Student Resources

October 13, 2014

The STAR method

Interviews are challenging, especially if you are interviewing for a large company. The HR department of a large firm knows what to ask you, and those questions are difficult. For example, how do you answer the question, Have you ever lead a team before. Simply saying “yes” will answer the question, but you will have missed an opportunity to tell your prospective employer that you have great leadership qualities. Let me introduce you to the STAR method of answering an interview question:

The STAR method is:

S – Situation, background set the scene
T – Task or Target, specifics of what’s required, when, where, who
A – Action, what you did, skills used, behaviours, characteristics
R – Result – Outcome, what happened?

As far as job interviewing is concerned, your success ratio will go off the scale. Let’s build a STAR method Story.

A Star story should be about 2 minutes long, and delivered with energy and enthusiasm about a real experience you have had (it does not have to be a work experience, as long as it describes a relevant skill or behavior).

Here is an example:

Question: Have you ever lead a team before?

This is how you build a story based on the STAR method:

(Situation) “Yes; a relevant example being at my last company, where I was initially a software developer, in a team of 6 developing a new finance module for our core accounting product.”

(Task) “The project was critical as launch dates had been set with a lot of sales and marketing investment riding on the product being ready. However the project was behind schedule, when our team leader unfortunately became ill, and had to leave.”

(Action) “I had been sports team captain at school, where I loved the challenge and responsibility of leadership. So I volunteered to stand in, and by using my technical analysis skills, spotted a few small mistakes made in the initial coding, that were causing the sporadic errors, and slowing us down. I then negotiated with our product director a small bonus incentive for the team, and budget for two pizza evenings, so we could pull a couple of late night shifts to correct the coding and catch up with the critical project landmarks.”

(Result) “Though this took us 1.5% over budget the software was delivered on time with a better than target fault tolerance. The project was seen as a great success as the additional project cost was minimal compared to the costs of delaying the launch, and the negative affect on our product branding. The team where delighted with the extra bonus and I have now been officially promoted to team leader as a result.”

You need to practice your answers out loud, to ensure its continuity and that you don’t go over 2 minutes. The example above not only answers the leadership question asked, but also conveys that you have other skills and behaviors any interviewer would be interested in. Answering tough interview questions like this will work wonders, but answering poorly worded questions will really set you apart.

September 3, 2014

31505d3Of all the comments I have written, this is one of the most important posts. Breaking rules. I think our career counselors; especially on our campus are doing a great job. They will help you find a job; they will prepare you for the interview they will do everything they can to make you a success. Before you listen to me, follow their guidelines and recommendations. If, and only if you don’t get any results, it is time to break a few rules. Albert Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Don’t become insane by applying over and over again in the same way and not getting any call backs. Time to shake things up, time to be different. After all, what do you have to lose? Yes, you may make a HR department extremely unhappy, and yes, they may blacklist you. If a company does that to you, send them a thank you note and let them know that you and your friends blacklisted them too. Really, do you want to work for a company that is stogy and miserable? No Thanks!

So, I have been following Liz Ryan on LinkedIn. She is different, just look at her posts, and you know she is not a working robot. She is a real human being with ideas, colors and imagination. Read this post, Break the Rules and Get a Great Job. If nothing else has worked for you, if you are stuck in a job you hate, time to move on and break a few rules.

September 2, 2014

The first question after anyone receives the rejection e-mail is, why did I not get the job? If you received the rejection e-mail after you applied online, don’t be too disappointed. Most likely some robo program kicked your resume out because it did not precisely match the job description. But if you did get the interview and still did not get the job… now you are questioning. The following article is interesting because it is from an executive who hired or did not hire staff, and he explains why. Tim Huff, a Director at Macy’s has the following advice for you. Top Three Reasons Why I Didn’t Hire You.

August 29, 2014

I know you all can relate to this… Please read this article by Liz Ryan. It is the all managersreality. Hiring managers don’t kiss frogs to find out if they turn into a princess or a prince.

What Are Hiring Manager Looking For?

