How to prepare for a job interview

When you land an interview for a job you have been longing for a long time, it is therefore normal to be anxious. Here are some tips to help you get your dream job.

First, collect information about the company.
Many people do not bother researching information about their potential future company, which means that a simple way to stand out from the majority of the people is to search on the Internet for the company’s activity, its goals and achievements, its directors’ names, its market share as well as its news. Furthermore, with this information you can predict your employer’s expectations more efficiently and then proceed to the second step.

Prepare the questions
Once you are done with the first part, you can now try to prepare the famous strengths and weaknesses question; and this is why predicting your employer’s expectations can be quite important, as he will often be looking for a specific profile. Write down a few strengths and weaknesses you find relevant for the position and the company you apply and drill until you sound natural and convincing. Also, you should prepare at least one or two examples for each of your statement as the recruiter is likely to ask for more precision as well as examples from your previous jobs. Maybe you can ask one of your acquaintances to play the role of the recruiter.
Another important point is to prepare a few questions you will ask the employer. It shows that you have a certain knowledge of the company through researches and will make your employer think that you are self-motivated.
Obviously, an employer is looking for someone capable of improving the company, so it is important that you come up with a few additional qualities of yours which are likely to improve it, keeping in mind that it must suit the company’s profile and aims.

Salary
Your employer may or may not talk about your income. If he does not talk about it, then you NEED to do it, which means that you have to study the average wages for this job and prepare a spread to be sure you will not earn less than the minimum you expected.

Last heads-up
An important thing is to never ever ever criticise your previous companies, as it would reveal that you are not faithful nor involved in your enterprises.
Moreover, try to dress appropriately. This should be quite easy to find out.
Before going to the job interview, make sure you have a pouch containing some CVs, a jotter, some pens and a dose of relevant humour.

Do not forget to arrive 5-10 minutes in advance; try to appear serious, motivated and confident, and exercise your handshake if possible.
Good luck!

What our handshake reveals about us

During an interview, be it for an internship or a real job, the employer will employ many tactics to determine whether you are fit for the position – and the handshake is the very first of them. It can reveal more about your personality than you might think. There are several types of handshakes:

The Bone Crusher
The Bone Crusher squeezes your hand firmly – too firmly. There is a message of power and intimidation behind the grip. When you shake hands with the Bone Crusher, don’t feel tempted to start a hand-squeezing contest. However, present yourself with strength during the interview, because the Bone Crusher usually also expects self-confidence and determination in his applicants.

The Dead Fish
This is a limp and indifferent handshake that feels like shaking a dead fish rather than a hand. Persons with this handshake might have a passive or reserved personality and are generally not people-focused. What matters to them is the technical or mechanical aspect of something. With this handshake, you symbolically give the other person the “upper hand”. In business, you want to be considered an equal, so avoid this handshake if possible.

The Politician
The other person grabs your hand like in a normal handshake, but his other hand covers yours or is placed on your forearm or shoulder. This “double-hander” handshake tries to communicate that the two of you have a strong, trustworthy relationship. However, this close human contact can be inappropriate in many business situations. Think of the Politician as a mini-hug. Would it be appropriate to give the other person a short hug? If no, avoid giving them a “double-hander” handshake.

The Finger Vice
The Finger Vice grabs only your fingers instead of your whole hand. It is meant to keep you at a distance, be it out of insecurity or to demonstrate personal power. The Finger Vice is often looking for partners that are compliant and willing to look for compromises instead of people that seek open confrontation.

The perfect handshake is firm, not too hard and definitely not too soft. It lasts for 2-3 seconds and you should make eye contact the whole time. Sweaty hands are a normal body reaction when you are anxious or nervous but undesirable in a job interview, so make sure to wipe them dry before you shake hands with your future employer. Most importantly, however: do not forget to smile!

The transparent applicant – recruiting in the digital age

It is nothing new that recruiters trace their applicants’ activity on social networks in order to find out if they are suitable for a position or not. What is new, however, is that programmers have implemented an algorithm for calculating a social media popularity score that can easily be compared among applicants.

