The Four Year Plan for Career Success

By David Tsui

As an underclassman, determining what you want to major in is difficult enough, let alone choosing your desired career after you graduate. In addition, there are other distractions that pry freshmen away from focusing on their futures, such as getting used to the new environment in college, adjusting to the college workload, making new friends, and participating in social activities. It is great to enjoy the social aspects of college, but students should keep in mind what they might want to do after they graduate. After all, the job market is getting more and more competitive every year, and as a result many students start their career planning as soon as their freshmen year.

In their freshmen year, students should try to obtain any type of work experience, strive for a strong G.P.A., and attend on campus recruiting events hosted by corporations to explore the possible careers they might be interested in. Obtaining a decent G.P.A. and getting work experience should be the student’s primary goal. Without strong grades, opportunities will be limited for the student. Work experience is a great way for young adults to enter the “real world” and apply the skills they learned in school to their jobs. In today’s world, it is crucial to obtain work experience before graduation because of fierce competition.

After their freshmen year, sophomores and juniors should further their career development by joining professional organizations related to their career interests, look for internships relevant to their majors, and attend networking events. The benefits of joining a professional organization are to help students take on leadership positions that will enhance their communication and teamwork skills and to build a network within and outside of the organization. With an internship, students will get the opportunity to see if their major is the right fit for them and if they are willing to continue pursuing that career path. Lastly, attending recruiting events will let peers see the corporate culture and job opportunities a company has to offer. In addition, these events allow students to network and keep in contact with the company’s representatives such as recruiters and other employees; these connections could be crucial leverage for senior year.

When senior year arrives, it’s time to put all that hard work to the test! Even though it seems that all the necessary pieces are in place, there are other equally qualified candidates gunning for the same position as you. This is where one develops a unique and interesting yet genuine story for their interviews to differentiate themselves from the other candidates. The story can be derived from one’s internship experiences, networking events, student life participation, or other relevant experiences. Sometimes people prefer to continue their education, so they might opt for graduate school. Mid-junior year to senior year would be a great time to start prepping for standardized exams or attending target schools’ information sessions.

In the end, it is better to start your career development early than to procrastinate until the last minute. Some students fall into this trap and many end up regretting not being proactive in their professional development earlier. The consequences can range from delaying their graduation date, to changing their majors, to being confused about career interests and goals after college. So don’t delay. Start working on your career development today!


Career Corner: Interviews

By Jiaxin Yu, Peers for Careers Correspondent

(As orginally published in the Ticker:

Getting an interview requires effort—the never-ending process of preparing resumes, networking, writing cover letters, and applying to postings can be tedious.

Eventually, however, the work pays off, and you are invited to an interview.

Interviewing can be intimidating, but it does not have to be if you properly prepare. With preparation, it is reasonable to expect the interview will go smoothly.

While students may want to cram the night before the interview, as they would for an exam, this is not a recommended strategy.

Interviews are conversations—not oral exams.

You need to be prepared to talk about yourself and your experiences. It is easy to fall into the trap of not adequately preparing, since you assume that you know all about yourself.

However, stuttering and struggling to find the right words during the interview, especially for simple questions, may throw you off and inhibit your ability to get the job offer.

Most interviews will start with, “Tell me about yourself.” Knowing this, take the time to prepare a personal pitch that directly answers this question.  It will set the stage for your confidence level for the remainder of the conversation.

The Starr Career Development Center (SCDC) has received employer feedback that many Baruch  College students display a weakness in articulating why their skills match position qualifications.

Employers also cite not doing thorough enough research of the company or position as another area of interviewing weakness.

Over the summer, SCDC created and launched a workshop specifically with the purpose for researching companies to address this issue.

Key things to review include the company’s mission statement, corporate culture, as well as the services they provide.

Being well-versed in your knowledge of the company’s vision and development can help you elaborate on how you can be an asset to them.

If students want to practice their interview skills, they can schedule mock interview appointments online through their Starr search accounts.

To make the most of a mock interview, bring your resume and position description.

On the day of the interview, be well-groomed and wear appropriate attire. Business suits need to be cleaned, ironed, and well-fitting. Making a strong first impression is key.

Additionally, it is suggested to arrive at least 15 minutes early for an interview.

These extra minutes allow you to sort out any nervous thoughts before you actually go in.

