Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Make the Most of Your Summer

No matter what plans you have in store for this summer, you can make the best of your experience. Whether it's a part time job, internship, travel plans, or a personal project, there are always ways to forge meaningful connections with those around you and reflect on the experiences you have. Here at Babson College, we excel at identifying and finding opportunities, but our entrepreneurial ability to create opportunities sets us apart from the crowd. Let's take a look at the different ways you can take your summer experience to the next level.

The Internship. Internships come in all different forms: virtual, part-time, full-time, paid, and unpaid. However, no matter the compensation or time commitment, you have the responsibility to reach out to co-workers and management in order to make a strong impression, build a relationship, and expand your personal network. Make sure that your expectations are realistic; you won't always be assigned a fascinating project to work on. It may take awhile to prove your abilities and earn the company's trust, but this is part of the natural process of obtaining additional responsibilities.  If it's been several weeks and the only experience you could add to your resume is "photocopy expert," it's time to ask your supervisor for additional work explicitly. An additional way to enhance your internship experience is maintaining an active awareness of your accomplishments, insights, connections, and the industry/company knowledge that you acquire. You should keep a running log of all these things in a journal that you update daily. You will be glad that you did when it comes time to edit your resume or prepare for an interview. A thorough understanding of the skills you develop will prove far more valuable than any pay rate or time commitment could measure; it's up to you to make the best of your experience. Check out these important tips from the Wall Street Journal on how to make the best of your internship this summer: Click Here.

The Summer Job. Just because your part-time or full-time job doesn't fall under the official title of an internship doesn't mean that you can't extract meaningful experiences or personal connections from it. Take advantage of your paycheck and create a budget and savings plan which will make future opportunities possible for you. Seriously, don't just hope to save. . . make a written plan and stick to it. Secondly, you are still developing valuable skills! Keep the same active running log of your experiences and accomplishments as mentioned in the last paragraph. Whether you're home for the summer or living elsewhere, now is the perfect time to take advantage of Babson's Alumni Directory.  Reach out to alum in your area, explore where they are working, and initiate a conversation about their experiences and possible work opportunities. Never directly ask for a job, but don't be afraid to find out about their work history, current role in a company, and inquire into possible opportunities available at their firm. Also, perhaps there is a small business near by that you're interested in. Don't be nervous to approach the owner and start a conversation about helping with a project or behind the scenes business operations for free. Experience is experience; it doesn't matter what label it hides beneath. 

Summer Travel or Vacation. Taking a summer vacation? What about a cross country road trip or an adventure into a completely foreign country? College is an incredible time to expand your boundaries and experience as many new sights and cultures as possible. However, guess what happens to these incredible, memorable experiences; you forget the details over time. For this reason, it is essential that you document your experience in any and all forms possible. Create a blog revolving around your trip. Take as many pictures as your camera's memory will allow, upload the files onto your computer, and start all over again. Keep notes in a journal or even a cell-phone app! Be aware of all of your senses and what they reveal to you about different cultures and regions. You have the ability to transform a personal experience into one that you can share with friends, family, and employers (if appropriate). Experience as a global citizen, or at least an open-minded individual, is becoming increasingly important as the world continues to transform into a global community through the economy and emerging technology. An employer will be impressed at your ability to transfer life lessons into the work place and as you age you'll be thankful that you preserved your experiences in such vivid detail. 

Your Free Time. Whether your weekly summer schedule allots you a few hours of free time or several days, you can always begin a personal project of your own. The development of all skills takes practice, so identify your weaknesses or areas in which you want to improve and get started. This might mean writing, public speaking, presentation skills, etc. However, don't focus your attention only on the areas that need improvement. You should dedicate your time towards your passions and self-awareness. That's what the iChoose program is all about! When you follow your passions and utilize your personal strengths, the rest will surely follow. Summer is the time to get creative; be artistic, read the book you've been meaning to pick up for months, spend some time outside, or just do something new and exciting. Apply your education to your personal life and create your own project, study something that interests you, or start your own academic experiment. Take a class online or at a local institution.Get involved in and explore your local community; seek out volunteering opportunities that interest you. Take the time to build your personal brand through social media platforms and create an online portfolio. Start your own blog; focus it on a particular topic and engage with the online blogging community. Never underestimate the value of your own creativity. If you think you're stuck as an "un-creative person" for life, you're wrong; prove it to yourself. Lastly, why not start your own business venture? As a Babson student you certainly have the knowledge, education, and resources to succeed. Even if you didn't come to Babson for entrepreneurship, it is undoubtedly the fuel that propels you through each semester.