August 28, 2014

The secret about references. Sooner or later you will be asked by a potential employer to provide a reference. Yes you can ask your roommate to be a reference, you may even ask your parents or sibling to be a reference. It would work, but I hate to tell you, those references would not carry any weight. If you have never worked and an internship is your first crack at a job who could you ask? An obvious possibility is your professor. In most cases, a professor will agree to be a reference for you but here is the secret. If the professor never had a chance to interact with you because you were in the last row hiding behind your open laptop he may provide a glowing reference about your ability to vanish into the background, never to be noticed. If you are applying for a job as a magician this might work, but in general this might not be the reference you want. I recently had a student who asked me to be a reference. The reference was not job related, so I had no conflict. But had the student ask me to be a reference for a job the student is applying for, I might have had an issue. You see, the student was a hard-working smart student with great leadership potential. There was only one issue; the student was not able to deliver the work assignment on time. I always had to remind the student about the deadline. It became annoying an irritating for me, I had to spend extra time making sure the work was finally delivered. So what do you think my answer would have been if I received a call from a potential employer asking about the student’s ability to deliver assignments on time? Yes, this might have been a problem. So here is the secret. Participate in the class, talk to the professor, ask questions, and show some enthusiasm. I understand that not every class gets you excited, but in the majority of the courses the professor should recognize you and be able to be a reference for you. What you do and how you act today will have an impact on your tomorrow.

August 13, 2014

The Permission Paradox” – This is the title James Citrin used for his article in LinkedIn. What is the permission paradox? You can’t get the job without the experience but you can’t get the experience without the job. Sounds familiar? I wrote about this paradox early on in this series. As Citrin points out, we all will have to face the dilemma of applying for a job that we don’t qualify for because we want to move ahead. Citrin has five permission strategies that could help to overcome the permission paradox

August 8, 2014

Your resume is perfect… your cover letter was right on target… and you got the call. You are invited for the interview. How should you prepare for the interview? Most important, become very familiar with the company. What are the company’s core values, is it a local company, national company or an international company. If you go for an interview with Amazon, it is expected that you know that Amazon is operating internationally, roughly in how many countries, and maybe know the top five countries by sales volume. Find out as much as you can about the company’s product. Focus on the job description, learn as much as you can about the department you will be working in. Find out just a bit about the person that will be interviewing you. Learn who the management team is. The more you know about the company, the better you will be prepared to answer the questions.

But there always will be one or two questions you did not expect. In a recent post by Jeff Haden in LinkedIn “The Strange, Difficult Questions CEO’s Ask in Job Interviews” he asked leaders from various industries about their favorite interview question and what the answer tells them about the candidate. Do you have a good answer for each question? Honest, I struggled with some of them.

August 6, 2014

wewillI recently found an article by Brenda Berkelaar in Brazen Careerist with the title: What Employers Want to See When They Google You. I found her recommendations worthwhile considering. There is most likely nothing in the article that you don’t already know, but read it any way, just to make sure your thought of everything. Her advice is sound, but, at least for me, a bit worrisome. Berkelaar starts her article by saying to keep your social media profiles “clean” when applying to jobs. Unfortunately, keeping all your social media clean applies not only when applying to a new job, but also to when you are already in a job. It is something that you need to be aware off all the time. After all, I am sure you are interested in advancing in your position and moving up the ladder. Be aware that something completely innocent could be taken out of context and move you out of the pool of contenders. Your digital finger print will be with you forever. Select the privacy setting to the appropriate level so you are in control who has access to your private life. We all have to face the fact that whatever we put out there could come back to haunt us right in the middle of a job interview. Berkelaar’s final comment, choose and manage digital relationships carefully is part of the new online reality.

August 4, 2014

I just want to make this clear. I like the tips on how to find a job from Lou Adler, and no, I am not suggesting that you need to buy any of his books to be successful in finding a job. The main message from his blog posts and video casts is how to divide your time and efforts to finding a job. It is Lou’s 20/20/60 rule. Spend 20% of your time submitting resumes to job opportunities posted online. The next 20% of your time is spent on updating your resume and making sure your online presence is well established and easy to find. The bulk of your time, 60% is focused on networking.

Applying online, that is easy; you know how to do this. Keep your resume simple, try to find out who you should address the cover letter to, and tell them in the cover letter how you could benefit the company. Online presence, focus on LinkedIn, tell your story relevant to your career goal. For all other social channels you are using, make sure you set the privacy level at the appropriate setting. But how should you network? This is not about meeting as many people as possible. In fact this is what Adler says:  “Networking is not about meeting as many people as possible. It’s about meeting a few people who will refer you to a few other people.” If you are interested in watching his podcast on YouTube, here is the link to the article “5 Steps to Getting a Better Job in the Hidden Market”.

August 1, 2014

August first is a very important day for a very small country. It is the Swiss National 1AugustDay. Today in 1291 three regions, Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden made a pack against the occupiers from Habsburg. This is a historic day, but this is not what I want to talk about. The topic is… again… cover letters.

