Grad School Interview! Yes! But Wait, How do I Get Ready? Part II

By: Brittany

In my last blog post I talked about three things you could do to get started on preparing for your interview: setting the date, research and talking points. Now that those are in progress (or collected), let me talk about the last few things you can do to prepare yourself completely for your interview.

Questions for the Interviewer

This, for me, and others, is a challenging part of preparing for the interviewing process. This supports why researching the school and the program is so important. A lot of the questions that you will be asking will be based off of your research. When you think of these questions, be sure to write them down on a note pad and don’t be afraid to bring that in with you to the interview. There are only a few things that I would suggest you ask them: “When you can expect to hear from them either way?” and “How will you hear from them?” (if not answered within the first question). Some other suggestions of questions you could ask if you’re struggling to find something’s to ask them: “What qualities do they look for in applicants?” and “Do they provide assistantships or other employment (or internships) options within the program?” Some questions may also come up within the interview as well.

Wardrobe

This may be a silly thing to think about, but it’s important. You will want to dress nicely and present yourself in a professional manner, but also find something that shows off your personality a little bit. You will want to wear something that you’re comfortable in (ladies, wear shoes that you are able to walk around in for a potential tour) and something that is complimentary on you. If you’re having a hard time finding something here are some generic suggestions. Ladies: dress pants and a nice top (with a potential cute suit jacket over it). Skirts are okay as long as they are at an appropriate length. Stay away from low cut shirts. Gentlemen: dress pants, dress shirt and tie (possibility for a suit jacket over it, if you’re comfortable with it) along with dress shoes (don’t forget the black socks).

Last Few Steps

Once all your preparation is done, I highly suggest you schedule a mock interview with a career counselor in Career & Internship Services. The process can be very useful because the counselor can reassure you that you’re ready and may bring up good points that you didn’t think of. There is no particular way these are done: the career counselor may ask you questions similar to what may be asked in the interview, you will answer and they will debrief with you after each question; you can discuss what you’re worried about, how the process usually works, and then brainstorm your talking points; or you can do a full fledged interview and debrief afterwards. Whatever way the mock interview is done, feel free to take notes during the process and review them before your actual interview.

When I was going in for my mock interview I asked the question of wearing my interview outfit to the mock interview. You don’t have to but it wouldn’t hurt; it gets you in the mindset and you can also get feedback on how it looks. I recommend getting the mock interview in a week or so before your actual interview so you have time to digest what was discussed in the mock interview.

Last, but certainly not least, allow yourself time to relax and congratulate yourself in the fact that you’ve been offered an interview. These are big steps that are taken and should only be positively recognized!

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Healthy Habits on the Job: Exercise

By: Cameron

Welcome again to “Part III” of Healthy Habits for on the Job! Read the others here: sleep and eating well.

Today I would like to highlight exercise. The following post will outline strategies and reasons to maintain a regular exercise routine in order to support a healthy lifestyle.

Exercise

Exercise can be intimidating but it is also extremely rewarding. A lot of people say they don’t have time or they’re too tired. The truth is you can make time and studies have shown that a certain amount of exercise can make you more alert.

To dispute the claim that exercise is time consuming, the Mayo Clinic has found that everyone should get 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week. This is less than 25 minutes of moderate cardio work a day. If you were to increase the intensity from moderate to vigorous, then you can cut this time in half.

Weight training is also something to think about. The Mayo Clinic suggests weight training at least twice a week. Dividing the cardio work between only five days and assigning weights to the other two days can decrease your workout routine total to as little as 30 minutes a day. Exercises such as pull-ups or rows can be incredibly beneficial for students and white-collar workers where you’re backs are hunched over a computer or notebook most of the day. The problem areas of the common office employee include the shoulders, upper back, torso, neck, hips, legs, and even forearms. Generally speaking, sitting in a chair all day can take a major toll on your whole body.

