Will You Pass the Social Media Recruitment Test?

Think that what you post stays between you and your friends? Well, that’s not the case—employers may look for online infor­ma­tion about stu­dents as they apply for intern­ships and jobs. Recently, Career Ser­vices hosted “Do You Pass the Social Media Recruit­ment Test?” This event served as an intro­duc­tion to the ways stu­dents can use social media tools – among them Face­book, Twit­ter, and of course LinkedIn – in the job search and offered tips on how to man­age your online reputation. (Career Services offers similar events every semester, so watch their event calendar or the weekly CareerNews e-newsletter to see when the next one will be offered.)

The session began with the obvious question – what is the Internet saying about you? Stu­dents in attendance looked them­selves up on dogpile.com and other web­sites, and hap­pily none uncov­ered too much unsa­vory infor­ma­tion. Some found videos of them­selves, and the one post-doc present saw links to his research that he didn’t know existed. Kath­leen Mannheimer, Senior Asso­ciate Direc­tor of Career Ser­vices, who hosted the event, said stu­dents may be sur­prised what infor­ma­tion exists about them online and what employ­ers can eas­ily access. She sug­gested set­ting up Google alerts with your name so you can see what comes up in searches. She also sug­gested that when post­ing any­thing online, stu­dents should con­sider whether they would want to see that infor­ma­tion, photo, etc. printed in the news­pa­per. If you hap­pen to come across any­thing you would not want to see as pub­lic infor­ma­tion, lifehacker.com has good tips how to remove infor­ma­tion from the Internet. Check out this infographic entitled, “The Google Yourself Challenge” to learn more.

The pre­sen­ta­tion then shifted to LinkedIn, the social media plat­form that was founded with the express pur­pose of busi­ness net­work­ing. Despite this, Mannheimer said employ­ers can use any social media plat­form, even Twitter and Pin­ter­est, to track and source candidates. Mannheimer showed one of LinkedIn’s educational videos on cre­at­ing a pro­fes­sional pro­file. Tips included upload­ing a business-like pic­ture and giv­ing an in-depth sum­mary of your experiences. LinkedIn has under­gone a num­ber of changes to be more applic­a­ble to stu­dents. “In the very early stages, it was primarily for expe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als,” Mannheimer said. A LinkedIn page now includes oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dent data such as GPA and rel­e­vant coursework.

Other fea­tures of LinkedIn include the abil­ity to search by com­pany or indus­try and to research a role model’s career path. Mannheimer sug­gested that stu­dents reach out to recent hires at their dream com­pa­nies and ask how they landed the job. She also dis­cussed that when reach­ing out to pro­fes­sion­als on LinkedIn, it is not the same as “friend request­ing” on Face­book. You should add a pro­fes­sional intro­duc­tion and mes­sage to your request for connection.

Face­book and Twit­ter can also be good sources for job infor­ma­tion. Com­pa­nies often have pages specif­i­cally devoted to recruit­ing on Face­book, and there are Twit­ter han­dles that exclu­sively post job open­ings, such as @TweetMyJobs.

Despite the increas­ing rel­e­vance of social media plat­forms in the job search, one stands out. “LinkedIn is going to be the most impor­tant for you right now,” Mannheimer said. Career Ser­vices staff can help you review your LinkedIn pro­file in the same way they offer resume cri­tiques. If you would like assis­tance, sched­ule an appointment.

On a final note, I sug­gest all stu­dents search their name on the Inter­net to see what infor­ma­tion turns up and review their social media pres­ence to find out what an employer might see. Now’s the time to “own” your online reputation!


Know Your Passion: Advice on Applying to Graduate School

On Friday, Career Services hosted “Preparing Your Graduate School Application Materials,” which served as an introduction for students to the world of graduate school and graduate school applications. Satomi Chudasama, Assistant Director, Liberal Arts & Engineering Career Counseling, gave the presentation, and about twenty students attended.

Chudasama emphasized that students should not pick a graduate school based on ranking alone; they should also pay attention to the programs offered. “What you want to do and what the school is offering need to match.

