Tag: Weston Career Center

Recruiting events are great opportunities to meet employers from a wide range of industries and potentially obtain job interviews. If you make a favorable impression, you have the best chance of being invited to interview. Time spent at recruiting events can pay off—it’s your chance to see many career opportunities that are open to you, and you may connect with potential employers who can offer you a job. They also provide an opportunity to practice your interview skills in a less formal environment.

Recruiting events are usually large occasions and can be overwhelming if you are not properly prepared. To be successful at such an event, it’s important to prepare ahead of time. Here are some tips from the Weston Career Center:

Get a list of participating companies

Check the hosting organization’s website or looking for printed publications a few days before the event. Usually a list of companies and a map of their locations will be provided for larger events.

Find connections within those companies

If possible, find someone you know who works at a company you’re interested in; alumni are good resources. At the event, you can mention the name of your contact to the recruiter, which can help separate you from the rest of the students.

Research the companies

Employers expect you to know something about their companies before you talk to them. In addition to visiting company websites, you can use annual reports, press releases, and newspaper coverage that can be found on the Internet or in the WCC Resource Area.

Maximize your time

Maximize the brief time you have with recruiters by knowing how your skills and interests match their needs.

Understand the job openings and opportunities

Become familiar with types of career opportunities available at the companies of greatest interest to you (most company websites have this information), and prepare to sell yourself accordingly. You are the product, and employers are the customer.

Prepare your 30-second self-introduction

This should include your name, your education, and your career interests as they relate to the company. In addition, always come prepared with an example of your skills and experiences.

Schedule a mock interview

Set up a mock interview with an advisor to practice your introduction and to discuss your marketing strategy. Practicing will make you more relaxed and confident during the event.

If possible, arrive early

Recruiters may have to leave early, and they can be tired and less attentive at the end of a long day.

If you’re nervous…

Consider approaching a recruiter with a company that is not one of your top choices first as practice.

Choose your top booths ahead of time

It’s important to plan which company booths you want to target, and focus on no more than three to five that are of special interest to you. You can visit more companies if you like, but make sure that your efforts are focused on your top companies first.

Bring several copies of your resume

It is a good idea to have more than one targeted résumé with different career objectives if you are looking at several career options (résumé should be on résumé-quality paper, and you should bring at least one copy for each company you plan to visit).

Stay tuned for part 2!

As a career advisor at Olin, I do a lot—A LOT—of case interview prep with students—sometimes up to four cases a day. They can be exhausting for me, so I can only imagine how exhausting the practice is for the student. It is stressful, energy-sapping, and sometimes, depending on how it goes, defeating and demoralizing.

Case interviews are the standard with the top consulting firms. Many experts say that a student should practice up to 100 cases in preparation for the recruiting season. That is a tremendous investment in time and focus. It can be tiring. So what should a student do when they find themselves facing interview fatigue? There are a few options to help pull yourself out of the doldrums, refocus, and find that curiosity for solving business problems that initially fueled your desire to be a consultant. I jotted down five—you may have others that work for you:

Take a break

There is nothing wrong with skipping a few days of case practice. Put the pencil down and turn off the part of your brain that is evaluating every situation you face with Porter’s Five Forces Model or some other consulting framework.

Read and absorb

Now could be a good time to read about how real business issues were tackled. Pick up your favorite business journal—HBR, The Strategic Management Journal, The Economist—and see how the issues were approached, what solutions were discovered, what risks were mitigated. All of this information is fodder for your case interviews.

Celebrate your successes

Most students I know have a binder full of cases and notes from their practice sessions. Take some time to review those cases you did really well on and isolate why you did so well. See how you might capitalize on those strengths going forward. Remind yourself how good you really can be at solving issues.

Don’t forget behavioral question practice

I have seen a few students focus solely on case interview questions and heavy mathematical problem-solving only to get tripped up in an interview by the dreaded “What would be your biggest weakness?” question. Use this time to review your individual stories.

