Category Archives: Undergrad


GWSBfowler Student Blog: Mastering the Recorded Video Interview

There seems to be a new trend in recruiting: the recorded video interview. Companies have started using platforms such as HireVue, Spark Hire, and VidCruiter to do preliminary, off-site interviewing at the convenience of the interviewee immediately after making it through a preliminary application screening. Usually, these interviews consist of about 3-5 questions and take only about 10-20 minutes to complete. Recently, I applied to an internship online, knowing that once the company received my application they would send me a link for the video interview and that within 2 days of receiving the link I needed to complete the interview.

How to Prepare for the Video Interview:

I prepared for the interview the way I would for any. I suggest looking over the job description, keeping in mind the keywords you can use in your responses. Also, you should always think of a response for “why you are interested in taking a position with the company you are interviewing with”, and practice and customize your elevator pitch because they will probably ask questions along the lines of “tell me about yourself” and “why are you a good fit/interested in this position.” I was asked both of these questions in my video interview, and luckily I was prepared and felt confident in my answers! 

What to Wear:

What you would wear to an in person interview! Always make sure what you are wearing is appropriate business professional. Even though the video may only show your head and shoulders, it is always better to wear a full suit. This not only makes you look professional to the interviewer, but it will help put you in a professional mindset.

Where to Go:

My advice is to complete the interview in a quiet, clean, and naturally lit space. I wouldn’t suggest a crowded coffee shop or your room if it tends to be dark and messy. Booking a study room or other private space is also a great option.  Just make sure that where you are you will not experience interruptions or distractions.

How to Conduct the Interview: Make sure your computer’s camera and microphone are working, and allot yourself enough time to conduct the interview without rushing through it. Have notes nearby, such as the job description and your master résumé that will help you prepare to answer the questions.

  • Many systems have an option for doing a practice question. I recommend doing this because it can be a little weird answering a question while looking at the recording of yourself, so this practice will help you get used to it. When answering the question, do your best to look at the camera and at the computer screen. It’s hard to keep your eyes from wandering, but do your best to pretend you are making eye contact with someone. Practice speaking slowly and clearly. Also by practicing, you can make sure that your camera and mic are working properly.
  • Once you start your interview, you may have a limited time (e.g. 3 minutes) or an unlimited time to prepare to answer the question. You will also have a limited amount of time to respond; usually 1-4 minutes so make sure to hit your main points efficiently and quickly, but again, remember not to talk to fast. If you have an unlimited prep time, make sure to use it by thinking through your response fully before recording it. Definitely use your prep time to jot down a few points to make sure you cover them in your response.
  • When you’re ready to answer, hit the start recording button and give it your all! If you are finished answering the question, and you still have a little bit of time left, don’t force yourself to fill the time, just finish the recording. This way your answers will be clear, concise, and memorable, not long and jumbled.
  • Also, at the end of the last question, remember to thank the interviewer for taking their time to view the video!

The Fowler Coordinator Blog: Company Culture

by Ryan Lasker

Interviewing for internships and full-time positions is not just about making sure you stand out and that you give all the right answers to interviewers’ questions. It’s also about determining whether the company is a good fit for you and whether you’d actually like working there.

But, it’s hard to get a sense for what a company’s culture is like when you’re not interviewing in their office or when you’re only meeting a couple professionals at the firm — not to mention all the nerves and other parts of the interview process that are occupying your mind. Take the time to meet with as many employees as possible and understand the company’s mission as well as possible.

Many companies will tell candidates that their competitive advantage over similar firms is their people, or “company culture,” which can include their employee benefits, outside-work events and general workplace style. Current employees are the ones who understand what the culture is like, and they also are the ones who perpetuate it.

Find a way to get in touch with as many professionals as possible. Getting on the phone or grabbing coffee with them will help you decide whether you would want to work with them for 40 hours (or more) every week. It is appropriate to ask them about what their workweek is like and how they balance their work with their personal life, but avoid questions about salary or highly personal subjects.