Another point to consider is that exercise, such as running, can wake you up. A fitness and nutrition article in the New York Times talks about how running releases endorphins. Endorphins are natural chemicals produced by the body to increase the mood of a person. This is the phenomenon that people are referring to when they say “Runner’s High”. In summation, running can literally make you happier, and everyone works better when they are in a good mood.

Truthfully you won’t feel like you “have the time” to exercise, which is why you have to make time. Taking the time to exercise sounds like a hassle. The reality is that exercising can be easier than you think and definitely worth it.

Of Possible Interest:

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Marketing as a Major

By: Brian

Many people come into college not knowing what to major in. There are so many different major/minors to choose from that you can get so overwhelmed and can’t decide what to do.  Being a marketing major requires you to have good people skills. You are dealing with people every day and it requires you to talk, network, and, at times, be aggressive. If these skills fit you, then the marketing major might be the right major for you. Marketing is one of the most popular majors in UMD’s Labovitz School of Business & Economics, because with a marketing degree you can use the skills you’ve learned in the major in just about any job. I will try my best to convince you why marketing is a good choice for a major.

Marketing Major

WHAT IS MARKETING?

Before you decide if you want marketing as your major, you have to ask yourself, what is marketing? I too had this question when I was deciding on which major I wanted to seek in college. Marketing is about understanding consumers’ behaviors and their needs, while being the eyes and ears of the organization. To elaborate on that more, marketers do a lot of research and implement strategies for the product they are trying to market whether it’s by pricing, development and management, distribution, or promotions. This is just a broad overview of what marketing is, but a lot of people have their own definition of what it means. Marketing deals with people every single day of the week no matter what route you decide to take with your marketing degree. Other marketing degrees you can pursue at UMD are Marketing Analytics or Marketing and Graphic Design.

WHAT SKILLS ARE NEEDED FOR A GOOD MARKETER?

The first thing you need in order to be a good marketer is great public speaking skills. You have to be brave and willing to become a social butterfly in order to be a good marketer. Many people believe that marketing is a very aggressive career and if you don’t know how to talk to people, then you will be railroaded right out of that career. After being in the major now for four years, I have found that to be false. I think it depends on what path you want to take with your marketing skills, and it does not always have to be in the business world. As a marketing major, I decided to choose a different career path and take my marketing skills into College Student Affairs. I am now working as an Outreach Assistant for the Career & Internships Services office. Some other basic skills to keep in mind for being a good marketer are writing skills, leadership, curiosity, agility and experimentation, understanding technology, and insight into analytics and interpreting data.

STEPS NEEDED TO SEEK A MARKETING DEGREE

There are many simple steps in seeking a marketing degree at UMD. As a senior right now, I can tell you some of the courses you will need to graduate with a marketing degree. All marketing majors are required to take Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, and Marketing Management and Strategy. In order to take these classes, you need to complete your pre-business classes that help shape the skills you need to start seeking a marketing degree. The core classes for marketing are broken into two categories. Group A are the courses I mentioned already in this section. Group B is a little bit different. In Group B, there are 11 different courses listed, but the cool part is that from the 11, you choose four of the courses that you want to take. I really like this because you can choose a focus area of marketing you really want to study.

Courses needed to complete a marketing major:

  • LSBE Core: Production and Operations Management; Corporation Finance; Organizational Management and Behavior; Principles of Marketing; Human Resource Management; Strategic Management; Advanced Writing; International Requirement (choose any upper division international course); Upper Division Economics Course

More courses related to major:

  • Group A: Marketing Research, Consumer Behavior, Marketing Management and Strategy
  • Group B (choose any 4): Fundamentals of Selling; Marketing Ethics; International Marketing; Marketing Internship; Business-to-Business Marketing; Adverting and Marketing Communications; Developing and Marketing New Products; Retailing; Special Topics (such as Social Media or Sports Marketing)

In addition to these courses, you will also need to complete additional electives outside of your marketing major. These courses help you become a well-rounded person, in addition to your major. If you are still not sure if marketing is for you, these courses can help you explore other options.

