Tag Archives: employer insight

Employer Perspective: Is your College Major relevant to the Market?

Murshed Chowdhury acts as an advisor to both companies and individuals who are looking for assistance in technology talent acquisition and development. He has served as the CEO & Partner of Infusive Solutions Inc. since its establishment in 2001. Prior to Infusive, he worked at several recruiting agencies where he honed his skills and rose the ranks within the organization before founding his own company.

With over 15 years of technology placement experience, Murshed has helped secure some of the most competitive technical positions for his clients at some of the world’s most prestigious firms. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Fordham University.

Here he shares his insight into how to pick a major that you enjoy and that matches the market demand:

It is important when you’re in college not to just pick a major but the right major, one that will have viable job opportunities when you graduate. Too often, students invest years of their lives, hundreds of thousands of dollars and mount large student debt just to come to terms with the fact that the job market is not very favorable for what they received their degree in. This is a harsh reality lesson to learn but one many graduates face. With a slow recovering economy the outlook can be even more grim and extremely stressful.

I believe that college students need to invest time in following their dreams but to offset that with the realities of the market. Recently, I came across a recent college grad who was bussing tables to make ends meet. He just graduated with a degree in English Literature from a good university. He said his dream was to be a writer. Now, if someone had advised him to augment his degree with a minor in Business Administration or Marketing, he could have landed a job writing for a company blog, or an editor for a media publication company etc. Since he was never advised as such, he had to take whatever he could to make a living.

The key is to make sure that you major in something you enjoy but to be cognizant of what that means down the road when you join the job market. An understanding of majors with the best trajectories for job security, income and the correlation between the two may shed some light on what I am talking about. The chart below is divided into 4 quadrants that describe the various levels of income potential and job security.

Each of the four quadrants above identifies each job with the two critical criteria that are important for anyone looking at the market, especially a new college grad, on how to choose their next position. Income indicates earning potential and is pretty straight forward. Security represents the amount of available jobs for that particular major which correlate to the various employment levels for those defined majors. Basically, the lower the unemployment rate, the greater the security the position affords.

According to a study by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, “majors that are most closely aligned with particular industries and occupations tend to have low unemployment rates but not necessarily the highest earnings. Some majors offer both high security and high earnings, while other majors trade off earnings for job security. Healthcare, Science and Business majors have both low unemployment and the highest earnings boost from experience and graduate education. At the same time, Education, Psychology and Social Work majors have relatively low unemployment, but earnings are also low and only improve marginally with experience and graduate education.” In other words, you can choose a major that has good earnings potential and a high degree of job security. You can also find yourself choosing a major that has a high degree of job security, but low relative lifetime earnings potential. Or, you may find yourself drawn to a major that leads to relatively higher unemployment and low wages. As you choose your major, you want to know what most likely awaits you in your future career, and determine your college options and lifestyle accordingly.

Obviously, the most ideal quadrant is the one that has high income and high job security. Basically, for those majoring in Computer Science, Business Administration or Healthcare for example, have the potential to not only land a well-paid job, but they also know that due to a high demand for their positions, it will translate to low unemployment rates. You lose a job in this category; you should have a quick turnaround finding a new one. What can also be inferred from this is the ability to switch jobs for whatever reason is also much easier for those who fall in this quadrant.

The second quadrant we will look at represents those who may not have a high income potential but there is a great level of security for those positions. You may earn less than those in other majors but there is a good demand for your role. You can be gainfully employed whether you’re looking for your first job or interested in changing positions. Those in education are a great example of people who would likely fall into this category. You may not break the bank as an educator but there is a strong demand for teachers so you can look forward to steady employment.

The third quadrant we will look at represents those who have the ability to garnish high earnings but the tradeoff is that it comes with low job security. Finance, Legal and Sales professionals, and to a certain degree, entrepreneurs, fall into this category. Especially, entrepreneurs in their nascent stages. The rewards can be high but stability is low. Everything is dependent upon production; it’s the, “more you kill, the more you eat” mentality. These great rewards come with greater risks. Unless you maintain consistent levels of production, you can find yourself out of a job pretty quickly.

