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GPA: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

 

Part 2 (GPA and Interviews)

By Kimberly Lieb

 

Our last blog post addressed GPA in the context of how employers look at GPA when screening applications. We also examined strategies for breaking into an industry if your GPA is holding you back.          

Now let’s focus on how you can approach a low GPA on your resume and in an interview. Keep in mind, at Cornell, we always go out two decimals and we do not round up. We also suggest, if your GPA is less than 3.00 you do not put GPA on your resume.

As Pam Davis-Acey, Assistant Director, Career Management and Undergraduate Advisor says, “GPA is only one part of your story, not the whole story.” What is your story? Remember, employers want to hear how you overcame obstacles, not a sob story. When the topic of GPA arises, take control and keep it in context. If you struggled one semester that impacted your overall GPA, describe the obstacle, how you overcame it and where you are now (upward trend.)

Many recruiters in hospitality and operations are looking for students with well-rounded experience. Structure your ‘story’ to show how your work experience and lessons implemented from coursework set you apart from the other candidates. Illustrate the wisdom you’ve gained by conquering challenges.

Schedule a mock interview with a SHA Career Advisor; it’s a great way to practice sharing your message and putting your GPA in perspective.

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GPA: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM Part 2

elephants

GPA and Interviews

By Kimberly Lieb

Our last blog post addressed GPA in the context of how employers look at GPA when screening applications. We also examined strategies for breaking into an industry if your GPA is holding you back.          

Now let’s focus on how you can approach a low GPA on your resume and in an interview. Keep in mind, at Cornell, we always extend two decimals and we do not round up (i.e. 3.09 does not equal 3.1.) We also suggest, if your GPA is less than 3.00 you do not put GPA on your resume.

As Pam Davis-Acey, Assistant Director, Career Management and Undergraduate Advisor says, “GPA is only one part of your story, not the whole story.” What is your story? Remember, employers want to hear how you overcame obstacles, not a sob story. When the topic of GPA arises, take control and keep it in context. If you struggled one semester that impacted your overall GPA, describe the obstacle, how you overcame it and where you are now (upward trend.)

Many recruiters in hospitality and operations are looking for students with well-rounded experience. Structure your ‘story’ to show how your work experience and lessons implemented from coursework set you apart from the other candidates. Illustrate the wisdom you’ve gained by conquering challenges.

Schedule a mock interview with a SHA Career Advisor; it’s a great way to practice sharing your message and putting your GPA in perspective.

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GPA: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

elephant

Part 1 (Real Estate/Finance)

It’s the time of year we see employment opportunities being post daily on Handshake, employers interviewing on- and off-campus, second interview and Super Days occurring and job offers being extended.

It’s also the time of year we see students trying to understand, WHY? Why they weren’t selected to interview? Why they weren’t selected for the position? Why they aren’t getting any traction in their job search?

Let’s look at the role GPA plays in job search success. Many employers use GPA as a way to cull down the number of qualified applicants. Others use it as a data point that reflects aptitude and work ethic. This is all great and wonderful if your GPA is above what the employer requires. What about those whose GPA is below the requirement?

Don’t lose hope and don’t panic!

There are some hard realities about GPA’s, especially in the real estate and finance industries. Currently, these industries are highly competitive with plenty of qualified candidates. The top-tier companies in these industries have hundreds of applicants for each position to review, they use GPA as a way to winnow the number of reviewable resumes to a manageable level.

If your dream has ALWAYS been to work for one of these companies but you don’t make the GPA cut, what do you do? Begin by asking yourself, is it the prestige of the firm that excites you or the job responsibilities? Prestige? Here your networking may pull you through, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If it’s the job skills that excites you then you have many more options to land a job that will start you on a successful career path.

Take a broader view of the industry from the players to the roles and responsibilities within these companies. Begin to research companies that you haven’t looked at before. Understand what is important to these firms then target ways to differentiate yourself. Companies in secondary markets usually have fewer qualified applicants, targeting these markets may increase your chances of finding the position you are looking for.

Look at the industry from a different angle. Research other options of breaking in and moving up within the industry. If you’ve always wanted to be a developer and thought your first job would be an analyst, but that isn’t working out; what are other avenues you can take to get you to your goal?

Next, we’ll take a look at how to address GPA in an interview.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TO FIND A JOB?

list

(Or Seven Sound Steps to Score a Summer Salary!)

