The Art of the Skype Interview

By: Katie

I had my first experience with a Skype interview when I interviewed for a grad program recently. Skype interviews can be very convenient – they can be done wherever you want, and you don’t have to worry so much about wearing the right pants and shoes or making sure you put in a breath mint beforehand. With these different conditions, though, comes a set of factors unique to video interviewing that need to be considered. Here are a few tips I learned to prepare for Skype interviews.

Skype Interview

Set the stage.

A big part of preparing for a Skype interview is determining where it will take place. Find a quiet area where you won’t be interrupted (no barking dogs or roommates barging in!). Make sure your interviewing spot has a simple background for you to be in front of – no distracting patterns, colors, or items on the wall. The lighting also should be considered. It needs to be bright enough for you to be seen, but not overwhelmingly so. Seeing what your outfit, hair, and any jewelry will look like is also important. Something that may look good in-person might not look good on camera. Finally, determine how the camera will be set up in relation to you. Set it up so your upper body is showing (not just your face) – it should mimic what you would look like to an interviewer sitting across from you in person. Try different chair positions and stacking your camera up on books or other props to find the best set up.

Make eye contact.

When you Skype or video call someone, do you look at their face on the computer screen? Most people probably do, but it’s not the best in an interview setting. Eye contact is important, and if you’re looking at the interviewers’ faces, to them it will look like your gaze is slightly downward. Looking directly into the webcam is the best way to mimic actual eye contact in a video call. To break the habit of looking at the screen, you can practice saying your answers to common interview questions while looking into your webcam (practicing questions and making eye contact at once!).

Have helpful materials nearby.

The benefit of interviewing via Skype is that you can have extra items around you that the interviewer can’t see. This could be your resume, which you could have printed off on the table or pulled up on your computer screen so you can easily refer to it. Another item I found useful was having post-it notes on my computer screen with words of inspiration on them. Interviewing is stressful for many people (like me), and having that extra bit of motivation or your resume for backup can be very comforting!

Practice and troubleshoot.

Interviewing by video is different than in person for several reasons, but one big one is that there are more things that could go wrong. You could have your Skype set up so your video or your interviewer’s video doesn’t show, or the sound on your computer might not work correctly, or the internet connection could be bad, and so on. To make sure you won’t experience any of these Skype interview faux pas, practice making a Skype call before your actual interview. This will give you the time to troubleshoot any problems that come up, and simply make you more comfortable with what the interview will be like.

Besides these tips, there are several other ways to prepare for interviewing in general. Check out the interviewing-related posts on our blog, do a mock interview with one of our Career Counselors, or stop into our office and we’ll help you prepare!

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Luke Chesser

Ways to Use Career & Internship Services During the Summer

By: Lexi

The end of the semester is approaching very fast, which means one thing, summer. It is the time of year everyone looks forward to (especially us Minnesotans). It is a time of sun, lake days, boating, swimming, going to the beach, picnics, baseball games, and maybe even a spontaneous road trip. But it is also a time of work to make money to pay for college. It should also be a time to keep up with your student life. I know more school related tasks is the last thing that you want to do this summer, but it is a great time to get ahead or catch up. Our office is a great way to keep your life on track this summer. And yes, we are open!

Use Career During Summer

Have you graduated or are you a soon-to-be graduate? I know what you are probably thinking, I have to grow up? What happened to nap time and coloring books? The time has come for you to grow into an adult and we can help. Come to our office for assistance with planning for graduate or professional school if you are wanting to continue your education. We also can help out with the tough essays that you need to write to get into grad school, like personal statements! If you work with one of our counselors, you’ll be sure to leave with a freshly polished personal statement. If grad school is not in your future, but a professional job is, we can assist with that, too! We are here for every step of your job search. We also can help you revamp that resume and cover letter.

Are you an undergraduate student? Our office can help you also! We would love to help update or start a new resume and cover letter. Check out our handbook for tips if you are making a new resume! We can also show you how to work and update GoldPASS or LinkedIn. Your online image is extremely important since technology and the internet is so popular with our generation. Employers are checking these websites so it is a good idea to keep them as appropriate and professional as possible. We can also help you find a job, internship, or volunteer work during your few months off! Or for when you come back to school in the Fall. Another good idea is to take career assessments if you are still unsure about what you want to major in, what career path you would like to take, or if you would just like to learn more about yourself. We offer the Meyers-Briggs Inventory, the Strengths Quest Inventory, and the Strong Interest Inventory.