Let me illustrate the importance of a cover letter. A well written cover letter will get you an interview, a poorly written letter will not. It is as simple as that. Constantly tweak your cover letter. Think of ways how to improve it. Yes, I can hear you say… but how?  Read this article “6 Things Your Cover Letter Should Never Say (But Probably Does)” by Max Lytvyn. Lytvyn offers some great suggestions that you should incorporated in your freshly re-written cover letter.

July 31, 2014

arrowsI just finished publishing a post for internship opportunities at Amazon on our School of Business internship board and I came across this article: “Don’t Waste Your 20′s at Google or McKinsey”. No, the article did not mention Amazon in name, but Amazon is definitely included.  I strongly disagree with the way the author, Ray De Datta, voices his opinion. For some students, working with a major company is perfect, for some it is not. There is no simple yes or no answer. Maybe working for Amazon is not for you, but you don’t know until you try. Working for a large company has many great advantages. But it is also true that working for a small company or a startup can be great. This is why we have internships. An internship provides you with a very unique trial period. With the Amazon internship, you get a test drive that lasts for six month. You may walk away from the experience loving it or maybe not. It does not matter, that is what an internship is, your “business tasting tour”.

July 30. 2014


That does not look like me…

Every day I scan as many online publications and blogs as possible looking for internship opportunities, tips and comments how to apply for internships, comments from recruiters what makes them choose one applicant over the other just so I am better prepared to find the right internship for you and the best approach on how to apply. This morning, an article titled “Recruiters! Lose This Stereotype!” caught my attention. So, be honest with me: Do I sound like a used car salesman when I send you the latest internship opportunity? I hope not! But then again… if I post an internship opportunity I will have to tell you about it, and maybe I will sound like a promoter. But remember this: Not every internship is right for you. It is OK to turn down an opportunity. But what I do recommend is that you apply to every opportunity that presents itself. Writing great cover letters, becoming an expert at a job interview takes practice. Applying for an internship provides that practice. Don’t miss out on this opportunity.

July 28, 2014

The handshake… it goes way back. According to a Wikipedia entry, as far back as the 5th century BC. As we are approaching the recruiting season in the fall, advisors will be talking about the handshake, and you will be asked to practice the perfect handshake. But is it possible that we might be witnessing the end of the handshake? According to a study in Britain researchers have come to the conclusion that fist bumps are more hygienic than a handshake. Apparently, using fist bumps has a genuine potential to reduce the spread of infectious diseases.

Despite this intriguing research, you may want to hold off on greeting a recruiter or your future boss with a fist bump. The research report I am quoting from may not reach everyone’s desk. But I can foresee it already, future discussions on how to great will have a special section on the topic of handshake or fist bump. How to recognize a firm believer of the handshake versus a more modern “fist bumper”. When to make a fist for the bump and when to open the hand for the shake.

July 24, 2014

Is it autumn yet? Looking out the window today it sure feels that way. Not to worry, it is still summer and the sun will be back by the weekend, but fall is approaching. With fall the season comes the recruiting season, and recruiting means networking. When it comes to networking there is no shortage of more or less useful advice. The handshake, firm but not too firm, no fidgeting, stay calm, do not look around the room when talking etc. But here is some advice that I have not heard before. How do I say my name? I have a long and complicated name that is very difficult to repeat. Should I just stick to my initials because they are much simpler to remember or do I state my full name and go through the process of correcting? The author, Lily Herman, of an article titled: “The Simple Change That Will Make You a More Powerful Networker” on the topic of introduction published in The Muse is providing very clear directions: Hello, my name is Jean-Claude Hauchecorne. Nice to meet you.

July 11, 2014

Brazen Life, another job related website/blog I like to follow, had an article with a provocative title: Why You Should Stop Looking for a Job, and Improve Your Skills Instead. Interesting! ­What the author, Ross Beyeler was referring to is that our job environment has changed. Employees no longer have a career at one company. We are now in the “gig economy” where we work on specific projects for one to maybe five years. The authors point is, because it is a gig economy we must constantly evaluate our job skills. Are they relevant for the next gig, or do we need to get a knowledge upgrade?

What does that mean for you who is about to enter the job market. Well, I can say from personal experience, when you leave our campus don’t think for a minute you will never see a classroom again. You will be back for an upgrade in just a few years.

July 8, 2014

Cover letters… Do they matter? You bet. If you don’t have a good coverCover Letter - 12 (1) letter your chance to get your dream job is not very good. I mention this several times in my posts here. You are not searching for a j
ob. You are developing strategy to get the right job for you. Part of the strategy is how to develop an effective cover letter.

