Category Archives: Events

Myths vs. Facts: The Truth About Landing a Job in Hospitality

Myths vs. Facts:  Breaking down the misconceptions, urban legends, and false facts around the job search process in the hospitality industry.

MYTH #1: I have to work in a hotel to have a career in hospitality.

Fact:  While working in a hotel is one option for many students, there are other limitless alternatives.  The hospitality industry offers a variety of careers including opportunities at tourism boards, online travel companies such as Orbitz and Expedia, events and entertainment companies as well as hospitality marketing and consulting agencies.

MYTH #2:  All hospitality careers are in food and beverage service.

Fact:  There are actually many sides to hospitality: corporate positions, which include business development, brand strategy, and revenue management for the organization, and front-line positions that consist of event management, guest relations, and operations management.  The great benefit of working in the hospitality industry is that there are numerous dynamic and specialized career paths to explore.

MYTH #3: I can use the same resume and cover letter for each hospitality position.

Fact:  Students need to tailor each resume and cover letter to reflect the position and organization they are applying for. Submitting a focused cover letter and resume highlighting company specific trends, hospitality coursework and projects, as well as your passion for the career path is key to setting yourself apart and grabbing the eye of an industry recruiter.  Schedule a coaching appointment to have your resume and cover letter reviewed by a Wasserman Center Career Coach.

MYTH #4:  Only students with hospitality experience will land positions.

Fact:  While internships are very important in the hospitality industry, employers are also looking for transferable skills from previous professional and academic experiences. Students with experience in another industry should highlight skills specific to hospitality on their resume and in their cover letter.  For example, skills including customer service, project management, sales, teamwork, and budgeting are important in most hospitality positions but can be gained in other fields. Your goal is to show an employer that you understand the needs of the industry and necessary skills to be successful.

MYTH #5:  Students don’t have to network in the hospitality industry.

Fact:  Approximately 75% of students find positions through networking with alumni, professors, friends, and previous colleagues.  Building relationships is vital to gaining contacts that provide opportunities within the hospitality industry.  During your job search you should set a goal to grow and develop your professional network by identifying individuals that you know and who are within your reach.  Students should also take advantage of the NYU Professional Mentor Network and industry events available through the Wasserman Center.  In addition, professional associations such as Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) are great resources to learn about industry trends and networking events.

Learn more about the hospitality industry by attending these Wasserman Center events:

Building a Career in Events, Entertainment, & Travel, February 12th 4:00-5:30p.m.

NYU Hospitality & Tourism Industry Expo, February 23rd 4:00-6:00p.m.

Myths vs. Facts! The Truth About Landing a Job in Government

 

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Myths vs. Facts! Breaking down the common misconceptions, urban legends and false facts around landing a job in Government.

MYTH #1: The Political Science Major Myth

Fact: There are many federal careers that match a variety of majors. Federal agencies do not just need Political Science majors! In fact, some of the highest need areas are public health and medicine, engineering, the sciences, business, accounting, and information technology. Graduate degrees in government and public policy almost always lead to political careers, but since the industry is so diverse, there is no type of background that wouldn’t translate into an appropriate government job. Engineers can work for NASA, language majors can work for the CIA, and, surprisingly, bio majors can end up in the Senate.

MYTH #2: The “Washington” Myth

Fact: Jobs are not just located in Washington D.C. In fact, 84% of federal jobs are OUTSIDE of the D.C. metro region, with 50,000 jobs abroad!

 MYTH #3: The “Low Pay” Myth

Fact: Entry-level salaries are competitive with many industries. Plus, Federal employees advance quickly with the possibility of increasing their salary by 150 percent in just 2-3 years. Job security, work/life balance, leave, holidays and flexible work arrangements, and additional financial benefits, such as assistance with loan repayment are a plus as well.

 The General Schedule (GS) is the main pay scale for federal employees, especially those in professional, technical, administrative or clerical positions. The system consists of 15 grades, from GS-1 to GS-15. There are also 10 steps within each grade. The grade level assigned to a position determines the pay level for that job.

 MYTH #4: I can only work with the FBI or the CIA

Fact: There are federal jobs suited to various interests and skills, from art history to zoology. Government is also a great place to combine your skills with your interests. For example, you could use your mathematics background and your interest in the environment by working as an Accountant at the Environmental Protection Agency, your engineering degree to improve airport security, or your biology degree and interest in medicine to conduct medical research at the National Institute of Health. You can see a list of the best places to work in the federal government.