Are you new freshman or transfer student? If you are new to the UMD campus then you should definitely take the time to learn what the Career and Internship Services office does! Stop into our office (Solon Campus Center 22) during your Advisement and Registration day and meet the staff or get advice for the upcoming Fall semester. You can also take assessments to figure out what major(s) at UMD would fit you best. This will also help you decide which classes to take, because we know how stressful it can be to figure out what classes to take when you have no idea what you want to do.

Our summer hours will be Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm. We’ll have counselor appointments available and possibly limited resume review drop-in services. We can conduct appointments in-person, over the phone, or even via Google Hangout. Are you an alum? Don’t forget you can use our services for free, forever.

Of Possible Interest: 

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From Peasant to Prefect: How to Make your Professional Life as Good as a Fairy Tale

By: Willow

Editor’s note: We’re trying something a little different for today’s blog post. Enjoy!

There once was a peasant who lived far away
She hated her job, she did not want to stay
So she asked her mother, “What do I do?”
Mother said, “Apply to jobs fast or you’ll turn into a shrew.”
“Apply to jobs?” Cried the peasant, I don’t know where to start.
“Don’t worry there is a queen up the mountain who has it down to an art.”

So she went up the mountain, it was a quite a big hike.
She arrived at the castle, it was such a great sight.
She knocked on the door, feeling nervous and shy.
A young man opened it shouting, “You are here, but why?”
“I must speak to the queen, I’m in great job hunting trouble”
“Well then I shall get the queen to help you on the double!”

The queen ran down the stairs, “Who needs my assistance?”
“This young girl,” said the man, “Do you think she can do the distance?”
“I believe in her greatly,” the queen replied, “Let’s get started.”
“I’m ready to work,” said the peasant, “I am nervous though, I might have just farted.”
“… Let’s ignore that, we have work to do.”
“I’m ready to start, and I ain’t no fool.”

“Well first thing is your resume, let’s take a look at that.
Oh! You have many skills and can wear many hats.
Cater your resume to the job that you seek,
Don’t be too flashy, but don’t make it bleak.
You need a cover letter for each application,
Something to make them interested without hesitation.”

“I guess I understand that,” the peasant replied.
“Stick with me,” the queen said, “I’ll be your guide.
Let’s start with GoldPASS, it is quite the site.
I’ll make you a profile, and you’ll see the light.”
The peasant found four jobs she was ready to apply.
But there was so much to do, she let out a sigh.

“Now don’t you worry, we’re halfway there.
I’ll tell you the rest, sit down in that chair.
Each job needs a resume, references, and cover letter,
I’m sure we can show them you’re quite the go-getter.
Think of four people who know you so well,
They should have many good things they are not afraid to tell.”

“Now that you have applied let’s talk interviews
They are quite exciting that I promise you.
Dress as nice as you can, you want to look well,
For your own value you are going to sell.”
“I think I understand, I’m getting this now,
I’m off to get a job, now I know just how!”

So the peasant went off to take on the world,
Her wildest dreams soon unfurled.
She became so many things through her long happy life
From teacher to dancer and even midwife.
So the moral of the story, as you can see,
Get help from the queen and fulfilled you will be.
*Author’s note, in this story the queen is a metaphor for the Career & Internship Services Office, stop in at SCC 22 and see us for your life to become a fairy tail!*

Read Willow’s other posts

Meet the Counselors

By: PJay

The year is finally ending, and if you still haven’t stepped foot into our office, I highly encourage you to do so. The Career and Internship Services office is filled with many sweet and friendly peer educators and professional staff members. Among the professional staff there are five of my favorite career counselors. Each of them has positively impacted me, and I would like to spill the beans on how you can receive assistance from them as well. I would also like to mention that I am sorry if this post sounds bias; I am honestly giving my true opinions on how these counselors have benefitted me and students that I’ve seen using our services.

Whether you know or don’t know what you want to do in college, my best advice is to just come in our office to a schedule an appointment. Recently, I was able to sit and talk with each counselor and they are all so amazing and inspiring. Not only are they some of the most positive people that I’ve met, but they listen so well and I believe as a college student, that is just what we need sometimes. There may be little technical jobs that one counselor performs and the others don’t. However, each of these staff members can perform the same job in their own perspective and with their own specialties, which together, makes this office complete!