This score, called Klout-score, is a number between 0 (a digital no-name) and 100 (has a great deal of influential connections). The algorithm considers three factors:
1. quantity of digital relations, ie. how many friends, followers or subscribers you have
2. the power of mobilisation, meaning how many people share, like or comment on your posts
3. the quality of your network, ie. how influential your contacts are
Every user of social networks will be judged – whether they ask for it or not. The Klout-score of your Twitter account, for example, is accessible by anyone unless you oppose explicitly to this collection of data.

Why do companies care about what happens in the virtual world?
Criticism about a product or a company by an influential person will spread quickly and can undermine a company’s image. Praise from powerful people, on the other hand, is the most effective form of advertisement. If a company can determine who has the most influence, they will give them free samples or presents – and word of mouth will do the rest.

All these scores and calculations may seem intimidating, but they can teach us something: Choose wisely which information you share on social networks and with whom you want to be connected. Before you post a new picture or message, give it a thought: Would you be comfortable with your future boss or recruiter seeing this?

Does this mean that our personality is more important than our knowledge and skills? Another new trend suggests so: personality tests for choosing applicants. The main problem is that there is no standardised testing method and answers can often be interpreted in many ways, which results in a lack of objectiveness and comparability. Another criticism is that as soon as you have realised which personality traits a company expects from their applicants, it is not too difficult to manipulate your answers accordingly. Are there several questions regarding the readiness to take risks? This probably means that the company is looking for someone who is outgoing and daring.

Some people claim that being able to manipulate the test according to the recruiters’ expectations shows that you have the desired social skills to adapt to a situation. However, your boss will be disappointed if your real personality differs greatly from your allegedly honest answers. You will be unsatisfied with the position as well if you always need to pretend to be another person.

Present yourself in the best possible way, but never lie only to impress someone. Do not pretend to be a whole other person – it might get you the job but will backfire eventually.

Skills should always remain the deciding factor for who will be hired, but looking for certain personality traits in applicants – be it through social network analyses or personality tests – can bring several benefits. A team whose members think and work in the same way will collaborate better and be more efficient. Employees who identify with the company’s image will be more satisfied in their position and show more motivation to represent and advertise the company.

Internship: training before a marathon

No one gets up in the morning and runs an entire marathon without previous training. It takes a long period of constant exercise to reach this goal. The same holds true with regard to the job market: it is highly unlikely that your first job will be a leading position in a renowned company. You have to take small steps in order to reach this goal some day. The first step is your academic education: school or university give you the theoretical framework and knowledge you need in your job field. However, no one has ever won a marathon after having only read some books on the right running technique. Practical experience and training are essential, and this is what an internship can provide you with.

Whether you complete an internship or train for a marathon, you will pass through different stages.

At first, everything will be new and exciting. Both running and doing an internship are exhausting endeavours because you are not used to the physical and mental strain in the beginning, but the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones. You are curious to learn new things and eager to make progress, but maybe you are a little bit confused because you are not yet completely clear about what your tasks are. When it comes to running, you might not have found the right technique yet.

Sooner or later you will move on to the second phase. This is the critical period, when many people give up or believe that their goal is not worth fighting for any more. Running has now become a habit. Unlike in the first few days or weeks, you no longer make big progress , but at the same time you are still far away from being able to run a marathon. The same might happen in a work environment, when the initial excitement has worn out and a certain routine has developed. Now it is important not to forget how much progress you have already made. A few weeks ago you were not sporty at all or you had little practical experience in your field of study. It might help you to make a list of the small steps you are taking. For example, take notes whenever you manage to run a few metres more than the previous day, you find a new solution to a problem or you learn a new word or phrase. Soon you will realise that those small achievements accumulate and disprove your belief that you do not make progress. While you look back at your achievements, do not lose sight of your goal. Remind yourself why you began with the exercise or internship in the first place.

