GENERAL Q & A

IS IT EVER OK TO MAKE JOKES DURING THE INTERVIEW, OR JUST STAY OVERLY PROFESSIONAL?
Having a sense of humor is wonderful. Some people are able to naturally show their sense of humor in an interview, and it could be appealing and even helpful in making you stand out from your competitors, especially if you are applying to work in customer service, sales, or other positions that require a lot of direct contact with others. At the same time, do not try too hard. You’ve really either got it or you don’t with regard to the natural ability to use your sense of humor when answering interview questions or interacting with a potential boss/employer. It could be an epic failure if you think you are funny but no one else does. If you are not sure, leave the act or magic tricks at home. Although it is sometimes easier said than done, be yourself. Then, if you are hired, you and your employee will feel good about the “fit.”

Written by: Jill Bowers

Additional resources for the use of humor in job interviews:

Do’s and Don’ts of Humor in a Job Interview [Life Reimagined for Work] No Joke: How to Use Humor in a Job Interview [CBS Money Watch]


DO I LEAVE A CONTACT NUMBER OR E-MAIL AFTER? WHICH IS BETTER?
Most definitely! You could provide your email OR phone when you follow-up with a “thank for taking the time to interview me” letter. I am not sure that one or the other is better.  If you leave your number, make sure that your voicemail recording is professional. You may want to use your University/student email account, but just make sure whichever contact information you provide to the employer is one that you check (e.g., do not provide an email address that you only check once/week or month as this would delay your interactions with them and could potentially cost you a job).  If you use a personal email account, I would use one that does not include your birthday, birth year, or too much about your personal identity (e.g., momof4@gmail.com). Most importantly, don’t use “party” names or nicknames (e.g., Fungal2@gmail.com) as that is not the persona you want to portray to a potential employer. If possible and if the job is important to you, have a mentor proof any important emails to potential employers.

Written by: Melanie Burns; Jill Bowers


HOW DO I ACT IN A CASUAL SETTING WITH PROFESSIONALS?
It is always best to follow the lead of those in a higher position;  however, there are some general rules for socializing. Avoid calling someone by his or her first name unless you are asked to do so, make sure your clothing is not too revealing and does not contain messages or graphics that do not present you in a professional manner, and avoid alcohol or smoking. It is always a good idea to avoid potentially inflammatory or embarrassing subjects such as religion or politics.

Written by: Mikki Sherwood


HOW DO I BALANCE MY SOCIAL PROBLEMS WITH PROFESSIONAL WORK?
This is one of the most difficult aspects of professionalism. It is always important to contribute to the well-being of the company or agency in which you work. It is not fair for your colleagues to have to pick up your slack when you are unable to perform your job at a reasonable level, and could cause resentment and ill feelings. The best advice I have is to try to minimize stress in your life as much as possible. Try to leave work at work and use your down time to relax and recharge. Get enough sleep and eat healthful foods. Practice good time management so that you are not always feeling the pressure of looming deadlines or late work. Communicate your needs to others, both at work and at home, and avoid taking on the jobs or the emotional responsibility for things that are not your obligation. I am sure that you have heard all of these tips before, but they really do help! Finally, if you really are struggling you should not hesitate to seek medical or psychological help. There are tools to assist with overwhelming stress. Take advantage of the medical benefits and leave time offered at your job and get healthy!

Written by: Mikki Sherwood


WHAT IS A GOOD STRESS RELIEVING EXERCISE TO DO BEFORE GOING INTO A JOB INTERVIEW?
Job interviews are stressful. The more prepared you are for the situation, the more relaxed you will feel. Make sure that you know as much about your potential employer as possible. Do research on the internet and talk to other professionals in order to gather information. Make sure you are dressed appropriately and comfortably, you can walk in your shoes, know how to tie your tie and that you are not showing too much skin. Leave early enough to account for unexpected delays; you can always wait outside for a few minutes if you are too early. Get plenty of sleep the night before and have something small to eat so you are not distracted by hunger or too full. After you arrive you can do a breathing/muscle relaxing exercise before introducing yourself for the interview. Take deep breathes while you tighten the muscles in your neck for two to three seconds and then release. Move down the body tightening and then releasing all muscle groups (don’t forget the hands and feet) until you are feeling more relaxed.

