Interview Preparation Leads to Job Offer

Do you want to strengthen your interviewing skills? Curtis had sent out 20 applications for a higher education teaching position and had six interviews with no offers when he reached out to Career Services for help with preparing for his next interview.

His qualifications include his enrollment in the Ph.D. in Psychology with a specialization in Social Psychology program and his M.S.in Psychology from Walden.  He also has 15 years of experience as a Violence Prevention Coordinator on a college campus where he worked to prevent sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence. He also has three years of experience as an adjunct instructor.

So what did he do differently to prepare for his 7th interview that resulted in an offer?

  • He used the OptimalResume Interview Prep tool on the Career Services website to prepare. He practiced answering behavioral type questions and then watched the recording with a critical eye. He said: “by listening to the recording I realized I was not fully answering the questions.”  So each time he practiced, he focused on improving his presentation to show confidence and give a complete yet concise answer with examples.
  • For each interview, he was required to give a short, approximately 15 minute, teaching presentation on a topic related to his field. For his 7th interview, he practiced his presentation to show his style, ability to convey information, and connect with his audience. He also prepared to answer questions about the content of his presentation.
  • He prepared questions to learn more about the students and their expectations of the instructors.
  • His interview was over Skype, so he made sure that his surroundings were appropriate.
  • After the interview, he sent the interview panel an email with links to samples showing his use of social media and YouTube as an instructional tool.
  • The human resources representative told Curtis that it was helpful that his references were able to speak about and confirm his accomplishments on his curriculum vita.

We wish Curtis the very best in his new position!

For resources on strengthening your interviewing skills check out the following:

Written by Career Services Advisor, Denise Pranke

Book Review: Drive by Daniel Pink

In his enlightening book, Drive, Daniel Pink insists that most organizations rely on an outdated approach based on “rewards and punishments” to manage employee productivity.  He explains why this 20th century strategy, which he labels “motivation 2.0,” no longer works for a 21st century workforce, which requires a new, fresh approach that he calls, appropriately, “motivation 3.0.”

Motivation 2.0 is based on the notion that people respond productively to extrinsic motivators, such bonuses and promotions.  While this worked well for routine and automated tasks most prevalent in the 20th century workplace, it does not work well for heuristic work, the non-routine tasks of the 21st century involving artistic, creative problem-solving skills that depend heavily on intrinsic motivation. The reality is that 70% of job growth comes from heuristic work. (Pink, 2009, p. 30)  The consequences of continuing to rely on extrinsic motivators could be potentially devastating to the future of American business.

Pink references the most recent scientific research on human motivation conducted over the last half century. He finds that this body of motivation literature reveals a huge disconnect between how people are motivated and how businesses are currently operating to motivate workers.

The good news, he explains, is that this new approach to intrinsic motivation can be learned.  Pink provides readers with a comprehensive toolkit that includes a list of books, names of business thought leaders, a discussion guide, a free online assessment, and an invitation to subscribe to Drive Times, a free quarterly e-mail newsletter, to stay updated on the topic.

The research reveals that we all need to update our mindset to a new third drive, “motivation 3.0,” which shows that human beings also have a drive to learn, create, and better the world beyond themselves.

The three elements of autonomy, mastery, and purpose are the essential requirements needed to foster what he calls “Type I,” or intrinsic behavior, in individuals.  Type 1, intrinsically motivated individuals have a greater sense of fulfillment, happiness, as well as physical and mental well-being.  He defines these three essential elements as follows:

  1. Autonomy: “Our innate need to direct our own lives” (p. 211);
  2. Mastery: The urge to make progress and “become better at something that matters” (p. 207); and
  3. Purpose: The desire to do “something that matters, do it well, and in the service of a cause larger than ourselves” (p. 146).

Pink makes this reading interesting by sprinkling the book with real case studies and examples of organizations going in the wrong direction, as well as exemplary organizations, such as Google and Zappos, that have already been implementing motivation 3.0 and are way ahead of the game.

In a society so focused on extrinsic, monetary and material rewards, Pink provides a refreshing new challenge to move forward in one’s personal and professional life. Pink’s lessons can also be applied to a career development context to help professionals gain insight as to what types of work and organizational environments would yield the highest levels of productivity, growth and overall satisfaction.

Whether you are a parent, an educator, a manager or an organizational leader wanting to inspire others around you, you have real opportunities to implement the recommendations and knowledge shared by Pink.  Try putting “motivation 3.0” into practice to inspire and foster creativity around you and to contribute to a new and improved 21st century workforce and society.

By Career Services Advisor Nicolle Skalski

3 Reasons to Develop a Professional Portfolio

Whether you are actively job searching or are happy in your current position, we recommend you develop a professional portfolio.  Below are three reasons why.