Meet the Counselors

The first person I would like to mention is Julie Westlund. Not only does she work hard as a director but she’s also a very professional individual. She is awesome at working with people who have disabilities and are a part of the older generation. The first counselor that I met with at the beginning of the year was her. Julie has helped me multiple times with figuring out which jobs are suitable for my interests and skills through taking all three assessments that C&IS offers. She helped me learn a lot about myself, and also helped me believe in myself that I can accomplish my goals.

Secondly, Janet Pribyl is one of the most energetic people in the office. She’s a bundle of fun to be around. She’s a busy person with class presentations all the time. But when she gets the time to settle down with students, she finds herself working with everyone from different backgrounds, ages, and stories. If you are someone who is a couple of credits shy from graduating, or is just returning back to school, Janet would be your person! Her positivity has driven me to want to schedule more appointments with her to open my mind to all my different possibilities in life.

Sherrill Yeaton is such a sweet counselor. She works closely with the Multicultural Center at UMD. So if you’re a person of color like me, I highly suggest you speak with Sherrill. I have met with her numerous times. Every time we meet, I just end up wanting to go back again and again. She’s so great at helping me find the resources I need to be where I want to be. She’s always patiently waiting for me to finish blabbering, then shooting me with awesome ideas for me to learn more about my career.

Another fun person that I always get carried away talking to and laughing with is Ellen Hatfield. She does amazing work with managing all of our office’s social media. If you’re confused as to what you want to do, and you’re an incoming freshman or beginning college, I highly suggest sitting down with Ellen. She’s very down to earth. I remembered being quite lost at my first job fair. As soon as I saw Ellen there, she helped guide me to network. I not only gained connections with employers, but also with students at the U of M Twin Cities in such an easy and fun way. Thanks to Ellen, I can’t wait until my next job fair!

Lastly, I would like to mention Sue Holm. She’s so kind and has such a welcoming smile. Speaking with Sue has made me want to use her as one of my main resources as I get closer to graduating. She is the match for you if you’re looking to pursue graduate or professional school. I see so many students who are looking to attend medical school use Sue as guidance. She honestly knows what she’s doing and I’m excited to bond with her more.

I hope after reading a little bit about each counselor you will have an idea of who to meet with. Although they tend to work with more students under a certain category, do not feel like you are just obligated to see one career counselor. Their different personalities might actually determine who you want to go to since they all are open minded people. They won’t judge you no matter where you come from. They are just there to listen and help you reach your goals and succeed. By working at the front desk, I’ve realized many UMD student faces are becoming more familiar because they’ve been coming back to our office. It makes me feel happy that not only do I feel these awesome career counselors are doing their job right, but others demonstrate it as well!

Read PJay’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Olu Eletu

Looking Towards Senior Year

By: Logan

For my final blog post of the semester I decided to reflect on my junior year here at UMD and what I have learned. This past year has been a great learning experience and I am very excited for my senior year. Although I’m excited, it is also bittersweet. I’m excited to get into my most applied classes, but having to face the reality of the real world can be intimidating. I know no matter what I do, I will try to make the most out of my years here at UMD and I will try to make as many memories as possible.

My Junior year has been an interesting year so far. I have involved myself in new organizations, made new connections, and took the most credits I have taken in my collegiate career. One thing I have learned this year is that it is important to involve yourself in as much as possible early on, this way you will have plenty of connections once you reach junior and senior year. If you wait until late in your college career it will be more difficult to find these experiences and make these connections. I can assure you once you are an upperclassman you will thank yourself for being involved early on. If you involve yourself early you will make yourself more available to leadership positions, as well as potentially make new friends and connections. Another great piece of advice would be to try and become close with your professors. By doing this early on you can expose yourself to new experiences, such as research opportunities. Also, you may need a professor to write you a letter of recommendation for a job or graduate school. And I mean, it never hurts to be close with your professors. This will make it easier for you to approach them with questions or concerns you may have about your academics.