MYTH #5: The “Long and Complicated Resume” Myth

Fact: The official instructions for “What to Include in your Federal Resume” state that you should include recent and relevant positions for the job. Recent in this case means 10 years. You can include positions older than 10 years, but keep those jobs shorter and don’t include anything over 20 years old. Relevant means any job that demonstrates specialized experience for the position (experience can include internships, volunteer work, and part-time/full-time positions).

Learn more about the Government and other related industries by attending these events:

In Case You Missed It: Day In The Life at Aramark

Did you miss a day in the life at Aramark?  Click here for a recap!

Don’t forget to stop by their table at the Spring Job & Internship Fair 1/29!  RSVP here!

Follow us on Twitter @NYUWassEmployer for tweets on a day-in-the-life of employees at different organizations. A professional will take over our account for the day and give you live updates about the projects they work on, meetings they attend, and the culture of their office.

Secrets to Successful Networking: Building a Personal Brand

Secrets to Successful Networking: Building a Personal Brand

By Andy C. Ng (Wasserman Peer in Career)

 During one of the city’s frigid, torrential downpours, I found myself with an old friend at The Bean in the East Village – try their dirty chai latte, you’ll become an addict, I swear. Catching up about our winter breaks at home (much needed quality time with family, food and SLEEPING), the conversation naturally led its way back to school and our professional endeavors. Both my friend and I have founded our own respective social ventures: his tackling the hunger space, mine addressing yet another facet of educational inequality. The past two years have provided an enormous wealth of business plan competitions, recruiting and partnership development, but I was anxious to pick my friend’s brain about the perpetual hot topic of “networking.” He said networking is “just being a person,” or in layman’s terms, be who you are and have a conversation.

Networking seems easy on paper: attend an organized event (like the employer presentations held at Wasserman), make a nametag, and mingle with some folks. But the pressure of making a decent first impression and possibly landing an internship or job weighs heavy on your shoulders, your rapidly sweating hands, and your sanity. Making a coherent sentence all of the sudden is more difficult than landing on the right side of a curve in your Calc class. The issue is not simply being a good speaker, but rather it comes from a lack of a polished personal brand.

Public speaking is a big passion of mine, and my knack for it lies in this understanding: say what you believe and believe what you say. As college students we all are masters of “getting by” with our words, but imagine the power in really believing and supporting what you’re dishing out. When talking about yourself, the more you understand your past experiences, dreams and working style, the more beautiful a picture you can paint for others.

Here are my simple tips for building a personal brand:

1. Build Out + Learn Your Resume

  • Chances are you already have a resume, which is great! If you don’t (and even if you do, really) visit the Wasserman Center and sit with a Career Coach. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to study the most important document of your life (at least up until now). And not just the boring logistics of how much money you saved the company or how many volunteer hours you accumulated. As Simon Sinek preaches in his TED talk, people don’t care what you did – they care about why you did it. Think about your motivations, what you learned and how it’s influenced or continues to influence you. Approaching your resume in this light will give you valuable stories and insights that you can share with others.

2. Hashtag It

  • Not literally. Can you imagine #AndyNgNYU on all my profiles? But really, I’m talking about social media (the Internet in general) and how it’s actually useful. When you type your name into Google, many things might pop up. So why not put things into your own hands and populate the search with viable, honest presentations of your interests, personal story and work? You can design, write and post to a blog (like this one!), retweet and follow news of companies you admire on Twitter, and my absolute favorite, make an extremely detailed LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind that your brand follows you and exists everywhere. The more you update and post, the more chances you create for someone to notice.

3. Make a House of (Business) Cards

  • You have nothing worthy of putting a business card? Nonsense. One, you’re a NYU student which holds value on its own already. Other items you can list are positions or titles held on campus or current internships, fellowships and even scholarships. For instance, mine says I’m a Dalai Lama Fellow and a Gates Millennium Scholar. While most people might not know what these things are, they are nonetheless good starting points for conversation and elaboration. Something else you might want to consider putting on a card is your answer to the question, what are you? Are you an entrepreneur, a coder, an engineer, actor or writer? I have several of these “careers or roles” on my card and when listed, it’s a very direct way of expressing to employers (or whomever might have my card) what my likely skillset and interests are. A plus side to a card is that it’s also easy to carry around while still being professional.

