A message for the first day of school…

We missed seeing all the students on campus this summer and are looking forward to the programs we have for you this fall. Don’t forget to visit the blog throughout the year for tips, advice, and articles on fun career topics brought to you by your friendly Peer Career Advisors and the Center for Career Development.

Welcome back! Come and see us soon!

New program available at Rice!

Are you interested in a career in business? Would you like to be a Certified Public Accountant?

The Jones Graduate School of Business is launching its Master of Accounting (“MAcc”) Program in Fall 2016.
Specifically designed as “4+1” program for Rice undergraduates
Open to all undergraduate majors
Just 12 months to launch a career
Segue into global professional services firms
Paid internships for those who plan ahead
Benefit from an accomplished and supportive Jones School alumni network

Q: How many of the “Big 4” public accounting firms were listed in Fortune Magazine’s 2014 100 Best Companies to Work For?
A: All of them! Deloitte: #61, EY: #78, KPMG: #80, PwC #65

Q: How many public accounting firms were rated in Businessweek’s 2009 Best Places to Launch a Career survey?
A: All of them! The Big 4 public accounting firms take the top 4 spots!

Applications will be accepted starting this Fall 2014. Visit business.rice.edu/macc for a full list of program highlights. Fee free to contact Prof. Ben Lansford, Director of the MAcc, with any questions: lansford@rice.edu

Avoid resume cliches

Since we are talking about resumes do’s, there are some resume don’ts that we should talk about. A common mistake would be using cliches.

Dedicated. Detail oriented. Motivated. Self starter.

Have you used any of these in your resume lately? It is not that these are bad words. They are just over used. Instead of writing the word “dedicated”, show it through your resume entry description. For example, instead of saying “results oriented” (what does that mean anyway?) show them by quantifying what you accomplished. Perhaps something like “Implementation of  the new recommendations increased efficiency by 40%” would be better.  Another overused example we see often is “works well in teams”. Well, okay. That’s nice. However….that doesn’t tell the recruiter much. Everyone says that they work well in teams whether it is true or not. Who in their right mind is going to write “works better alone” or “does not like people”? Instead, demonstrate teamwork though a descriptive bullet point. Try “Worked with a team of four to successfully build a solar car over the course of a semester to compete in a nationwide competition”.

Much better. Now go forth and update your resume!

Time to update your resume!

 

Now that the summer is drawing to a close and you are about to finish your internships, research, or other summer jobs and projects, this is an ideal time to update your resume. It is not as hard as you think. Here are a few tips that might help:

1. Review what you learned and accomplished this summer. Don’t just list down the duties that were written in the job description. What exactly did you do? What projects did you work on? What were the results? Did you pick up any new skills? It sounds silly but get out a piece of paper and brainstorm all you did. List it all down and pick out the ones that stand out to add to your resume.

2. Be descriptive and quantify when possible. This is the time to really help the reader understand why what you did this summer is relevant. Don’t just write “wrote a report” as a bullet point. Something like “Aggregated data from the past two years to identify trends and compiled the results into a report that was presented to the manager” sounds a bit stronger.

3. Highlight transferable skills. Perhaps you did something this summer that is not directly inline with what you want to do when you graduate. That’s okay! Just highlight the transferable skills. If you spent the summer as a camp counselor, you can emphasize the communication skills and ability to manage groups when writing your resume.

4. Edit. Now that you have a new experience under your belt, you may have to remove older entries on your resume that may be redundant or outdated. You want to keep your document to one page. It doesn’t mean you have to remove everything just because you have something new. Just think critically and ask yourself if the older entries add show a different facet of your skill set to the reader.

If you are unsure of any of this, be sure to have a Peer Career Advisor look at your resume or attend our annual Resumania event in early fall to get your newly updated resume reviewed.

What not to put on your resume

We’re back!

While we have been busy working away at the Center for Career Development preparing for the upcoming Fall programming and events, our blog went on a short hiatus. Now that the summer is almost at an end, we are gearing back up for the school year. Hope you are doing the same!

As you prepare for the new semester, start thinking about updating your resume with all of your summer activities. Whether it was an internship, volunteer activity, or research, now is a great time to get your resume up-to-date. Keep an eye out for the next blog entry for specific tips on updating your resume. As for now, just have a laugh and be sure that these are NOT on your resume. Real life examples of resume fails:

(Click the picture or go here)

Advice on How to the Get the Most Out of your Internship

Yay! So you have your summer internship lined up for the summer, and you are suuuuuper excited for it! But what if this is your first internship? What are you supposed to expect at the end of it? How do you make sure that you make the best of this experience?

Here are some tips:

Prove yourself – Show that you pay attention to detail and that you are eager to learn/perform, no matter how boring the task is. People will recognize your enthusiasm and let you try more interesting things.

Pay attention to the office culture and interact with co-workers – Get to know everyone in the office and how they interact! This gives you a feel for the social aspects of a career in the field would be.