New Year’s Day was almost a month ago and you haven’t yet taken action on your resolution to find an internship, don’t worry, it’s not too late to start. Let us help you achieve your goal. Our SHA career management team and resources can help you develop then execute your plan.

  • CLARIFY CAREER GOALS

It’s important to begin to clarify you career goals. Create a list of the types of skill and experiences you are looking to cultivate. Make an appointment with one of our advisors to review your goals and gain insight on the best path to achieve these goals.

  • RESEARCH COMPANIES AND INDUSTRY

Begin researching the companies you are interested in working with. Look to see if they offer the types of positions that are of interest to you. Broaden your research criteria to include the industry segment as well. You’ll want to be well-versed on the industry, competitors and the company. Attend our program Summer Job Search Strategies on February 2, to participate in an in-depth discussion, covering the importance of creating a functional to-do list, reviewing the resources available to you and the strategies to implement using these tools to find employment opportunities. Our Management Intern Program Information Session is on February 4, take this opportunity to understand the benefits this program may offer you. We also post relevant articles about the hospitality and real estate industry and companies daily on our Facebook and Twitter pages, start following us today.

  • UPDATE YOUR RESUME

Your resume is the first chance to make a great impression with employers. Review your resume today, think about the skills you developed last semester, how can these experiences be included in your resume to tell the story you want to convey. We are prepared to help you build a strong resume, stop in 180 Statler during our Resumaniacs event on January 29, from 10-12 or on February 4, from  1-3. It is first come, first served, for your 15-minute resume review for Resumaniacs.

  • NAVIGATE HANDSHAKE

On Handshake, our recruiting platform, you will find job and internship postings, employer specific information, and event listings – including career fairs, employer information sessions and career programs. Here you will post your resumes, apply for jobs, sign-up for interviews and register to attend programs. Ensure you are getting all that you can from this powerful tool. We are offering three Handshake on-boarding sessions in spring, February 5, 9 and 10. It’s important for you to know how to search and find the most relevant information quickly and to apply for positions. Let us show you how.

  • UPDATE SOCIAL MEDIA

It’s crucial that you review all your social media postings. Many employers research applicants prior to interviews, it’s important that social media is supporting your personal brand.

Social media is another tool you can use in discovering employment opportunities. On February 18, we are offering a program to teach you how to us LinkedIn in your job search.

  • NETWORK

Though approximately 60% of our students find employment through companies recruiting on-campus and through Handshake job postings, 40% find their job through other sources. One of the most important is through networking. During the spring semester you will have the chance to register and attend employer information sessions, visit employer representatives participating in employer showcases and to participate in career conversations with alumni and industry leaders. During all of these events you will be able to network with the employer and other attendees.

Through Cornell Career Services you can participate in networking skill development workshops. Find out more about these programs in Handshake or the Cornell Career Services event site.

  • PRACTICE INTERVIEWING

Practice makes perfect. Start by understanding the position you are interviewing for and how your skills and abilities are a fit for the position. Next practice, practice, practice. Make an appointment with our advisors to hold a mock interview. We are excited that this spring we will have executives from companies with strong ties to Cornell participate in mock interviews. Continue to check Handshake for the opportunity to register for these mock interviews. We will also be hosting an Interviewing via Skype workshop on March 3, where you will learn how to succeed during video interviews. Cornell Career Services is offering interviewing skills development workshops, one will focus on interviewing skills for international students and postdocs.

Take the first step today to keep your New Year’s resolution and find that perfect summer internship!

Good Luck!

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PUTTING THE PUZZLE PIECES TOGETHER

 problem puzzle

Career Readiness & Competencies

Over the winter break, as you begin to make your New Year’s resolutions, keep in mind goals that will prepare you to begin your career. Set goals that focus on your career readiness by acquiring the knowledge and being able to demonstrate the key competencies. Attaining these competencies are just as important to first year students as they are to those graduating this year.

What are the competencies you ask?

There are 7 key competencies that the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) have developed that are believed to help students prepare for a successful transition into the workplace.

These competencies are:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Oral/Written Communication
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Information Technology Application
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism/Work Ethic
  • Career Management

Many of these skills you will develop through your classwork and work experiences. Utilize your Career Management team to help you master the components of the Career Management competency. As NACE identifies, the goals are to have you be able to identify and articulate your skills, strengths, knowledge, and experiences relevant to the position desired and career goals, and identify areas necessary for professional growth. You should also be able to navigate and explore job options, understand and take the steps necessary to pursue opportunities, and understand how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.