4. Dress It Up

  • Wearing your personality is a possibility, even in the world of pantsuits and overpriced ties. When I first began networking, I always wore appropriate clothes with a pop of color (POC) whether it was my socks or a bowtie. Along with a firm handshake and a cute smile, this was my way of giving an awesome first impression. If color’s not your forte, no pressure – just make sure that your personal appearance is up to par. Being “put together” does not mean being average or drab. Your well-fitted clothes and confident body language should draw you compliments from everyone in the room.

If you still need some tips, make sure to check out Wasserman’s Attire for Successful Hire event later this month on Thursday, February 12th from 5-7 p.m. 

Attire for Successful Hire, co-sponsored by Macy’s!

Thursday, February 12th 5-7pm, Seating is first come, first serve basis! 

Prizes, food, AND networking!

Don’t let the wrong outfit cost you the job! Be sure to join our Peers in Careers team and representatives from Macy’s as they offer fashion advice and showcase clothing trends that will help inspire the confidence you need to land that job or internship. You will also learn to decode terms like “business casual,” and figure out how to add variety to your professional wardrobe. You can RSVP via CareerNet.

• All attendees will be entered into a FREE raffle

• First 50 attendees will receive a Macy’s Gift Bag

• View Appropriate attire for your job search, internship, and full-time wardrobe

• Mingle with Macy’s Executives and Recruiters

• Free Food and Drinks!

Remember that networking does take practice and that the more events you attend, the more comfortable you get. And with those events you should start testing out some of these tips and see which areas of your personal brand are useful and which ones need more work. Getting out of your comfort zone always feels weird at first, but when it comes to networking, the more you know yourself and your needs, the more prepared you’ll be to brand and share that with the right people who can help out.

Andy C. Ng

Andy C. Ng is a Gates Millennium Scholar and senior studying English, Urban Education and Social Entrepreneurship. In addition to being a Peer in Career, Andy is Chair of the Greek Alliance, an Undergraduate Admissions Ambassador and member of the CAS Senior Leadership Board. Outside of NYU, Andy is involved with projects at Google, Harry’s and Venture For America, having previously worked at JPMorgan Chase and his own startup, Student to Student.

Student Perspective: “What’s Next? Entrepreneurship” Panel Discussion Recap

By: Indra N. Kar

Born and raised in Connecticut, Indra N. Kar is a senior in CAS. He is pursuing a B.A. in Economics with minors in Mathematics and Chemistry. In addition to being a Peer in Career at Wasserman, he is involved on campus as the Treasurer of the Medical Dialogue Review and a member of TEDxNYU’s Finance Team.

The “What’s Next? Entrepreneurship” Panel Discussion took place on November 5, 2014 at the new Leslie eLab. It was a very informative program that was organized by Wasserman and co-sponsored by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Association (EIA) and the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute. As a senior majoring in Economics with an interest in business, I was curious to hear what the panelists had to say regarding startups and the entrepreneurial world.

 

There were three key takeaways from the seminar:

Why to Become an Entrepreneur:

A couple of the panelists worked in the financial services industry prior to creating their own start-ups. In fact, both of them left the industry during the height of the financial crisis to find something where they could control their own destinies. Another panelist was happy to leave his cold-calling job prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors. The three of them expressed a desire to directly observe the results of their work. Whether it was finance or cold calling, they had difficulty seeing the impact they were having on people’s lives. However, by starting their own businesses, they experienced more person-to-person interactions. This allowed them to observe the ways they were affecting individuals’ lives and the influence they were having on the final product. 

Learning from Failure:

The unpredictability of a start-up’s success can lead many to shy away from starting a business. However, the speakers emphasized that failure can teach you several things including your own personal weaknesses, the business strategies that don’t work, and the fact that the best ideas are often organic ideas. 

Furthermore, the majority of the panel believed that the journey and the end result are equally important. Along the way, experience is the best teacher. You can either let past failures discourage you, or you can learn from them and move on. One of the panelists described entrepreneurship as “a state of mind,” which I think nicely captured the emotional aspect of innovation.

Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur:

Words and phrases that repeatedly came up during the discussion were “risk taking,” “focus,” “curiosity,” and “creativity.” From the discussion, it appeared that the work of a successful entrepreneur is reflective of these four things.

The riskiness of starting your own business is inherent. You are starting something from scratch, often times without a lot of capital in the beginning. In order to secure a significant amount of funding, you need to prove yourself first. You have to find the right business partners, and sometimes, you have student debt to worry about paying off. But, how will you know success if you don’t try?

This is where the risk-taking nature and the ability to maintain focus come in handy for an entrepreneur. The panelists generally agreed that entrepreneurs need to have goals in mind and keep striving until the goals are met. Intellectual curiosity is another source of motivation that they mentioned. It helps jumpstart your creativity, which can help you think on your feet when something doesn’t go as planned. The success of a start-up is not guaranteed, but the panelists believed that the right qualities and right attitude could help you become a successful entrepreneur.

Have you attended or plan to attend one of Wasserman’s events, and would like to be featured on our blog? Let us know! Email us at career.communications@nyu.edu.

3rd Annual School of Professional Studies Networking Night

Networking Night 2014

On November 7, 2014, the NYU Wasserman Career Center, NYU SHRM Chapter, and NYU Integrated Marketing Association jointly hosted the Third Annual School of Professional Studies Networking Night. Over 100 NYU School of Professional Studies graduate students and 23 employers attended the event. It was a great opportunity for students to network with industry professionals and gain insights into these industries.

The event began by giving students time to develop their pitches, and then allowed for two 30 minute roundtable discussions with industry professionals.  Students practiced and received feedback on their pitches during these roundtables, and the event concluded with an open networking session. For a list of Employers that participated in the event, please click link…

As a first-time participant and volunteer, I enjoyed the event very much and learned a tremendous amount from the industry professionals. I am grateful that they took time out of their busy schedules to engage with students, answer questions, provide resume/interview tips, and offer opportunities to connect with them. It was inspiring to see some of these people were former M.S. HRMD program graduates, and hear them talk about how this degree enhanced their careers. I strongly recommend more students attend the event next year and prepare a great pitch.

The Quick Tips for Perfecting Your Pitch shared invaluable tips with the students:

The purpose of having a pitch during networking activities is to raise awareness of “your personal brand” in order to build authentic relationships with professionals and to share your abilities, skills and background.

Your professional pitch should…

  • Communicate your personal brand
  • Covey your unique selling point (USP)
  • Answer the questions “Tell me about yourself?” “What do you do?” and “What are you interested in doing next?”

To create your pitch, focus on…

  • Using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to tell stories, rather than just telling facts
  • Tailoring your pitch for the audience and setting
  • Making it conversational; think of open-ended questions to ask the employer or contact 

Keep in mind these “Golden Rules”…

  • Be an authentic and genuine individual
  • Become your own subject matter expert
  • Personalize, prepare, and practice your pitch

Don’t miss out on our upcoming webinar, “Networking Over the Holidays” on Wednesday, Dec. 3rd at 12:00pm. RSVP here!

Employer Insight: 5 Things to Expect at a Startup

 

Susan Zheng is the co-founder and CEO of Lynxsy, a mobile recruitment marketplace for companies to hire junior, non-technical talent. Previously, she was an early employee at Tough Mudder where she helped the company grow from 10 to 200 in two years. She graduated from NYU Stern with a degree in Finance and International Business.

Career advice: Take chances, and don’t worry if your career doesn’t follow a formula. The most successful people in history have had non-linear careers.

5 Things to Expect at a Startup

As a soon-to-be or recent grad, you’re chomping at the bit to jump into the workforce. You’ve got a stellar resume and awesome references, but where to begin?

You could take the typical route of college grads and pound the pavement in pursuit of a corporate gig. But maybe you’re looking for a little more excitement and a little less routine, a company that veers off the beaten path and forges its own trail. If you want to be a part of something from the ground up, a startup could be just the place to launch your career.

