Posts Tagged ‘interview skills’

From inside the Executive Leadership Workshop

March 8th, 2011 by kkayer

40 students are dressed in business attire, they’ve already sat through an hour and a half of valuation presentations, they are neck deep in the financial data for Kayak and Google — and it’s only 10 a.m. on day 2!

Over the course of the week, these adventurous students (who have opted out of the typical Spring Break vacation) will get an intensive view of how to build, grow, and sustain a company.

Their teachers are Holy Cross alum that coming back to campus to share their stories and introduce important business techniques that will help these students be more prepared for jobs in the business world.

The schedule looks something like this:

Monday: Starting A Company

Tuesday: Valuing and Growing a Company

Wednesday: Business Market Game

Thursday: Managing the Momentum of a Global Enterprise

Friday:  …. is a little different.

On Sunday night, the students were broken into teams and given the task of (over the course of only this week) creating a business geared towards the 30-45 year old demographic.  Each team is responsible for coming up with a new idea, creating a business plan and presenting their business to an executive panel that will pick a winning team at the end of the week.

Friday morning, all 8 teams, will present their plans in hopes of being the victor!

We’ll update you on Friday afternoon with the results!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

10 Etiquette Tips for the Young Professional

March 2nd, 2011 by kkayer

All information provided by Mannersmith

1.       The Hand Shake.

Hands should be placed web to web in a firm grasp.  2-3 shakes (any longer and it gets awkward).

2.       The Art of Conversation.

Be prepared with a few interesting things to add to any conversation (ie. Books you’ve read or an event you’ve recently attended).  Be sure to ask open ended questions to create lasting conversation.

3.       The Compliment.

Make sure to accept compliments with a thank you and a smile.  Avoid attempting to down-play the compliment with a negative response to avoid attention. Accept it, appreciate it, and move on.

4.       The Business Suit – For women

Skirt suits are considered more formal than pants. Make sure to tailor every suit – fit really makes a difference.  Skirts should always fall at the bottom or top of the knee, no higher.  Remember that the person wearing the most clothing holds the power, so plan accordingly with dark tights or long sleeves.

5.       The Business Suit – For men

Pants with cuffs are considered more formal than those without cuffs.  When determining the number of buttons on your jacket, remember that the shorter the V created by the top of the jacket, the shorter you appear. Sleeves should cover your wrist bone, but not much longer (you don’t want them falling mid-hand).  Shirts without buttons on the collars are considered more formal than those with.

6.       The Color Scheme.

Know what the color of your shirt, tie, suit, or accessory is saying about you.

Dark Purple = royalty, power & money

Green = money

Pink = calm

Red = power

Navy = trust

Brown/Orange = friendly

7.        The Early Departure/Late Arrival.

If you are invited to an event and you have to leave early or arrive late, inform the host prior to the event.  This can help the host plan around your schedule and alert other guests as necessary.

8.       The Dietary Restriction.

If you are invited to a dinner and you have any specific dietary restrictions, make sure to inform the host as early as possible so that he or she can plan accordingly. Failing to do so could end in you not eating and a very embarrassed host.

9.       The Active Listener.

When engaging in conversation, make sure to be attentive and responsive.  Eye contact is very important, but be careful not to stare. A well placed nod can go a long way.  Make sure to ask pointed questions to display you are engaged in the conversation.

10.   The Thank You Note.

Never underestimate the value of the handwritten thank you note. While an email may be sufficient, a handwritten letter says you took the time to care.

Enjoy!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

You have to read the Journal

February 16th, 2011 by kkayer

I’m pretty new to Holy Cross, but over the course of the fall semester, I’ve had a few opportunities to meet with some distinguished alums working in the finance world.  When asking how our program can better prepare HC students for careers in finance, no matter who I talked to, or where they worked, I heard the same response over and over again:

THEY HAVE TO READ THE JOURNAL

So, there’s the big secret everyone.  No matter what else you do to prepare for your finance interviews, number one on your list should be reading the Wall Street Journal every single day.  No excuses.  Every alum I spoke with, no matter their age or title, promised me that in any interview they can tell within the first few minutes if the candidate reads the Journal regularly.  Those who do, engage in educated conversation about what is going on in the industry and can provide well informed answers to questions about market trends and statistics.  Those who don’t tend to have brief and unsuccessful interviews.

I have compiled a few tips they suggest that might make this task less daunting.

1.       Find a few companies you like and follow them.

You don’t have to be able to quote the paper cover to cover, but be able to speak intelligently about major happenings in the industry.  An easy way to do this is by following articles about a product or company that interests you.  The most common examples that they gave me were Nike and Apple.  If you can have a discussion about the two companies, who their competitors are, what changes you see in their product lines and how they are fairing in the market, you are proving to your interviewer that you understand the industry and are engaged and interested in the field.

2.       Don’t try to read everything.

Piggybacking on the last point, it’s important to remember that you won’t be able to retain everything if you attempt to study the enter issue.  Read enough articles so that you feel comfortable and confident with the material and recent industry activities.  If you continue in this manner, eventually you’ll become familiar with the styles and formats of the Journal and you’ll be able to expand your reading and retain more information.