Liz Herman posted this article on the website “The Muse”. The post provides some useful insight on how to write an engaging cover letter. There is even a cover letter that uses the F-bomb. No I am not saying you should use the same approach, but you must be innovative. Trust me, if you don’t have an effective cover letter, you will not get the job you are aiming for.

July 7, 2014


Life is Colorful!


Interview… How do you prepare for an interview? Are you spending the time to get to know the company? Have you prepared so you can give the right answer to the questions that will be fired at you? A job interview is not about spitting out the right answers. A job interview is about making a lasting impression on the HR manager that interviews you. If you sound like every applicant, your prospect to get the job becomes a chance game. Maybe you get it, maybe not.

Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace published a post LinkedIn, “The Five Deadliest Job Interview Mistakes”. What she wrote in that post is exactly what I am talking about. Be different! Read it, you will have a complete different approach on your next interview.

May 30, 2014

A few posts ago I wrote about rejection. You had the perfect cover letter; you nailed the interview, but still, no job offer. I know this is hard, but you have to move on. This article is worth reading, because it re-affirms some of the points I made. You will find the perfect job. Start planning your strategy on how to get that job today. Don’t know how? Let’s talk!

May 29, 2014

Do you know how much time a recruiter spends looking at your resume? According to a report by Matt Johnston in Business Insider – six (6) seconds on average. That’s how much time your carefully crafted resume is looked at by a recruiter.

Watch this short video and then go through your resume again. Here are the key points:

  • Keep a visual hierarchy
  • Make your resume clear and concise
  • Avoid pictures and photos

May 28, 2014

You know that I have been an avid reader of all the assays Lou Adler publishes. I just found another little gem in an article titled “Why Strangers Don’t Get Good Jobs”. Adler was surveying about one thousand recruiters and hiring managers and asking them how they found the best people. The answer was, 92% were either known by them or referred to them by a trusted individual. In his article Adler makes several points how the stranger can become an acquaintance. The point I want to make is this. In order to get the job you want, you must go out and network. If you want to work for a specific company find out how you can become an acquaintance.

I had a student in my office this afternoon who told me that she would love to work for a seafood company like Trident Seafood. The easy way is to apply for a job is to go to the Trident website, look up careers and submit a cover letter and resume. There is about a 1% chance that she will get an interview. If she is serious about getting a job at Trident she must come up with a strategy on how to become an acquaintance to the hiring manager of Trident. How? It really depends how serious she is. Adler has a few ideas in his article. I recommend you read it.

May 16, 2014

How to keep going

You just sent out several well-crafted cover letters with your resume, you feel good about your prospect to get that job or internship and you wait… Wait for that call or e-mail inviting you for the interview. And, unfortunately, that call never comes. You go through a range of emotions, but the bottom line is, you don’t feel good about it, and your enthusiasm to apply for another job is just zapped away. What now?

Here is my response: If the company you applied for never even sent you a canned e-mail response, forget it. You don’t want to work for this company. Don’t even waste your time worrying about it. If you got a canned response, just a tiny bit better. But ask yourself: Do you really want to work for a company that uses computers to communicate with you? It is very possible you will be treated in the same way once you work there.

But if you received a genuine “We are sorry” response from the HR department, signed by a person, take advantage of this opportunity. Call, introduce yourself and state the following: Was there a specific reason why you were turned down? Is there a way you could have improved your chance to get the posted job?

I know, this is not an easy conversation. But a professional HR person will give you a short feedback. This is what they do for a living. With this feedback you can improve your chance to be more successful on you next application/interview. After such a call you will be ready to apply again, and you will be successful.

May 9, 2014

Every time I talk to a class, every time I talk to an individual I say the same thing: Make sure your cover letter is perfect. Today I found this post on LinkedIn:

“I recently looked for a new manager-level hire. I got over 100 résumés indicating a great deal of interests but I was shocked to see that over 90% did not have a cover letter, and some cover letters were addressed to a wrong person.”

If you are the only person applying for a specific job, the hiring manager will look for a reason why to hire you. If you are one of many, the hiring manager will find a reason why to toss out your resume. It is as simple as that. You can’t get around – your resume and your cover letter have to be perfect.

Again, submitting a resume should only be 20% of your job/internship search. 60% of your time must be spent networking. Again, if the hiring manager has met you, the manager will look for a reason why to keep you in the pool of potentials, even if your resume is not perfect.

