Interview Skills 101: The Importance of Small Talk

(As originally published in the Ticker, 9/22/2014)

By Anum Afzaal – Peer for Career

Many of us feel nervous at the prospect of speaking to someone we have never met before, especially an interviewer. This anxiety can often make it difficult for us to have an effective conversation, negatively affecting our first impression given to the interviewer. To mitigate these worries, we can use the art of small talk.

Small talk is more important than we may think, especially during interviews. On one hand, if utilized correctly, it can positively affect our first impression. It’s one of the easiest ways to alleviate anxiety and calm our nerves at the beginning of an interview.

Small talk does not have to be complicated. It’s best to keep it simple by asking about the interviewer’s day, commute, or weekend. The interviewer knows we are there for a specific purpose, but being able to make friendly conversation at the start of the interview demonstrates that we have good social skills and can communicate effectively.

On the other hand, if utilized incorrectly, small talk can also negatively impact our initial impression given to the interviewer. It’s important to keep the conversation short and light, while avoiding the discussion of controversial or personal topics.

Finally, remember that the person across the interview table is just that, a person! Engaging them in light conversation will not only perk up their mood and allow them to think of us in a positive light, but also reduce any anxieties we may have felt at the start of the interview.














Getting the Most out of OCR

(As originally published in the Ticker, 9/15/2014)

By Alina Nesterenko, Peer for Career

On-campus recruitment is here! Here are some things to remember during this time so you can maximize your chances of landing a job.

1. Start by making sure your resume is as close to perfect as possible. Have your resume reviewed by the Starr Career Development Center as well as mentors or professionals in your field. New opportunities constantly come up on Starr Search, so get in the habit of checking the site regularly. Once you have submitted your resume into the resume drop, track your interview status on Starr Search.

2. At the same time, make sure you are preparing for interviews by doing company research, following the industry news, and thinking of insightful questions to ask your interviewer. You should also utilize a new mock interview module located on the left side of the Starr Search login page, and schedule a mock interview at SCDC.

3. Finally, use your network! Find out about the company’s culture and the interview process from friends and colleagues. These resources will help you know what to expect for the on-campus interview.



What To Do After a Career Fair

(As originally published in the Ticker, 9/8)

By Yahya Khan, Peer for Career

A career fair is a wonderful opportunity to connect with organizations and network before the fall recruiting season kicks into high gear. The following are a few tips to keep in mind after your visit to a career fair:

1. Follow up with a Thank You email: Sending a succinct thank you email will make you memorable to recruiters and professionals and lay the foundation for a long lasting relationship. It is important to be courteous in the email and mention something unique that was discussed so that the receiver is left with a favorable impression and remembers who you were.

2. Attend information sessions/networking events: Several information sessions and networking events will be held on campus as the fall recruiting season progresses. It is important to attend these in order to learn more about different companies and the opportunities they offer, and to match your face to a resume. By showing up at several events and asking insightful questions, students can stand out from their peers and elevate their chances of receiving a first round interview slot.












Welcome Back: Three Career Tips for the Fall Season

(As originally published in the Ticker, 8/25/14)

By Soobin Choi, Peer for Career

Welcome Bearcats! Summer vacation is over and classes are starting. Spend this semester exploring which industry is right for you. The first step is to prepare for the upcoming CPA Fair and Career Day. Gaining hands-on experience will surely let you know if you are a fit for the industry.

How can you prepare? Here are three tips.

1) Update your profile on STARR Search. Make sure to upload your updated resume and unofficial transcript. Also be sure to update your year and GPA. Certain workshops and job opportunities show up on STARR Search based on your academic year, so it is imperative that you maintain the most recent information.

2) Research. Under the ‘Events’ tab on STARR Search, choose ‘Career Fairs’ which lists participating organizations. Thoroughly research the company and positions available. On the day of the career fair, you will be prepared to answer and also ask any specific questions. Recruiters will note your passion towards their company.

3) Don’t forget to follow up. Thank you notes! After a brief talk with a recruiter, ask for his business card. Right after the conversation, jot down what you discussed. Making a note on the business card will trigger your memory when writing a thank you note. Include what you discussed with the recruiter and what you can bring to the company, showing your interest and why they should consider you.

Enjoy and good luck!