When you have overcome the difficult second phase, your goal seems much closer, but in order to reach it you still need to make an effort. This will boost your motivation and you will come to love your work or exercise again because you are now confident in what you are doing. You know how to handle your tasks and solve problems. There will still be bad days when things go wrong or you do not live up to your expectations, but they will not discourage you because you are not as quick to doubt your skills as in the beginning.

Now you are ready for the big day: the marathon, or the job interview.
Remember all the hard work or exercise you invested in these past weeks, and most importantly: be confident. In this way you will eventually cross the finish line, or in other words: manage to get your dream job.

How to find a job in the United States

Are you thinking about finding a job abroad?
If you want a different experience, choose America.
Maybe it sounds a little bit scary to drop everything and go to look for a job in such an huge country, but with these tips to help you start your search you will feel less disorientated.
First of all, you have to consider that bureaucracy in USA is very time-consuming and strict and that your paperwork in order to be allowed to work in the country will take a long time to completeand will be demanding, but this can be overcome if you are well-informed.

Visas
Owning a Visa, a document which entitles the holder to travel to the United States and apply for admission, is compulsory if you need to enter this country, even if you are travelling.
There are two kinds of Visas: the non-immigrant, required for anyone who is seeking temporary admission into the United States, and the immigrant which is required for anyone seeking to take up indefinite or permanent residence in the USA.
If you want to apply, you need to be aged 14-79, and you have to complete an online application, schedule an appointment for an interview with a U.S. consular officer, appear at the embassy and wait for your results and documents to arrive.

Job seeking

Many daily newspapers, such as the Washington Post and the New York times could help you in your search, especially if you look Saturday’s editions!
As far as internet is concerned, have a look at Monsters, which is very similar to Linkedin.
In this website you can upload your CV, choose your desired geographic area and select your working field.
Besides, there are others portals, called job banks,in which you can find interesting job offers and contact all the companies you are interested in.
The trustiest are Gorkana, career builder and Dice.
If you wish to work in finance, this is the perfect website to start from! http://www.efinancialcareers.com/.

How to find accomodation

Finding accomodation in the USA is not very difficult, especially in a city’s outskirts.
Also, if you are moving to be able to practice your language skills, make sure that you are aware of the slang and of the linguistic characteristics in your desired area.
Here are a few useful websites that you can visit to get an idea of prices and house-types..

www.apartmentguide.com, www.forrentmag.com, www.homes.com, www.rental-guide.com and www.aptforrent.com.
Now you have some starting points to make your American dream come true, what are you waiting for?

How to build PMA at work?

A good mood in a working environment is very important because your performance and success depends on how you feel towards the work, and this can ultimately affect your future career development . Therefore, to have and know HOW to create a PMA is a very important skill, but some people encounter difficulties when trying to develop it. So here are some tips to help you to build a PMA and make your life at work that much easier.
1. Remember that you are powerful.
We play roles and cover up our true selves by identifying with “things” that end up defining who we think we are. I’m a doctor, a salesperson, a secretary, a lawyer; I’m sad, happy, lonely, or miserable. I’m angry, jealous, afraid, and I can’t help it — it’s who I am.
The truth is, though, that we are none of those things. We are more important than any label. We are not our professions. We are not our feelings. We are not even our mind.
What we are is far greater, far superior, far more important, and far more mysterious than our conceptual mind tries to define. This is why we are much more powerful than we think we are.
2. Embrace and enjoy life.
Embrace every moment of your life no matter if it contains obstacles or opportunities, and stop fussing over trivial matters and focus on things that are really important to you. Life becomes hard and unfair when we decide to complain about things rather than trying to change them ourselves. Be bold and don’t be afraid of taking risks, because at the end of your life you will regret the things you haven’t done rather than the things you did.
3. Control your reactions.
We all have problems and we’re often tested by circumstances outside our control. Even if you cannot control what’s going on, you can definitely control your reaction to those situations. By reacting effectively and responsibly, your boss may reward you which could ultimately help your career progression. Therefore, try to distinguish the problems of your personal life from your work and stay as positive as possible.
4. Believe in yourself.
We put far too much emphasis on other peoples’ opinions about us. It doesn’t matter what others are saying about you unless you agree with them. Be aware of how you see yourself, because nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Always believe that you can do anything you want, and aim high. As Dr. Seuss once said: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” If you don’t believe in yourself then how can others believe in you?
5. Keep calm.
If someone makes negative remarks about your work or the way you do it, you may start reacting negatively, get uptight with other people’s actions and in the end punish yourself because of their bad behaviour. You should try not to lose your control, because it is you who is responsible for your actions and it’s you who will have to suffer the consequences. If it is hard to keep calm, you should always remember: in the end it’s you who loses if you don’t learn the lesson.
6. Live in the moment.
Be satisfied with where you are today and don’t delay your happiness just because you are waiting for the right moment to shine. Sometimes the journey is far more important than the goal itself.
Not everyone woke up this morning and not all of them will go to sleep. Life has no guarantees, therefore, you should try to immerse yourself in the moment and enjoy your journey through life. It is not always easy, actually it is more hard than easy, but it is you who makes the choices concerning your life.
As we can see all these tips are mainly about PMA in your life, but when you think that if you have equilibrium in your personal life it is so much easier to be PMA in the work place too. In other words, start creating balance in your personal life because in that way it will take less effort to do the same at work.