Read this article: Slacking on you cover letter? I wouldn’t hire you.

May 6, 2014

Lou Adler who is frequently quoted here, just published another interesting post on LinkedIn. A 10-Step Guerilla Job-Hunting Program. Really, guerilla job hunting program? Initially I was turned off by the title, but only initially. Adler goes right to the point and yes, in a way it is a guerilla tactic, out of the box and unconventional. It is a two part article worth your time. But don’t just read the article, implement the plan!

April 21, 2014

The best career advice for men comes from women leaders…

I just read an interview in the New York Times by Adam Bryant with Michelle Peluso, CEO of Gilt Groupe.  The title of the interview: I Don’t Need an Ivory Tower (or an Office). The title is provocative and fitting. Ivory towers and corner office are passé. Getting the job done is what counts, flatten the hierarchy and use transparency as the ultimate equalizer. This is our new work environment. Michelle also has some good advice for you! Check it out.

April 18, 2014 – Bonus

Two postings in one day! What do you want your career to be? This is a serious question, because I believe if you want something really badly, you will get it. But there is a caveat. Be careful what you are wishing for!

I read this story about a student that wanted an internship in a specific field. The student was frustrated with the on campus career fair process and decided to adopt an aggressive tactic. If you want something really badly, you have to think differently and make plans accordingly. Read on, I think you will find this story fascinating.

April 18. 2014

You send in the perfect cover letter, your resume was polished and looked good and you did get the call for the interview. Now what? So many questions, and there is no clear answer. This is why internships are so useful. Don’t miss an opportunity to apply for an internship, even if the position may not be the right fit for you. Applying for an internship and going to the interview is the perfect set up for interview rehearsal. Your first interview will not be perfect. You may get stumped by a question. This is normal and perfectly OK. As you repeat the process, go to interviews after interviews, you will get better, and going to an interview will become easier.

This is a link to a good post about interview questions. The post addresses most of the questions you may have. Career services here on our Bothell campus offers mockup up interviews so you may prepare for an actual interview. I recommend you take advantage of all that is being offered to you. Of course you are always welcome to visit me in my office. I am not a trained HR person, but I can offer some common sense advice.

April 15, 2014

I just found this little gem on Business Insider. I am sure that you are familiar with most if not all of the do’s and don’ts on that list. What surprised me is the order. I did not know that the number one don’ts is… well you just have to check it out. The 9 Worst Mistakes You Can Make On Your Resume.

March 14, 2014

Let’s talk about cover letter and resumes. I think we are all struggling with this. Even if we follow Adler’s advice with a 60/20/20 strategy, we still need a well-designed resume, and a clever cover letter. First the basics: It has to be error free, but we all know that. The next question, who are we addressing the cover letter to. I still see so many cover letters addressed to: To whom it may concern. Don’t do that! Find out who you should address. Call the company, ask for the HR manager, get a name. When I post job description on our board you will find the name of the person to contact. If not, call me.

So, what else can you do? Check out this website, the DailyMuse. This article offers some specific tips on how to write your resume.

February 14, 2014

The Interview:

So you sent out the cover letter and your resume. You get the call… yes, that call. You have survived the initial screening. Now they want to talk to you. What will they ask you? Here are a few tips:

First, notice I used the term “they”. Change “they” to the name of the company, or even better the name of the recruiter you will be interviewing with. Go online, find out as much as you can about the person or persons that will be interviewing you. Get to know them. Once you get to know them, they will become less scary. Next, get ready for the questions that the person or panel will ask you. What are those questions? The Daily Muse put together 31 likely questions that you will be facing. Question number one, “can you tell me a little about yourself?” You know that question is coming, but how should you answer? Check out this post, it is most useful!

February 4, 2014

I know; I should become the spoke person for Lou Adler. I keep on finding interesting bits of information in his writing that is so important and relevant for job seekers.  Adler addresses most of his posts to hiring managers and explains how to find talent. For job seekers knowing how hiring managers think is important. Here is an example I found in a post called “The Three Best Predictors of On-the-Job Success”. The post focuses on how to discover talent without looking at degrees and diplomas. Adler calls this the “Achiever Pattern”.

  • A track record of promotions
  • Being assigned the more challenging tasks compared to the person’s peer group
  • Volunteering for projects no one else wants, and/or those that accelerate the person’s growth
  • Being rewarded in some unique way, e.g., bigger bonus, earlier raise, special recognition, assigned to high potential group, or awarded price or fellowship.