Don't forget that UCCD is open throughout the summer; continually check the events and internships/jobs available to you through Career Connections. It's finally summer for everyone, but only you can make it yours.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How Social Media Can Help You Land a Job

     If you thought social media was all about keeping up to date with your personal life then we've got news for you! In today's constantly evolving global business environment, social media provides a visible and creative means to connect with employers and truly brand yourself! This form of self-promotion is a skill that requires practice and a thorough understanding of the different social media channels and their primary functions. Let's take a look at a few social media sites in particular that are most relevant to networking and professional communications.

LinkedIn is essentially a professional networking site that allows you to market your experiences and expand your professional network. It functions as an online resume and helps you get in contact with, and research, important individuals in your desired career field. It is a strictly professional site; therefore, it is suitable to include a custom public URL to your profile on your paper resume. You can also upload personal recommendations on LinkedIn to highlight specific accomplishments and leadership roles that have been a part of your work experience. There is no limit to who you can connect to! Connect with employers, alumni, friends, classmates, and family. We recommend you use the 'jobs; function to search for opportunities that match your individual skill set.

The next social media site we will cover is the ever popular Twitter.com. People often separate their personal and professional twitter accounts, so before you reach out to employers make sure that your personal twitter account is appropriate and professional. If it isn't apply privacy settings to your personal account and develop one strictly for professional use. People primarily use twitter to post text updates or comments, webpage and article links, events, pictures, etc. all under a 140 character limit per tweet. Each post or "tweet" usually contains a theme of the discussion which is written in plain text after a hashtag (#). You can also "retweet" the tweets that people have already posted, favorite others' posts as a display of interest, send direct private messages, and reply to a specific tweet. You choose which companies or friends you want to follow (then their tweets show up on your homepage) and can either approve requests for others to follow you or let others follow you freely. Just be careful what you post publically; all tweets are permanent and searchable on Google. Some best practices include directing tweets at brands or purposes of interest (done by typing @username of brand), retweeting the tweets of companies, or tweeting relevant industry information or article links! The more companies you follow, the more opportunities for interaction you will encounter. So keep an active eye out for the ways in which you can effectively interact with companies and market yourself; being able to communicate a strong message in under 140 characters is simple, yet impressive all the same.

Now we will focus on perhaps the most personal of the top social media channels: Facebook. Unless you have a separate, professional account, Facebook is typically a much more personal and private social profile. Only refer an employer to your Facebook account if it is "Squeaky Clean." This means no inappropriate language, pictures, etc. Facebook offers highly customized privacy options so take the time to understand them and set them up to achieve your professional objectives. Companies often have public fan pages to "like" so that their communications will show up on your newsfeed (homepage). Facebook is an excellent means for engaging in discussions, providing feedback, and staying in the loop when it comes to company initiatives and opportunities. If you are going to interact (which you should), make sure that your contribution is meaningful! Take advantage of what Facebook has to offer, but keep your personal interactions and information minimal in the public eye.

Next up is the highly customized and individualistic personal blog. Blogs are hosted on many different popular platforms such as Wordpress, LiveJournal, Blogger, and Tumblr. While blogs can take on a plethora of different purposes and directions, the same rule applies to separate the professional from the personal. Blogging is a fantastic way to show off your passions, writing ability, personal style, and creativity. Make sure that your content is completely appropriate for an employer; otherwise, make it privately accessible and do not reference it at all. You can also engage with an employer or CEO's blog! You can add interesting and insightful comments, participate in the discussion, and find out some truly unique information about a company's culture and initiatives. Make sure that you regularly follow these blogs of interests either through subscription or by bookmarking them for easy access.

We already know how much time you spend on social media, but now set aside a few hours to change your privacy settings and evaluate/edit their content for professional showcasing. Don't be shy with social media; it is a growing industry with high significance in the business world. It is important to brand yourself, and effectively doing so will give employers confidence in their  interviewing or hiring process. Your online presence may be more or less important depending on the field you are entering (say marketing vs. finance), but regardless, social media could certainly land you the opportunity of your dreams. As long as you utilize your social media channels in a smart manner there is no limit to the amount of fun or networking connections that you can achieve in the process. Social media is a part of your everyday life. Why not make it a productive use of time?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Acing the Interview

There is no doubt that spring is right around the corner after such a mild winter. With the turn of the season comes the time for both full-time and summer internship interviews. This posting relates to the discussion we held at our last monthly iChoose meeting on February 7th. Once you've applied to a multitude of jobs or internships that interest you, the next step is interviewing with an employer that sees potential in you. However, an interview is definitely not something that you can walk into blindly. This initial impression is critical to advancing into the next interview round or securing the job; the employer will be able to tell if you're genuine, truly want the opportunity, know about the company, and if you came prepared.