Written by: Mikki Sherwood


WHAT DO I SAY IN MY FIRST EMAIL TO A PROFESSOR FOR EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES (RESEARCH, PROJECTS?)
Through the years I have received many of these first emails from students, and I so appreciate them.  These emails (or better yet in-person visits) tell me that you are passionate about your chosen field and you wish to do more than just the class work.  The content of email isn’t as important as the intent of the message.  You can include a little bit about yourself and what lead you to your chosen discipline, and that you would like to meet with the professor for further guidance. Always remember to avoid using slang, emoticons, or other casual communication tools.  Additionally, sometimes “less is more” when you think about what to include in the message. Include a greeting and a salutation and use good writing techniques. Finally, remember that your professor generally has a number of different classes, all full of students. Identify yourself by first and last name and indicate in which class you are enrolled.

Written by: Melanie Burns; Mikki Sherwood


IF I DO NOT KNOW THE EDUCATIONAL LEVEL OF THE PERSON I AM CONTACTING, HOW SHOULD I ADDRESS THEM VIA EMAIL?
This can be a tough one as even some names aren’t gender specific, so Mr. or Ms. may not even work. If you are unsure, you could avoid using a salutation at all (e.g., start with “Hello. My name is…”. If the individual is teaching at the college/university level, I recommend using the title of Professor until you can determine a more accurate salutation.

Written by: Melanie Burns

Additional References for emailing employers:

Three Simple Rules for emailing potential employers  [Career Cast] Email etiquette: Think before you type [H Careers] What your sign off is really saying (Entrepreneur] 


Overview

Career Skillet is an online educational resource designed to help students with skills that will help them successfully transition from student to career roles. Please review this Privacy Policy and Disclaimers periodically as we may make changes and updates without prior notice. We will post a date at the bottom of the page, so our audiences can see when the page was most recently updated.

Privacy Policy

We may use information from the Career Skillet site for program improvement or educational purposes (for example, presentations at conferences or publications in journals). Information that we may obtain from the site about you include:

  • -Manage your participation in events, promotions, or research you sign up for on the Career Skillet site.
  • -Analyze trends and statistics regarding visitors’ use of the Career Skillet website (for example, the pages visited, the most popular content, the types of information that our visitors share with others, how long visitors spend on the website, the types of questions visitors ask).
  • -To comply with legal policies and industry standards

Disclaimer

To ensure that Career Skillet visitors receive reliable and accurate information, part of our model is to include comments, authored articles, summaries, and other types of content from contributing authors. Career Skillet assumes no responsibility for documents posted by users or contributing authors although we will make every attempt to block or delete offensive material or any information that conflicts with the goals and mission of Career Skillet.

Contributing authors come from various backgrounds and were invited to contribute to the Career Skillet websites because of their expertise. The contributing authors are not responsible for the information posted by other authors.

Career Skillet will link to other websites. These links are provided as a convenience to visitors. Therefore, these links should not be considered an endorsement of the other website, and Career Skillet is not responsible for the content on the third-party websites. Although we are selective and only generally reference articles, infographics, or other materials on third-party websites that we believe is of quality, when you link to third-party websites, you do so at your own risk. If Career Skillet links to information on your website and you would like it removed, or you believe that Career Skillet is violating your website’s copyright policies, we ask that you notify Career Skillet in writing of a copyright infringement click here. If we remove or disable access to content in response to a copyright infringement notice you sent, we will make every attempt to notify you.

If you wish to use the content on the Career Skillet website for another website or online resource of similar nature, we ask that you do not duplicate our original content and that you list the Career Skillet name and provide a direct link back to the Career Skillet website. Please notify us and tell us how you are using our content.

For Questions, comments, or Advertising inquires please submit the following form and we will contact you back as soon as possible.

Your Name: *
E-mail Address: *
Subject: *
Message Details:  

*=required field
[php] include('mathcaptcha.php');[/php]

Overview