Maintain your network

You have probably worked hard at building your network—so don’t let it disappear! This is the perfect time to connect and update people in your support team. Ask what they are working on or what might be happening in their companies. It is a great way to fuel your interests and curiosity again.

The bottom line to all of this: find a way to get your mojo back. You will need it to get across the finish line and land that perfect consulting job you have been working so hard to get.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn Pulse. In addition to founding LMHAdvisors, Lisa Hebert serves as a Weston Career Center Career Advisor, specializing in supply chain, consulting, and advising Olin’s veteran student population.

LinkedIn is a window to potential employers, and it is often the first place recruiters will look when seeking talent. Making connections on LinkedIn is also a great way to build your professional network and form relationships with potential mentors. Career Consultant Anne Petersen provides these tips for making professional connections on LinkedIn:

1. Introduce yourself and draw a connection—or two

Point out what you have in common, such as an alma mater, extra-curriculars, or similar internship experiences.

If you are contacting an alumnus, start by saying “I see you earned your degree from Olin” or “I am a student at Olin Business School.” Then say “I came across your profile on the University Page. Like you, I am pursuing a career in  ___.” Close by saying “Let’s stay connected on LinkedIn.”

In your subsequent conversation, get to know your connection (and share your own background/ interests) so that you develop a professional and personal connection.

2. Seek counsel, not a job referral, when making connections on LinkedIn

It’s important to get advice on things like how they found their job, what’s their function/ industry really like, and how they describe their company’s culture.

Once your invitation to connect is accepted, you are a first-degree connection and can send a message. Start building a relationship by sending a message with these points:

Subject: Thanks for accepting my invitation to connect.

In the body of the message, write something like: “I see you currently work at ABC technology in ___. As I pursue a career in ____, I would like to learn more about your work and the company culture.” Or, alternatively, if you are working on a school project that is relevant to your new connection, say “I am working on a research project on ____ and would value your input.” Close by asking for a call or short meeting: “Do you have 15 minutes for a call next week? If so, any afternoon is good for me. Let me know when is best for you.”

Remember: LinkedIn is a community that is for building relationships. If you ask for a job, you will certainly turn off potentially valuable members of your network.

3. Keep your communication concise

Your contact probably gets hundreds of digital communications daily. Be sure to stay on point.

4. Write your introduction in a conversational way

It shouldn’t sound like a formal cover letter or a casual note to a friend. If in doubt, share with another student or advisor in advance, to make sure it sets the right tone.

5. Commit to taking no more than 15-20 minutes of their time

Acknowledge that they are busy and that you won’t take more than 15-20 minutes of their time. Let them know when you hit the 15 minute mark in your conversation, and they will typically offer to talk a bit longer.

6. Show courtesy

Send a thank you expressing gratitude for the time your contact invested in sharing their experiences and providing advice.

7. Continue to stay in contact after connecting on LinkedIn

Stay in contact with your new connection by sending pertinent articles, providing a progress update, or looping back regarding conversations with their networking leads.

Anne Petersen is a career consultant at the Weston Career Center, specializing in marketing, innovation, and leadership training and assessment. Anne has industry experience in consumer package goods and advertising.

Steve May is a military veteran and a 2018 MBA Candidate at Olin Business School

Photo, above: Steve May with teammates and locals in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

In addition to world-class academics and a general “fit” with the friendly students and impressive instructors, Olin’s tremendous support for veterans is part of the reason I came to Washington University as an MBA candidate. There is not enough time in the day to take advantage of all the support available to Olin students. It’s a tremendous problem to have, and it started right when I got into St. Louis before the MBA Program even officially began.

Two days before the Olin MBA Program started, the veterans attended a two-day “MBA Boot Camp” to “square us away” and get us ready for the difficult (but rewarding) road ahead. The name “MBA Boot Camp” is fitting—not because of the intensity that is associated with most military basic trainings, but because of the efficiency. From the moment we stepped on campus, everything was planned to get us “up to speed” on everything we needed to know to help us prepare for the MBA program.

The author, Steve May.