First off, arrive early and give yourself ample time to get to your destination. You should act professional at all times and dress yourself accordingly. This means looking formal, but conservative (an upcoming post will address this specifically). You should always have your portfolio, copies of your resume, a writing utensil, tissues, and water. Adopt a positive attitude, exude confidence, act curious and friendly, and make sure your breath is decent!

The CCD website is brimming full with interview tips and resources that will be continually referred to during this post. Click here to read some additional first impression tips and advice!

Your body language is just as important as the words you choose. Make sure to stand or sit up straight, maintain strong eye contact, smile, and do not fold your arms. Refer to the employer by name and be the first to extend your hand for a firm, two pump, handshake.

Here is a quick list of 10 mistakes that you don't want to make

  • Arriving disheveled
  • Forgetting that everyone is an interviewer
  • Not answering the question asked
  • Not understanding the job you are interviewing for
  • Letting an early mistake ruin the rest of the interview
  • Memorizing your answers
  • Being arrogant
  • Talking about your personal issues 
  • Confusing professionalism with coldness
  • Speaking negatively about the competition
Avoid those blunders and you'll already be off to a strong start!

Remember some of the strengths that you've developed as a result of the core competencies taught through the Babson curriculum. These include leadership, teamwork, oral/written communication, initiative, problem solving and analytic skills, pattern of accomplishment, and flexibility. However, the competencies you should communicate to the interviewer differ depending on the industry you are looking to enter. For instance, a banking job/internship would value finance and quantitative skills whereas a marketing internship would appreciate strong research skills and a sense of creativity. Don't forget the competencies that are all too familiar to an entrepreneur! Passion, embracing change, innovative thinking, opportunity recognition, resourcefulness, risk taking, effective strategy development, global citizenship, and making a both positive and powerful impact are highlights of the entrepreneurial spirit.


Just like the candidates interviewing, there are many different types and formats of interviews.

The most common interview types are:
  • Informational: Reverse interview where you are information gathering rather than seeking an exact position.
  • Traditional: Typically a first round interview, or start of any interview.
  • Behavioral: Generally given by the hiring managers or potential colleagues.
  • Case: Was reserved for consulting in the past, but more and more industries have been utilizing this format.
  • Personality Testing
  • Structured/Unstructured
Don't worry; once again the CCD website has you covered. Below is a link describing what each type is like and how to prepare for them.

Some common interview formats include 1:1, a panel/committee, lunch or dinner, presentation, second interview, or a phone interview. Have a phone interview scheduled? Click this link!

The most important part of interview preparation is research, both pertaining to the company of interest and your own unique attributes.

Make sure you know company specific information:
  • The Employer
  • The Market
  • The Interviewers
  • Other Interviewees
  • The Job
You should be able to effectively articulate key strengths about yourself:
  • Skills
  • Experiences
  • Values
  • Motivators
  • Passion
  • Interests
Below is a list of the questions you should be able to answer if you have done an adequate job of researching before the interview:
  • In particular, what type of business does the company do?
  • Which industries does the company conduct business in?
  • How large is the company? Where do they do business? Who are their customers? What are their products/services?
  • What types of professional development opportunities does the company offer?
  • What are the career paths from this point of entry (within and outside the company)?
  • What is a typical day, week, year like?
  • Who is the interviewer? What is his/her role in the company? Do your research beforehand!

You should go into the interview having identified a list of at least ten critical success factors. Determine how these are used on the job and construct relevant examples. Don't forget that every employer could benefit from an entrepreneurial-oriented mind. Also, make sure you have a thorough understanding of the company culture and how you fit into it. If you know what you offer and communicate it enthusiastically and positively, the interviewer will certainly sense the genuineness of your interest and remember it. Create an index card for each critical success factor (CSF) and use bullet points to record relevant examples of each. Think about circumstance, action, and result (CAR) as you are doing this. 

The dialogue of the interview should be a meaningful conversation, not a question and answer session.
Focus on the employee's needs at all times, but make sure you tell your story. Make it memorable, demonstrate your personality and passions, and set yourself apart from the crowd. Make sure you ask the interviewer thoughtful, insightful questions. Here is a link to some examples found on the CCD website, but additional questions should come from your own needs and additional research.

