Tag Archives: interview

Business Card Giveaway!

29 Mar

There’s many ways to stay connected in our digital age- LinkedIn, Facebook, phone applications like Bump. However, when it comes to networking, nothing replaces a good ol’ business card. I feel like this is something every young person starting out in their career should have. Whether you’re interviewing, at an event or dating, having your contact info easily accessible is very useful.

The kind folks at Uprinting are giving away two sets of their awesome Die Cut business cards to two lucky readers. For a chance to win, leave a comment below with how you plan to use them. Two winners will be chosen at random Friday, April 1st. Details Below:

1.  2 readers will be getting a set (250pcs each) of Die Cut business cards (Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded Single-Corner, Half-Circle Side, Circle); 14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated on a 6 Business Days Turnaround; Front Only or Front and Back printing

2. Restriction: Limited to US residents 18 years old and above only.

Don’t forget to  Like UPrinting on Facebook and share the love with your friends! (http://www.facebook.com/uprinting)

[This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given. For more information about business cards, please visit http://www.uprinting.com/business-cards.html.]

Good luck!


How to Be a Stellar Candidate….

2 Mar

“Cool! See ya then.”

No this wasn’t a gchat response from one of my good friends, it was an email confirmation I recently got from one of my candidates at work. The sad thing is that Informal responses like this, are actually common in the hiring process. In the time I’ve worked in Staffing, here are some techniques I’ve learned that can significantly boost your chances of  being a winning candidate:

  • Convert your resume to a PDF. Thank god I have a best friend in Graphic Design, who appreciates the importance of aesthetics, and made me promise I’d never ever send my resume in any form but a pdf. Unless the company specifically requests a text or doc form of your resume, assume they want a pdf version. Trust me, I open them all day and there is nothing more frustrating than a resume that is difficult to read, and prints out in 5 pages instead of 1.
  • Respond Formally to everything: I don’t care if the Recruiter is your best friend, or if you are driving (put down the phone!) and have 2 seconds to respond to the email. Assume that every email and conversation you have is recorded and be as formal as possible. Have 5 seconds? Write, “Thank you very much for setting up the interview. I look forward to meeting you and __. Please let me know if there’s any information I can provide you.”
  • Nothing Beats an Inside Referral: Sure you might have graduated from Harvard with a 4.0 in Computer Science, have been President of your Class, started your own company and discovered a math formula. Unfortunately, there may be hundreds of other people just as successful as you applying for the same position. This is where the power of networking comes in- knowing someone that works in the company, and can refer you directly, can put you at the very top of the stack. When applying for jobs, sit down and think hard about everyone you know that works at the companies you’d like to work for. Update your linkedIN profile, and connect with people you have worked with, attended school with or met at networking events(even if you don’t know them extremely well). Instead of applying with the other thousands of people to a job on the company’s site, reach out to the acquaintance directly and have them submit you.
  • Reach out to the recruiter/hiring manager if you have any questions: You get a phone call or email saying you have an interview set up for next Tuesday at 11. But how many people, and whom will you meet with? Will lunch be provided? Will you be giving a presentation or completing any tests? These are all important questions, that it is perfectly acceptable to inquire about before your interview. Knowing what to expect can lessen your nerves and really improve your performance at the interview.
  • Let the recruiter/hiring managers know if you are interested in another position (should one open): Just because you aren’t the right person for one position, doesn’t mean you aren’t the right person for another. Make sure to thank the interviewers and hiring managers even if your interview does not go well, so you are on good terms. Let them know (if you are) that you are open to another department or position within the company.I’ve seen this several times with candidates I work with, and have also had this happen myself where you don’t get the position you applied for, but are hired for another.
  • Unless there is an emergency, do not reschedule or cancel: It takes a lot longer than expected to set up interview(s) for candidates. It requires busy executives and employees moving around their schedules and meetings to accommodate the candidate. I’m surprised how many candidates I get requesting to be moved an hour or two back, come in a day earlier, or sometimes don’t even show up. When an interview is scheduled, see it as non-negotiable and do whatever it takes to get there. Rescheduling to even a day later can ruin your chances of getting hired, as they may have found someone for the position already.

The hiring process can be stressful, but with the right attitude, it doesn’t have to be.  Be on your A-game and show them the amazing person that you are, and if it’s meant to be, it will happen.

Some Links I’m Mad About…

19 Jan

While you’re busy dreaming about the amazingness of your day off yesterday, you might want to check out these links:

1. Untemplater- Incredibly talented bloggers who give you the tools to breakout of your template lifestyle, and live the life you’ve always imagined. (Be sure to download their manifesto).

2. Nicole is better I discovered this blog 2 nights ago and like a good book, I can’t put it down. She’s open, honest, funny, witty and you’re guaranteed to find an experience you connect with. *Major* blog crush.

3. Comedian Nick Swardson– I saw his special last night on comedy central, and I haven’t laughed that hard in awhile. Check out one of my favorite clips here.