During the interview, remind yourself to focus on your strengths. Be prepared to elaborate on your skill set though relevant experience. If the recruiter asks about your weaknesses, state them—but also demonstrate the steps you have taken to minimize them.

At the end of the interview, ask the interviewer questions. Whether they are about the company or the position, be mindful to ask things that show thoughtfulness and are not available through a simple Google search.

Preparation is key for a successful interview.

Students who dedicate an adequate amount of time and effort to interview preparation are better equipped to present themselves in a self-assured way that will best earn consideration and acceptance from recruiters.

Diary of an Intern, Episode 1: The First Day

10/15/2013  8:30AM

I can’t believe it. It’s 8:30AM, and instead of being in the office, on the my first day of my internship, I’ve been stuck on the subway at Atlantic Avenue for the last thirty minutes.

That soft female voice repeats for the fifth time, ”There’s train traffic ahead of us. We apologize for any inconvenience.” Inconvenience? Seriously? Inconvenience? My whole future is stuck here, between stations! I remember talking with my friends how important the first impression is, and that it starts with being on time. Now, I myself am late. It is even more upsetting because I actually did all the things they recommend to do before the interview or the first day of work. I mapped my company’s location; I even made a trip there to time how long it would take me to get there from home. I left the house twenty minutes earlier today, and now these twenty minutes don’t matter any more. It is 8:45, and the woman just announced that there is an accident and all trains will be delayed. No phone service, no Internet. I can’t even let my employer know that I am running late. I feel the sweat on my face. So hot and crowded here. The people around me start fidgeting and complaining about the constant train delays. Ok, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!  Please! I want to get out of this car and push it. But the doors are closed.

8:55AM. We are finally moving!!! With a speed of a turtle, the train is bringing me closer to work. Now I’m 40 minutes late; that whole everlasting 40 minutes. What should I tell my employer? Will they think that I overslept and am making all this up as a stupid excuse? Will I automatically get a reputation as an inaccurate and irresponsible person? My first day, first moments, and I’m such a failure.

My stop. Run, Forrest, run!

-Bob The Intern

Career Day Review

By Soobin Choi

On October 4th, the Career Fair took place in the main and auxiliary gymnasiums. Over 950 students attended the Fair to network and gain more information about 64 different companies. Unlike the CPA Fair on September 27th, the Career Fair targeted all majors from Corporate Communication to Public Affairs. Among those students who attended the fair, approximately 58% were male and 42% were female.

The STARR Career Development Center introduced a bag check in addition to the coat check system with a $1 fee. Students were able to check in their personal belongings while they spent time networking with recruiters. More than 70 students checked items and the proceeds will be donated to Relay for Life to fund breast cancer research.

The Center also prepared business attire to lend to students. The goal was to help students to look professional and give a great first impression. In addition, the Center offered to take students’ profile pictures for LinkedIn, a networking website for professionals, recruiters, and students.

The students’ feedback on the Fair was very similar. Many mentioned that they had to wait in the line for a long time, which made them more nervous. A student who wanted to stay anonymous stated, “It is my first time coming to one of these fairs. I never expected to wait in line.” Although he said he was tired from waiting in long lines, he continued, “but I got to know the structure of the Career Fair and most importantly, I got a chance to experience networking with professionals.”

The most common answer from students on what advice they would give to others who go to a future Career Fair was to prepare a personal pitch. A student stated, “I would advise them to be here early and practice their personal pitch because I know I was not ready.” Another student agreed, “My best advice is to prepare your personal pitch.” It is imperative to have your personal pitch prepared because when you begin to talk to recruiters, you want to mention key points about yourself and grab recruiters’ attention.

Rachelle Unger, a representative from one of the various companies that participated, shared similar feedback. She said, “After 3 seconds of talking to a student, I know if the person is a right fit for the position or not.” She continued, “Confidence is a key and show no hesitance.” She also pointed out that having wrong information or a typographical error on your résumé can harm your chance of getting an interview. “Always proofread and have enough copies,” she said.

The Career Fair is a great way to learn about potential opportunities as well as to network with professionals. If you missed the Career Fair, there will be other opportunities in the spring for students to connect with recruiters. The STARR Career Development Center offers workshops to enhance students’ professionalism and improve their résumés, business correspondence as well as personal pitches. So remember to take advantage of the workshops and see you at the next fair!