Take your work seriously – Focus. Stay away from social networks, even if they seem to not affect your job. Take responsibility for any mistakes you make, because they can affect everyone in the workplace, not just you. If you make a mistake, tell your boss that you won’t make it again and make sure of it.

Ask for feedback – Ask your boss/supervisor how you are doing – what could you be doing differently? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are you meeting goals? Taking the initiative in asking for feedback helps your supervisor give you input to help you grow.

Learn from your co-workers – Ask your co-workers about their careers: how did they get into the field? What do they like about it? What advice do they have for you? Let them know that you are open to any advice or constructive criticisms.

Dress appropriately – If you want the part, you have to look the part.

Say Thank You – show your genuine appreciation to your supervisor for the opportunity and guidance. Also thank your co-workers for their advice and support.

By using these simple tips, you can gain a lot from your internship and grow as an individual. The purpose of an internship is to test the path toward your dream career and to give you a taste for what the work world is like. You can learn so much simply by being in the work environment. So be brave, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and take a step closer to the real world.

Ellen Hoang, McMurtry College, Sid Rich PCA Liason

Five Steps On How to Write a Thank You Note After an Interview

You just had an interview for your dream internship/job, and whether it was the best or worst interview you’ve ever had, you can’t leave it hanging! So here are 5 steps to writing a simple thank you note to your interviewer:

  1. Be genuine in your appreciation – Use your own feelings and gratitude to express yourself and connect with the interviewer. Don’t go overboard with flowery language though! Keep it honest and simple.
  2. Reinforce your interest and enthusiasm for the position and organization – Show that you are excited about the possibility of working for that organization. A good way to demonstrate enthusiasm is to talk about something you learned about the company in your interview.
  3. Highlight your key selling points – Clearly explain how you would be a strong fit for the company, and describe some of your skills that match the responsibilities of the position. This is a good place to add any selling points that you forgot to mention in your interview.
  4. Keep it sweet and simple! – Keep your thank you note concise (like your cover letter), not more than a few paragraphs and certainly not more than a page.
  5. PROOFREAD – Don’t embarrass yourself with grammar and spelling mistakes of an 8-year old. Read it aloud to make sure it flows well. Remember, final impressions are just as important as first impressions.

If you are writing thank you notes for several interviewers, be sure to personalize each one. Don’t just copy and paste the same message – they can easily tell if you do so. Also, don’t wait on sending this thank you note for more than 2 days! The sooner it’s done, the better.

Now you are ready to write your thank you note!

Best of luck to you!

Ellen Hoang, McMurtry ’16, Sid Rich PCA Liason

What Are You Saying With Your Body?

It is an undeniable fact that what you say when navigating the treacherous seas of the professional world is of great consequence. People practice elevator pitches until they are blue in the face and wrack their brains for the perfect follow-up questions in interviews, and who could blame them? Words are powerful and should not be slung about without careful consideration. However, when searching for those perfect words, people often forget to think about how they will look when delivering their flawless speech.

And that is where they fail.

Nonverbal communication is just as, if not monumentally more, important as what you say. Here are five things to consider trying out the next time you venture out into the waters of professionalism:

1) Stand up Straight

Remember when your parents used to chastise you for slouching and slumping? Well, they had a point. Good posture can make you appear powerful and confident, and who doesn’t want some of that? Next time you are standing or sitting in a professional context, pay attention to how you are holding yourself. If your posture is not erect, and your shoulders are not back, fix it!

2) Lean In

Sheryl Sandberg has pretty much got this one covered, but I’ll go ahead and mention it anyway. Leaning in and tossing the occasional head nod towards someone who is speaking conveys a message of “I’m listening to you and taking your words seriously.” This is extremely important, as people generally do not like feeling ignored.

3) Eye Contact

If the eyes are windows to the soul, then anyone who refuses to maintain eye contact obviously has no soul and cannot be trusted. At least that is what people in the working world will think if you don’t look at them during a conversation. Well maybe not that exactly, but the impression you give certainly won’t be a good one. It’s okay to blink and move your gaze occasionally, but make an effort to maintain eye contact for a majority of the time. Speaking to a group? Move your gaze around your audience and make everyone feel included.

4) Keep it open

Sliding your hands into your pockets and crossing your arms are two surefire ways of broadcasting to the world that you do not want to interact. The moment your hands enter your pockets everything starts to go wrong; your shoulders cave in, you start to slump, and you look like a turtle retreating into its shell. Similarly, when you cross your arms, you appear defensive and closed-off. Both of these behaviors signal to people that you are not enjoying the conversation, do not feel comfortable speaking to them, and would probably rather be anywhere else at the moment. If you find yourself doing any of these reprehensible behaviors, take a moment and strongly consider the message you are sending.

5) Smile

Who doesn’t love a good smile? When you look happy, you feel happy, and so does everyone around you. Smiling puts people at ease and makes you seem much more approachable. Use those facial muscles and pearly whites to craft a positive impression, because, after all, isn’t that the goal of all this body language talk?

Good luck out there!

Andrew Austin, Baker PCA