Finally, we will look at what many will consider the least sought after quadrant. These positions are the ones where the ability to earn a decent living is low and the ability to find a job once you lose it very tough. Anthropology or English Literature, as our examples above show, can fall into this area. There just isn’t a great demand for those skill sets which leads to decreasing earning potential and a limit in the amount of available jobs. It is a very tough outlook for those majors.  The key here, for those who fall in this category more so than the others, is to have them augment their degrees with more relevant minors/dual majors or develop  a new skill keeping the job market in mind.

Now, let me be clear, I am a big believer of following your passion, but that does not mean you ignore the realities on the ground. The greatest lesson an entrepreneur learns from the market, is whether their product or service is something someone will pay for. The show Shark Tank covers this in almost all of their episodes. Would-be entrepreneurs are in love with their product or service, but the judges always breathe some reality into them when they tell them, if the sales aren’t there, it’s probably not a great product or service at that point. The market is the ultimate arbitrator. The same goes with colleges and their majors. You may love what you study, but life is different when college ends and you have to face the reality of finding a job, making a living, dealing with mounting student and credit card debt. Again, the market is the ultimate arbitrator. That being said, you can continue learning what excites you, but invest some time in what the market values, and you will avoid the challenges many face post degree.

The solution starts with awareness. Research your major and it’s potential for a job, whether that’s a one year or four years from now. It’s never too late. Just because you’re a senior, it’s not the end of the world but if you can get into that mindset as a freshman, all the better. For many of you who aren’t even sure what you want to do, this could be the reality check you needed to help you decide where to invest the next few years of your life. Take it from someone who knows this reality all too well. I wish someone had told me about this when I was in college a while back. I graduated with a degree in Political Science from Fordham University and decided not to go to law school or apply for Foreign Service. This left me with few options. It’s no surprise that my first job out of college had nothing to do with my major.

Also, speak to your career services center. They can help you understand what’s trending on the market, connect you to alumni or industry experts, offer workshops, inform you about upcoming fairs where you can get a great gauge of what is hot in the job market. In my opinion, the best time to engage the career services center is in your freshmen year, and then your sophomore year, and then your junior year and senior. You get my point. They are there to help, so leverage their capabilities to help you.

Ironically, the greatest lesson the market can teach you, is that you may end up doing something you didn’t want to, simply because you only wanted to learn what is that you wanted to.

In Case You Missed It: Day In The Life at Time Inc.

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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!

Employer Insight: Five keys to entrepreneurial success

By:  Blake McCammon 

Blake McCammon is the COO of ProtoHack, the only code-free hackathon. ProtoHack exists to show non-coders that they too can create something amazing from nothing. ProtoHack aims to empower the non-technical entrepreneur with the tools, knowledge and community to help you bring your idea to life and communicate it visually through prototyping.

Forming your first startup is not a task for the faint at heart. You think you have every piece of information and every problem solved, but once you decide to make the jump into entrepreneurship and things go awry, your true drive and ambition will either shine or fade into the background. The decision to step into entrepreneurship should be well calculated. According to The U.S. Small Business Administration, approximately 543,000 new businesses get started each month, with a third of those failing in the first two years and 60% finding they’re doomed by their fourth year in business.

Being an entrepreneur has high risks and high rewards. Stepping out into the world of entrepreneurship is something that can be extremely daunting and risky, so understanding how to be successful is imperative. Whether you’re a founder or co-founder, these five keys to entrepreneurial success will help you launch and grow your new venture. 

Mistakes happen, embrace them.
Almost every entrepreneur has had their fair share of mistakes when it comes to being at the helm of a company. Whether they drop clients because they’re frustrating, only to later regret it, or try to perfect the process early on within their own organization when they should be focusing on the bigger picture, it’s nearly impossible to get it right every single time. What’s important is that you’re able to learn from mistakes and use them to your advantage when you can. When you embrace missteps, you put yourself in the position to be able to grow and move forward.

Work with those who will challenge you.
This is one of the most important mantras an entrepreneur should have, not only in business but also in their personal lives. When you first start your own company, it’s important to surround yourself with people who really push and drive you to step up your game. If you work with those who don’t, it’ll eventually rub off on you. Working with people who are equally as passionate and driven as you will do nothing but set you up for success.