Adler advocates that the above trades will make a person successful in a position. According to him, this is the pattern of an achiever. What does that mean to the job seeker? It means that our resume or cover letter must highlight those patterns. By highlighting those patterns we will improve our chance to get hired into a job with great upside potential.

February 1, 2014

Time for another insightful quote from Lou Adler: “Getting a job is as much art as science, with a lot of luck mixed in.” If you have been applying for jobs and have not received an offer yet, don’t give up. Adler has some strategic steps you can take. The problem with those proposed steps, they are not comfortable. They make you step out of your comfort zone. For example, step one is the 20/20/60 job-seeking plan. Adler contents that 20% of the time should be spent on sending out resumes, 20% of the time on making sure your resume can be found. The bulk of time should be spent on networking. It is easy to tinker around with the resume and submit it all over the place. It can be done from the comfort of your office chair. It is easy to play around on LinkedIn updating your profile; it does not require any interaction with strangers. It is extremely hard to go out, network and meet new people. But according to Adler, and I agree with him, this is the only way to find a job.

For a complete read of Adler’s post follow this link.

January 15, 2014

Will how you eat your pizza decide your future?

Recruiters provide lots of advice on the subject of eating edicts. Once you survived the initial screenings, you may be asked to go for lunch. There, your future employer will test you how well you are suited in the social environment. This is no joke, how and what you eat may have an influence on you next job. In a well-publicized uproar in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio was criticized for the way he ate a pizza. Never ever eat your pizza with a knife and fork in New York. According to New Yorker’s it is better to grab your pizza with your hands and stuff it in your face and let all the toppings drip all over your brand new shirt and suite. I was curious to find out what the norms for eating pizza in Seattle are. Unfortunately I could not find any, so I have to advise you, play it safe, don’t eat pizza when going for lunch with your future boss. When it comes to eating edicts we will have a Personal Skills Seminar on February 5th in the NCEC. There they will teach you the edicts of eating. My personal advice? Be friendly with the waiting staff, never be rude or dismissive even if your order was mixed up, and pay a fair tip. Your future employer may want to know  if you have potential in a leadership role.

January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!  Let’s get to work and let me help you find a job or internship you want. According to an article published in Brazen Careerist by George Egbuonu this can be accomplished by focusing on three key points your future employer wants to know about you:

  • Here’s what I’ve got.
  • Here’s what I will do for you.
  • Here’s what I want to do next for me.

Egbuonu goes into details on each point. On the first point he states that the employer does not care about what you know, but what you can do with that knowledge. This makes sense; after all, a future employer only needs to look at your resume and learns very quickly what you know. But what you can do with that knowledge and how that will benefit the company is what a recruiter cares about.

The second bullet is about your enthusiasm for the job. In a way, the first two bullets are very similar to what Adler emphasizes in his articles. If the applicant is competent and motivated the applicant will get that job.

For the complete article follow this link. Good luck for the coming year in your academic endeavors and your search for your dream internship or job.

December 31. 2013

This is the last post in 2013, but this might be one of the most important posts you will ever read! This post contains the secret on how to get a job or an internship. This is it… well, not really, but I got your attention right? Don’t go away, I do have some interesting and unconventional advice I want to give you. Well, it’s not really my advice, it is advice I have gleaned from Lou Adler, and you all know I am an avid reader of his posts. The most recent post Adler published has the title “Insider secrets from a corporate headhunter”. Let me quote just two insights: Only apply for jobs or internships that are the perfect fit. NO! Very few jobs are the perfect fit for you. There are only two questions you need to ask yourself when applying for a job: Are you competent? Are you motivated? If you can answer yes to those two questions you must apply.

The second insight, I just love that insight, don’t follow the traditional rules. Adler states: “…if you do what everyone else does, expect the same results.” Let me add something to the statement of not following traditional rules. You can’t be rude, insulting or arrogant. Don’t address the HR person in your cover letter with “Hey Dude, what’s up?” Yes, such an opening would definitely not follow the traditional rules, but other than being circulated amongst the HR people for a laugh it would not go anywhere. Being unique and non-traditional takes a lot of efforts in making sure of not stepping over the line.

Intrigued by those two unconventional insights? Follow this link to Mr. Adler’s blog “Job-seeker’s Manual 2014”.

So this is it, this is my last post in 2013 in respect to internships. We have a lot in store for 2014. We expect to grow our company inventory substantially. Our goal is, if you want an internship we will find you an internship that is rewarding and will help you with your career.

