Thursday, March 23, 2017

March Madness: Interviewing

The smell of March Madness is in the air! I wish you all the best of luck on your brackets. I also want to wish you the best of luck on your upcoming interviews! As you watch your teams win (or lose), it’s als
o time to start preparing for interviewing! Below are tips, need to knows, and to do’s for your future interviews:

Make a Slam Dunk!
There are five different types of interviews to prepare for. These interviews may be a phone interview, video-chat interview, face-to-face interview, group interview, or a behavioral interview. Be sure you know what type of interview you are scheduled for and prepare from there.

Practice Makes Perfect
While you are preparing for your interview, take sometime to think about what you want to say. Reflect on your experiences and how they fit into the position. Feel free to make an appointment to participate in Career and Professional Development’s Mock Interview Program. After your mock interview, an advisor will sit with you to discuss your performance with you.

Finding the Right Jersey
Deciding what to wear can be difficult. If you are unsure of the dress code for the interview, make sure you ask beforehand. Typically in-person interviews will be business professional or business casual. You want a clean and conservative look. Once you know what will be appropriate for the event you will need to dress accordingly.

Foul Out
There are a couple of things that you need to make sure you do not do before and during your interview. Do not falsify your application or any answers to questions. Be sure that you don’t make negative comments about previous employers. If you choose to wear cologne or perfume, do so frugally.

Get that Lay-Up
Be sure to arrive 10 minutes prior to your interview. Be conscious with your answer, but also complete. Make sure that you address the interviewer by his/her title. Additionally, offer a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview. If your interview is over the phone or video-chat, but sure to find a quiet place where no one will interrupt you during the scheduled interview.

Make that Swish
Before your interview takes place, make sure you do your research. Your research should include information about the organization, about the position, about the people, and about the location. Remember that interviews are a two-way street! Your interviewer will come prepared with a variety of questions, but you should come with questions prepared as well.

Questions you may want to think about to prepare:
·      What are your long-term and short-term goals?
·      Why are you interested in this position, our organization, or this graduate program?
·      What led you to choose your major or field of study?

Questions you may want to ask:
·      What would an average day in the company look like?
·      Can you describe an ideal employee?
·      What are some of the skills and abilities necessary for someone to succeed in this job?

Grab the Win
Be sure to say thank you and send a follow up thank you note after the interview. This note can be handwritten, an email, or both. You want to express your gratitude towards the interviewer in taking the time to talk and get to know you.

Visit Career and Professional Development sooner rather than later! We are excited for you to go through the interviewing process and would love to help you along the way. Visit our website for more tips, as well as to check out those awesome resources. Additionally, feel free to stop by the Smith Career Center for walk-in advising in regards to preparing and practicing for your interview. We have walk-in advising available Monday – Friday from 12-3pm. Enjoy the interviewing process, because you never know where it is going to lead you. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spring Break Bucket List: There's still time to do some of these!

Check out our Spring Break Bucket List below. How many have of these you done so far? There is still time to mark some off! 

Keep Calm: Spring Break isn't over yet!

Spring break is half way over. Can you believe it?!

You may be thinking and dreaming of your plans to keep on sleeping, watching some Netflix, taking a walk outside, and avoiding homework as much as possible. Yes! We all look forward to a break to take some time for ourselves instead of running around from class to class.

In addition to treating yourself to a relaxing break, there are also some things you can do to boost your professional development!

After you have soaked up some sun...
Maybe you want to explore more what you can do with your major after graduation.

Take some time to check out two of our resources: CandidCareer and CareerSpots.
With CandidCareer, you can watch short interview videos from professionals working in the field. They will share their experiences and how they got to where they are today. CareerSpots allows you to watch 1-4 minute informational videos on professional topics of your choosing. Learn more about networking, interviewing, and more in your profession.

After you've spent time time with family and friends...
Maybe you want to do some research on what other Hokies have done in your major.

Do this research on our Post-Graduation and Survey Report! Here, you can see what graduates are doing after graduation, employment or graduate school, where they are working, how much they make and more. This will really be helpful in connecting you more with companies and employers who are hiring Hokies.

After you've binge watched your favorite Netflix show...
Maybe you want to connect with some people on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a professional social networking site connecting you to people, jobs, and even more opportunities. LinkedIn is the largest professional network with over 200 million members. In fact, 70% of jobs are found via networking and 85% of employers say a positive online presence influences hiring decisions. Now you have some time to upload your resume, connect with Hokies, follow some companies and learn more.

After you've slept in until 1 p.m. and realize you need to be productive somehow in this day...
Maybe you want to spend some time checking out Hokies4Hire and apply for a job or internship.