When choosing business partners and mentors, don’t just pick your best friend, pick someone who is going to push you, challenge you, and make you a better entrepreneur. With a partner like that, you’re less likely to lose the drive and ambition you started with.

Be smart about where you invest.
If you gained experience in the corporate world before you took the entrepreneurial leap, you know what it’s like to have access to tools and budgets that you don’t necessarily have when it comes to starting your own company. It can be a big culture shock when you can no longer afford the pricey but effective software programs or outrageous advertising budget you became accustomed to. Instead, you’ll have to get creative, such as using free or budget-friendly software before you’re at a point where you can start scaling your business. Find the tools you simply cannot live without and prioritize them. Invest when you’re financially ready and not a moment sooner.

Get out of your comfort zone and network
Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur. In fact, when starting your first business, referrals will go a long way. Networking is one of the most important aspects of an entrepreneurship because the connections you make will determine the strength of your network and ultimately could determine the success of your company. Going to events where the only goal in mind is to be pushing cards, shaking hands and making meaningful contacts is now part of your job. Understanding the value behind networking and doing a good job of it will take you far. Think about possible connections you have that need to be fostered and use them to your advantage.

Have fun, find what you’re passionate about, and don’t settle!
We’ve probably all seen others who settle because they’re not brave enough to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship. We say they’re playing it safe but really what’s happening is that they are denying their own happiness and giving up the opportunity to have fun and live their passion. In short, they’re settling.

The amount of fun you have following your passion will be a determining factor in how much you excel at your new venture. Suddenly, working sixty to eighty hours a week isn’t so difficult when you’re doing it while exploring your passion.

Steve Jobs said it best during a conversation with Pixar CEO John Lassete: “In your life you only get to do so many things and right now we’ve chosen to do this, so let’s make it great.”

Settling isn’t something that should even be in your vocabulary as an entrepreneur. We only get one life, so use it, follow your passion and whatever your passion is, go for it.

Learn more about ProtoHack by visiting their website, then sign up for their free event coming to New York City on November 15. 

Employer Insight: Skills Needed to Work for a Non-Profit

By: Turkish Philanthropy Funds

Non-profits are fast-paced and utilize nearly every skill you’ve learned throughout your educational career. They’re looking for highly qualified candidates who can keep up and help them realize their mission and goals. But this rapidly expanding marketplace requires a specific skillset that is lost in a corporate setting.

When you’re working on a small team, you’re expected to wear many hats. There may not be an in-house designer, so you better brush up on your Photoshop skills. There also may not be an IT Manager, so make sure you know how to troubleshoot your computer. Below is a compilation of skills that will be expected of any employee working at a non-profit.

Own Your Project – Your manager might give you a task that seems simple, but you should always take complete ownership of it. Ie. Give me a list of donors in Tennessee who have given over $1,000.  Think through every step of the task. What information is the reader looking for? What information do I think might be helpful? How would this best be presented? Triple check before completion. Because of the small staff, there is always a time constraint, listen carefully the first time and present a carefully thought out result.

Be a Self-Starter – Never say you’re bored, as there is always something to do. Employers like people who take initiative. If you finished a project and your employer hasn’t given you something new yet, work on something you’ve been meaning to finish or something you know will impress the staff. Also, if you have a great idea, run with it! Expand upon it and present your great idea to the staff. 

Keep a Positive Attitude – Your task might not always be as cool as attending a swanky cocktail, but we would love if you pretended it was. Some non-profits deal with some depressing issues on a daily basis, an employee with a smile on their face is always like a ray of sunshine.

Be Resourceful – Roll up your sleeves and dive into your project. Employers are looking for someone that is well rounded and knows how to use what’s available to them to be as efficient as possible.

Think Creatively – Creativity is at the core of the non-profit world. We are always thinking of new, innovative ways to achieve something faster, cheaper or more effective. Employees at non-profits should be no different. Think outside the box and challenge the status quo.

While these qualities might be overlooked in other office settings, they are revered in the non-profit world. If you’re interested in working towards impact in an open and transparent environment where you are recognized for achievements, you’re in the right field. Just make sure you brush up on that Intro to Accounting class, because you might need it!