A huge part of company culture relies on the type of work you do and also how the company wants that work done. Some companies are driven more by deadlines while others prefer to focus on high-quality results. Try to align yourself with a company that has similar values to you. You can find such information on companies’ mission statement, which are generally on their websites.

Many businesses are also adopting corporate social responsibility initiatives that include paying their employees while doing community service work or matching donations to nonprofit organizations up to a certain amount. Take a look at what your potential employers do to better society.

It is impossible to understand a company culture completely without working there, but by getting to know current employees and the initiatives that management has set forth, you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s like to work for a certain company.


The Fowler Coordinator Blog: Staying Motivated and Focused During Hard Times

By Cory Shaffer

Mid-Season Motivation: Staying Motivated and Focused During Hard Times

Alas, it’s that time of the year again. Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving and Christmas break are right around the corner, and midterms are in season. In my four years here at GW, I’ve found this time period to be the most overwhelming and the most stressful. Though fall break was certainly helpful, I’m sure most of us are still feeling the pressure with another round of midterms coming up, and finals season looming in the distance. But don’t panic! I’m here to share a few helpful tips that will get you through and keep you focused and motivated as the winter weather rolls upon us.

Whether you just landed an internship offer, you’re feeling a little homesick, you didn’t do as hot on the first round of midterms as you would have liked, or you’re simply going through some personal struggles, it’s easy to find yourself down in the dumps with little motivation around this time of year. Here is some advice I’d like to share with you that’s gotten me through hard times at GW.

Smile and Take Care of Yourself

Smile, everything is going to be ok! I know it can be tough to maintain a positive attitude when faced with adversity or when struggling to find motivation. I’ve found that the best way to tackle this is to start with a smile!. Studies show that even if you are feeling depressed, if you force yourself to smile as much as possible, you will inevitably feel happier. This sounds ridiculous until you try it.

I would also suggest taking a day for yourself to detox, relax, reflect and forget. We often times carry around so much pent-up stress and anxiety and only add to this seemingly unsurmountable pressure by holding it in and spending another long night in Gelman. Though it’s certainly good to work hard, it’s best to work hard because you are motivated to do so rather than because you feel obligated to do so. Take a day or at least a few hours of “me-time” to enjoy yourself and appreciate yourself. I’ve found that after doing this, it’s much easier to get focused again and re-motivate yourself.

Now I know we’re in college, most of us are broke and probably have to skip a meal every now and then when we’re not taking advantage of free meals on campus and BOGO deals at Chipotle. That said, you can’t be your BEST YOU or work to your FULL POTENTIAL, unless you are finding the time to eat healthy! I know it’s hard, but see if you can squeeze in an apple, a banana or something green into your diet at least once a day. I often times take a bag of pretzels or apples and peanut butter with me when I study. Small snacks like these are a major help, as they keep you well-nourished throughout the day, and also serve as something to keep your hands busy as you’re studying the chapter. Whatever you do, do make sure that you are getting at least 3 meals a day. Though it can be tempting and sometimes seem bearable, skipping meals will only deplete your energy, drain your happiness, reduce your ability to focus, and evaporate your motivation to get work done.

Don’t forget to have fun! We all have hobbies and pastimes that we enjoy indulging in from time to time. Whether it be exercise, reading, writing, photography, music or even collecting Pokémon; whatever it is, don’t disengage, make sure you’re finding time to enjoy these hobbies and pastimes that you love so much.

Sit Down, Set Goals, Plan It Out

Now that you’ve found time for yourself, it’s time to sit down and get yourself organized. Creating a to-do list, or a daily schedule is a great practice as it allows you to visualize your day and everything that you need to get done. Sometimes, there’s no better feeling than having a list of everything you need to do and a game plan as to how to approach your list.