HOW TO BEHAVE IN A NEW JOB

Our behaviour is certainly what defines us in the eyes of others. In our life, everything depends on the way we act with others. In a work environment, this is, without doubt, the first thing that draws your bosses’ attention. Remember that during the recruitment process for a job, recruiters place a lot of importance on your attitude. For this reason it is essential to make a good impression in the first place, and to maintain this good impression that got you the job throughout your time at work.
Don’t think about your behaviour as a thing to impress your bosses. Keep in mind that is it also the best way to create relationships with your colleagues and establish a positive environment in the office.
Here is some advice to help you on your first day in a new company. Start with these tips, improve your attitude and always do your best.

1. Never be late
Go to work always rested, willing and alert. Your brain and your body need rest in order to deal with your day at work. Moreover, a lazy attitude will not impress your bosses and it can easily be interpreted as a lack of interest and superficiality in your job.
2. Be yourself
Don’t pretend to be different and, most of all, don’t lie about your skills because it can create a bad image of you if you’re found out. On the contrary, remember that if they have chosen you it is on the basis that you have something to offer, that they appreciate. Bear in mind you are also there to continue improving in your sector, so…
3. …be self-confident but humble
When you start a new job there are always a lot of things to learn, but don’t be afraid. Face every situation with determination and self-confidence. Just remember to have a humble attitude, because being pretentious is not a good business card.
4. Try to integrate yourself with your working team as soon as possible…
…and be open to engage in conversation and confrontation. It is really important to be part of a group. If you don’t know how to get involved at first, you can try to socialise with your colleagues during the breaks or at lunch-time.
5. Communication first
Make sure you have understood your tasks. If you don’t understand or if you have problems talk with your colleagues or bosses but try not to annoy them by pestering.
6. Work hard to gain consideration from your colleagues and bosses
Show your enthusiasm without exaggeration. You have to be always serious, professional, trusty and reliable. Do your best to offer work of a high quality.
7. Respect others
Be respectful of others and their work. If you respect them, they will respect you as well. To be rude and petulant will not help you to make a good impression or to obtain a friendly atmosphere in your work environment.
8. Don’t be shy
During meetings, brainstorming sessions and workshops don’t be shy, on the contrary be active and full of initiative. Share your thoughts and opinions, always in a respectful way.
9. Use a PMA (positive mental attitude)
A PMA will help you to avoid irritability and anxiety in order to face your day and your tasks in a better mood.
10. Face every problem with wit and intelligence
There is always a solution to each problem, you just have to find it. So keep calm and take your time if you need to, but never give up or switch to a negative mental attitude out of frustration. This will not help you and will exaggerate the difficulty. Remember that sometimes it’s all about learning to dance by dancing. Moreover, being able to work well in new situations or under pressure will impress your bosses.