Are you interesting in working for Turkish Philanthropy Funds? Check out their opening on CareerNet – Job ID: 950561

Three Ways To Make The Most Of Your Career Fair

Murshed Chowdhury acts as an advisor to both companies and individuals who are looking for assistance in technology talent acquisition and development. He has served as the CEO & Partner of Infusive Solutions Inc. since its establishment in 2001. Prior to Infusive, he worked at several recruiting agencies where he honed his skills and rose the ranks within the organization before founding his own company.

With over 15 years of technology placement experience, Murshed has helped secure some of the most competitive technical positions for his clients at some of the world’s most prestigious firms. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Political Science from Fordham University.

Murshed is passionate about helping technologists develop themselves both professionally and technically.

Here, he shares valuable insight into achieving career fair success. Think about his tips as you prepare for the next NYU Career Fair.

Recently, our company had a table at a career fair and I noticed that many of the students had a puzzled look on their face. One student caught my attention in particular. I asked her, “What are you looking to do?” This is typical company talk at a career fair, and she responded, “I have no idea, and I really don’t know what I’m supposed to do here.” We then spent the next few minutes discussing what she majored in, but more importantly, what she liked and what interested her.  After that, we came up with a game plan where I told her to visit the various companies that were present to see if they had roles that were closely aligned to what she wanted. I told her to have some real conversations, to get representatives’ business cards and if there was interest, she should follow up. Focus on quality versus quantity, because at the end of the day, you really need one job. You hopefully get many offers, but only need to work at one company. After a few hours, she came back to our booth to tell me that she found some really good prospects, met some really good people and had some genuine conversations.  She went on to say that the career fair was not that intimidating after all, and that, actually, it was kind of fun. She said, from now on, she would make the most of her career fairs and try to use it as a vehicle to further her career.

The career fair for many first time or recurring students can be a daunting task. I remember my first one as a senior in college. You’re told to make a great impression; how exactly is unclear. You’re told to make multiple copies of your resume, dress professionally and go. That’s pretty much the advice I was given.  When I actually walked into the conference hall, I saw a lot of unfamiliar faces, got nervous and wasn’t sure what do next.

So, how do you make the most of your career fair experience? It really comes down to 3 simple steps in my opinion: have a plan, meet (network) and effectively follow up.

PLAN

Like any other successful outcomes, it all starts with proper planning. Do some research once the career services center makes available the list of companies that are visiting your institution. Then, put together a list of the companies you want to meet with and find out where they will be. Some career fairs are so large, they can have companies housed in different buildings.  Map it out and really have a game plan. If you are going with a friend, ask them to split up and see where the crowds are and then come early or stay late to meet with them. The goal is to have some quality conversations, not just say hello and give them your resume. Part of your planning should include research so you can differentiate yourself from the competition. Knowing about what a company does can go a long way in building rapport. As most people ask the quintessential, “What do you do?” question, you are unique when you can walk up to an employer and tell them you are aware of what their business does because you’ve done your homework. I can tell you for a fact, that students who took the time to research my company and me, in some cases, always got more attention from me. Their resumes went to the top of the pile. I’m sure it is no different for other employers as well.  That leads me to my next point, which is, if you have the information on who will be attending from the company, please research them. It shows two things on your part: one, that you’re serious, and two, you are willing to go above and beyond but what most people are willing to do. In today’s digital age of social media and particularly, LinkedIn, that information is readily available.

NETWORK

Next, you should allocate time to meet with as many companies as you can. If you are like most college students, and people for that matter, you’re probably familiar with the big brand companies. But don’t overlook a really great startup or fast growing company that might be perfect for you. There are amazing opportunities at some of these lesser-known brands, as well. Remember, all big brands were small at one point, you never know where this company may go. Also, they wouldn’t be at the career fair if they weren’t growing and looking for great talent like you. Speak to the representatives of these companies and find out what they do. Get their business cards…why, I’ll get to shortly. Be curious and explore, the information you find about these firms, their product and services, can help you narrow down some of your choices, and help you decide what you might be interested in doing once you graduate.