Happy New Year,


December 30, 2013

The year 2013 is about to come to a close, but before I sign off I have two more posts I want to publish. This first post is about internships with Amazon. It is true that if you are hired as an intern with Amazon you are expected to devote 100% of your time to Amazon. No classes during the six month you are working for Amazon. I am aware of at least one exemption were a student was able to take one evening class. Talking to that student he told me that he regrets to have pushed for that evening class. He had the worst grade and it dragged down his average GPA. The advice for everyone who is interested in applying for an internship with Amazon, listen to the advice, don’t try take any additional classes. Devote 100% of your time to the internship. If you can’t dedicate the time to Amazon, don’t apply. Here are a few additional comments from former interns posted online on Business Insider.

December 19, 2013

I get a ton of interesting articles sent to me. Most of it is good, some of it is good but I don’t agree with the message and some of it is just bad. But every once and a while I come across something that really hits the ball out of the ballpark. Listen to the following tag line:

People Hire People. Companies Don’t

Let it sink in! This tag line is so incredible important for you who is looking to start a career or want to start an internship. When you are sending a cover letter to a company that is looking for an intern or full time employee, who do you address it to? Is it to: To whom it may concern? Or: Dear Recruiter? If you do that, you are addressing the letter to a company, and the above tag line just told you, companies don’t hire. You have to address your cover letter to a person. If you don’t know the name of the person that will be opening your letter, find out! If you don’t go through the effort of finding out who you are talking to, you really don’t care that much for the job. The message is clear, take the time and find out who will be reading your cover letter and address it to that person.

December 16, 2013

Lou Adler published another very interesting post on LinkedIn. The heading of the article is “If Overqualified, It’s Time to Redefine Qualified”. No, this is not an article just for a returning student that already has a ton of work experience. This article is equally applicable to a student that is applying for his or her first internship or full time job. The article is based on Adler’s believe that there is not such thing as over or under qualified. Adler states, if the applicant is competent and motivated he or she is qualified for the job. Let’s think about Adler’s statement for just one moment. “Competent and motivated”. Every student who is applying for an internship in his or her field is competent. This is what we as a University do. We prepare you for your career. You are competent! The questions I can not answer is, are you intrinsically motivated? If you are motivated you qualify for the job you are applying for. If you are not motivated and you are just applying for the position because you need the money or some one told you that you should, you are not motivated and you are under or over qualified. The best outcome in this case, you will not get the job. The worst outcome, you will get the job, but without motivation you will most likely not succeed in this position.

The complete article can be found here.

December 12. 2013

It’s been a while since I posted anything smart – you may even question if I ever posted anything smart. But for this exercise, forget your comment and come along for the ride. If you are still looking for an internship or a job we need to talk. Something is not working for you, and you need to change. Let me tell you a story. I am a passionate aviation enthusiast. My favorite form of aviation is gliding, flying in a plane with no motor. So here is what I do. I get pulled up in a glider by a power plane to about 3 to 4,000 feet above the ground. At that altitude I release from the power plane, and I start gliding. The goal is to find lifting air commonly referred to as thermals, circle and climb to much higher altitude. I can do this all day long. But here is the catch. Sometimes nature does not play along. Sometimes I do not find the thermal and I slowly glide back to the ground. If that happens to me, I have been gliding straight ahead but do not find a thermal, I know I have to do something different or I will be on the ground in a dirt field. So here is what I do: I do something radically different. Sometimes I speed up, which means I will be on the ground faster, but maybe I am crossing through a parcel of air that is descending faster. Sometimes I just make a left or right 90 degree course change. It does not matter, but I have to do something because flying straight ahead is just not an option. The same thing applies to your current situation. If you are applying for jobs or internships but do not get any interviews – STOP. Do something radically different. It does not matter what it is, just do it. It can’t get any worse. A different approach will lead to success.

Here is a link to an article that kind of supports my approach. Enjoy.

November 13, 2013

A new post by Lou Adler talks about “Working in Zone 1”. In essence, working in Zone 1 should be the goal. Unfortunately, too many work in Zone 3 or 4. Enjoy reading the post.

October 28, 2013

Finding a job is challenging job. Your career is like a chess game. One important factor in being a successful chess game player is knowing and anticipating the moves of your opponent. Same applies in getting hired and making the right career moves. Know your recruiter; know how he or she thinks and what’s important to them.