Set goals for yourself. I know, cliché, I know, who does this? Like who actually sits down and sets personal goals while in the middle of midterm season? Well, you’d be surprised at how helpful and motivating it can be. Setting social goals, academic goals and professional goals can really help to keep you focused, boost your self-esteem and actually help you GROW as a person. They don’t have to be major, maybe it’s just attending one org event, or making one new professional connection or putting in “x” number of hours studying for a particular class. Whatever they may be, the feeling of actually achieving these small goals and crossing them off your list is priceless.

Don’t forget about why you came here to GW and what you want to achieve in your four years here. Once you’re in college it can be very easy to get side-tracked and lose sight of why you came here in the first place and what you intended to accomplish. Constantly remind yourself of how hard you worked to get here and why you worked so hard in the first place. Use this as motivation! One of my favorite practices is creating a vision board- a collage of pictures, symbols and phrases that speak to where you want to be in 5 or 10 years. A vision board is a great motivational tool because it’s essentially a conglomeration of all of your goals and ambitions that drive your passion. Grab a white board from CVS, throw some lofty pictures on there and hang it on your wall. Look at it every day and watch how your focus and motivation becomes amplified and more consistent.

Good Vibes All Around

The last section is my favorite- surround yourself with positivity. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “you are what you hang around with” or “your salary can be easily determined by looking at the five people you hang around with most.” These sayings are very true. If you find yourself losing focus or motivation, look around! I bet there’s a bad apple or two that have been causing, or at least allowing your lack of motivation to live on. Surround yourself with good friends that you enjoy being around, but will also be honest with you when it comes to your work ethic. It’s not fair to yourself to constantly engage with individuals who you don’t necessarily enjoy being around or that don’t exert nearly as much energy and effort into their academic studies and career pursuits as you do. Often times we don’t even realize that it’s the people that are around us that cause us to feel a certain way, rather than our own inherent dispositions. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture: “do I really enjoy hanging with these people?” Do they genuinely care about my happiness and well-being? Do they share my work ethic, passion, ambition?

And don’t forget your family! Something that I think we are all guilty of. Having frequent conversations with Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins can have a profound effect on your attitude and energy. For me personally, talking with family keeps me grounded and reminds me of why I’m here at GW. Sometimes we can swing off of our moral compass, but it’s always nice to have a relationship with at least one family member with whom you can call to vent and gossip, reflect on old times or simply re-motivate yourself.

So here’s the message: Don’t over stress yourself. Take some “me-time” to gather your thoughts and then sit down and come up with a plan of action. The key to staying motivated is to find comfort in your surroundings and purpose in your work. The above tips should give you a strong starting point for doing so. And just remember, you’re not the only one going through it! Smile!


The Fowler Coordinator Blog: Accounting – Bigger than the Big 4

When most people hear the word Accounting, their minds instantly jump to someone sitting in a cubicle with an old-fashioned calculator crunching numbers from 9 to 5. I have got to admit, I was definitely one of those people.

That was until I went through the recruiting process and started to meet people, who claimed to be in the Accounting field. But how could that be? They all seemed so happy and talkative. There had to be a disconnect. But no, there wasn’t. Each of these people really was an accountant. After I met enough of these personable people, I realized this could actually be for me. I enjoyed my accounting classes, loved speaking with people from different companies and ultimately decided to change my concentration.

I started with the typical “Big 4” (E&Y, KPMG, PwC, Deloitte) recruiting during my sophomore year, when things really heat up for accounting recruiting. One thing unique to Big 4 accounting firms (and some smaller firms) is “externships”, which happen two years before your full-time offer. Externships are 2-3 day leadership conferences where the firm has you do lots of fun activities mixed in with some networking with the goal of seeing how you interact with others. In the end, they want to see if you would be a good fit for their firm, just as much as to see if they are a good fit for you. These can be local, national or international. I was lucky enough to my externship in Dublin, Ireland! After the externships, firms remain in contact with candidates, and most candidates will move on to do an internship with the firm of their choice, which would be for the following summer. These paid internships mix real world accounting work with dinners, team-building activities and networking, and last about 8-10 weeks. After the internship, full-time offers will come if you are offered a spot. Typically, there will be some type of brief interview after the internship, but sometimes offers can come weeks after the internship.