The presentation drew many parallels between graduate school applications and college applications, but the chief difference between the two is that faculty members read graduate school applications. Because of this, it is important that undergraduate interests correlate with the program. “Graduate schools want you to know what you’re applying for,” Chudasama said. Having this sort of passion is important for reasons beyond the application. Graduate school, especially a Ph.D. program, is all-consuming. “It’s intense.”

When considering which program to apply for, it was emphasized that highly ranked schools might not be ideal for a student’s specific interests. Students need to look at specific offerings as well as other characteristics, such as location (“You’re going to spend a long time there.”) and faculty.  One tip Chudasama gave was to look at the authors of articles you enjoy reading for class. “If they are teaching somewhere, where are they teaching?”

As far as specific application materials go, Chudasama mentioned the letter explaining grade deflation that Princeton encloses with a transcript and said transcripts are also scrutinized for the students’ course selections. Standardized test scores can also counter a sub-par GPA. Since scores are valid for five years, it was recommended that students take tests while they are still in school, when they have good study habits.

For the statement of purpose, students may show their passions. “There’s no right or wrong way to write this statement, which is tricky for a lot of people,” Chudasama said. Career Services can provide reading and editing services, but it’s best to avoid the late-November rush.

The deadlines may be in the fall, but it is advisable for students looking to prepare over the summer. Sophomores, she said, should develop their passion and specific area of interest, but juniors can do more to research specific schools and take the relevant tests.

Career Services can provide more information on graduate school, setting goals, and specific elements of one’s application. Chudasama also highlighted the Credentials File service, which keeps letters of recommendation on hand for students applying to multiple schools or applying several years after graduation. For more information about the Credentials File system or about graduate school in general, visit http://www.princeton.edu/career/undergrads/grad-prof/.


Students and Summer Planning

Now is the time of year when well-meaning adults and classmates ask, “What are you doing this summer?” While I tend to answer in tones of great despair, it seems that many Princeton students have their plans all sewn up.

Natalie Scholl, a junior in the classics department, will be working in the office of Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann this summer. Scholl was drawn to the internship because it would be in her native Minnesota, only a forty-five minute drive from her parents’ house. Scholl is exploring opportunities in law for after graduation, and said, “It’s good to be involved in local politics.” Scholl credits her extracurricular activities, which include leadership roles in conservative Princeton groups, for helping her to land the internship. She made use of Career Services’ online tools and guidelines in writing her cover letter and organizing her resume. Despite resources from Career Services, Scholl said that one of the hardest things about the internship search “was just knowing where to look.”

Brandon Zamudio ’14, a politics major, will be interning in France this summer. Through OIP, he found a museum internship at Musée de Compiègne. “You can put that I’m not interested in museums,” Zamudio said, who looks at the internship as “exposure to culture and language.” Before coming to Princeton, Zamudio had never taken French, but is now looking at a French certificate. He sees the internship as an opportunity to “be independent internationally and in a different language.” Though the internship application was similar to that of a domestic internship, there was one noticeable difference – the interview was in French. Zamudio said he prepared for it “just like in any other interview,” though he took care to brush up on specific phrases he thought he would need. “If I have a good answer but can’t articulate it, what’s the point?” Zamudio said. Clarified 4/19/2012: Zamudio, while not exploring museum work as a long-term option, still looks forward to exploring related professions during his summer internship.

Also planning on an international internship is Reena Glaser, a sophomore in the psychology department. Glaser found her consulting internship through Birthright Excel, which connects students with internships in Israel. Before coming to Princeton, Glaser had thought of becoming a dentist, and last summer she shadowed dentists and other doctors. However, through personality tests and sessions with Career Services advisors, Glaser found that consulting would be a better fit. She applied for around 30 internships, but was rejected from all but this one. Glaser succeeded in spite of the obstacles of changing her career path in the last year and having “no business learning on campus.” Internships are essential for supplementing a business resume.