Last but not least, pay attention to your clothes. Wearing inappropriate clothes, above all at the start of your time at work, might damage your image and reputation. Simple clothes are the way. Over time you can understand what to wear by looking at your colleagues’ attire.

Cooperation vs competition: internship vs academic studies

We all know how it works. We all know that money means power and power means money. We all know that nobody gives you anything free. We all know that success is achieved through fight and struggle. Indeed, the animal we use to represent a boss or a famous lawyer is a shark, not a kitten.
The question is: is this aggressiveness necessary in order to reach your goals?
Since being children at school, we are marked. We are divided into A, B, C levels and, in Italy, also the way you behave is considered a subject and you receive a number between 5 and 10 to show how good and polite you are. Tests and exams are always taken singularly and they are meant to judge your preparation and your analytical skills. Teachers foment this competition among students, inciting them to work hard and do their best not as a team, but as individuals. In this system, selfishness and taking advantage of others are rewarded as key-skills for success. Academic competition, however, is not the only way to achieve your goals. It is very unlikely that you will work alone in front of a computer, without dealing with colleagues or service provider or customers –unless you are a hikikomori. This is the reason why you need to know how to work within a team and to succeed in doing so: how to lead a brainstorming session, how to get the best from every member of the group, how to communicate with the community and the individuals, how to suggest correction with kindness and how to motivate them. It is not relevant which role you embody in the team, because you are going to deal and cooperate with everybody. You can sharpen those skills by reading books, but it is something you learn on your feet in the job, rather than in a library.
The right place to improve it is the real world, in a real office, with an internship. In fact, the sooner you learn how to mix different parts of a common project, how to share problems and manage to solve them, the less you will find it hard to move from University to a real job. You need to adopt a different mental attitude: at work, there are no marks nor professors, but managers and customer satisfaction. In an office you will not find a tutor who is paid to listen to you difficulties, but you will have to face them without one (alone or trying to speak with your boss or colleagues). I know this is not an easy step, but practise is the best stepping-stone. An internship is like a training, a preparation for you future, real job, but with less responsibilities (all the duties and the commitment are, however, the same of a paid job position).
We, as Internship Uk, are able to provide you with a work experience in a range of different fields: translation, marketing, media, IT development, HR, management and much more. Improving your professional and communicative skills in a safe and protected environment, you will learn to deal with different tasks without the stressful fear of being fired! Moreover, you will quickly realise that being competitive is not the only way. Helping your colleagues and receiving advice from them in return is as important as being independent and able to work by yourself. Instead of studying alone in your bedroom (struggling with the desire to burn books), you will be surrounded by students with whom you can exchange energies, ideas, laughs and problems. Join us to improve your employability, your personal development and to live through an inspiring experience.
Stop competing against each other and remember we are all struggling with the same alarm clock every morning!

An outstanding internship report

If you have been accepted into the Erasmus Placement program, at the end of your internship you will have to provide your university with a report of your experiences in order to receive school credits. This report has to include three components: the outline and basic information of the company in which you did your internship, the summary of the work done, the specific aspects of the internship term that are relevant to your field and a critical analysis of the problems experienced. Importantly, the report must be concise and well-written.

