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How to Ask for a Recommendation Letter

Posted By David Asari, Thursday, May 18, 2017

During your job search, you should never underestimate the power of a cover letter. Your cover letter can be the deciding factor in getting you the interview over someone who has essentially the same resume. As someone who receives job applications weekly, I will tell you that I DO take the time to open the cover letter. If I see that someone does not take the cover letter seriously or they’ve copy pasted it from another job they applied to, it’s an automatic no, regardless of their past experience. I always think that it’s such a shame when someone with a very strong resume choices to put little effort into the cover letter and they therefore miss a great opportunity because of it. Below are my tips on how to ensure that you are submitting a high quality cover letter that captures the attention of the hiring manager.

Keep it concise

Keeping a cover letter short and concise is sometimes harder than it sounds. Keep your cover letter to one page. This makes sure that even if the reader is skimming it, they’ll get the main idea right away. It’s important that you have someone read over and edit your cover letter because they’ll be able to help you decide where to cut something out or where you can make sentences clearer and shorter.

Tell a story

Your cover letter is your chance to let your personality shine through and to tell a story that relates to the position that you are applying for. You could share about a time when in class or an internship or past job you had to overcome something or how you got assigned a project that let you realize what you are passionate about.

Don’t use the same cover letter for every application

This one can be pretty tempting, especially when you are applying to so many jobs. You might think that substituting a word here and there will customize it enough to work. Unfortunately, most hiring managers can see right through this. Think of your cover letter as you having a one-on-one conversation with someone. Even if it’s the same topic, it’s going to be different depending on who you are speaking to.

Don’t write out your resume in paragraph form

Your cover letter is not a chance for you to write out your resume in paragraph form. That’s what your resume is for. If a hiring manager is reading your cover letter and it looks just like your resume, they’re going to move on to the next candidate who is ready to put in the effort to go above and beyond in their job application.

Share why you are excited about the opportunity

While your resume tells a hiring manger why you are qualified for a position, the cover letter is your chance to share why you are excited about the opportunity. Hiring managers want to hire candidates who are excited about not only the job, but about being with the company long term. They want to see that you are excited about building a career there.

Don’t sell yourself short

Too many times applicants use the cover letter to apologize for their lack of expertise in something or to talk about their weaknesses. Whether this approach is to sound humble or honest, it’s not the time or place. This is the place to sell yourself and explain why this job is the one for you regardless of your past experience.

 

Tags:  graduate school  recommendation letters  recommendations 

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College And Post-Graduate Admission Test Scores And Admission Essays

Posted By David Asari, Thursday, May 18, 2017

The rapid advancement in modern technology has led to stiffer competition in our lives, especially in the area of job opportunities. Many companies today are no longer satisfied with a college-degreed applicant. They also look for people who are computer literate and even holders of multiple degrees or specialized certifications. This is why college and post-graduate admissions is more competitive than ever. Getting into the school or program of your choice is itself highly challenging. Besides the routine standardized tests and GPA, you have a tool you can use to make yourself stand out from the rest of the pack. This is where an applicant's college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay, becomes important. A College Admission Essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay, is an essentially prosaic version of your personality profile. Often, this is the same area of concern discussed in job application exams.

Needless to say, a college degree in today’s employment market is imperative. However, entry to many colleges and universities today have also risen to such competitive levels that admission to such requires extensive preparation, especially in taking the entrance exams, including the writing of an Admission Essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay. While a significant part of the admission process to college and graduate schools are admission exams (of standardized tests such as the SAT, LSAT, MCAT, MBA), equally important are is the admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay. Many applicants, particularly those with high test scores often overlook the importance of this portion of the application process. Yet, this is actually the one part that could spell the difference between acceptance and rejection. While test scores do play a most essential role, admissions officials recognize that it does not tell the complete story of a candidate's life. With the tight competition in the quest for higher education, schools are now looking for people who not only perform well in entrance tests or achieve high grade point average, but they look for applicants who are interesting, diverse, and articulate as well. This will usually be reflected by a well-crafted Admission Essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay. So how do admission officers determine who these applicants are? Answer: By analyzing an applicant's college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay.