What exactly will it mean to work at a new uncharted business? Before you fire off your resume, you should know a little bit about what you’re getting into. Here’s a list of five things you can expect—and look forward to—if you work at a startup:

1) Be Ready to Wear Many Hats

When your team is small, as it inevitably will be in the beginning, you’ll likely be assigned tasks not directly in your line of duty. One moment you might be doing competitor research, the next you might be negotiating vendor agreements and the next you could be ordering toilet paper for the office. In your daily grind, you’ll undoubtedly get to dig into projects that would be out of reach in a typical entry-level position.

2)  Change Is the Only Constant

In the world of startups, change is the only constant—so you’d better be flexible. The company could decide to pivot in a new direction. Or employee growth could make you go from the sole business development associate to the head of sales in a matter of weeks. It might be as simple as changing priorities from mid-morning to the afternoon. If it pains you to switch gears all day long, or you’re on the retentive side when it comes to your to-do list, then steer clear. But if you’re game for variety, you’ve got the startup mentality.

3) 100% Mindshare

You won’t be punching a clock the same way you would at an established company.  Startups have a smaller window to get results, which may mean logging extra hours to ramp up the business. Your contributions won’t be confined to the office—if you even have one— and your schedule will probably include late-night brainstorming sessions over pizza. More than your hours, your passion and productivity will be key. You should expect to have 100% mindshare, which may involve eating, breathing and sleeping with the wellbeing of the company on your mind.

4) The Payoff

You shouldn’t join a startup solely on the off chance it could be the next big social network. Join one because you want to roll up your sleeves and be involved in the thrilling nitty-gritty of growing a business. You can make an average entry-level salary ($35K-$45K) and have the opportunity to earn a small equity share in the business. Not all startups will enjoy outrageous success, but those that excel tend to generously reward the individuals who have invested their time and talents to grow the business. Financial compensation aside, you are getting the chance to be involved in something awesome, so enjoy the journey.

5) Unlimited Potential

Career trajectory at a startup isn’t linear. There may be no distinct corporate ladder to climb, but there’s the potential for a big upside if you’re smart, motivated and committed. You could start in customer service and be promoted to managing the entire 20 person customer service team in 3 months. Once you prove yourself, you’ll rise in the organization and gain valuable skills and experience.  If the company takes off, you’ll be invited along for the ride.

Sound exciting and worth a gander? Go for it—make the bold move and explore opportunities with a startup today. If you don’t know where to begin, start your search with Lynxsy.

Would you like to meet  Susan Zheng, co-founder and CEO of Lynxsy? Attend the What’s Next Entrepreneurship Career Panel – Wednesday, Nov. 5th at 5:30pm. RSVP here!

How do I dress for a career fair?

By: Garvin Reid

Garvin Reid - Assistant Director at Wasserman Center for Career Development

“How do I dress for a career fair?”

A question so simple yet easily able to become complicated if you overthink it.

When thinking of what to wear for a career fair, think of it just as you would a social gathering in which that one person that you really want to impress will be there. The biggest difference is that instead of it being one person at a social gathering, there will be multiple people you seek to impress and it’s in a professional setting. As such, you want to be sure that none of the little things take you out of the running for the career of your dreams.

Just as you would ensure that your resume is primed and polished, it’s best to make sure that your appearance is as well. Appearing disheveled and messy could make an employer question your attention to detail. This is true for both customer facing and non-customer facing roles. Consider this: a recruiter may think “If this person did not notice their nail polish was chipped, how could they notice the extra 0 in the balance sheet?” Just as details matter in your cover letter, resume, business card, etc. you want to show that same level of care to how you present yourself.

What to wear

Similar to practicing your elevator pitch in the mirror, be sure to check your appearance in the mirror before leaving out for the career fair. Recruiters see attending a career fair as an opportunity to meet with a large amount of students with hopes of hiring a few or sometimes just one. With this in mind, you want your appearance to help rather than hinder you. 

Professional Attire

Suit

It’s always best to wear a business suit to a career fair. It shows that you are a professional and exudes confidence. Although you may be interested in a position at a company that you know has a relaxed dress code, you will never be overdressed when it comes to choosing a business suit for a career fair. What if you find out that the company with the relaxed dress code is no longer hiring yet there are multiple companies in your industry and all of their recruiters came in professional attire? Wearing a business suit allows you mobility at a career fair because wearing one makes you dressed appropriately to speak to anyone. 