FOLLOW UP

Finally, you need to make sure you effectively follow up. For those companies you’re keen on, send a quick email thanking them for meeting with you and express your interest in the next steps of their process. A week later, follow up with a phone call and reiterate your interest in the firm and/or opportunity. Now, going back to why I asked you to collect those cards, send an email to all the people you met with, even if you’re unsure about the firm or company. Ask them to please forward your information on to anyone they feel may have an interest in your background. Remember, just because that person may not have the ideal role for you at their organization doesn’t mean they don’t have a network of contacts that can be beneficial to you. By making a good impression, and effectively following up, you will already be ahead of your fellow students. Lack of effective follow up is one of the biggest ways to pass on potential opportunities. Most people do a poor job of this. Why? I have no idea, but in any case, this can be an opportunity for you. If you start, you stand to gain. Remember, successful people don’t just focus on doing great things, they make a concentrated effort to do the small things really great, and with consistency. It’s the little things that matter. Keep doing them well and often, and the results will speak for themselves.

Make the career fairs work for you. Remember, they are there to find you, so make the how and why as easy for them as possible.

Put these newly learned skills to good use! Attend the 2014 Fall Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management Career Fair! RSVP HERE!

Employer Insights: How the Engineering & Technology Fair Worked For Me

by Anthony Giorgio

Way back at the turn of the millennium, I was studying Computer Science at Polytechnic University, on the former Long Island campus.  During my freshman year, I learned about the annual on-campus career fair that was held in the spring.  I had visited the career services office, and they were offering students the chance to volunteer at the fair to help setup the various tables and booths.  I decided to take them up on their offer, and arrived at the fair early in the morning.  I carried boxes of tchotchkes and  marketing materials from the recruiters’ cars into the gym, and struck up a few conversations.  Eventually the fair started, and the horde of students arrived.  Being a lowly freshman, I didn’t have much to offer, and was politely rejected from every table.  I didn’t expect anything different, and resigned myself to a fate of again spending summer break working for McDonald’s.  

As the fair wound down, I helped the various recruiters pack up their booths, and they gladly rewarded me with a plentiful supply of keychains, pens, stress balls, and other items emblazoned with corporate logos.  There was one company, however, that I spent more than a few minutes chatting with.  They were a local Hewlett-Packard reseller, who also employed software engineers for consulting work.  The recruiter seemed to like me, and said they would be in touch.

A week or so later, they called me up and offered me a summer internship.  I was elated, since I didn’t expect to be doing technical work as a freshman.  I ended up working there for the entire summer, performing a variety of intern-related IT roles.  As my role was winding down, and I was preparing to return to school, the company hired another intern to replace me.  He was another student at Poly, but he was a senior and preparing to graduate.  In the few weeks we worked together, we became acquaintances, and learned to respect each other’s abilities.  I sometimes spoke to him during the school year, but since he was older than I, our social circles didn’t cross very much.

The next summer I again attended the career fair, and this time I managed to land an internship at Symbol Technologies (now part of Motorola).  I was fortunate enough that my resume had the right key technical terms, and the recruiter gave me a callback.  I spent the next two years working there, as my class schedule permitted.  It gave me excellent insights into how the corporate world worked, and invaluable experience in software development.

As I entered my senior year, I began to look for full-time employment, since I needed a “real” job.  I decided to attend the fall career fair at the Brooklyn campus, since I felt that waiting for the spring one on Long Island might be too late.  I put on my interview suit, printed out a stack of resumes, and climbed on the coach bus the school chartered for the occasion.  I felt confident, since I had three years of work experience, and I was about to complete a combination BS-MS program in Computer Science.   Still, I was nervous – what if nobody hires me?  What if I can’t get an offer?  I put those thoughts to rest as the bus parked in downtown Brooklyn.  

When I entered the career fair, I was surprised at how crowded it was.  The Long Island fairs usually had a decent turnout, but the Brooklyn one was on an entirely different level.  The popular companies had lines 20 students     deep, and there were so many tables they spilled over into the lobby of the library.  As I made my way around the fair, I met with the recruiters, shook their hands, passed out resumes, and recited my spiel innumerable times.  Eventually I made my way to the IBM table.  As luck would have it, my former classmate and colleague from my first internship had returned to recruit!  After the perfunctory greeting, he introduced me to the hiring manager, and we chatted briefly.  He seemed to like me, and told me to head to the career services office after the fair.  I wasn’t quite sure what would happen next, but I eagerly agreed.