  1. Show your competitive advantage. A portfolio is a great way to show your competitive advantage with a visual representation of your work.  You can highlight academic accomplishments such as a capstone project or thesis along with research and team projects.  Also consider adding professional documents such as your resume, introduction letter, certifications, presentations, and written or visual communication.  These items are called artifacts and will help you stand out to employers and show that you are qualified for a new opportunity or advancement.
  1. Track your career progress and prepare for performance reviews. Keep track of kudos you receive throughout the year along with professional accomplishments to prepare for a performance review.  These might be emails from clients, acknowledgements from your supervisor, or evidence of performance goals being met.  A portfolio is a great way to organize and showcase your hard work.
  1. Leave a lasting impression. Stand out to a potential employer by leaving behind a component of your portfolio after an interview.  That way, once you leave, they have something to remember you by.  This may consist of a few highlighted projects which represent you as a professional, or copies of kudos you have received.

If a professional portfolio sounds right for you, there are two types of portfolios to choose from—an electronic portfolio or a hard copy portfolio.  An electronic portfolio is a great option because it is easy to send to a potential employer or pull up during an interview or meeting.  You can also give the employer a CD or jump drive of your portfolio.  It is also a great way to organize your electronic documents!  To assist you in building an electronic portfolio we offer OptimalResume Portfolio Builder.  To get started, view our training tutorials.  The other option is to create a hard copy portfolio which houses your hard documents to bring to an interview or meeting.

A professional portfolio can take you one step further than a resume by visually showcasing both your skills and talents and praise for your work from others. Whether you are job searching or preparing for a performance review, we recommend you consider developing one!

For more great ideas to manage your career, attend our upcoming live webinar: Maximizing Social Media to Proactively Manage Your Career    Tues., Sept. 16, 12:00 noon Eastern. Register under Latest News on the Career Services Center home page at http://careercenter.waldenu.edu/

Written by Career Services Advisor, Andrea Obrycki

From Education to Counseling: Transition Steps into a New Career

Are you wondering what tools you’ll need in order to enter a new field?  Crystal is a PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision (CES) student who left a twelve-year career in K-12 Special Education to transition into Counseling.  After obtaining her counseling licensure, Crystal applied to numerous positions with no results.  She then contacted Career Services for assistance with her resume and cover letter, and improved her professional branding and networking skills.   She learned how to communicate her qualifications to potential employers, uncover career opportunities, and become actively engaged in her new field.  Crystal’s activities included:

  • Experiential opportunities to gain experience: Obtained a Teaching Assistant internship at Walden and a part-time position as a Group Therapist at a residential home.
  • Professional engagement: Delivered a poster session at the Association for Adult Development and Aging (AADA) Conference.
  • Proactive job search and networking strategies: Tapped into her network of former colleagues and supervisors, attended career fairs, and connected with potential employers and interviewers through LinkedIn.  Through this process, she built her confidence and branding message to employers.

When Crystal attended a recent career fair for Education professionals, she brought a stellar CV and prepared her elevator pitch.  She had 4 interviews after the event that led to a temporary School Counselor position she will be starting this fall.  She is very excited about the opportunity to return to the school system in a professional counseling role.

Crystal attributes her successes to her Walden faculty and Career Services who provided encouragement and support during a difficult time.  Crystal’s advice to other students who are faced with challenging career transitions is to “start working with Career Services and seeking out positions in your field early in your program.”  Crystal is looking forward to a bright future and plans to teach counseling skills to other professionals as she continues to advance in her career.

Are you looking for ways to build your experience while pursuing your Walden degree?  Watch the video, Finding Experiential and Job Opportunitieshttp://www.screencast.com/t/O946xVP0YWQ

Written by Senior Career Services Advisor, Dina Bergren

Use Quick Answers to Find Walden Resources Fast

Are you searching for information and short on time?  Quick Answers can help you find information fast!  Just look for the search box at the top of any student support services website, such as Library, Writing Center, Academic Advising, and Career Services.

Type your question in the search box and the Quick Answers searchable database will find the answer and take you directly to the source of the information you are seeking.  Frequently asked questions related to Career Services include:

  • How do I schedule a career advising appointment?
  • Where can I find resume, curriculum vita (CV), and cover letter samples?
  • How can Walden students connect with Walden alumni?
  • Where can I apply for jobs at Walden?
  • Where can I find Field Experience information?
  • What are the career options and job opportunities in my field?
  • How do I get help with my resume or curriculum vita (CV)?
  • Where can I find jobs?
  • How do I access the OptimalResume system?
  • How do I find information on professional associations and networking?

Visit the Career Services Center website to find answers to your other career-related questions.

By Career Services Advisor, Nicolle Skalski

Book Review – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

In her book Quiet, Susan Cain celebrates the power of introversion.  She estimates that introverts make up between 33% and 50% of Americans and proposes that where we fall on the Introvert-extrovert spectrum is “the single most important aspect of personality.”  It influences our choice of friends and partners, how we make conversation, how we resolve differences, what careers we choose, and whether we will succeed at them.   