In choosing your suit, you want to go for neutral colors (charcoal, navy blue, or gray). Black suits are difficult to make you stand out but if time or money is against you, there is nothing wrong with a black suit if accessorized properly (see below). It’s advised to stay away from the seasonal suits when attending a career fair. These are the seersucker, linen, tweed, etc. Seasonal colored and fabric suits are considered appropriate for a business casual setting rather than business professional. There is some leeway to this rule for women as colors are more acceptable. 

Get your suit dry cleaned and ironed before the career fair. A freshly pressed and cleaned suit literally fits as good as new. This also ensures that there are no stains on your suit just in case you had to get dressed in the dark because you didn’t want to wake your roommate.

Skirts

Ladies, when wearing a skirt to a career fair be mindful of the length. Anything higher than roughly two inches above the knee is considered inappropriate. When choosing a skirt to pair with your blazer you want to keep it professional. Think more “A line” or “Pencil” than “high low” or “mini”. 

Shirts

Your dress shirt is just as important as your suit selection. Consider neutral colors like white, French blue, or even a pale purple if you wish to show school spirit.

Ladies: You have more leeway in this area since you won’t have to worry about matching a tie to your shirt. If choosing to wear a button down shirt, it is important to ensure that it fits well. You want to make sure that it is not too tight which allows your undergarments to show between the buttons. Professionalism is the name of the game here.

Just as with your suit, a clean starched and pressed dress shirt says more positive things about you than a stained wrinkled one. I prefer to iron my shirts but if time is not on your side, you can drop it off at your local cleaner.

Ties

Now that you have your shirt selected, choose a tie that 1. Compliments your suit and shirt and 2. Stands out or has the ability to be a conversation starter. My personal strategy is to wear a solid gray suit; white or French blue shirt, and a conservative bow tie. I call this “Standing out while fitting in”. I’m no statistician but per my experience, if an event has 100 professional men, you are guaranteed to only see at most 10 of them wearing a bow tie. This creates a differentiating impression and also allows you to say “the guy with the bow tie” when you send your follow up e-mails (provided they complimented you on your bow tie of course).

If you’re not ready for a bow tie, fear not, there are other ways to stand out while fitting in.

Accessorize Accordingly

I remember being at a training led by Caroline Gundeck when I was an intern for Morgan Stanley in their Global Wealth Management Internship program. Caroline who is a Managing Director for Ultra High Net Worth Business Development spoke on ways to stand out at networking events. One thing that stuck with me since that training was to “wear a conversation starter”. Caroline explains it as something that is on you that may spark interest in the person that you are speaking to. For Caroline, that conversation piece is a broach, for me it’s been a bow tie and/or pocket square. You never know where that conversation may go or what that person’s perception of you may be after noticing it. The key here though is to subscribe to the mantra of “less is more”. If you are going to wear an interesting piece, let that one piece speak for you. With that said, also ensure that it’s professional.

Here are some examples of accessories you can wear to “stand out while fitting in”

  • Bow tie
  • Bracelet
  • Tie bar
  • Pocket Square
  • School Ring
  • Necklace
  • Silk Scarf
  • Lapel Pin
  • Hair Accessory
  • Broach
  • Earrings
  • Watch

Best Foot Forward

Gentlemen, it is important to ensure that your shoes are not only business professional but also shined and polished. This is particularly true for those of you with interests in the hospitality industry. Most of the customer facing roles within this industry grants their workers with the titles of being ambassadors of the brand. You want to make sure that brand looks neat, clean, and polished at all times.

Ladies, for you it’s not so much about the polish of your shoes as it is important that you choose the right shoe for the career fair. Consider going for the comfortable closed toe pump rather than a flat. With giving consideration to the weather on the day of, it’s best not to wear boots either.

Conclusion

When you think of a career fair, think of “The Hunger Games” you would like to do everything in your power to ensure that “the odds are in your favor”. Dressing the part is the easiest way to do so.  

Now that you know how to dress for a career fair, why not try out your new style. Attend the Fall 2014 NYU School of Professional Studies Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management Career Fair on Thursday, October 30th. RSVP here!

Dine Your Way into Your Next Job or Internship

By: Diana Martinez

Congratulations on making it to the next round of interviews! Let’s go down the checklist: suit, portfolio, business cards, resumes, dining etiquette…wait, what? That’s right; increasingly employers are holding later round interviews or pre-interview sessions over full-course sit down meals. Definitely expect this if you will be interviewing with any large Fortune 100 or company holding super-days. 