The College Admission Essay, or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay is essentially the human side of a candidate's test scores. Many school officials do not limit their knowledge of an applicant to his/her admissions test performance or GPA. They are also interested to know more about his ambitions, goals, preferences, interests, and backgrounds. They already have a measure of his intelligence. The next thing they want to gain is an insight into his persona. This is where the admission essay comes in. When writing college admission essays or graduate school admission essays including MBA essays, it is important to keep in mind that what you are writing is about yourself. Focus then on giving a clear and definite description of who you are, but giving stress to your strengths rather than on your weaknesses.

Also, give explicit samples of what you are like: what you prefer to do on a lazy day, how you view the world, what things annoy you most. Cite a favorite book, movie or incident that helped you become the person that you are now. This can serve as your essay introduction, which, if written effectively, can grab an admissions officer's attention. An eye-catching introduction will inspire them to read on. Remember, an admissions official probably may read hundreds, if not thousands of college admission essays. Make yours memorable and eye-catching from the get-go. Write a positive and confident college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay, as the case may be. Do not generalize, especially when listing down your accomplishments in school. Cite specific instances in your class which show you at your best, giving extra attention to subject areas considered as one of your fields of concentration. Preferably, the sample that should be given is one wherein you obtained an excellent grade, as this will reinforce the presumption that you excel in your chosen field of interest.

Additionally, your college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay, should also include a listing of the extracurricular activities that you engaged in. Give detailed information and if possible, state a particular case where you were able to accomplish a goal or a project, either by yourself or as part of a group. Of course, it goes without saying that the activities you will list down in your college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay, should be those that are directly related to the course you are presently seeking. For instance, a candidate wishing to gain access to medical school could cite his involvement as a volunteer in the relief mission for famine-torn Ethiopia in 1984. This will give more life to his resolve to acquire a medical degree. But if you have any other activities that present you in a positive personal light – emphasize those also, such as volunteering at your church every Saturday to help with special-needs children. This “humanizes” you and shows that you are not just about grades or school.

Often, many applicants make the mistake of writing their college admission essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay, with a sweeping generalization of all their achievements in their respective fields, trusting that their excellent school records will breeze them through the admissions process. Unfortunately, such a scenario does not always come to pass. Nowadays, school administrators are more critical and scrutinizing. They want to look for something, more than just numbers. They also consider a person's experiences, and not just general experiences, but actual and detailed accounts where an applicant was able to showcase his innate abilities in areas that are of special interest to him. This is perhaps one major reason there are instances of two candidates having similar entrance test scores as well as school grades but one of them does not get admitted to the same school that the two of them are applying to. Their respective admissions essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay may have determined their fates. So if you are dreaming of entering Harvard or of getting admitted to Oxford, then make serious preparations. Check out their websites for details on their admission requirements, including possible topics for college admission essays. Get hold of your old books to review past lessons. And more importantly, take time to produce a well-written College Admission Essay or graduate school admission essay, including MBA essay.

Tags:  College Admission Essay  MBA Essay 

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Eating Healthy On A Budget

Posted By David Asari, Thursday, May 18, 2017

If you have problems serving healthy foods because of the prices, you'll find these tips to be just what you need to eat healthy on a budget. 

 1.  Eliminate junk food Doing your shopping on your own is the easiest way to shop, as children and sometimes spouses are usually the ones requesting junk food.  Shopping alone will prevent this, and ensure that you only buy the foods you need. 

 2.  Water or milk instead of soft drinks You can still enjoy your favorite drinks at a sporting event or night out, although you should stick with the smallest size when shopping to save money and calories.  Children and even adults need milk or milk products on a daily basis.  Milk will also help you get strong and provides calcium for healthy bones and healthy teeth.

3.  Buy fruits in quantity Whne they are in season, buy fruits in quantity and freeze any extras.  You can buy several pounds this way, and freeze extras to have them when the fruit goes out of season.  Wash the fruit well, remove any spoiled pieces, dry thoroughly, then freeze in plastic zipper bags.