Famous individuals who have made significant contributions to a wide variety of fields have been introverts: Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt, Al Gore, Warren Buffet, Gandhi, Van Gogh, Einstein, Chopin, George Orwell, Charles Schulz, Steven Spielberg, and even Dr. Seuss!

Cain views introversion from a cultural point of view.  Introverts may describe themselves as: reflective, cerebral, bookish, unassuming, shy, sensitive, thoughtful, solitude-seeking and inner-directed.  Introverts generally prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying, and working on their own over brainstorming in teams.  Society generally seems to favor extroversion over introversion in many contexts.  In other words, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  From a work standpoint, many employers encourage teamwork in offices without walls, where “people skills” are highly valued. 

Cain considers the positive sides to both extroversion and introversion in the workplace.  Extroverts tend to tackle assignments quickly and are more comfortable with multi-tasking, risk-taking and conflict.   Introverts tend to think more slowly and deliberately.  They like to focus on one task at a time and may have very strong powers of concentration.  Introverts may be excellent leaders and negotiators because often they have strong abilities to listen carefully, think things through, remain calm in stressful situations, and ask good questions.

My main takeaway from this book was Cain’s proposal of a Free Trait Agreement.  We can make agreements with ourselves to adopt behaviors from our opposite personality type when we are pursuing an important goal or “core personal project.”  For example, an introvert like Al Gore can deliver an engaging speech to several hundred people about a climate change, a cause he feels strong about. 

Considering a Free Trait Agreement in the context of career advancement, it may be challenging for someone with strong introversion to attend large networking events.  Cain would suggest making an agreement to commit to a certain number of networking events per month with the view that by networking now and landing a job more quickly, one won’t have to work so hard at networking in the future. 

To determine your core personal project, Cain asks: 1) What did you love to do as a child and what specific aspect made you love that activity so much?  2) What do you gravitate to at work?  Is it the work itself or the purpose/cause you are serving?  3) What do you envy?  The things you envy are clues to what you probably most want.

In closing this review, I offer two suggestions.  1) Please understand that extroverts, introverts and ambiverts (folks in the middle between introversion and extroversion) vary widely in their behaviors.  Therefore, it is best to avoid making assumptions and “typecasting” individuals based on their personality preferences.  Cain advises readers to take what applies to them and use the rest of the information to improve their relationships with others.  2)  If you don’t know where you fall on the introversion-extroversion spectrum, you might consider taking the Keirsey Temperament Sorter or the assessment on pages 13-14 of Cain’s book.  Both extroverts and introverts have amazing talents and gifts to offer and knowing that potential makes this book worth reading.         

 

Written by Career Services Director Lisa Cook

Book Review of Mash-up: How to Use Your Multiple Skills to Give You an Edge, Make Money and Be Happier by Ian Sanders and David Sloly

This book contains stories of individuals who combined multiple skills to create a patchwork quilt-type career rather than limiting themselves to a single job title. The world of work used to be a single track up a ladder where we became experts at just one thing. Now our economy and our jobs are very uncertain, with new types of jobs being created at a rapid pace. To stay employed, we need to be open to change, willing to learn new skills, and watchful for opportunities that use combinations of our skills. This is the “mash-up” way of thinking.

Tim Brown, CEO of a global design and innovation firm, introduced the idea of “T shaped” people in 2005, which demonstrates mash-up thinking. T shaped people have a principal skill – the vertical leg of the T. Then they branch out to other skills as well, which is the horizontal leg of the T. T shaped people can use insights from different perspectives and look for broader solutions in solving problems since they venture outside their primary discipline.

Mash-up thinking involves development of multiple skills, so it’s important to go beyond a job title in describing yourself. The authors propose a “personal unifier” to tie your skills together with clarity. To find this, you look for the common denominator in your skills. For example, a career counselor may be a blogger, a speaker at a conference, and a webinar presenter. The common unifier may be to “communicate career management strategies.”

To expand on your unifier, it’s important to be able to tell the story of what you do for a living and make it interesting. There are three elements to a good story: 1) the impact – you use this to grab the attention of your listener, 2) communication – you must clearly state what you want your listener to know, and 3) persuasion – you must influence your listener to take advantage of the service or resource you’re offering. (Sanders & Sloly, p. 116) To help you craft your story, ask people close to you 3 questions: 1) If you were to introduce me to someone and make a good impression, what would you say? 2) Name one thing about me that stands out. 3) Why would you buy my service or product? (Sanders & Sloly, p. 118)

Reading this book will nudge you to ponder how acquiring new skills might expand your work and interests to new areas. The authors call this “adding strings to your bow.” To choose new strings, ponder your recent work and ask: 1) What have you wanted to do but have not tried? 2) Where is there untapped potential? 3) What else could you offer? (Sanders & Sloly, p. 158)

I hope this book helps you to think outside your “job title box” and explore new areas for your career development.

Written by Lisa Cook, Senior Director of Career Services