Besides Big 4, there are a lot of other firms with equally great opportunities. This past summer, in addition to my externship, I interned at Raffa, a public accounting firm that specializes in Nonprofit Auditing. My internship at Raffa, a smaller firm, was special for a few reasons. First of all, in my 8 weeks, I traveled to 6 different clients, and did work that would normally be assigned to a first- or second-year staff. Secondly, I had around-the-clock access to Senior Managers and Partners, who were more than willing to help me, since interns were doing a large portion of the audit work too. Lastly, a small firm gave me the opportunity to see how small companies operate on a large scale. I saw more than just one department of a company, more than just a few cash disbursements, and instead saw the inner workings of so many companies. I strongly urge accounting students to take advantage of interning during Externship season — you never know what you will learn, and you may decide that Big 4 is not for you!

Lastly, a few tips for managing Accounting recruiting:

  1. Connect regularly with your contacts — they want to hear from you as much as you want them to know who you are! At the end of the day, people hire people!
  2. Don’t be scared — the worst thing that could happen is someone says no…to a cup of coffee, to sending along your resume, to an internship. But at least you tried, right?
  3. Use your network — your peers, professors, mentors and more are here to help you. Take advantage of it!

Accounting is one of the most stable career tracks right now in our economy. There is a surplus of jobs, and accounting firms are looking for detail-oriented, smart and personable candidates who are looking to make a difference, whether it be in the Big 4 or not.

 


The Fowler Coordinator Blog: Make the Most of your Internship

By: Katie Keim

An internship is one of the most valuable experiences you can have as a college student. You can learn so much about yourself, as well as the business world, by applying, interviewing, and landing an internship position. However, once you have landed that wonderful opportunity, there are a few important things you can do to really take full advantage of your internship.

Be yourself and allow others to get to know you. This is one of the best things you can do while interning. It is important to understand your role as an intern, but you should not feel intimidated at all when talking to employees in higher positions. You were brought into the team and company for a reason so it is important to get to know the people you work with. Be sure to always smile and make eye contact as you pass someone walking through the office. Take your headphones out when you enter the building and ride up the elevator always taking advantage of an opportunity to meet someone new. Most importantly, try to eat lunch with others. While sometimes it might be nice to have a lunch by yourself, you would be wasting valuable time in getting to know other interns as well as the employees with whom you are working.

Always be sure to put your best foot forward. Try to be the first to get to the office and be the last to leave. If you are unsure of how to do something, always ask. When you have nothing assigned to you, be proactive and ask for more work. Feel free to walk around the office and talk to individuals you have previously met and ask if there is anything you can do to help them. Also, always be willing to go the extra mile. When placed on a project, complete all your required tasks and if possible suggest or do something extra that could be beneficial. It is also important that approximately half way through, and at the conclusion of your internship to meet with your supervisor and get feedback on your performance. You could ask them what you did well and what they think you could improve on. This will be hugely beneficial for your future internships.

Find a Mentor: When interning at offices and various companies, you have the ability to form meaningful relationships with various co-workers that could help you in pursuing your business career. It is important to schedule meetings to meet with the various people on your team to get to know them. You could ask them how they got to where they are in the company today, you could share with them your career goals and ask if they have any advice on how you could best succeed in fulfilling them. Once you have met with a few people, you can select a mentor who you can meet with occasionally and whom you can stay in contact with after the internship concludes.

Stay connected. As your internship comes to a close, it is important to get contact information from all of the people with whom you worked. It is also important to write thank you notes to those people. Follow up with them after a few weeks have passed and update them on your life. If it was a summer internship, mention how you are back at school and some of the courses you’re taking. It is also great to stay connected with these individuals because when you need a recommendation, you will have a variety of people to contact. Also, who knows, you might be back at that company working in the future!