When the interview is finished a memorable wrap up is just as important as the conclusion in any paper you've turned in. Summarize your fit for the position, your passion for the job, company, and industry, and remember to reiterate the themes and headlines you communicated throughout the interview. Clarify next steps and express your appreciation for the chance to interview with him/her. Ask for a business card if you are not offered one, leave with a handshake, and address the employer by name once again. Make sure you send a thank-you e-mail within 24 hours referencing your meeting and conversation specifics. Follow up on any requests you received.

Also, don't forget that you can send up a mock interview with CCD anytime to gain invaluable practice and realistic preparation. Call 781.239.4215 to schedule an appointment in advance or just drop in the office in Hollister 106 to make an appointment at the front desk.

If an interviewer said, "For the next 20 minutes, talk to me about our industry, our firm, and why you would be a good fit for the position," would you be ready? 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Preparing for the Internship Fair

Whether you have experience speaking with recruiters, been to an internship fair before, or attending such an event for the first time, we could all benefit from reviewing a few tips! The Undergraduate Center for Career Development emphasizes it's slogan, "Explore. Discover. Connect. Achieve." In this career development process, the internship fair is a prime event to connect; it is an essential action step in which individual passions and skills collide with opportunities to build your network and climb closer to your ultimate career goals.


The iChoose Seminar is all about the beginning of the process, explore. However, now that you have become familiar with the unique set of attributes, strengths, and passions that set you apart from the crowd, it is up to you to discover and describe how your abilities suit the culture, mission, and strategy of the company you want to work or intern for. It's all about doing your homework, a task that should be all too familiar for you from your time as Babson. Conduct research on a selection of the companies attending the internship fair that interest you. There is a plethora of resources available to you including, but not limited to, Career Connections, the alumni directory, Horn Library, the company's website, Google, Wall Street Journal, news sites, and many more. Once you have a firm grasp on the company's history, direction, current state/goals, and their culture, you will be comfortable with the common ground you share with the recruiter, impress him or her, make meaningful contributions to the conversation, and effectively market yourself. 

Below are some basic questions to ask an employer.
  • Can you tell me more about the full-time/summer internship opportunities?
  • What skills are you seeking in new hires?
  • What personal qualities do you consider critical to being successful in this job?
  • How has [mention a business trend or current event] affect the company/your work?
  • What is the work environment like at [company name]?
  • What do you like most about [company name]?
  • What are the typical assignments of new employees?
  • How do I apply for positions at [company name]?

How should you look? How else can you prepare?
  • First impressions are crucial. Dress in conservative, well-pressed, appropriate business attire.
  • Portray a positive attitude. Be confident, curious, and friendly.
  • Be organized! Bring a portfolio with pockets for incoming & outgoing business cards.
  • Bring enough copies of your resume, paper, a pen or pencil, and sharpie
  • Place your name tag on the right side of your chest with large, legible writing
  • You can go with a friend, but don't compete with or rely on him/her.
  • Don't go hungry or distracted, keep your mind on the task instead of holding drinks or food
  • Scale the room, define your strategy and keep your perception open. 
  • Keep your conversations from 3-5 minutes, make notes afterwards on the discussion
  • Keep open body language, appear approachable and engaging
  • Stand up straight, smile, maintain eye contact, remember to give the employers their personal space
  • Be the first person to extend your hand, give a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact
  • Depart from the conversation with another handshake and refer to the employer by name
  • Don't speak too softly or too quickly, make the interaction a conversation rather than a Q&A
  • Be a good, active listener
  • Remember how many students each employer is meeting with. Differentiate yourself without dominating his or her time.

The internship fair is about the needs of the employers so remember not to focus on yourself, but instead how you can meet their needs and help the company. Think about how you want to be remembered, prepare key points about yourself and your qualifications that you can enthusiastically communicate within a minute. The more you practice and are comfortable with your introduction, the stronger and smoother your initial impression will be (and stick in the employer's mind). When you wrap up the conversation, ask for what you need! This could mean keeping in touch, building your network, seeking additional information or an introduction, initiating an informational interview, or additional needs that arose from listening and inquiring throughout the conversation. Offer your business card and resume. Ask the employer to contact you if a internship related to your field of interest arises at their company.

Example of an engaging wrap-up statement:

Alan, thank you again for coming to Babson. I’ll be here for the next four years. If there is anything I can do for you, let me know. I’m taking a class with Professor X. I think some of her current research is right up your alley, I’d be happy to make an introduction if you’re interested. Also, I’m beginning to get involved with the Marketing Club. If you’d ever like to be involved in a club program to connect with marketing students, let me know.

May I have your business card and keep in touch?