Logan Sr Yr

Junior year is a very important time in your collegiate career. It is the time where you are not yet applying for full-time jobs and you can really figure out what you want to do after you graduate. Many people use this time for an internship, which is smart. If you get an internship in your junior year and realize you do not want to pursue that exact career you still have time to get another internship or change your career path. I am using this time to develop my skills and review all of my potential options for when I graduate. I am applying for different summer internships to gain new experience and see if I would enjoy certain types of work. The most important thing is to remember to be proactive. You do not want to come into your senior year with no experience, no skills, and nothing to put on your resume. This doesn’t mean you necessarily need to get a related job or internship. You can join clubs or organizations that can give some related experience or leadership positions. I think junior year is a great time for self-reflection. You should identify where you are at in your career, and where you want to be within the next few years.

My senior year will be a very important time. I am going to take an internship preparation course my first semester, and then an internship my spring semester. I am very excited for this because even if I do not get an internship this summer I will be able to complete an internship during the school year. I am also excited to take my most upper division and most applied coursework. I have thoroughly enjoy my courses so far and I am excited to learn more and complete my education. But even in my senior year I will need to remember to stay proactive and take any opportunities presented to me. I am considering becoming a Teacher’s Assistant for one semester as well. Like I said earlier, involving yourself in things will never hurt you, but not involving yourself may come back to haunt you. My most important piece of advice would be to make the most out of your college career. You are a student in an amazing University, take advantage of the opportunities presented to you!

Read Logan’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Patrick Tomasso

What Can You do with a Computer Science Major?

By: Kirsi (double major in Computer Science & Electrical Engineering)

CS_Careers

There is so much you can do with a Computer Science (CS) major that I did not know where to start! As a result I turned to a community of over 3,000 computing students on Facebook for their thoughts. I am a part of the NCWIT Aspirations In Computing Community comprising of women from across the US who study computing related to majors. I asked “what are unique things that you can do with a CS major?” Some responses include programming for deep space exploration technologies; wearable tech; engineering an bionic pancreas; and programming a robotic octopus arm to tighten jar lids, lift the jars into boxes and load pallets for Smuckers Company. The possibilities are endless with a CS major alone or even paired with another discipline. In 2012 Forbes listed Computer Science at number 3 college major in their “Top 15 Most Valuable College Majors” article, for “hirability” and salary. A CS major can also prepare you for medical, business, or graduate school. I will share what University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) alumni are doing with their degree, what CS majors across the US are doing with their degree, and future applications of computer science.

CS Major

Photo source: Unsplash | Sai Kiran Anagani

Careers of UMD CS Alumni

UMD has been collecting statistics of alumni employment about the computer science major since 1981 (when CS became its own major after splitting from Math). The CS program has grown in the number of graduates and employed graduates. 93% of CS graduates from 2013-14 are employed while 7% are pursuing post secondary degrees (this is with a 94% response rate for our graduate follow-up survey). Of the 93% employed, 84% have indicated they are in a position related to their major. Occupations held by these graduates include Programmer, Analyst, Automation Engineer, Software Developer, and Web Designer. Data on our 2014-15 grads will be released in the next few months.

Diving further into UMD Alumni statistics, LinkedIn offers of a view of where CS graduates work in industry since the beginning of the CS program. If you log into your LinkedIn account you can see the analysis for yourself. Top five employers for UMD CS Alumni in order include UMD, United Health Group, Target, Thomson Reuters, and Medtronic. These professionals perform engineering, information technology, operations, and research related work.

fishnet1

Testing Fishnetstockings interactive art instillation by UMD’s Joellyn Rock, Alison Aune, and Pete Willemsen

UMD is involved in a number of cutting edge CS research opportunities and projects. One group that stands out is SIVE Lab (Simulation and Interaction in Virtual Environments) lead by professor Pete Willemsen. SIVE Lab uses position tracking and virtual reality to illustrate data in a new way. Combining arts and computing SIVE Lab and UMD’s Art and Design department installed interactive artwork at Lydgalleriet art gallery in Bergan, Norway. This interactive installation is called Fishnetstockings and is composed of multimedia elements. A user can enter Fishnetstockings casting a shadow like a mermaid, make virtual waves, and display words from a Twitter stream. Other projects SIVE Lab works on include an iPad app that records/analyzes motion for bio-mechanics, energy/budget measurement station, and simulating urban environments to maximize sustainable structures.