 4.  Meats and beans Meats and beans are the best sources for protein. Lean meat is more expensive than meats with a lot of fat.  Canned beans are a great deal as well, as they give you protein at a great price. 

 5.  Beans as a substitute You should use beans a substitute for meat on a frequent occasion.  There are several varieties, so you can prepare them in a crock pot, so when you return home they are ready to consume.  The USDA recommends eating beans at least 4 times per week.  If you experience gas after eating beans you should try washing them, covering them with water, bringing the water to a boil, then draining it off and refilling the pot. 

 6.  If you live in a coastal area or an area where fish are around, make that an integral part of your diet.  You can catch them from the lakes or rivers, saving money in the process. 

 7.  Peanut butter is great for those on a budget as it's popular with almost everyone.  You can use it for sandwiches instead of eating hot dogs.  It does need to be refrigerated, although bigger jars can last you for weeks. 

 8.  You should fill up with foods that have a high content of water.  Watermelon, salads, and even sugar free gelatin are all great examples.  Eating healthy is always something you can't go wrong with.  You can eat healthy for just a few bucks, which makes it perfect for those on a budget. Now, you don't need a lot of money to have the lifestyle and health you've always wanted.

Tags:  budget  food  healthy student 

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Eating Healthy For Students

Posted By David Asari, Thursday, May 18, 2017

For students, eating at college is an entire new ball game, with late night pizza delivery and food  from buggies.  Even though some of these quick and simple options taste great, they are probably  not healthy for a student's body.      The food choices students make can affect whether or not they are able to remain awake during class  and whether or not they will come down with mononucleosis when it hits campus.  The problem  is not only about eating junk food, it's more about not getting the proper proteins, carbs, vitamins, and minerals that people need.    

When it comes to defending against illnesses, vitamins and minerals are very important.  Just  because they are important, isn't a reason forstudents to run out and stock up on vitamins and  supplements.  It's best for students to get their nutrition from food.    

You can find vitamin C in citric fruits, Vitamin A in milk and diary products, and vitamin E in  nuts, whole wheat products, and even green leafy vegetables.  This is the ideal way to get  nutrition, as your body relies on these vitamins for many reasons.     When you eat on campus, skip on the soda's and go right to the juice machines.  Explore the  different entrees available and go to the saladbar where there are fresh vegetables.  You can  also try putting some broccoli and cauliflowerin the microwave for steamed vegetables.  There  are always healthy cereals and plenty of fresh fruit available in dining halls as well.     Always remember that eating healthy isn't just about avoiding greasy foods.  Eating healthy  involves getting a balanced diet and getting theright nutrients and vitamins to keep your body  in peak performance - or at least awake during your classes.

Tags:  college  healthy food  students 

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3 Job Search Tips That Increase Your Success

Posted By David Asari, Thursday, May 18, 2017

1) Approach finding a job as if it were a full-time job, because it is. If you had a job, you would report to work at the same time each day (like 8 am), take an hour (or less) for lunch, and quit at the same time each day (like 5 pm). You would work five days every week. And you would work hard to accomplish as much as you could because your career depended upon it.When you are searching for a job, you should follow the same type of schedule because your future depends upon it. Treating your job search like a part-time hobby guarantees that it will take longer. So, begin tomorrow by reporting to work and spending the day on tasks that lead to a job.

2) Approach finding a job as if it were a project. That means you should set goals for yourself, make plans, and monitor your progress. You should apply all of the tools and skills that you used in your last job to the project of finding your next job. As you must expect, this is an important project. The sooner you complete it, the sooner you gain a promotion into a job.

3) Be your own boss. Set expectations for what you need to accomplish, provide direction, and monitor your work. Meet with yourself once each week to evaluate your performance. I recommend doing this by writing two reports. The first is a candid evaluation of what you accomplished during the previous week. The second is a description of your plans for the coming week. Your plans should include your goals, actions, and priorities. The first time that you write these reports, write an evaluation of what you have done so far. Describe the results that this effort has produced. And compare these results with what you wanted to have. Next, map out a realistic plan for the next week based on achievable goals. For example, you could set goals for the number of people you will call, the number of networking meetings you will attend, and the research you will conduct.