After a nervous lunch, I headed over to the career services office, where I saw a number of other students.  Some I recognized from my campus, while others I had never seen before.  The woman in charge of the office said that the representatives from IBM would be individually interviewing us, since we had passed their pre-screening.  When it was my turn, I met with the recruiter once more, and talked for about a half-hour in a private office.  He asked me about my academic career, my work experience, and a number of other things to feel me out as a candidate.  The interview drew to a close, and he congratulated me, shaking my hand.  He promised that the hiring manager would be in touch, and to prepare for a phone interview.  I was pleased, but somewhat unsure.  I had never interviewed on a phone before, and didn’t really know what to expect.  

A few weeks later, I received an email from the hiring manager, asking when it would be convenient for me to talk.  We set up a date and time, and proceeded to have a pleasant conversation with each other.  This interview was rather similar to my previous one with IBM, where the interviewer seemed more interested about my personality and how I would fit in, rather than my technical skills.  At the end of the call, the manager said that he was going to recommend I come up for an in-person interview, and that someone from Human Resources would be in touch.  Within a few days, I received another email, this time inviting me to the IBM facility in Poughkeepsie, NY.  The HR representative gave me all the details, including directions to the site, what hotel I would be staying at, how to be reimbursed for my travel expenses, and what restaurants I should eat at.

As my in-person interview date approached, I realized that this would be the longest drive I have ever taken, and I would be doing it solo.  It was also before GPS or smartphones were common, so I made sure to print the route out using Mapquest directions, and brought along a paper map backup.  I packed an overnight bag, climbed into my old Honda, and headed north.  After two hours, I arrived in Poughkeepsie, and managed to find my hotel.  I checked in, grabbed a bite to eat, and prepared my suit for the interview tomorrow.  

The next morning, I headed over to the IBM facility on Route 9.  Once inside, I joined a large number of other candidates preparing to take the IPAT exam (a standardized test given to job applicants).  I spent about 90 minutes taking the test, and then we were all instructed to wait for our hiring managers to pick us up from the lobby.  A short while later, my manager came by, and I recognized him as being the same one from the career fair.  He explained that his job was to take me around the site and bring me to various groups that had job openings.  We drove around to a number of different offices, and I met a few different hiring managers.  Each one had a specific opening, for either software development or test.  The management team also took me out to lunch, which I later found out was so they could see how I handled social situations.  At the end of the day, the recruiting manager asked which of the positions I’d like to work in.  I ended up picking the sole development one, since it seemed the most interesting.  

I drove home the next day, retracing the hundred-mile journey downstate.  I thought I did well, but I wasn’t sure if I would get a written job offer.  After the weekend, I returned to school, and resumed my classes.  As the weeks went by, I became more nervous about my chances.  I had another written job offer, but it had an expiration date attached.  I was hoping that I would simultaneously have two job offers in hand so I could pick the more appealing one.  Finally, in mid-February, a letter arrived from IBM with my official offer.  I decided to accept, and began communicating with a Human Resources representative on all the things required to start my employment.

In conclusion, pursuing a job opportunity with a large corporation can be a long journey.  Decisions take time, and multiple people are involved in many steps.  From the candidate’s perspective, the interminable wait can be nerve-wracking, but it’s all part of the process.  It’s also important to differentiate yourself from the rest of the candidates.  If you tell the recruiter what makes you a good hire, it will help them to recall you later on.  Remember, having the smarts to do the job only gets you so far, but effective communication, teamwork, and a positive attitude will get you to the prize!

If you’d like to work for IBM, we’re hiring!  We have a number of openings available in the Systems & Technology Group.  These are for both co-ops and entry-level positions.  If you’re interested, check out the following links:

System z Software Developer – Intern (Poughkeepsie, NY or Tuscon, AZ)

System z Software Developer – Entry Level (Poughkeepsie, NY; Tuscon, AZ; or San Jose, CA)

IBM Wave Software Developer – Entry Level (Poughkeepsie, NY)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO MEET WITH IBM, STOP BY THEIR BOOTH AT THE ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY CAREER FAIR. RSVP THROUGH NYU CAREERNET BY CLICKING HERE!