fishnet2

Capturing illustrations from Fishnetstockings interactive art instillation by UMD’s Joellyn Rock, Alison Aune, and Pete Willemsen

CS Careers of CS Majors Across the US

Looking back at LinkedIn’s search tools you can search for all positions open with the keyword “Computer Science”. There are currently over 100,000 positions posted on LinkedIn related to computer science. The highest number of positions open are at Technosoft (8,833) and Amazon (3,795). The most popular locations for these computer science positions include San Francisco Bay Area, Washington DC, New York City, and Boston. Top positions being offered include Information Technology, Computer Software, and Recruiting. Hot topics of computer science include artificial intelligence, bio-medical engineering, and robotics according to Forbes “13 of 2015’s Hottest Topics In Computer Science Research“.

IMG_0593

Working with LabVIEW sofware at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. [Photo source: Kirsi]

Future of CS Careers

A unique aspect about computer science is that you can have a CS career in any discipline or industry. New CS careers are being made daily, inspired by new applications of computing. Essentially, the CS major creates the future. While interning at NASA Johnson I learned how a deep space habitat’s life support systems communicate their statuses with an interface for astronauts, a critical application of CS. Code drives automation of the International Space Station’s life support system. Data analysis tools alert flight controllers of the Space Station’s well being. An autonomous program recently landed SpaceX’s reusable rocket on a barge out at sea! If you want to be at the forefront of the future in any industry, CS is the career for you.

Want to try out some programming? Try some of these projects which can be completed in less than an hour!

Read Kirsi’s other posts

Embracing My Self-Identity II

By: David

As the annual Midwest Asian American Student Union (MAASU) conference approaches in nearly a few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about my experiences as an Asian Pacific American student here on campus. It was about this time around last year when I began thinking about this and wrote, “Embracing My Self-Identity in the Workplace” following the MAASU conference. After a full year, I now want to express and write about what I have done since last year to better understand, embrace, and express my identity as an Asian Pacific Islander American (APIA).

To begin, after last year’s Spring conference I went through a state of personal identity crisis and wanted to learn more about my heritage and culture as an APIA as I lacked a lot of knowledge of my own roots. As I began to learn more and more about myself and my racial identity through following several non-profit organizations on social media, it began to shape my perspective on certain issues and topics. Meanwhile, the more I learned about my racial identity, the stronger my confidence in expressing myself in an authentic manner increased. As an underrepresented student, I began to realize the importance of incorporating my differences and how valuable it is to do so in any environment.  

The most impactful experience that I have had pertaining to this would be my current executive position. As the current President for Asian Pacific American Association (APAA), I have been very fortunate to be in an environment that is constantly dedicated to Asian Pacific American issues and topics. My main focus and dedication for the organization was educating people on APIA topics and creating awareness. As I worked with six of my colleagues/board members, we made sure to consistently highlight topics that were not getting enough attention like APIAs in the media and microaggressions. One of my main goals as the head of the organization was to hopefully enlighten my members and get them to a place where they could appreciate and embrace their personal identity whether or not it was related to the APIA identity. Though my efforts were primarily dedicated to the organization and members I realized that the harder I tried the more I began to understand how this affected me as an individual in the sense that I came to understand my own identity a bit more. Through the research, discussions, and teaching, I learned about my own identity more than I would have ever imagined and with this knowledge my perspective on life has morphed drastically.

APAA

My beloved organization, Asian Pacific American Association (APAA) at UMD

Furthermore, one key concept I learned from this journey so far is applying my knowledge and passion. With such great passion towards my self-identity I have incorporated it into several aspects of life in subtle ways since last year. One way that I have done this is highlighting my experiences in my resume and LinkedIn. In my professional profiles, I try my best to not downplay any of my experiences in APAA because to me, it holds a deep meaning and I want employers to know that I am passionate about issues that pertain to my identity.

LinkedIn

Current LinkedIn profile

By reflecting on my journey so far throughout the year, I have come to realize the growth in myself and impact on others. By understanding my inner-identity and how it all intersects with one another (Asian Pacific American, Straight, Male, College Student, etc.), it gives me a better understanding as to how I can use these privileges to advocate for equality. As the MAASU conference approaches in nearly 48 hours, I am extremely excited for my members, organization, and self to learn more about ourselves and how we can use our knowledge to continuously promote diversity and inclusivity!  

Of Possible Interest:

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