4. Waterproof Notepad: If you’re like me, and your best thinking is done in the shower- here is your godsend.

5. Neighborhood guides from Daily Candy- discover restaurants and shops in your very own backyard that you didn’t even know about.

6. Avatar: Call me a nerd, but this is one of the coolest movies I’ve ever seen. The special effects were incredible- and don’t even think about not seeing it in imax. Check out the Trailer here.

7. Help Haitian Earthquake Victims: One of the easiest ways to help is by Texting “HAITI” to “90999″ to donate $10 to the American Red Cross.

8. Courtesy of glassdoor.com check out “Top Oddball Interview Questions” from last year. I have to admit, I can’t stop thinking about “what my best McGuyver moment was.”

9. Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge: Each year, nearly 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 are killed  because drivers are talking, texting and e-mailing behind the wheel. Sign the pledge now to make a difference.

10. Great article from CareerAlley on “Job Search Ideas to Fast Track Your Job Search

What is the Deal with Informational Interviews?

20 Nov


So if you are like me, and knew in the past certain companies you wanted to target to work but knew that you were not yet at a point where you have enough experience to work or they are not hiring. The best thing to do in this situation is to ask for an informational interview with someone from the company in the department you would like to work in.

Information interviews are beneficial for many reasons, here are some tips and advantages:

  • They are a great networking tool, the best thing you can do is when looking for a job is meet as many people as possible! You never know who knows someone who knows someone who has the job you want! Even if the position is unavailable after meeting with someone at the company they could recommend you to their friends, co-workers and any other company they may see as a good fit for you.
  • Do your homework. Treat the informational interview as if it were a real interview for the actual position because you never know what will develop from the meeting.
  • Dress appropriately as you would going to an actual interview, make sure you apparel is in accordance with the company.
  • Take notes, since it is informational soak in everything you can and be sure to bring a pen and jot a few things down to reference in the future.
  • Come prepared with a plethora of questions. Since you already know the purpose of the interview is to find out more about the specific profession make sure you come prepared with lots of questions to make the most of the meeting.

Here are some good example questions to think about or ask from ww.iseek.org

  • What is a day on this job really like?
  • What do you like about your job? Dislike?
  • Is your job typical of others in this field?
  • What’s the corporate culture like here? (Hours, salary, titles)
  • Which firms do you think are your toughest competitors, and how do they differ from your company?
  • How did you get into this field?
  • How do you stay current in your knowledge?
  • What kind of experience or training is required?
  • What are employers looking for? (Skills, education, experience)
  • May I have a copy of a job description?
  • What is the potential for advancement?
  • What are current job prospects like?
  • Are there related fields I might want to look into if few jobs are available in my primary career goal?
  • What’s the best way to find out about jobs in this field?
  • Can you refer me to someone else in this field?

For some extra advice check out these Pet Peeves About the Informational Interview from the NYT Business Section.

Q&A With a Young Graphic Design Professional

22 Oct

I’m always intrigued with what recent grads like myself are doing- how long it took them to find a job, how they like their first job after college, tips for saving etc. Working at a design firm, I’m very impressed by the graphic designers that I work with and interested in how they became involved in graphic design (besides their innate creativity gene that I apparently was not born with). Their fantastic work is everywhere, from magazines, to advertisements, product packaging and web design. Eager to learn more, we sat down with our good friend Lindsay, who graduated in 2008 from Chico State University and is working as a graphic designer. 

Madgrad: What is your current position?

Lindsay: Junior Graphic designer at a large Design Company. It is my first job since graduation, and I’ve been there about 7 months. 

Madgrad: How did you find this job?

Lindsay:  I knew I wanted to work in the Bay area, so I looked up companies that I wanted to work for in this area and then contacted them directly. I think this was the best way, because I knew the company I was applying for and could tailor my resume, which often isn’t the case on Craigslist. I do know lots of people that have found jobs through Craigslist though, so I wouldn’t overlook it as a resource.

Madgrad: Why Graphic design?

Lindsay: As my fellow classmates voted me “most likely to be found in photography” I knew I had to do something with art, but I still wanted a BA. A teacher told me I’d like graphic design, so I thought I’d declare it as my major and try it out. I figured I’d change it a few times like everyone else does, but ended up loving it!

Madgrad:  Did you find a job right out of college? How long did it take? 

Lindsay: No, I did some freelance work while interviewing for permanent positions. It took me about a month and a half to find the right job.

Madgrad: Seems like you lucked out with the Job search! Did any former jobs, internships or classes prepare you for this position and help you get it?

Lindsay:  YES! I had two internships in college. One through the school and one I found on my own. I also took a really helpful class where you prepare your portfolio as well as run though practice interviews, presentations and critiques. 

Madgrad:  What do you most enjoy about being a graphic designer?

Lindsay: I get to be creative every day! Depending on the projects, I will usually get to do something new and different each day. 

Madgrad:  What’s the most challenging part of your work?

Lindsay:  Hands Down-the client. Normally a client will ask for something and you will provide them with options based on their visions. But I would say 9 out of 10 times they don’t choose the option you like the best. So sometimes you have to toss your best ideas to please a client. 