What’s all the fuss?

Besides allowing you to network with prospective colleagues, it offers recruiters a rare opportunity to test your social skills, assess if you are a good match for the organization’s culture, and test how well you deal with stressful and social situations. To help you navigate the sometimes unavoidable mealtime interview, below are some tips to help you shine next time you have one.

Give Your Phone a Break

Turn off or silent your phone. No one likes interruptions. While we’re on the topic: no texting, tweeting, Facebook, or any other social media. Nothing says “I’d rather be anywhere else, but here” than spending more time with the phone than with your host. It’s rude and actually makes you appear antisocial. The focus of your attention during the meal should be your host. This is a great dating tip too!

Pre-Game and Food Selection

Have a small snack before going. If you’re starving, your attention will be on the food instead of networking and making a great impression. Select foods that are not messy and are easy to eat. Some recruiters intentionally select menus that have these danger foods to see how you will navigate this obstacle course. Avoid anything with sauces, anything that will require you use your hands to eat, can be messy, and salads! Yes, salads and foods like kale, and broccoli, can be tough to eat and can lead to awkward conversations when they get stuck in your teeth. There are times when you can’t avoid salads. In that case check out this great Table Manners 101 video on etiquette and other issues such as proper use of utensils and dealing with salads and soups.

Say No to Drinking…Alcohol!

Even if offered, politely decline any alcohol and select water, soda, or other non-alcoholic option. This is another trap! It is used to assess your judgment. And no one likes dining with a drunk, not to mention the smell of it during a professional event!

Mind Your Manners

One can devote an entire series of articles on just this topic. Here are the basics:

  • If you have more than one fork, begin from the outside and work your way in
  • BMW: Remember this acronym and you’ll never mix up your water, salad, or bread with your neighbor’s. Starting from your left is Bread and salad, in the center is your Meal plate, and to your right is your Water glass. This graphic is also helpful to remember.

 

  • If anything falls on the floor (napkin, utensils, etc.) it stays on the floor. It is acceptable to ask the wait staff for another one
  • Never talk with your mouth full
  • No slurping or blowing on your soup
  • Cut food into small bite sizes and bring them to your mouth
  • When you do speak and/or need to put down your utensils, never put them on your napkin or table — instead place them on your plate
  • Keep your elbows off the table
  • Leave some food on your plate at the end of your meal and never request a “doggy bag” to take home – no matter how much food is leftover or how delicious the meal is! 

Learn to Make Small Talk

Get this down and you’ll have a strong advantage. We all have stories where we just looked at another person across the table and smiled in awkward silence. Here’s how to avoid that: do your homework. Research the company, industry, and current events in news and other areas. This will allow you to discuss an array of topics. Unless you are interviewing for a position to be a lobbyist, stay clear of religion, politics, or anything that can be turned into a debate. Bonus tip: People love talking about themselves. So, you can never go wrong with asking someone what they do at their organization, how they got where they are, and why they work at that company.

Say Thanks

At the conclusion of any interview, you should ask for a business card and follow up within 48 hours with a thank you letter or e-mail. This is no different. Your host went through a lot of trouble; the least you could do is thank them! You would be surprised how many people forget to do it and this is the reason why they don’t get called back for a follow-up interview.

Those Who Invite Pay…To a Point

The company will pay for the meal. It is expected. So, when the bill arrives, no one is expecting you to offer to pay nor is acceptable to offer to split the bill or leave the tip. That said, this doesn’t mean you order the most expensive menu item. Follow your host’s lead. If your host doesn’t make a suggestion or asks you to order first (another clever pitfall), you can never go wrong by ordering meals that fall between the cheapest and most expensive. Bonus Tip: Since the restaurant’s name will be provided to you ahead of time, look it up online and review their menu and price list. Plan what you want to eat and have a back-up in case the item is not available.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

The great thing about a mock interview is you can rehearse interviewing and make mistakes in a safe environment. The same holds true for dining. One fantastic way is by taking advantage of opportunities to combine all your interview skills with small talk and dining. In November, The Wasserman Center will be holding its signature event: Dining for Success. If you’re serious about nailing that next job, attend this event. You can be sure your competition will!