First of all, in the description of the company it is important to give information about the mission, goals, industry and headquarters’ location, while other useful details could include the number of states and countries where the company is active, the number of employees and the annual sales.
In the description of your work duties, outline your specific responsibilities and activities and explain what the projects in which you were involved consisted of and the academic background requested. You should also give a detailed account of the specific technical functions of your position, pointing out the key data, equations or software that you generated or used and the names and functions of the machinery or instruments operated, analysing the application of the data of your particular project. The third part of your report consists of an explanation of the contributions that your work experience made to your career development, goals and growth and to your selection of future coursework. Among the courses you completed, assess the most or the least applicable to your internship, underline the distinctions between your education and work experience and evaluate the use that the internship made of your technical training background, pointing out your level of personal satisfaction and whether or not you would recommend this experience to others. In the last paragraph of the main body, outline the main obstacles you faced: you may find yourself dealing with challenges that you do not feel able to handle, or working in an environment which does not live up to your expectations. In any case, you should be able to stress how you maintained your professionalism, always working to find ways that are mutually beneficial to both you and the employer, that will help you solve the problems you are facing. As far as the style is concerned, favour short paragraphs over long ones and build them around topic sentences and keep yourself focused. Employ transition words at the beginning of pivotal sentences and paragraphs, in order to guide the reader’s thinking, and rely on active voice, rather than passive, especially when you describe your accomplishments. Moreover, take advantage of the most powerful punctuation marks to present material efficiently and use an honest and sincere tone, especially in the conclusion, when you assess the value of the internship to you personally. Last but not least, add an appendix: it allows you to include samples of written works, letters of evaluation and other documents. Only material directly referred to in other sections of the report should be included: therefore, you should be selective, including your most pertinent and best works.
By reading your report, your university representative has to be able to fully understand your achievements during the internship: be thorough and provide a complete account in order to have your apprenticeship recognised as soon as you finish it. It is advisable to start preparing your report during the first month, taking notes of your tasks day by day, to have a scheme to follow and to write it quickly. Depending on the number of credits you need, the length of the report has to be between three and twenty pages and it has to emphasize new or unique experiences, particularly concerning the objectives of the internship. Besides, it gives you the opportunity to write your reflections on the program and express the most meaningful aspects once the experience is completed.

The main mistakes to avoid in your cover letter

When you are applying for a job or an internship, your CV and cover letter are really important. It is likely that the recruiters receive fifty applications per day, so in order to be selected for a position in the company, take your time in writing your CV and your cover letter.

Here are the main mistakes that you should avoid in a cover letter :

THE PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING
Often, when you are writing your cover letter, you forget to take care with its presentation, which is very important because this is the first thing that your recruiter will see and it has to be clear and must catch the attention and spark the interest of the recruiter who will then read your cover letter.

DO NOT JUST TALK ABOUT YOURSELF
Of course, the cover letter is as an opportunity to describe your profile to the employers, to present yourself to them and to show your motivations, but do not just talk about you. Indeed, if you talk about the company, the recruiter will see that you are very interested in the position and also that you are curious to know about them in return. So it is recommended that you write about the reasons for applying and why you want to work with them.

PAY ATTNETION TO YOUR SPELLING
Whether it is a mistake of conjugation, spelling, grammar, or a lack of attentiveness when you were writing (typos), they are all fatal errors for your application. So take your time to write your letter, be careful with the mistakes and if you are not sure about a word, how to spell it for example, do not hesitate to ask someone for help, or check on a dictionary which is safer.

AVOID WRITING TOO MUCH
A good cover letter does not exceed one page in length. With such a large number of applications, recruiters cannot read all of them. If it is too long, they will not read it at all! Try to have no more than three or four paragraphs, and make sure that your letter is clear, brief, simple and precise.

DO NOT HAVE ONE MODEL OF COVER LETTER FOR ALL YOUR APPLICATIONS
Everyone knows that it is easier to have one model of cover letter for every application. But let us be honest, it is better to search and put the name of the company that you want and put it in the recipient space. If you are doing just one type of cover letter for every applications, you will definitely not receive a lot of responses. Recruiters will see you as someone who is lazy and not really motivated. Take your time to search for every piece of relevant information about the company where you want to work, talk about why you like this company in particular, and what you think about them. This may not require much effort on your behalf but it will for sure catch the attention of the recruiters.

Finally, just be yourself. Do not lie to get a job, it is unprofessional, will get you nowhere, and is very bad if the employer realizes. Be confident about what you really are and keep smiling at all times.