Lou Adler who I have quoted several times before just posted another interesting article on hiring from the point of view of a recruiter. In this article he still uses the analogy of Jim Collins’ book, getting the right people on the bus, once they are on the bus get them into the right seat. Here I would like to add my own spin for internships. As you are moving through your junior and senior years you have decided on a general direction – Business. So jump on any bus that has the label “Business” on it. See if the bus drives you into the right direction. If not, get off at the next stop and see if the next bus drives you towards were you wanted to go.

For Adler’s complete article “Use the 30% Solution to Turn Jobs into Careers” follow this link.

October 23, 2013

You may recognize the name Lou Adler, I have quoted him on previous posts. He wrote another interesting column. The column is not necessarily addressed to you as the job seeker, but to the recruiters and how recruiting should be done. Because this article is not addressed to the job seeker it does not mean you should ignore it. In fact, knowing how recruiters think will help you find the right job.

If some of you have taken Paul Collins class you might be familiar with Jim Collins book “Good to Great”. Adler uses the analogy of getting the right people on the bus in to the right seat and the wrong people off the bus with recruiting efforts. The complete article can be found here.

October 16, 2013

In a recent post on a site called The Ladders Amanda Augustine wrote an interesting article on “How to Play Nicely with Recruiters”. I think Augustine makes some valid points worth considering. One recommendation is to make it personal with the recruiter. This of course is much easier said than done. You can read the complete article and her advice on how to play nicely with recruiters here: The Ladders

October 10, 2013

I have recommended posts by Lou Adler before. I am doing it again. Why? Read the following:

  • The unemployment rate is far below 4%
  • If you’re unemployed or under-employed there are 3.6 million open jobs you won’t get by applying directly
  • Quitting is a good thing if you’re employed

I know, how can Adler make those statements? Only one thing to do, read the post and judge for yourself.

October 8, 2013

You should take advantage of this! There is a Business Career Fair on the UW Seattle campus. It is open to all UW students and alumni.

  • Date: Tomorrow, Wednesday October 9th
  • Location: HUB Ballrooms, Seattle campus
  • Time: 2 – 6 pm
  • Here is a list of attending employers.

September 30, 2013

Tips on how to get hired; a search on Google claims that there are 148 million results found in just 0.39 seconds. Obviously not every recommendation will work for you but some of them are worthwhile considering. I just read a post from Lou Adler on LinkedIn. He is a CEO and author of several books, the most recent “The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired“. In this short post Adler has some useful tips that could help you with your next interview.

September 29, 2013

A recent planet money podcast titled “What’s Your Major?” explores how much money different majors earn after graduation. We all instinctively know that different majors have different earnings potential, but do you know which major is the big money maker? According to the podcast it’s not a finance major. Can you guess how big the difference between the lowest and highest paid major is? Check out this article, it will surprise you! Now let me make it clear: I do not advocate that you should choose your major based on how much money you will make. Lifestyle, job satisfaction and where you would like to be five years from now are more important than how much you can make after graduation. Listen to this podcast; it will be an eye opener.

September 26, 2013

Walt Bettinger, the CEO at Charles Schwab published an interesting article on LinkedIn. After the initial screening by the HR department he takes a prospect for lunch and observes how that prospect treats the wait staff and how much tip he or she leaves. Interesting! For the full article follow this link: http://tinyurl.com/mfmpbeb

September 25, 2013

In a previous post I pointed out that continued education is something that will set you aside from other job applicants. Reading has a similar effect. Now the question is what to read. Here are three recommendations from Jeff Bezos . Those recommendations come from an article published by CNBC tech correspondent Jon Fortt. The three books are:

  • The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
  • The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen
  • The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt (I have that book on audio – I agree with Jeff)

Interested in reading the full article follow this link: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Had his Top Execs Read these Three Books

September 23, 2013

When applying for an internship or a job the applicant is always trying to find something that ad’s something unique to the resume. In this article published in the New York Times by Nelson D. Schwartz he suggests to use personal connection to get to the front of the line. For the complete article follow this link: In Hiring, a Friend in Need Is a Prospect, Indeed

September 22. 2013

As the title of the article “Beyond a Resume: What Tech Recruiters Want” indicates, Carrie McComb, the lead tech recruiter at Braintree, focuses on how to apply for a job at an IT company. Despite some obvious differences, she makes suggestions that are easily adaptable to job application in the business world. Carrie states in her article that she is paying less attention to the skills and roles on a resume, but looks for unique qualities of the applicant. She likes applicant who are motivated in taking online courses and continuous learning.

For the complete article, follow this link: blog.udacity.com/2013/09/beyond-resume-what-tech-recruiters-want.html?m=1