The author, Steve May.

Meals, career advice, platform introductions, classroom and case discussions, and networking experiences were a few of the events that were planned and executed to the minute. Most notably, the Weston Career Center introduced themselves and the multitude of services they provide students—from resume and cover letter advice, to conference and interview preparation. It was very clear that they were there to help. At the end of the first day, for example, I was following up with a career advisor after a great face-to-face meeting to help finalize my resume for a veterans job conference in October. On the second day, each core instructor led an academic discussion on their subject area, the accompanying platform, and an introduction to the case method. Needless to say, MBA Boot Camp did a tremendous job preparing us to excel and lead when the MBA program began days later.

As veterans, we have all had trying experiences in various locations throughout the world. More than a rigorous military basic training, “MBA Boot Camp” was an introduction to the vast amount of resources and support available to all students, and, especially veterans in the MBA Program at Olin. It truly is overwhelming, and overwhelmingly positive. MBA Boot Camp cemented what I knew to be true; that I had selected the right program for me.

Steve May is a 2018 MBA Candidate in the full-time MBA Program at Olin Business School. Learn more about Olin’s top-ranked full-time MBA program and resources for military veterans.

I once met with a client and we talked about what she was hoping to focus her career direction towards. She mentioned helping companies create strategic business plans and specifically wanted to focus on small businesses starting out. I was impressed. I liked her clear perspectives and direction. When I asked what her experience was, she said “I like talking to people about this and I am very good at providing advice.” I asked again what her specific experience was so we could establish her credibility in her resume. What floored me was that she said she didn’t have any “real” experience, but that people should just trust her, given her education and passion. I kindly told her that it just doesn’t work that way.

I do understand that sometimes your current or past job title or position may not 100% align to the direction you want to take.

I’ve been there. I get it. You want to take your skills and capabilities and utilize them in a different, perhaps more fulfilling, manner.

There are ways to showcase your talents and establish credibility for future and different opportunities. You need to help future employers see you in the role you want even if it may not jump out from a title or a specific role you previously had in an organization. However, you must also take action to fill gaps in experience where they exist. Be honest with yourself. Can you step into your “dream” role without honing any additional skills or gaining additional experience? You owe it to yourself and to your potential employer to gain the requisite experience in the areas you want to develop and work in. You have to establish your credibility, it is that simple.

How do you establish credibility in your career?

There are a number of ways to establish credibility, and it does involve having a plan and making an investment. By “investment” I don’t only mean money. Investment could be time. I know, I know. You are saying, “I have no more time in my schedule to devote to this! Why can’t I just write my resume so it sounds like I can do it?” Again, it just doesn’t work that way.

First, the plan. Understanding what you want to do is the first step. Say for instance you know this—you have been doing content development for an online retailer, and now you want to move into managing strategic projects for a brick and mortar retailer. What skills do you think you need to move to this new opportunity? If you aren’t sure, you should take the time to do a bit of research. Check out job descriptions for the role you want. Find people on LinkedIn that have your “dream” job. What certifications do they have? What types of roles did they have getting to where they are now? Are there any professional organizations you could join to start to network and interact with people in the area you want to move to? How about volunteering in a way that uses the skills you are looking to strengthen? Could you run a project for a non-profit that involves an auction or some other type of retail aspect? These are just some ideas. I am sure you can think of a few yourself.

What makes you credible?

Now, the second step, the investment. This is where you, based on the plan you developed in step one, sign up and show up. It may, unfortunately, also involve paying up. Maybe one of your items is to receive a project management certification of some sort. This will probably cost some money but in the long run would be worth it. This is the step that is all about doing—doing whatever you think is necessary to gain the experience in the area you want to focus on.

Once you have taken the steps necessary to demonstrate your skills and capabilities, then and only then, can you begin to establish your credibility in your resume.

This post originally appeared on LMHAdvisors. In addition to LMHAdvisors, Lisa Hebert serves as a Career Advisor specializing in supply chain, consulting, and Olin’s veteran student population.

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