I hope that I convinced you on choosing marketing as a major and gave you a little bit more understanding of what marketing is. Hope you continue to explore more opportunities on choosing the right career path for you.

Of Possible Interest:

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Social Media Tips from Dr. Seuss

By: Anna

Finding yourself on social media can be a daunting task. Defining who you are and who people see you as can follow you for the rest of your life. One inappropriate or offensive post can change your peers’ perspective of you forever. I think Dr. Seuss says it best when it comes to life advice. The children’s books aren’t just for the young; they truly have changed my perspective on life advice given through these stories.

SoMe tips from Dr. Seuss

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive that is you-er than you.” Be yourself and consistent in who you are. When tweeting or posting on social media sites, stay consistent with what you post. Anything you put on the Internet will come back to you. Be your unique self! By being consistent, you are creating your image and branding yourself across social media and it will help you become recognized!

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Every connection counts! Networking with even one new person can lead to more opportunities. You never know what one new connection can lead to. Down the road that connection could become a job resource or even a good friend.

“I meant what I said, and said what I meant.” Never post anything on your social media sites that you would not want your mother to see. Only post things that you would be willing to defend in person. Be true to your beliefs and stay consistent on all your social media platforms.

“If you keep your eyes open enough, oh, the stuff you will learn! The most wonderful stuff!” You never know what you will come across on social media sites. Follow people and businesses you are interested in and learn valuable information from them. Join in on discussions and group conversations when possible!

“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” Start branding yourself today! Start even with the smallest step of networking with new people. Every little bit of exposure will count and can only benefit you when done in a positive way.

***REMEMBER: Anything you say or post on social media cannot be taken back. Social media is intended to be a fun and exciting experience. Get to networking; you never know who you might meet!

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Going Beyond the Traditional Interview

By: Chris

Interviewing for a job is something that we must all face when pursuing our career track. Many of us prepare our resumes and polish our skills but sometimes that isn’t enough to get us the job. More and more companies are looking for the right fit in their positions that align with their company culture. Forbes recently did an article that reported on the top five personality traits employers hire most which showed many companies hire differently that one might think.

Professionalism (86%)

Professionalism is critical to impressing an interviewer and since first impressions are usually what this characterizes it is important to act in such a manner. Turning off your cell phone, smiling, standing and shaking hands, and general politeness can go a long way to improving your chances of landing that job. Also, following up after the interview with a thank you card shows good manners and solidifies how well your interview went with the employer.

High-energy (78%)

Being engaged in the interview and asking questions can demonstrate your interest level and critical thinking for the position. With this trait it might be easy to go too far and become almost animated in your interview. Rather, use your high energy when going into depth about various questions and try to maintain eye contact without staring.

Confidence (61%)

If you have both high energy and professionalism then confidence should come naturally. Body language can tell a lot about a person and you want it to tell your interview that you know your stuff and want the job. Be sure to stand up straight and do not make overly grand gestures with your hands. Being prepared can also boost your confidence since you will be focused on the questions at hand rather than the answer you forgot to prepare for.

Self-monitoring (58%)

This trait has less to do with first impressions, like the first three, and more to do with how you craft your experiences. Employers like to see that you were able to handle a situation independently or excelled without direct supervision. When answering questions give situations where you took the initiative, what was the outcome, and what you learned in the process.

Intellectual curiosity (57%)

Depending on your chosen field, there might be a need to learn new ways to complete projects or adopt a new method of solving problems. If this is the case then you may want to craft you interests as someone who is forward thinking and enjoys new things. If you show that you enjoy learning outside of the workplace then it is easy to assume that you enjoy learning them during the hours of 9 to 5.

Of all the traits that employers look for, confidence is the trait that is most lacking according to employers. It is important to note that the top three traits are all solely based on how well you present yourself and act during the interview, while the others are crafted upon your experiences. This says a lot as to what employers truly value and look for in a candidate and harnessing this knowledge could help you land that job.