The Fowler Coordinator Blog: The Art of the Follow-Up

By: Addison Holmes

This may be surprising, but there is very little in professional life that is as important as the follow-up. Whether you met someone at a career fair, just submitted your application, or had an interview, you want to make sure that you send a nice follow-up note – and fast! It’s strongly recommended that you send a follow-up email within 24 hours of the interaction (bonus points if you also send a handwritten note). Following up will keep your name on an employer’s radar and reiterate the fact that you’re very interested in the company.

But how do you know where to start? How do you know what to say? A good place to start is by saying where you met the person/why you’re reaching out. For example, you could say, “Jon, thank you for taking the time to meet with me earlier this morning” / “Janet, thank you so much for taking the time to come out to the GWSB Career Fair this afternoon.”

You want to continue by referencing something specific from your conversation. For example, you could say, “I enjoyed our conversation about skiing, Denver, and New York- style pizza. Or, “I appreciated your insight into data analytics at Deloitte and advice about post-internship role negotiation. Or, “It was really interesting to learn how Macy’s social media efforts are focused on creating two-way conversations, rather than pushing content.” Or, “I have always found that listening first leads to stronger relationships and better results, and really appreciated this point.” Referencing a specific topic of discussion helps the employer remember who you are and what you talked about, as well as helps you stand out among other candidates.

Finally, tie in a call for action. Employers need to know why you’re sending them an email. What do you want? What can you gain from emailing them? If you are following up on an informational interview, networking event, or career fair, ask an insightful question! If you don’t have something specific to ask, you could say something along the lines of “Thanks again for your time, would you mind if I asked one or two quick follow-up questions if I reached out?” If you are following up on an application or interview, you can close your email by saying something like, “I’ve also attached my resume for your reference, and a few of the projects that I mentioned as well. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need on my end. I look forward to talking with you again soon!”

Forgetting to send a follow up is a little like studying all night for an exam and then sleeping through your alarm. You can’t ace the test if you don’t even sit for it. Follow-ups are very similar. If you don’t follow-up with employers, your resume will get lost in the sea of applications.


The Fowler Coordinator Blog: The Great Balancing Act

By: Alexander Bealin

Let’s crunch some of the numbers: you’re taking 17 credits this semester. You have an off-campus job and are in the process of searching for potential summer internships. You are a rising leader in one student organization and a new member in another. Seems somewhat manageable, right? Your week is by all measures packed, but you have a structured schedule that has a fair amount of time appropriated to each activity, and there are very few regular conflicts. All of a sudden, you have family that comes into town that you want to spend time with, or you have to go home for a wedding, or your favorite artist is playing at 9:30 Club, or maybe you even get your third bout of the freshman plague. In any event, it all follows the same formula: your regular schedule is disrupted, and no matter how late you stay up the next couple of nights, it is very difficult to get back on track.

While everyone does not have the same schedule or priorities, I like to use a metaphor that can relate our college lives a little closer together. Imagine you are a trained tightrope walker suspended five or six feet off of the ground, walking back and forth across a rope. Sometimes you make it across the rope, but other times a strong wind rips through and pushes you off. When that happens, you scramble to get back on before anyone notices. In the college sphere, crossing the rope means that you made it through the week all “according to plan” – no surprise visits, sudden sicknesses, or extra work shifts. The wind represents one of those surprise disruptions, forcing you to readjust and reallocate your time. In the worst case, you miss a deadline for an assignment, internship application, or the time to study for an exam, and you lose your balance and fall off of the rope.

I believe that dealing with an unexpected assignment or commitment is the hardest part of time management. No matter how well you planned and prioritized your schedule at the beginning of the semester, you have to be ready for unexpected commitments. The great balancing act of your college career includes a ton of strong, sudden winds, and you must always prepare for the worst. But how can you prepare for the worst when your schedule is already packed? The answer is simple: try not to have a packed schedule.