Here’s more information about the event:

Dining for Success (For Juniors, Seniors and Graduate Students)

Thursday, November 6, 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. The Smith, 55 Third Avenue, between 10th and 11th

IN-PERSON REGISTRATION AND REFUNDABLE CASH DEPOSIT REQUIRED! Dateline to register is Thursday, October 30th!

Enjoy a great three-course meal with top employers and the Wasserman Center at the Smith! Mastering interviewing skills is hard enough, but what about when your interview is over a meal? Don’t let your dining etiquette stand in the way of getting the job! Join NYU Recruiters from Ernst & Young, PwC, AOL, Peace Corps and more to practice these skills over a three-course meal!

Additional Resources:

Meet the Arts Professions Panelists: October 21st, with Cheryl Krugel-Lee, Deena Sami, Katarina Wong and Michael George

On Tuesday, October 21st, the NYU Wasserman Center for Career Development will host an Arts Professions Panel for students who are interested in the arts, design and entertainment industries. Among the panelists will be Cheryl Krugel-Lee, Deena Sami, Katarina Wong and Michael George. 

Cheryl Krugel-Lee

Cheryl Krugel-Lee is a Brooklyn-based composer, arranger, and orchestrator, whose work spans both the commercial and classical worlds. Cheryl earned her Bachelor of Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Master of Music degree from New York University, where she studied primarily with Ira Newborn. She has composed scores for theatre productions and films, orchestrated for musical theatre, collaborated with choreographers and created numerous works for a concert setting. Cheryl has had her music performed at Carnegie Hall, Jones Hall in Houston, Texas, Dixon Place, and The Actors Temple Theatre. Cheryl’s professional advice for students interested in careers in the arts would be:

    • To pursue their artistic goals.
    • To get involved with the arts administration of an organization as these organizations can offer opportunities from within that might not be available to people not working in that specific environment. On the other hand, in case one decides that he/she is no longer interested in pursuing a purely artistic career, having experience at an arts organization helps later on with other kinds of work.

Deena Sami

Deena Sami is currently an Associate Producer for CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360. Deena graduated with double majors in Journalism and Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies and minored in Politics. She interned anywhere she could get her feet in and gained “real world” experiences that she believes are crucial to landing a job. Deena’s passion for “everything Middle East and Egypt” led her to pursue a thesis on the 2011 Egyptian revolution. On an unrelated note: she’s an (amateur) foodie and started an (amateur) blog chronicling her creations in the kitchen! 

Katarina Wong

Katarina studied Classics and Philosophy at St. John’s College and, until recently, was the Director of Community and Curatorial Engagement at Edelman, the largest global PR firm, where she started their corporate art collection and art gallery as a Curator. Katarina will be launching her new business MADE on 10/16, which is dedicated to making art collecting more social.

Her personal and professional advice to students is:

  • Follow your curiosity even if it leads out of your primary area of specialty.
  • Be generous with your colleagues, whether it’s sharing information, donating your time or being supportive. In fact, on a networking level, artists, freelance designers, and many others in the arts industry are small business owners, so be smart.
  • Be knowledgeable. Don’t shy away from learning about marketing, legal issues that affect your future work (e.g., contracts, consignment agreements), taxes (and deductions!), etc.

Michael George

Michael George is a freelance editorial portrait and travel photographer based in Brooklyn, who graduated with a degree in Photography & Imaging from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2011. Michael currently runs his own business and works for clients such as WIRED, Runner’s World, and Hello Mr. magazine. Mr. George’s career advice for aspiring artists is:

  • To pursue personal projects alongside the work that helps keep financial stability. As you keep your passion alive for the work you really care about, eventually your paid and personal work will be one in the same.
  • Prove your skills to a possible hiring manager. For example, if you want to make travel work, pinch your pennies and travel.
  • Be patient. You will invest a lot and you will often fail, but you have to give yourself the necessary time as every industry forces you into years of paying your dues before you feel like your head is above water. Not everyone is going to be the next Ryan McGinley. Success is a strange mix of luck, networking, and incredibly hard work.

To hear more from these great panelists, make sure to RSVP  for the Arts Professions Panel (Tuesday, October 21st, 12:30-1:30) through CareerNet!