Though Zamudio and Glaser’s internships are taking them to different countries, remote internships allow the work to come to you. Lizzie Martin ’14, who is in the Woodrow Wilson School, has two remote internships lined up for the summer. Martin said these opportunities are rare, but found “applying for them to be relatively easy.” She will be working for literary agency and for a literary magazine, which requires her to read manuscripts and write reports. Martin has been working for the literary agency, which is based in New York City, since January. Meeting with Career Services advisors helped Martin land both jobs. “I have a solid resume because of the help I got in Career Services,” Martin said.

These students all have different plans for the summer, but they all approached their searches with great diligence and patience. It can take time to find a dream internship, and sometimes the perfect internship doesn’t present itself right away. What counts is making the most of any opportunity given.

What Kind of Law Will You Practice?

Tuesday night, Career Services hosted “What Kind of Law Will You Practice?” a panel featuring seven Princeton alumni with legal degrees. Around thirty undergraduates attended, and the alumni shared their experiences in law school and beyond.

The majority of the event was given over to the alumni to describe their career trajectories and offer advice. Among the panel, there were several unconventional paths to law school, including Chris Colvin ’88, who was an MAE major at Princeton and Jason Eaddy ’98, who worked in computer science before obtaining a law degree through night school.  “It took my parents a good five, six years to understand what I do for a living,” Eaddy said, who now consults with lawyers on technology-related cases.

The panel also included two alumni who work in criminal law. Facing a question from the audience about the possibility of becoming jaded as a public defender, Arthur Hopkirk ’81 and Isabel McGinty *82 offered words of encouragement. Both agreed that working as a public defender was a very tough field. “There’s no let-up…in criminal law, it is people’s lives,” McGinty said. Hopkirk said it can be difficult to find fulfillment in public defense if you want to win cases, since even the best lose 80 – 90% of their cases. Instead, “you have to really take internal satisfaction,” Hopkirk said.

Two panelists who talked about the reality of debt incurred over law school were Christina Keddie ’03 and Ani Mason ’00. Keddie was drawn to law school as “the extended Robbie George experience.” She now works as a labor and employment lawyer, saying that nonprofit work may not pay enough to effectively manage the debt. In contrast, Mason was able to obtain scholarships because she was interested in human rights.

Mason also said networking through the Alumni Careers Network was instrumental in building her career. At any point in her career, she was trying to develop relationships with people in the field. Colvin, who founded two networking companies, supported this view. “Network now, and network for your entire careers,” Colvin said.

Though the panel distributed a lot of information on the difficulties of law school and a legal career, Zachary Goldstein ’05 was optimistic for the attendees’ future: “You go to Princeton. It’s up to you.”

For those looking for more information about law school, Lyon Zabsky is Career Services’ pre-law advisor. She was present at the event and can answer more detailed questions about law school applications.

Learning About Business Etiquette in Japan

On Friday, Michiko Yamashima gave a presentation on Japanese business etiquette. Around thirty people attended, with many of those being students who planned on working in Japan.

Yamashima began her presentation with an overview of Japanese demographics and government. She then moved on to cultural norms, such as the Japanese emphasis on courtesy and respect.

Bowing was a major topic of discussion, and Yamashima brought up the fact that bows are often seen as a sign of subordination by the United States. To Japan, said Yamashima, a “bow is a gesture…showing respect and sincerity.” There are three levels of bows, with the deepest being for apologies and the least pronounced being a casual gesture. All bows are from the waist; nodding, Yamashima said, “is not a bow; this is neck exercise.” Other etiquette for bows includes the speed (slow is preferable to fast) and eye contact (at the beginning and end but not during a bow).

Yamashima covered other elements of Japanese business etiquette as well, such as the proper attire (dark suits with white shirts, and white socks are too casual) and the handling of business cards, which should be given and received with two hands. Respect for business cards is very important. “The business card is the person himself,” Yamashima said.

Most elements of Japanese business etiquette emphasize humility and respect. A junior employee should seat himself near the door of a tatami room and in the least comfortable position in a car. A junior employee should also use humble expressions when describing himself and his company, but may use honorific expressions when describing his superior or his client.