A tightrope walker uses a similar coping method that you might have heard of called a horizontal balancing pole. This pole is attached to the walker’s body and has heavy weights attached at each end, increasing the person’s inertia and lowering the center of gravity. If a strong wind blows by, the walker merely needs to tip the pole slightly to rebalance, decreasing the risk of losing control and falling over. Many college students do not believe that they need a balancing pole in their schedule because they can learn to be more efficient and make time for anything else that comes up. Nevertheless, they cannot always just flip a switch and be more efficient when the time calls for it.

Avoiding a tight schedule allows one to build in contingency time for every schedule item’s undertaking. For example, deciding to quit that leadership position that takes up two hours on Monday and Wednesday nights allows for more time to finish a longer reading or an extra homework assignment. This leads to a domino effect, introducing elbowroom later in the week when you usually scramble to finish that assignment. Similar to using a balancing pole to rebalance much more efficiently, the more lenient schedule allows the student to spread out his tasks more evenly. Therefore, I have found that college students need that extra buffer to relax, take their time to try something new, and finally buckle down and use the time for reallocation in case a strong wind tries to sweep you away.


The Fowler Coordinator Blog: How to Ace a Phone Interview

By: Lauren Shaoul

Phone interviews can be awkward and nerve racking, but it’s an essential skill in today’s workforce. Phone interviews are often a non-negotiable prerequisite to an in-person interview, as employers are increasingly opting for phone interviews to screen potential new hires.

Not being face-to-face with someone doesn’t mean that you still don’t need to bring your A-game. Here are some tips and tricks to improve your phone interviewing skills.

  1. Prepare Notes and Keep Them Handy

Start by Googling everything you need to know about the company and industry. Look up relevant news articles and current events you can bring up in your interview. This will demonstrate your interest in the company, and impress your interviewer.

It helps to know who is on the receiving end of your call; research your interviewer and look on their LinkedIn to find any common experiences or interests. Take advantage of the invisibility factor and keep your notes handy for easy reference.

  1. Strike a Power Pose

Body language can affect how we see ourselves. Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy’s, famous TED talk discusses the influence of “power poses” on self confidence. Adopting a “high power” position before a phone interview can increase testosterone and decrease cortisol, instantly making you feel less stress.

It’s also important to dress the part and get in the mindset of an interview. Dress as you would for a face-to-face interview because you’re more likely to feel and sound professional if you look the part.

  1. Nail the Greeting

The beginning of a conversation sets the tone for the entire interview. Many people will say that the outcome of an interview is determined in the first 15 seconds. Answer the phone in a calm tone and introduce yourself.

  1. Master the Q&A

Phone interviews are typically shorter than in-person interviews, which means you have less time to make a good impression. Speak clearly, show enthusiasm and stay focused when answering your interviewer’s questions.

  1. Send a Follow Up Email

Send your interviewer a follow up email within 24 hours of your interview. Thank the interviewer for the opportunity, summarize what you spoke about during the interview, and reaffirm your interest in, and fit for the company/position. The subject line should be your name and the position you applied for.

There’s no such thing as a “bad” interview; practice makes perfect, so get on the phone more often! Practice with friends, an FDFCC Career Coach, or try out InterviewStream, an online video system that lets you practice interviewing from anywhere.

 

For more about the Fowler Coordinators click here.


The Fowler Coordinator Blog – Find Your Passion Through Networking

By: Christina Giordano

The rule is simple: networking is the key to success. Networking takes many forms, including but not limited to, career fairs, grabbing coffee with others, informational interviews, through internships, or traditional networking events. If you’re nervous about talking to strangers, don’t fret. It’s totally normal at first. Here are 21 reasons how to overcome that fear. It’s okay to feel that way but the reality is that almost every job is in the people business. The world is becoming a more collaborative place and learning how to network is an important skill to practice.