Each semester we offer programming, events and counseling that specifically further your mastery of the Career Management competency. We have programming that helps you navigate and explore your job options from job search strategy workshops and recruiting platform meet-ups to employer information sessions, career conversations and career fairs. We also provide programs that help you to identify and articulate your skills and abilities, such as, mock interview – with advisors, alumni and employers, resume and cover letter critiques, career fair prep workshops and individual advising appointments.

In addition to the workshops, classroom presentations, information sessions and career counseling we traditionally offer we will be increasing our Career Conversations offering both on-campus and via WebEx. We are also adding new program delivery through Twitter Chats and video.

Please take advantage of the services we offer you.

For more details of NACE’s competencies go to http://www.naceweb.org/knowledge/career-readiness-competencies.

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EXPLODING OFFERS

girl on phone

 

As we get further into the school year and more students have interviews that lead to job offers, a new level of stress will come when you need to make a decision to accept or decline the job offer. In some cases this decision can be difficult, with the stress level only increasing if the employer puts undue pressure on you as well.

In order to help students, Cornell Career Services has established guidelines for employers recruiting on or off campus to follow when communicating job offers. These guidelines cover full disclosure of the employers offer procedures including the method for students to confirm acceptance, start dates, basis of compensation and hiring process as well as timelines.

Specifically, CCS guidelines for excessive pressure or exploding offers states ‘Employers should not pressure students to accept an offer before the timelines or make exploding offers. An example of excessive pressure include repeated calls from the team members to assess a student’s status; insisting on a verbal commitment from a student before sending a written offer, or statements such as “If I offer you the position today, will you take it?” Exploding offers are those that require a quick response time or calls for a reduction in the offer package after a certain date.’

Unfortunately, not every employer will follow our guidelines. Here are a few actions you can take to lessen the stress.

Start now to think about your life, post-Cornell. There are many questions to consider to help you make the best employment decision that is right for you.

  • Create a list of planned living expenses, desired work and life environment and goals
    • Cost of rent, utilities, insurance in the city you want to work
    • What other bills will you have (transportation/credit card/student loans)
  • Assign projected cost
  • Rank work & life environment/goals
  • Evaluate jobs you have interviewed for against your list

Now that you’ve prioritized some important aspects you are in a better position to make an informed decision.

Next talk to your trusted advisors, getting advice from different points of view can help ensure you take all important factors into the equation.

  • Parents
  • Faculty
  • Career Management Team

Even with prioritizing and gaining input from others you may be caught off guard. You can and should refer the employer to the guidelines if they are out-of-bounds; however we do know that sometimes you may feel uncomfortable doing this. In this case you should definitely speak to an advisor. In the meantime, here are some suggestions you can say to the employer that will address the issue and allow you to get off the phone without committing to the position.

  • No Offer Letter Offered:
    • ‘I’m very excited that you are interested in having me join your company and look forward to the written offer letter.’
  • 48-Hour Decision time (review CCS policy for Response Time Schedule- in most cases it’s at least 2 weeks)
    • ‘I’m very pleased you have extended job offer to me, I need some more time to review the offer and will respond as soon as possible.’

Some things to keep in mind:

If a company working outside of CCS’s guidelines makes you feel uncomfortable with the pressure to accept or doesn’t give requested information – is this the right company for you?’

TRUST YOUR GUT!

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Super Stressful Super Days

Super Stressful Super Days Word Cloud

 

Woo hoo you’ve made it to the next round of interviews! Your next interviews are part of a Super Day. What’s a Super Day? A Super Day is a series of interviews with people from multiple areas and job functions of a company held in one day, meeting with the same candidate/candidates. There can between 3-8 interviews per candidate each ranging from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. Some interviews will be one-on-one, others may have multiple interviewers. You may meet with those that you will be working with, working for, supervising, or from support areas. You may meet with Admins, HR and CEO’s.

Can you say long and exhausting day?

You’ve prepared for the interview; researched the company, competitors and industry. You’ve reviewed your resume and know the message you want to communicate about your skills and abilities. Now what? How do you make yourself stand out in a pool of qualified (Cornell) candidates? Focus on making personal connections with those whom you are meeting. At the end of the day, when all the interviewers meet to debrief, what connections will you have made that will make you stand out? In addition to your skills, abilities and experience, they are determining if you are a fit for their corporate culture.