Miscellaneous items covered were Japanese resumes (should include age, business picture and dates in the Japanese era), compulsive retirement in Japan, and rules for serving alcohol (females should serve males, and junior employees should serve seniors before seniors serve them).

This is Career Services’ third year hosting the Japanese business etiquette seminar, and even for those not considering jobs in Japan, it proved a fascinating topic.

Women’s History Month – Alumni Advice for STEM Majors

Three Princeton alumnae gathered Wednesday at Career Services Wisdom for Women in STEM Majors. Akira Bell Johnson ’95, Cheryl Rowe-Rendleman ’81 and Joanna Nice ’06 have all had substantial careers in the sciences since leaving Princeton, and they offered advice and perspectives on being a woman in the sciences.

One of the most repeated pieces of advice was to find a mentor. All the women spoke about being humbled during their undergraduate years, and Johnson put it succinctly when she said, “It doesn’t pay to try to figure something out for a long time.” In any situation, it’s important to recognize when you need help, because that produces better results. “It’s okay to ask questions,” said Nice. “Part of your job is to ask questions.”

The women also emphasized the importance of a support system while balancing work and family. A few grad students asked the panel members, all of whom had children, how they approached the work-home question. Rowe-Rendleman had her first child while in graduate school, and said, “He sat on my lap while I was writing my dissertation.” Though the women it said it’s impossible to be perfect, Johnson said that having a “network of support around your family” helps immensely.

For those not thinking that far into the future, the panel also shared their perspectives on what to do in college. “It’s never too early to start interning,” said Johnson. Even non-science pursuits can be valuable, added Nice. Nice did crew while at Princeton and said she learned about “hard work and discipline and tenacity and teamwork” from her teammates. As far as picking a major, the women agreed that it’s important to do something you’re passionate about that allows you to shine.

For their final words, the panel encouraged taking risks. And “if the guys are talking, talk louder,” said Rowe-Rendleman, later clarifying, “Or, talk differently.”

The Magic of Movies Meets the Reality of Hard Work: Careers in Film and Television

Students wanting to learn about careers in media received some tough love at Career Services’ Careers in Film and Television event. The panel featured three Princeton alumni, who spoke about the trajectory of their careers and then took the time to answer questions and offer advice to the students gathered.

Katherine Carpenter ’79 was the first to address the group. A documentary filmmaker, Carpenter showed a clip of “Bones of Turkana,” the National Geographic special she co-produced. She then spoke about her work with the Discovery Channel, which she joined in its early days. “It was just really fun to work in the early days of cable where everyone was just making it up as they [went] along,” Carpenter said. Fun seemed to be the driving force of Carpenter’s career; she had gotten involved in media after noticing that press teams on the campaign trail always had a good time, and from those beginnings she became an award-winning producer with an Emmy to her credit. (Not bad for a comparative literature major who didn’t give television a second thought in college!) Though she always followed what she thought would be enjoyable, Carpenter had some words of wisdom for the crowd: “Write the scripts, change the toilet paper, you need to be willing to do everything.” Her experience had been that skills in writing and Excel were especially useful in the field.

In contrast to Carpenter, Sandy Kenyon ’78 started looking at media careers when he was sixteen years old. While at Princeton, he joined a fellow student’s radio program, “Focus on You,” and became so involved that schoolwork was an extracurricular in comparison. Kenyon said the industry prizes endurance and offered his personal opinion and this analogy: a finance firm, Kenyon said, will put you through four days of excruciating interviews before giving you a hefty paycheck, but the film industry will put you through five to seven years of 80-hour weeks before paying you a pittance. A career in film and television, said Kenyon, is for people who “love it deep enough and wide enough and long enough.” Kenyon also warned about the possibility of burning out or becoming unmarketable after ten years, though he said he’s been lucky. Early experience doing film reviews in his career led him to his current job, doing concise movie reviews for ABC that air in New York City’s taxicabs.

A more recent graduate, Josephine Decker ’03 was able to talk about film and television as it relates to her job as an independent film producer. Like Carpenter and Kenyon, Decker said that hard work and initiative was key. After working as a production assistant, she has moved onto other projects where she has more creative control. However, these projects require a wider knowledge of filmmaking and handling items such as publicity. When asked if she would recommend film school, Decker responded that what’s important is choosing a path that will address a filmmaker’s specific strengths and weaknesses.

