique about being an employee for the company. Maybe you have awesome daycare resources for employees or offer split shifts to help employees improve their quality of life.

List learning and development opportunities. Highlight any training programs or education reimbursement your company provides in the description. Some job seekers will leave a current employer for an opportunity to gain an advanced degree. Others seek an opportunity to learn new things and possibly get promoted.

Offer a paid internship program. If you have an internship program, nothing increases the applications like the word “paid” on the job description. Event if you just offer a paid stipend, it can increase your chances of more applicants for your postings. If you are looking for interns, watch this video by Marc Scoleri, CEO of CreativeInterns.com Tips To Hiring Kick-Butt Interns.

Build a talent pipeline. Create a quality internship program that shapes and develops the kind of talent you need for your business. Read this article about 10 Things Your Internship Program Should Include.

Apr27

Your Internship’s Over…Now What?

Image courtesy of ores2k

It’s easy to end an internship and feel like you need a break afterward. But you’re wrong! Your internship may be over, but there are a few things you can do afterward that will make the time spent there much more worth it.

Ask your boss if he/she can be a reference: Of course, you want to be a top-notch intern your entire run there. But when it’s over, don’t be that intern that runs out the door and never speaks to anyone again. Make it a clear point that you will want to use your boss as a reference in the future and whenever you start sending out your resume give your internship supervisor a heads up so they can refresh in their memory about you.

Create a portfolio of everything you’ve done: If you’re a writer, save clips of everything you wrote. If you designed a website, make sure you save it before it’s replaced or altered. It’s crucial to save and organize all of your work before you forget or you are no longer able to access it. For example, it’s much better for your portfolio to get shots of your work as it was published rather than having to send out a Word document of a writing sample.

Update your resume: While all your projects are still fresh in your brain it’s a good idea to jot down  the specifics for your resume. There may be a time gap between then end of your internship and your next job so having a list will come in handy for helping you update your resume and remembering things you worked on to talk about during an interview.

Look for your next internship or job! We at CreativeInterns.com like to breed overachievers. Internships are one of the best ways to find out what career path you want so take advantage of experimenting with different internships before you have bills and student loans to pay.

Written by Diane Ly

Apr06

How to Write a Cover Letter

cover letter for interns

Crumpled Cover Letter

The importance of cover letters can never be neglected. A cover letter is your first opportunity to present yourself to a prospective employer, and its quality determines whether or not your resume will be read. Writing a cover letter is not that difficult. If you have never written a cover letter and don’t know where to start, don’t panic, here is what a cover letter should look like.

Usually a cover letter consists of three paragraphs.

  • The first paragraph is the introduction. In this paragraph, briefly express your interest in the company, and specify what position you are applying for. You may also include where you heard about this job opening and when you would like to start. Usually this paragraph won’t exceed 2-3 sentences.
  • The second paragraph contains the most valuable information. This is the paragraph where you outline your most relevant qualifications. Explain why you are the best candidate for this position, what your skills are and how you can contribute to the company. Read job postings carefully and research the company to get a clear idea of what kind of person they are looking for, and then tailor your experience accordingly. Also, be aware that many companies nowadays use keyword search to filter candidates, so be sure to have the right keywords in your cover letter. Those keywords can be easily found in the job description.
  • The third paragraph is the closing. In this paragraph, you provide your contact information, thank the recruiters for their time and consideration, and invite the employer to get back in touch with you for further conversation. Make this paragraph no longer than 3-4 sentences.

To help you better understand how to write a cover letter, below is a great cover letter example I found on the Harvard Business Review blog:

Dear David:

I am writing in response to the opening for xxxx, which I believe may report to you.

I can offer you seven years of experience managing communications for top-tier xxxx firms, excellent project-management skills, and a great eye for detail, all of which should make me an ideal candidate for this opening.

I have attached my résumé for your review and would welcome the chance to speak with you sometime.

Best regards,

xxx xxx

Written by Cathy Qiu

Mar06

Interview of Diane Ly | Copywriter Intern

Diane Ly

 

Interviewee Name: Diane Ly

Intern Position Title: Copywriter Intern

Company Name: RAPP New York

Company URL: www.rappusa.com

Creative Interns: Tell us the steps you took to land an internship or entry-level position?

Diane Ly: Moving to New York from California with no job lined up was absolutely daunting, but I knew there were resources out there to help me find a position. The problem was, I wasn’t sure which one to use as an entry-level recent graduate with a creative background. CreativeInterns.com showed up in my Google search (I’m actually not even sure what I searched), I applied for a PR/Marketing Assistant position (at Creative Interns!) and the rest was history. I worked closely w/ CEO and founder Marc Scoleri who became a close friend and wonderful mentor. Through Creative Interns, I was able to attend networking events I never would have found if I were not part of the community. I improved my writing portfolio through blogging, and landed a copywriting internship at RAPP New York.

Creative Interns: How did you find CreativeInterns.com?

Diane Ly: As part of my job search. The only source I can recall is Google!

Creative Interns: What keeps you caffeinated Coffee or tea?

Diane Ly: COFFEE. And lots of it.

Creative Interns: What made your internship experience unique?

Diane Ly: Since RAPP is my first advertising agency experience (I have a journalism background), I had no idea what to expect. Soon enough, I was thrown into briefings, creative brainstormings, and asked to write whatever the client needed. It was scary at first, but now that I’ve gotten the hang of it I know that I never would have been able to learn the skills I did in such a short period of time if I hadn’t been fully immersed in the advertising world as I was. It was a huge growth and learning experience.

Creative Interns: What skills did you learn or improve while at your internship?

Diane Ly: Teamwork. Coordinating with my art director partner and making sure we weren’t forgetting anything for our meeting. Communication is key – you can’t leave any questions unanswered.

Creative Interns: Can you describe what a normal day is for an intern at your company?

Diane Ly: Normally, I will be working on 1-3 projects at a time. Coming off a brief, I’ll research, write, and go over my work with a senior to make sure I’m hitting all the marks the client wants us to. I’ll work with the art director on the project, and together we’ll make MAGIC! A few rounds of internal reviews and then it’ll be looked over by the client, after which more edits will take place.

Creative Interns: Give us one word to describe your workplace environment?

Diane Ly: DIVERSE.

Creative Interns: What advice would you give to someone just starting to look for an internship or entry-level job?

Diane Ly: Do not give up and do not have an ego. Remember: you are one of SO many people looking for an entry-level position. So, don’t expect to hear back from every single job you apply to, and when you DO hear back, always, always, always take the opportunity to interview and grow, even if the position isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. It helps build interviewing skills and manage your nerves.

Creative Interns: What do you do to fill the inspiration gas tank?

Diane Ly: Go outside. Don’t coop yourself up in front of the computer screen all day. Taking a walk and seeing different things each day will inspire you to be adventurous.

Creative Interns: What’s next for you?

Diane Ly: Build my copywriting portfolio, learn from every project I have, and give advice to those who seek it. Good luck!