In the coming weeks, compare the results that you obtained during the previous week with the goals that you set. For example, if you planned to attend twelve networking meetings and you attended only two, you should a) explain why this happened and b) plan actions that will correct such a difference. You should also analyze why you missed your goal because this provides insights on what you need to do differently. For example, Your goal (e.g., of attending twelve networking meetings) may have been set too high. Or maybe there are things you can do that will make it easier to achieve your job search goals, such as car pooling with a friend who is also looking for a job.

Finding a job is a full time job. Work through it with a plan and the support of a good boss (yourself).

I wish you the best of success.

Tags:  career  career management  job search 

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A Closer Look At Two Interview Questions

Posted By David Asari, Thursday, May 18, 2017

A job interview is stressful. The person who hasn’t made a lot of changes isn’t practiced at what is involved (nor should they want to be), and the person who has made a lot of changes doesn’t have any idea as to what’s involved either, or they wouldn’t be making so many changes!
Preparing for the interview de-stresses the situation considerably. Yet, 78% of all candidates - regardless of the level for which they are interviewing - wing it! And frequently cause themselves to be weeded out in the process. Like so much of the interview, seemingly innocent questions can trip you up. You think you are answering them in a way that puts you in the best light, but you'd be surprised at how many people completely miss the boat. Merely to hope an interview has a positive result is not enough. That's basically forfeiting your ability to drive up the percentage of a positive outcome. For instance, in response to the question, "Why do you want to work here?" some people will say things such as:

"I've worked in this industry for 15 years and been very successful. I feel I can make a difference in your organization. I have a proven track record of leadership. I've read in the paper that your company is having some problems, and with my experience as a Director of XXXXX, I can help straighten those out." That answer may sound good and appear to suffice, but on a scale of 1 - 10, it ranks about a 4! Why? The answer shows no research, no thought, no consideration. It sounds stock and could suffice for any number of companies. Overall, unimpressive.

In my experience as a recruiter, I've found that while mid level management tends to UNDERanswer the question, upper level management will often OVERanswer the question. One group doesn't provide enough information because of a limited lack of experience. The other group has been around, worked their way up the ladder in more than one company, and in their attempt to sound thoughtful, intelligent, and wise, end up saying very little at all.

Let's look closer.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK HERE?
Here's where you get to show off your research. Tell the interviewer what you've learned about the company, and why it's appealing to you. SPECIFICS are the key here. Relate those specific examples from your experience to what you've learned about the company, their focus, and their market. Look to your personality and what motivates you and how that relates to any details you learned from the ad, your recruiter, your friend who referred you, or from where you learned of this opportunity. For instance, perhaps their ad stated that they were looking to establish a marketing department from ground up. If you thrive on growth, challenges, making things happen - there's your answer - along with examples of how you have grown, established, or done market research in a parallel situation. And you might ask, "What if it's not a high profile company? What if it's on the small side and local?" Right. Not every company is the size of General Electric or even a regional public powerhouse that you can look up in Dun & Bradstreet. But most librarians are more than willing to help you find any information that might be present in any of their research books. Local newspapers may have done stories on the company, and the library would have those too. And these days, most companies have a website. Share what you can do and why you feel you can make a contribution and benefit the company. This question is about how YOU can benefit the company, not how the company can benefit YOU.

TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF
Some interviews are lost right at this point. This is not an invitation to go on ad nauseum about everything that has happened to you since you were five years old or since your first job out of college. Nor is it the time to shrug your shoulders and give an unplanned, one-sentence answer.
Some people, especially those who haven't prepared and have a tendency to talk when they get nervous, find themselves rambling. Put together a nice little 2 - 3 minute verbal bio about your career, your qualifications, and why you are interested. Know what you're going to say in advance.