 

Now, how do you find your passion through networking? Talk to people. I love hearing people’s stories because the only way to find out about different industries, jobs and opportunities is to talk with people who’ve lived in them. Of course, you’ll never know how you’ll do in a situation until you’re in that experience yourself, but people are your greatest resources. Fun fact: People love to talk about themselves. Yes, it’s true–they love to share their experiences and give advice to young minds. Also, it’s fun to listen to people who’re genuinely excited about their job. Here are some personal tips to successfully network:

  • Use LinkedIn. Know a company you want to learn more about? Want to talk to someone who works there? Connect. Send them a message on LinkedIn. Share how you are a GW student interested in X field and want to learn more about [fill in the blank]. Ask for an informational interview. Boom. Use your network. Reaching out to 2nd degree connections could feel awkward but just think of the LinkedIn message as an abbreviated email.
  • Tap into the GW alumni network. I’ve never run into a GW alum who is not willing to help. I even connected with an alumna “across the pond”, while I was studying abroad in Paris. Go to the Alumni Office and attend their events. Connect with an alum individually.
  • Outside of LinkedIn, reach out for informational interviews. Whether this is with your professors, colleagues or supervisors. Pick their brains about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Attend a Fowler Career Center event. The School of Business has a lot of ways for you to connect. Take advantage of ALL the resources on the 5th floor of Duques has to offer.

 

There are plenty of ways to connect with people, especially with the rise of emerging digital platforms and the continuous updates to current technologies. Networking is an important ingredient to your professional success and happiness. It’s important to recognize, learn from and talk with the successful people around you. They can help you discover your passion and identify your purpose. Not all connections will necessarily be directly beneficial, but it’s about trial and error. Don’t forget that even if they aren’t able to be directly helpful, perhaps someone in their network can. And when you’re further along in your career, remember to pass along your words of wisdom to students seeking to network with you.


The Fowler Coordinator Blog – People. Hire. People.

By: Corinne Casolaro

What does that mean? How does it affect my internship or job search? In the big picture of recruitment, it’s crucial to remember that the recruiter is a person first. You are a person first. Making yourself personable and differentiable is not about a variety of impressive internships, expensive shoes or a killer GPA. Make yourself stand out by remembering- this is all about people talking to people.

In certain fields, technical skills are highly valued, as they should! But more often than not we forget to emphasize soft skills, and it can be difficult to find opportunities to develop them as we get older. Soft skills are your communication, intrapersonal and decision-making habits. Are you flexible? Can you respond well in a crisis moment? Do you remember that the recruiter was from your hometown, and ask them about their favorite parts? If your soft skills can use a little work- that’s okay. Now is the perfect opportunity- it is rare that you’ll be in another time of your life where there are thousands of other students, just like you, willing and looking for ways to learn. There are plenty of spaces on campus where you can practice your soft skills. Going to a professor’s office hours is a great start; these are highly regarded professionals in their field and can ask you the technical questions about your career path while being receptive to a more personal interaction. Take advantage of career fairs that give you the opportunity to meet hundreds of professionals. When you’re in your next appointment with your career coach, ask him or her for personalized feedback on where you can improve.

Now that you know where to improve, I want to highlight some examples of where your personality can come into play. Part of being personable is in your body language, demonstrating good eye contact, smiling and actually (yes, actually) being engaged in conversation. Asking a question just to ask a question doesn’t increase your credibility with a recruiter, but intently looking for a response does. At one of the informational sessions for the company that I wound up interning for, the recruiter was bombarded with a line of at least 20 people. I noticed some bottles of water sitting to the side and got one to give to her. Why? Because I knew that after talking to that many people she’d be thirsty. While it sounds trivial, when she called to give me an offer she brought up that interaction. Looking for little ways to follow up about information that they have decided to share with you helps establish solid relationships.

Remember that recruiters are people first. This means that by establishing a human connection you will already set yourself apart in the crowd. You will be able to demonstrate that you are a person that wants to work for their company, while highlighting that you are somebody that they should want to work with. Try it out at your next professional opportunity- see how it goes. But at the core, just remember that people hire people.