3.       You don’t have to go it alone.

One young alumnus, who recently finished his MBA, told me that the way he got used to reading the Journal was in the company of his study group.  When you have friends to read and discuss the articles with, you are more likely to concentrate on the material and to remember what you are reading.  It keeps your mind from wandering and it gives you practice discussing what you’ve read.  You can bounce ideas off of each other and add insight to what you are learning.  It could become your new lunch/dinner table discussion with your other finance-minded friends.

With all of this in mind, I have two tools for you to consider.

First, Prebusiness has a site that can be really helpful for you: Ewallstreeter This site brings the important financial news articles and blogs right to you.  It’s a free service that has been tailored to meet Holy Cross students’ needs, so take advantage of it!

Second, I’d like to invite all of you to join a Wall Street Journal reading/discussion group.  We can meet once a week and talk about what we’ve read, what’s going on, and help clarify anything that might not be clear.  Participants can switch off giving updates on the companies they are following and industry changes they find interesting.

Email me if you are interested. Oh, and don’t forget to find us on facebook!

Until next week!

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

Presentation is everything.

January 27th, 2011 by kkayer

Disclaimer: This is the post where I shamelessly plug my new workshop, which happens to be on Monday night.

As Holy Cross students, you’ve been given a great foundation in presentation skills.  All of you write and speak very well.  You are a step ahead of the majority of your peers.  I’ve seen several of you brush elbows with some extremely powerful people and make comfortable, interesting, and (most importantly) educated conversation.  You have plenty to say and possess resumes that can open most doors. Give yourselves a hand—I was thoroughly impressed with the caliber of HC students when I started here in September.

Then I participated in the ELW interviews…

Don’t worry. I’m still impressed by your professionalism. But there is always room for improvement in your interview skills.

Here’s where my new workshop comes in.  After sitting through almost 60 interviews, I have started to see that most of you fall victim to filler words (like, um, uh) and nervous habits (tapping toes, twisting pens, playing with your hair—yes ladies, I am talking to you!) when speaking in public.  This workshop will address these issues and help make all of you more polished interviewers and presenters.

The details:

I’m offering a one-hour workshop in which a few volunteers will present three-minute talks and be critiqued by their peers and myself.

We’ll record each presentation so we can review point-by-point with each presenter.  All criticism will be constructive, but it will give you all a chance to really look at how you come across to a crowd and get some insight from others about how to up your game.

If this workshop is successful, I’ll offer a series of smaller workshops so everyone can have a chance to practice.  We can work on both presentation and interview skills.  Please don’t confuse this program with Career Planning’s mock interviews.  We are not working on content, only on form.  Your presentation can be on your love of Kraft macaroni & cheese—I don’t care. The plan is to flush out distracting movements and superfluous words that take away from the content of your presentation.

So mark your calendars: Monday, January 31 at 7 p.m. in Smith Labs 155.

If you want to volunteer to “go first,” send me an email or RSVP on our Facebook event page.

Since presentation is everything and practice makes perfect, I hope to see all of you there.

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor

New Semester, New Blog

January 13th, 2011 by kkayer

So here’s the deal: You registered for the pre-business program because it seemed like a good idea.  It will look good on your resume and might help you get a job.  Now what?

Some of you have really taken advantage of the program.  I’ve seen several familiar faces at our workshops and Dinner Speaker Series, and that’s great.  Others have been participating for years, have completed ELW and SBP, and are now running the WIB conference; that’s even better!  However, the number of students participating in these events only makes up about 1/10 of our registered pre-business students.  Where are the rest of you?

I get it, really, I do.  The semester is busy.  You’ve got classes, sports, clubs, and jobs.  Adding one more hour-long event into the mix might actually break you (an obvious hyperbole, but I know the feeling).  Here’s the thing though, the pre-business events are here for your benefit. Holy Cross alums are commuting – by plane, train and automobile – to campus and taking time from their very busy schedules to help you.  And while all of their presentations are unique, they all highlight the same point — networking is key. So make it a resolution to try to come to a few more workshops this year.

It’s not fair of me to ask you guys to put in extra effort without expending some myself. I’ve made a resolution as well – to make use of social media.  Pre-business is going to join the 21st century through blogging and facebook! Now it will be easier to let all of you know what’s going on and quite frankly, what you are missing.

Here’s the plan:

-I’ll be posting a weekly blog to keep students up-to-date with what’s going on in the program and what you need to know about entering the business world.   We’ll cover interview skills, what recruiters suggest for HC students, programs that pre-business offers, tips for getting everything you can out of this program, and anything else that could possibly help you.  All you have to do is read and I promise to keep posts as concise as possible because, I repeat, I know you’re busy.

-Starting today, we are launching our facebook page! Make sure to “like ” us .  I’ll be creating a page for each event and updating the pre-business status with things you need to know.


Hopefully
, this will allow me to cut back on the number of emails that fill your GroupWise inbox on a daily basis.  We’ll see how it goes.

So, welcome back to campus.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your nice, long break and are ready to hit the ground running.

Kaithlyn

Kaithlyn Kayer
Associate Director, Entrepreneurial Studies

David Chu
Director, Entrepreneurial Studies & Pre-business Advisor