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Boost Your Resume by Volunteering

By: Meg

There are obviously all sorts of things you can do to make your resume super impressive, and I’m sure you’re already doing a lot of them! Working, student groups, class projects, and keeping up your GPA all help to make your resume fantastic and diverse. One thing people often forget when trying to find resume-building activities is Volunteering! You don’t have to get paid to put something on your resume. You can volunteer in so many ways, and no matter what you’re doing, it will help you on your way to a great resume.

Volunteering

Community Service

There are all sorts of things you can do to help your community. Help with a Community garden to make your neighborhood even more beautiful. You can donate your time to local retirement homes, food banks, or homeless shelters. Anything you do to help others will show potential employers that you care and are willing to put in some effort to change the world around you.

Causes

If you have a cause you care about, don’t be afraid to volunteer your time to it! There are lots of special interest organizations that would love to make use of students that are passionate about their cause. There are environmental groups, domestic violence organizations, health education campaigns, political campaigns and so much more. Duluth is a forerunner in many anti-violence campaigns, take advantage of that! Even if it has nothing to do with your chosen career path, it will stand out and be a talking point on your resume. If it is related to your field, it can be a very useful networking tool.

Related Services

You may not be qualified for a job or internship in your field that fits with your availability. That does not mean you can’t be involved. Go ahead and find a volunteer position. These are often a lot more flexible and you can make your own schedule a lot of the time. Those of you going into the health-care field know that it takes a lot of dedication to even be eligible for an internship. Volunteering may be a way to gain references and knowledge that would make you more appealing as a candidate for those hard-earned positions. Find out what you can do with your knowledge base and volunteer your time.

There are many ways to go about finding a volunteer position. If you know somebody who does or has done volunteering with an organization you would like to work with, just ask them! Talk to your professors, classmates, and advisors about what they know about. Make use of your network! It’ll be good practice for when you need to find a paid position. UMD student group SERVE has lists of organizations and events that they have volunteered with in the past. United Way of Greater Duluth sends out a Weekly Service Scoop on things you can do in our community.

Of Possible Interest:

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Photo by: v1ctor

A Leader’s Awakening

By: David

Leader quote

Just like the good old saying says. “Leaders are not born, they are made.” Now I can sit here all day and talk about leadership, but today’s focus will be geared towards to taking the first steps into leadership. Here are some tips and advice on getting your feet into the doors of leadership.

1) You have to ask yourself, “Why do I want to be a leader?”

Every leader has a different goal and passion and therefore different purpose. It can vary from making the world a better place to making your business the best and even to simply just wanting to help others. Leaders are born through inspiration and motivation.

From experience, one of my biggest difficulties has always been deciding my purpose for leading. After much reflection and thinking, I’ve come to conclude that I really want to help others better themselves and potentially awake the leader within as well.

2) Get involved!

Now that you have the cognition to start your leadership you now have to get experience! You can only learn from DOING. If you don’t get hands-on experience then you’ll never learn and grow as a leader. Take every opportunity you get! Here on campus we have various opportunities like Greek Life, Bulldog Welcome Week Rockstar, Student Advisor, Peer Tutor, Peer Educator in our office, and a ton of student organizations for all students. Use your resources and take every opportunity you get before your time runs out. You can also participate, and earn a leadership certificate, through the Kirby Leadership Institute.

3) Be curious to new knowledge.

One of the most important things to be an effective leader is always having the mentality to learn something new every day. The more you know the more you will be able to help and advise your followers. Even if you may know a lot already always be open to new knowledge and whatever else that may come your way. Be humble and never stop learning because knowledge is key, but how you use your knowledge is even more crucial.

In closure, there is no exact “right” time to start your journey of leadership. It all depends on you. Once you have that feeling and know that you are ready then by all means start leading! There are many key characteristics that many great leaders have. Stick around as I’ll be highlighting some of these characteristics in my next blog post!

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