Remember this is also a day for you to learn more about the company’s culture and decide if it’s the right fit for you. Throughout the day you’ll see staff interacting with each other. Are they formal or informal? How do your interviewers talk about the company and the role they play? Do they talk about the ways they interact – Fantasy football leagues, celebrating birthdays or do they work late together. Look for consistency or inconsistencies in the answers of the group. Don’t overlook red flags.

Here is some advice on making it through the day.

Offered water? TAKE IT!

  • You’ll be doing a lot of talking, your throat will need it. Taking a sip of water before answering a challenging question can buy you a few seconds to formulate a thoughtful answer.

Offered a restroom break? TAKE IT!

  • If nothing else, use this time to regroup and get your thoughts together before moving to the next interview. This day can be mentally and physically taxing, take a minute to take a deep breath and   re-energize.

Schedule/Interviewer change? BE FLEXIBLE

  • It’s a business, things come up. You may be meeting with someone that wasn’t on your schedule or at a different time. Be respectful to the person who is giving you the news.

Is there any ‘down time’? NOT REALLY

  • Manners, Manners, Manners. Be pleasant to everyone you meet. How you treat others (in all roles) can influence employer’s hiring decisions. Lunch with the team is just another kind of interview. Listen and watch the employees’ interactions with each other, as much as you participate in the discussion. This is a great opportunity to find out more about the company’s culture.
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AVOID THE FRESHMEN FREAKOUT

Avoid the Freshmen Freakout

Don’t Panic

Are you thinking…“OMG Career Day is over and I don’t have an internship?” “What am I going to do if I don’t have one by winter break?!!” “Am I a failure because I don’t have one and EVERYONE else does?!!”

Ok, first things first, take a deep breath, you are going to be ok. Really! Now let’s look at some steps you can take to put together a strategy to get an internship that fits your needs.

The hiring outlook is very good with on-campus recruiting up. One thing to note is that many employers utilize a ‘just-in-time’ hiring practice so use your time now, to prepare for Spring ’16 recruiting. Create a “To-do list” to keep you on track, then begin your research. Develop your plan “A”, “B”, and maybe “C”. Consider industry segments that you are interested in, the types of companies and job functions you are most excited about and geographic locations that are important. (For many reasons you may need to find an internship close to home- that’s OK!) Next, tailor your job search correspondence, this includes your resume and cover letters. SHA Career Management and Cornell Career Services have many guides to help you compose quality resumes and cover letters. Once you have your resume and cover letter drafts written, make an appointment with one of our SHA Career Management Advisors; they will help you make your resume and cover letters more impactful. Brushing up on your interviewing skills is next up; prepare to speak to the skills and experiences you can leverage. Strengthen your interviewing skills with a mock interview with a SHA Career Management Advisor.

Is that it? Is that all that needs to be done to find an internship? Nope. Though on-campus recruiting is up, not all students will find an internship this way, 31% of freshmen, find internships outside of Career Management and OCR. The majority find it through networking – personal contact, alumni contacts and through clubs. So take advantage of networking opportunities – attend panel discussions and employer information sessions, speak to faculty and peers, and use the Alumni Directory and LinkedIn.

You can and will find an internship. Don’t panic, develop and follow a plan and you will be just fine!

 

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Student Profiles to be shared on Facebook & Twitter!

If you have accepted a full-time job or summer internship offer, Career Management would like to share your exciting news!  We’ll create profiles of Hotelies and share them on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

To tell us your good news, please submit your information at: https://cornell.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_dd3K5nnlfZcX03j .  Please note that you will be required to submit a photograph of yourself which will be used in your profile.

Profiles will be published on a rolling basis through the end of the semester.  Like  and follow , so you’ll see your profile.  Make sure you tag your profile and retweet it, so all of your contacts can see your exciting news.

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact Career Management in the Office of Student Services.

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Career & Calling: Inspiration at Work

Join us for hearty reflective conversation and nourishment as we explore the role of values and spirit in our lives at work. This roundtable discussion will be guided by Janet Shortall from the Dean of Students Office, Ken Cohen from CAPS, as well as staff members from the Human Ecology Office of Student and Career Development.

To register, email Deanne Maxwell at dhm8@cornell.edu by Wednesday, April 22nd. Space is limited. Dinner to follow program. Sponsored by the College of Human Ecology Office of Student and Career Development.

Thursday, April 23
4:45 – 6:15pm
142 MVR Hall

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