A FEW POINTS TO REMEMBER
In recruiting we used to say, "'A' candidates for 'A' companies, 'B' candidates for 'B' companies and 'C' candidates for 'C' companies," and a 'B' candidate is not only some one who's talents and track record is only so-so, it's also an 'A' candidate whose poor interviewing skills MAKE him a 'B.' Knowing who you are, what you want, what you have to offer and what you've accomplished - and having it all on the tip of your tongue - can make or break you for a job offer - not just for your perfect job, but sometimes for even finding ANY job. Being able to sell yourself, your skills, how you can benefit a potential company and then being able to close the deal necessitates taking the time to research and learn the company. It means knowing yourself well enough that you can apply aspects of your capabilities to the individual facts and details of that INDIVIDUAL company - and that you can do it smoothly without groping for words or just winging it.

And last, but not least, the words of Peter Handal of Dale Carnegie Training, echo the importance of interview preparation, including what strikes most people as silly - role playing. But as he said, "you only have one chance to make a really good impression," and if you don't take it seriously enough to study and thoroughly prepare, someone else will, and that's the person who will get the job! Do your homework before EVERY interview! There's no chance to make a second good impression!

Tags:  candidate  career  employer  hire  interview  job  recruiting  resume 

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3 Things to do before graduation

Posted By David Asari, Thursday, May 18, 2017

1. Rent your cap & gown, pick up your honor cords

It can be super easy to procrastinate renting your cap & gown. Don't forget to have your friend help do your measurements and turn them in ASAP. This is not something that you want to be scrambling to get done! The other important thing to remember is to order your honor cords. You can order your HonorSociety.org cords either through your HonorSociety.org chapter or the HonorSociety.org store.

2. Make summer plans

If you plan, plan a vacation before you start your first day of work. This is your last chance to go on a trip where you don't have to wait all year to accrue just a few days of vacation. If you don't have a job lined up after graduation, lay out a plan on how you're going to be spending your time in a way that sets you up for job search success. There are two reasons for this. The first is that people are going to be constantly asking you what your plans are after graduation. You might feel a little bummed having to respond that you don't have a job yet or you don't know. If you have something lined up, whether it be a volunteering experience, trip or an internship, this will give you the confidence in telling people that even though you don't have a job yet, you're still going to be working hard. The second reason is that potential employers like to know how you're keeping yourself busy while unemployed. They don't want to know that you're sitting on the couch watching tv while simultaneously sending out a few resumes here and there. If they know that you spend 3 times a week volunteering, they're going to know that you're a hard worker and enjoy making progress and helping others.

3. Send thank you notes to your favorite professors

Make a list of all the professors who made an impact on your education throughout your college years. Maybe they inspired your choice in major or maybe they were there for you and believed in you during your hardest semester. Regardless of how they made an impact on you, write them a thank you note letting them know how they helped and how hey can stay in contact with you. This is especially important for any professors who wrote you a recommendation letter. Senior year may not be the last time that you ask for recommendation letters also. If you decide to apply to graduate school 3 years from now, you may be having to circle back to these professors to ask for a recommendation letter.

Tags:  cap  gown  graduation  honor 

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If Your Resume is the Cake, Your Cover Letter is the Icing

Posted By David Asari, Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cover letter writing is almost as important a skill for a job seeker to learn as resume writing.  The cover letter accompanies the resume at all times as the primary support document.  Whether you use traditional mail, email, faxing, or another type of electronic submission, this should always be sent with the resume.  There are, of course, other tools you’ll use when job seeking.  Your cover letter and resume come first of course, followed by follow-up letters, thank-you letters for after the interview, reference sheets, salary histories, and job acceptance letters.  If you have good cover letter writing skills, and good resume writing skills, the other written tools should be a snap to compose. Your goal in this is to get the attention of the hiring manager, just as it is with resume writing.  The method and format are a little different however.  Your resume will cover all, or most of your professional career, and will be from one to two pages.  Your cover letter will be a very brief page serving as an introduction to the resume.  Cover letter writing style must be direct, to the point, and able to grab the attention of the reader quickly, with a goal of making the reader want to read the attached resume.