Hokies4Hire is a database specifically for Virginia Tech students that allows you to search for co-ops, internships or full-time positions. These positions have been posted by employers who are specifically looking to hire Hokies. On the database, you cane upload your resume, apply for jobs, and receive notices.

After you've finished putting your March Madness bracket together...
Maybe you want to follow up with some companies after applying/interviewing.

Following up is important to not only reiterate your interest in the position, but give appreciation to the company for their interest in you. This demonstrates your professionalism and your initiative. Taking the time to do so will be worth it in the end.


Stop by our office to see us! Monday through Friday we have 10 minute Walk-in Advising from 12-3 p.m. You can also call 540-231-6241 to make an appointment with a career advisor.

Enjoy your break, and be productive in your professional development. You deserve it!

Keep Calm: Boost your career!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Let’s Explore our Global Experience!

“College is something you complete. Life is something you experience.”
–Jon Stewart, William and Mary 2004

This summer I had the incredible opportunity to co-lead a 3-week service trip to Peru. The trip was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. While in Peru, we served in the Amazon Rainforest for a conservation non-governmental organization (NGO), as well as in the remote community of Markuray in which we assisted in building a greenhouse.

I think about my experience in Peru on a daily basis. I remember the beautiful countryside and culture, the llamas and alpacas, and of course the food. I will never forget the day we embraced our fears and jumped right into the Las Piedras River in the Amazon Rainforest.

Most importantly, I will remember what I learned. My time in Peru taught me that in the end, you will not regret taking a leap, whether it is in a river in the Amazon, or building a relationship with those who don’t even speak the same language as you. No matter what, that leap will be worthwhile. There is nothing in this world that can stop you from meeting such remarkable people, trying new things, and making a difference. My experience in Peru shed everything that was clouding who I was and helped me to find my whole and raw self. I am more confident in my abilities and will continue to grow in my passion for service after graduation.

While abroad, I gained skills that I did not know I was capable of attaining, as well as ones that were tangible for my future endeavors. There are a variety of skills that you might have gained through your global experience. Those skills are highly desired by employers and should be highlighted on your resume. Some of those skills could include:

·      Teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others in a diverse setting
·      Ability to apply knowledge in a real world setting
·      An understanding of how global issues affect the future
·      Adapting to new situations and perform tasks that are unfamiliar


Be sure to take the time to reflect on the skills you gained after your experience, it will be most beneficial! Here is an example of a format for a resume in describing your experience:

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, Minor in Green Engineering
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA
Overall GPA: 3.2             Expected: May 2015

Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Demark
June 2013 – July 2013
·      Completed summer unit operations lab
·      Conducted 7 experiments
·      Collaborated with students of various cultures to create and present on Danish Culture
·      Took excursions to world-leading chemical production site to see theories learned put into practice

Remember that your global experience can also be helpful and useful in writing your cover letter. Your global experience can also be a great talking point while you are in an interview. Remember to focus on specific examples, interactions, moments, people, or events during your time abroad. 

Global perspective is one of the six professional competencies that employers are looking for. In order to be best career ready, having a demonstration of these competencies can better prepare you for success in the workplace. Having that global perspective will allow you to appreciate, value, and learn more from other cultures to build collaborative relationships and communicate effectively. 

Some questions you may want to consider along your journey are:
·      What did you learn about yourself as a result of your international experience?
·      Why did you choose to study in (country name)? Why was it important to you?
·      Can you describe a time when you had to change your behavior to accommodate or adjust to different local conditions?

I hope you all consider a global experience during your time at Virginia Tech, because you never know where it will lead you or what you will learn about yourself! If you are interested in learning more about study abroad or service abroad, check out the Global Education Office and VT Engage's websites. 

Feel free to stop by the Smith Career Center for walk-in advising in regards to showcasing you global experiences in a professional setting. We have walk-in advising available Monday – Friday from 12-3. Hope to see you soon and around the world!

Monday, February 6, 2017


Tips from your F●R●I●E●N●D●S at Career and Professional Development
Source: WeHeartIt

Everybody has moments like Chandler, where we may not make the best first impressions, or make jokes when we’re uncomfortable. These qualities can make interviews that much more difficult, unless you properly prepare. That’s what we’re here for!!

Interview Do’s
Arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment time, dressed appropriately and conservatively.
Show up at the right place with the right person!!
                Some employers may have interviews at different locations, and have multiple people who may complete interviews. Make sure you’re showing up to the right place and know with whom you’re meeting. When you get there, listen to the interviewer’s introduction to make sure you’re addressing them correctly and with the right punctuation.