In all, the panelists agreed that following one’s passions would yield a difficult but rewarding path. Film and television careers may not be for everyone, but for those that don’t mind hard work, they are attainable.

For more information about careers in the arts, visit Abbey Racelis, career counselor for arts, nonprofit and public sector (and moderator for this panel). And if you want to improve your social media literacy (a valuable skill according to the panel), make sure to RSVP to “Do You Pass the Social Media Recruitment Test?” on April 16.

Princeton Alumni are a Great Resource

Last Friday, Danny Steiner ’10 spoke about Careers in Hollywood. It is great to meet alumni who can provide insight into the opportunities available to students. Career Services offers several options for connecting with alumni in your field. Here are your choices:

  1. Networking events. Career Services hosts several events specifically designed for students to network with alumni. Last Friday’s Careers in Social Entrepreneurship, for example, was part panel and part networking. Every fall they host an “Alumni Connections” event and networking receptions are held at regional alumni clubs every summer. Students have the opportunity to interact with several alumni at all of these events–not just one given speaker. These events are great ways to meet many people in your chosen field.
  2. Solo speakers. I’ve yet to go to a Career Services “Careers-in” event where the speaker didn’t spend a few extra minutes afterwards to talk to individual attendees. While it’s not the specific purpose of an event like Careers in Hollywood, asking questions of the speaker is a way to show interest in his field. Worst-case scenario, you learn more about a career that interests you; best case–you get a business card with an email address.
  3. Finding alumni on your own. The Alumni Careers Network is a great place to start. It’s a searchable database of nearly 5000 Princeton alumni who have volunteered to help students that’s run by TigerNet, another great resource. With the ACN, you can search by degree, employer, or job title. Some alumni make themselves available just to give general information, but others offer assistance on finding jobs or internships. All you have to do is send that first email.

While Career Services provides many ways to get to know alumni, all of them have one thing in common–the student has to take the initiative. For more tips on exactly what to say and where to look, visit the Career Services’ page on developing contacts here.


Interested in Law School?

Career Services co-hosted the Law School Preview last night with the Firestone Library in order to give students an idea of what their legal future might hold. For someone like myself, whose knowledge of law school comes from The Paper Chase and Legally Blonde, the preview was an eye-opening experience.

The preview opened with a small talk from David Hollander, who is Firestone’s legal librarian. Hollander introduced the future legal students in the room to the phrase “the magic of legal research,” and provided information on researching the law. Hollander practiced law for three years, and he said that knowledge of primary (court cases, executive regulations, and statutes) and secondary (Law Review, treatises) sources was essential for every law student.

The majority of the preview was conducted by Michael Herz, a fellow in Princeton’s program in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA). Herz explained that he would be simulating an “ordinary class,” though he wouldn’t focus on the Socratic method, a formerly popular method of teaching law. Instead, he said that the class would be “having a conversation, less that [I’m] grilling you or testing you, or humiliating you.” The reports of ultra-scary law professors (think The Paper Chase) apparently have been greatly exaggerated.

The twenty or so students attending the preview had received a packet of cases upon registering for the preview. Case law, Hollander had previously explained, created precedents but not statutes.

Among points covered in the discussion of the cases were the three elements needed to understand a case: the outcome, the justifications for that outcome, and the legal rule that could be extracted. “You don’t know what a case means until you’ve seen it applied,” Herz said. In the discussion, students were asked to look for “meaningful distinctions” between cases, or, alternatively, to look for cases where the same justifications could be applied. In this way, students learned how lawyers consider cases related or unrelated.

This is Career Service’s fourth year hosting the Law School Preview, but you don’t need to wait until it comes around next year to learn more about law school. Keep an eye out for the alumni panel “What Kind of Law Will You Practice?” (Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 pm at Career Services), or schedule an appointment with Lyon Zabsky, the career counselor in charge of pre-law advising and all other things law-related!