Madgrad: If you had one piece of advice to give to recent graduates looking to enter the design field, what would it be?

Lindsay:  Work on your portfolio! If you are able to get a version online always do that too. And once you have a job, always be updating your portfolio anyways. Eventually you will have to replace all your school projects with actual printed work. This is something I just realized I should be doing.

Madgrad: Living on an entry-level salary can be tough. Any advice you’d give to recent grads in similiar positions?

Lindsay: I lived at home for 6 months after college. This was the best thing I’ve done because I saved a lot of money and now actually have money to spend living in the city I recently moved to. Instead of spending money on rent every month, I was able to put that into savings. It definitely was hard at times, but it allowed me to focus on my work and now have money to spend going to dinner, shopping, and going out to meet new people. Oh, and I also recommend shopping at H&M and Forever 21 for work clothes- they’re cute without a hefty price tag. 

Thanks Lindsay! If you have any questions for her on how to start your career in graphic design, email us at themadgrad@gmail.com 

Q &A: Finding a Green Job

29 Sep

There’s not better way to find information than to talk with real people who have been there, done that. We sat down with our friend Emma, who graduated two years ago from UCSB and is currently working as an Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of an envornmental non-profit. She shared some great advice for recent grads looking for an environmental job:


MadGrad:  How did you find your current job?
Emma: On a site called idealist.org. It’s a great way to find volunteer opportunites and jobs with non-profits.
MadGrad: There seems to be quite a lot of recent grads looking for jobs in the environmental sector. Was it hard to find a job after graduation?
Emma:  It was difficult for me to get a job.  I was looking for about 5 months.  I applied to over 30 jobs I think.  The field is very trendy right now, which is great because people are becoming more aware of our impact on the environment and the negative repercussions it could cause.
MadGrad:  What major were you? Do you feel it helped prepare you for your current position?
Emma:  I was a political science and anthropology double major.  Within those majors I took classes specifically relating to environmental issues.  Definitely the political science major has been most helpful because we are involved a lot in lobbying Congress and other levels of government.  It would be a whole other story if I was an Environmental Studies major though, I would probably have a  better grasp of the intricacies of the issues we are involved in.

MadGrad:  Did you do any internships/ side work in college or after?

Emma:  Yes.  I worked in the University’s development department for my last year of college.  This has actually helped a lot in my current position.  I also did two internships after I graduated for the Environmental Departments of the City of San Francisco and the City of Berkeley.
MadGrad: How did you know you wanted to work in the envornment? Was there ever a time you envisioned yourself doing something else?
Emma:  Yes.  For probably 4 years in high school I wanted to be an interior designer.  And what actually changed my mind was going to a designer’s showcase and looking at the gluttonous, unnecessary wealth that made me want to do something with my life that would actually make a difference and change something.  I went into college undeclared, and although I was always interested in environmental issues, it didn’t turn into a career interest until mid-college.
MadGrad:  Are you happy with your current job? What do you like best and least about it?
Emma I love my current job because I work for a great boss and with great people.  I like my position because I know everything that is going on within the organization, from top to bottom.  I guess what I like least about my job is my actual position.  I’m not doing any work towards improving the environment, just assisting those who work to improve the environment.  But this is just the first stepping stone in my career.
MadGrad:  What is the biggest tip you would give to recent grads looking for a job in your field?
Emma:  I guess I would say to be open to possiblities.  I wasn’t sure where in the environmental field I wanted to go, so I applied to lots of different jobs in the field.  Also, be dedicated.  I got my internships last summer by contacting the places I was interested in and and just letting them know I was willing to take an unpaid internship.  It shows that you are committed to the cause and want to learn.

Why Your Major is Minor

15 Aug

I remember several times in college asking myself, “Did I choose the right major? Is it too late to switch?” I was constantly worried about this because I was pretty sure that my major would play a huge if not main role in my future career. After-all, the first thing every interviewer would ask is “What college I went to” and my Major and minor, right? Wrong!!

In the many interviews I have had since graduation, I’ve found 2 things to be of far more interest to the employer than your major: Experience and Personality. Coming directly out of college, you may think that employers do not expect you to have work experience but it is quite the opposite. You won’t qualify for the 5-10 years of experience positions, however internships and any work experience you have is essential for a career right out of college.  Most Employers have been in the same torn up converse you have and know how it can be a challenge to juggle work with school. However entering the workplace with any part time positions, internships and portfolio work immediately qualifies you for some great jobs.

If you were a bio-chemistry major with not enough time to eat in college let alone work, what you lack in experience you can make up with in personality. If you go into the interview with a positive can-do attitude and relate school or classes and brief work to the position you are applying for, that will make you a valuable candidate for their company. Would you rather hire someone with less experience but with ambition and a positive attitude or someone who has a year plus experience but lacks drive and energy?

Instead of worrying over your major, choose something you love that will get you great recommendations from faculty and time to really explore what you are passionate about in both work and school. In the end, It’s personality and experience that will land you that entry level position you have always dreamed of.