Be prepared
                Have a list of questions prepared for the interviewer. Many times at the end of an interview they will ask whether or not you have any questions for them- having these questions is GOOD! The interview is a two way street. Also have answers prepared for their questions, such as what are some of your weaknesses. Don’t be like Chandler:  
Source: Google

 If you need help thinking of questions or preparing for some, here are examples from our 

Be Enthusiastic, Be YOU.
Unless you’re Chandler Bing, then it’s okay to fight all your natural instincts.
In the end, the employer is interested in who you are and what you would bring to the atmosphere if you took up the position. If you’re going as far as to interview, you’re obviously interested in the position, so express that interest and how you appreciate the opportunity for the interview. Portray self-confidence- they thought you were qualified enough for the interview, so you need to believe and show that you ARE qualified, and you will be the best fit for the position.

Interview Don’ts
Don’t say anything negative about previous employers, professors, or other positions in the organization.
                You should portray a positive atmosphere, because if you are bashing your previous employers, then your interviewer will simply begin to wonder what you might say about their organization when you are speaking to others. In addition, if they think you’re only interested in one position, they may be less inclined to hire you over someone who is enthusiastic about the organization as a whole, not just one position.

Don’t lie
                This goes along with being yourself. If you falsify any application criteria or answers to questions in the interview and still get hired, they’re going to realize that you aren’t necessarily fluent in 12 languages like Joey said. Lying may somehow get you the job, but it doesn’t mean you will keep it.

You have already made a major step by gaining this interview, so congratulations!! If you employ these tips, you have the chance to knock it out of the park, and grow that much more in your career journey. Here at Career and Professional Development, we have advisors that are more than willing to work on your interviewing skills, in addition to even having a mock interview for practice!! So if you want to knock those nerves out, make sure to come and visit us. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Jumping into Graduation

In all of your time at Virginia Tech, you have been entering Lane Stadium to jump to Enter Sandman. It is what you have always known. This year however, in the back of your mind you are reminded how much closer and closer each jump is bringing you to graduation. Soon enough you will be entering Lane as a student and leaving jumping as a graduate.

It can feel as if you are driving down a long road and all you can see is this giant, flashing, obnoxious sign flashing “GRADUATION” right at you; almost as if it were reminding you that you still haven’t figured out what you are doing next year. Take a deep breath. Remember that you are not alone in this situation and there many students in the same situation as yourself right now, including me.

Remember that graduation is not a deadline for finding a job, internship, graduate school, or really anything you want to do. We want to remind you that career development is a life-long journey without deadlines and there are a variety of paths for you to take.

Our office has a variety of resources for you to use, so be sure to utilize them!

The Post-Graduate Report is a self-report by Virginia Tech graduates. Students answer questions like the ones below:
  • Who are graduates working for?
  • How did they find their job? 
  •  If they are attending grad school, where are they going?
    • What programs or degrees are they in?
  • What advice do they have for students in their majors?
  •  What do grads wish they’d done differently?
This resource can be very beneficial for students in seeing what their peers are doing and how they got to where they are today. Be sure to check it out and see what fields students in your major are going into.

Our office also provides advising for students who are considering graduate or professional school. Ask yourself:
  • Does what I want to do in the future require graduate school?
  • What is the best path for my career goals?
  • Do I have interest in research?
  •  Do I need more experience in my field before attending graduate school?
Maybe you have not thought about it before, but are considering the possibilities now. Feel free to make an appointment with an advisor to talk more about the graduate school process.

Additionally, look at things beyond your major by talking to faculty in your department or connecting with Alumni on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the largest professional network with over 200 million members. In fact, 70% of jobs are found via networking, so be sure to check out LinkedIn.

If you feel that you still have a lot of questions and need more direction, feel free to stop by our office or make an appointment with a full-time advisor. We want to provide you with the most support and resources in order to get you jumping in the right direction for your post-graduate goals. 

Here are a few 100 Days ‘til Graduation Events coming up:

Graduating? Tips to Start Jumping on Your Job Search
Wednesday, February 8th, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Assembly Hall, Holzman Alumni Center
Claire Childress -
Sponsored by Career and Professional Development

Connection Career Fair
Tuesday, February 21, 10 AM - 4 PM

Squires Ballroom
Claire Childress -

"The Final Piece: Evaluating and Negotiating Offers"
Wednesday, March 22, 5:30 - 6:30 PM
Assembly Hall, Holtzman Alumni Center
Claire Childress,
Sponsored by Career and Professional Development

The Gap Year Experience
Monday, April 3, 5:30 - 6:30 PM
Assembly Hall, Holtzman Alumni Center
Claire Childress,
Sponsored by Career and Professional Development

Adulting 101
Thursday, April 20th, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Assembly Hall, Holtzman Alumni Center
Claire Childress -
Sponsored by Career and Professional Development