Following Up
  • Take a few minutes to digest the conversation 
  • Write some notes: What did you learn? How can you help them? How can they help you? 
  • Send a thank you e-mail within 24 hours referencing the meeting and conversation, offer resources and connections, follow up on requests, and include a copy of your resume 
  • Update your contact/networking database

Soon you'll be a seasoned pro at marketing yourself, but always remember that an education revolving around entrepreneurial thought and action sets you apart from other candidates across the globe. Entrepreneurial thought and action generates success in a volatile economy, promotes innovation, embraces change, sparks passion, strategically identifies and solves problems, takes risks, creates opportunities, and effectively utilizes resources at hand. Market your Babson experience and the tools that your challenging, but rewarding education has equipped you with. When you connect with employers though careful research and preparation, it will come as no surprise to you when you arrive at last next step: achieve.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Spring Semester Updates and the Internship Fair

Welcome back iChoose members! We hope you are all ready for an exciting and productive spring semester! Now is the time to start searching for and securing summer internships and iChoose will be here to help you through your journey. Below is the schedule for this spring's monthly iChoose meetings so be sure to block off these times on your calendars! 

So how should you begin your semester? With the internship fair of course! This year's internship fair is on Tuesday, February 7th from 2:00-5:00pm in Knight Auditorium. It is an invaluable opporunity to network with some very exciting companies including Addidas, pWc, Enterprise, Vistaprint, Staples,  Comcast, Boston Scientific, Hanover Insurance, BNY Mellon, FTI Consulting, and many more! Discover what opportunities are out there and, as always, dress to impress. Even if you are not interested in these particular companies, already have a job or internship, or are not searching at the time, this event provides a fantastic opportunity to practice marketing yourself, building your confidence, and see what employers are looking for in a candidate. This is one event that you will regret missing.

If you're worried about preparing for the internship fair, have no fear! The Undergraduate Center for Career Development has your back. CCD will be hosting an Intern Kick-Off Conference. Read the information below (you can enlarge the picture by clicking on it). Simply choose 2 of the 3 concurrent sessions on either Tuesday, January 31st or Friday, February 2nd. These sessions will arm you with the discussion topics you need to engage employers and enhance your internship search.

We hope to see you all (or at least drop by) at our February iChoose meeting at 6pm, February 7th in Global Lounge. We will be discussing the internship fair, your experiences, what subsequent steps to take, and how to ace an interview! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Career Profile: Green Marketers

In today's career profile, we will take a look into the social responsibility field at a traditional occupation with an eco-friendly perspective. The green jobs sector is experiencing tremendous growth, especially when it comes to business practices and applications. If you haven't taken the time to educate yourself on recent green trends and developments, it could be a very smart move. Even if you're aren't passionate about the environment, you should be aware. There's a good chance that the company you end up working for values green business practices, or faces competitors that do!

A green marketer's role includes many tasks; marketing environmental awareness is certainly one of them. They analyze green marketing and sales trends to forecast future conditions and analyze the effectiveness of marketing strategies and channels. A large part of their job involves keeping up to speed with environmental technologies, advances, and education. They attend many conferences, events happening in local/relevant communities, and promotional events-all related to green products, companies, and technologies. An essential component is understanding consumer opinion, so research on buying habits and values is important. This helps them determine which target markets are most susceptible to green services, products, and technologies. Incorporating green business  practices (such as the use of recycled materials in the manufacturing of a product) into a company's branding or sales initiatives is a major component to the job. As stated earlier, marketing environmental awareness is key. A green marketer is constantly promoting environmental information and implementing it within advertisements, presentations, public relations related work, and other communication materials. Knowledge of green markets, regulations, products, and technology is carefully worked into the marketing strategy for optimal sustainability and social responsibility. Green markets identify the best marketing channels for their products/services and re-design or improve upon existing marketing strategies that lack environmental focus. In their efforts to spread awareness, green marketers are also responsible for writing the marketing content for green company/product websites, brochures, blogs, and other channels of communication. (Job task information adapted from O*Net, onetonline.com).

This career is just one example of how social responsibility or sustainability can be incorporated into an already existing, traditional business career. Combining your passions with your career... sounds familiar? That's what iChoose is all about. Click on the link below and take some time to see just how many different types of green jobs there are, and how much growth the industry is experiencing.

All Green Economy Sectors

Also, take the time to check out Justmeans, a website all about doing "business better." This website has a plethora of content on applying social responsibility to business, initiatives that companies are starting, and general industry news.

Don't forget to check back later in the week to learn about Vault Guides, the detailed and information rich industry guides available online to you through Babson!

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