Many people, when engaged in this type of writing, have a tendency to say too much.  Good cover letter writing is short and punchy, and will take two or three key points from the resume and emphasize them.  The old adage “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them” holds true in both resume writing and cover letter writing. As an example, let’s assume that you are a materials handling manager for a defense contractor, seeking another position.  In your line of work the buzz words are MRP, lean manufacturing, ISO 9000, and cost savings.  Your writing efforts should reflect these buzz words to show your value to your current employer and any future employers.  Your resume will go into more detail about how you accomplished these goals.  The cover letter will simply point out to the hiring manager that you accomplished them.    An example of this would be two bulleted paragraphs in the body of the letter that say….

Experienced in  quality assurance and quality control, MRP, ISO 9000, QS 9000, and Lean Manufacturing.

Demonstrated results in saving significant money for employers through cost savings, inventory level reductions, and on-time supplier delivery.

The hiring manager, according to many surveys, devotes only about fifteen seconds to each resume and cover letter he or she reviews.  With that in mind your writing skills need to be top notch to get this person to look at your resume.  Your resume writing skills need to be just as good to get the reader to want to grant you an interview.  In turn, your interviewing skills need to be excellent to get the hiring manager to offer you the position.  This long, and hopefully positive chain of events begins with good cover letter writing skills and ends with job satisfaction and a nice paycheck. For seniors, graduation is a matter of weeks a way. This day that seemed to never come now seems to be approaching too soon. In between final projects, finals, and job applications, it seems like there is not enough time to remember what all needs to get done. Here are 3 things that you should make sure you do before graduation, so you don't forget.

Tags:  Cover letters  Employment  Resumes  tools  Writing 

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How to Find the Right Career Path for You

Posted By Monica Woodhams, Monday, May 8, 2017

It’s not easy to figure out what career path is right for you. For many of us, we are expected to choose our path as 18 year olds going into college. After all this is when we choose our major which sets us up for the next 4 years and early years in our career.

Throughout college though, we grow and develop new interests and leave old ones behind. And that’s a good thing, but it can also leave us in a panic of trying to figure out what to do next. The following are exercises that you can do in order to start narrowing down your options and feel like your moving forward instead of feeling paralyzed in the unknown.

Make a list of your passions and hobbies and write down why
Make a list of all of your passions, hobbies, and things that you love to do and learn about. Let this be a brain dump. It doesn’t have to be everything that you’re currently doing. Include any past things that maybe you don’t have time for anymore. After you’ve made a list of everything that comes to mind, write down why you enjoy them and why they’re special to you. Get specific. The more specific you are, the more clarity and insight you are going to gain into what industry or position is best for you

Interview your friends and family
This may seem like an awkward activity at first, but trust me, the insight you gain is going to be priceless. Ask your friends and family if they could tell you the three things that they think you are best at. Then ask them what type of job they have always pictured you in. Encourage them to be as honest as possible. Many times our closest friends and family members see where our talents lie better than we see in ourselves. This is your chance to really explore how others believe you can best make an impact in the world.

Explore new classes
Not all of your electives need to be related to your major, especially if you have a feeling that your major isn’t the best fit. Take a look at the classes offered and if you see one that looks interesting, go for it even if it seems a little random or you think you might not be good at it. You never know why you feel that pull to learn about it and it could actually lead you to a major breakthrough. If you don’t have time in your schedule, search for the class online or if there are any free trainings out there on the subject.

Intern
Internships are a great way to gain clarity on what you do. Not only is it the perfect opportunity to learn about the industry you are interning yet, but it can also give you insight on the position within a company that is right for you. By internal exposure into a company, you will also learn about many jobs that you may have never even heard of that could actually end up being the perfect job for you.

Personal Development
This is a great time to dive into personal development and uncover more about yourself. When you learn more about yourself, you will also be able to gain greater insight into your purpose. Being clear on your purpose will lead you to the right direction when it comes to your career.

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