Sealing the Deal: Interview Tips For College Grads

Job interviews can be nerve-racking, especially for college grads who may not have as much experience interviewing as other candidates.

As the graduation date comes closer, now is the time students should prepare for interviews and learn to stand out from the rest. Below is a list of interview tips to impress an employer and get your dream job.

 1. Practice, practice, practice!

It is important to practice with friends, family, your professors, etc. Going over standard interview questions with people you trust will help you feel more comfortable when the real interview comes.

The Chico College Career Center offers mock interviews to help college students with suggestions and critiques.

2. Have your resume memorized.

A lot of times, companies will ask you questions based directly from your resume. If you have listed “assisted in media pitching,” be prepared to explain exactly what media pitching you did for that company. This Huffington Post article offers some other great resume advice.

3. Be aware of your body language.

Make sure you give a solid handshake, make good eye contact and sit up straight. Having good body language will show your enthusiasm for the job at hand and portray your positivity.

Menshaking
Photo credit: Victor1558, creative commons, original photo

4. Bring questions.

Research the company beforehand and come up with some quality questions about the company. Coming prepared with questions shows the employer your determination and strong work ethic.

5. Say thank you.

Make sure to get the contact information from the interviewer and send a follow-up thank you email or letter. Hand written cards make more of an impact and show you put time and effort into thanking them for their time.

With these tips you will be prepared and confident to impress the interviewer, show them why you are the best candidate for the job and seal the deal.

Tips on Landing an Internship After College

The rule is we all go to college to land our dream job. The truth is, that rarely happens. We have to gain experience through internships before moving up to our dream job.

It also involves a lot of waiting and interviews with countless companies.

I have been on four site visits to numerous companies including Zynga, Brocade and Airfoil. I have also been able to speak with company representatives from FleishmanHillard and GeekWire.

All the people I have spoken to recommend applying three months before graduation. They also recommend internships during college to gain experience and taking courses that will put you ahead of other applicants.

I have found a few tips that are helping me apply for internships.

Shaking hands in internship process
Photo credit: Chantal Richards

1. LinkedIn

Having a profile on LinkedIn helps connect you to different companies around the world. A LinkedIn profile should have everything up to date and be consistent in the job descriptions. Be as detailed as possible. Also, ask for recommendations and endorsements from your connections because this will promote your skills to potential employers.

2. Get a lot of experience

Experience is what sets you apart from other applicants. The more work you can show off in your portfolio, the better. This can also include work from classes that pertains to the internship you are hoping to land.

3. Walk the walk and talk the talk

Selling yourself starts with the way you present yourself. First impressions are everything when trying to land an internship. This includes dressing appropriately, minimizing cursing and being early to scheduled interviews. It also includes how you present yourself publicly on your social media.

4. Research companies

Researching the company you see yourself working in is key. You have to look at the culture of the company and the mission statement, as well as organize a site visit to see how the atmosphere in the office is. If you don’t see yourself fitting into the company, move on to a company you do see yourself being a part of.

5. Spread your net as far and wide as possible

Being able to land the internship you want includes applying for as many as possible. It might not be the ideal one you want, but as my motto goes: Spread your net wide because a fish is bound to bite.

Applying for internships is tough, but it does pay off because we all have to start somewhere.

Making the Most of Your Last Semester in College

Many of us have just embarked on our last semester at California State University, Chico.

This is a time to reflect on our academic experience and begin crucial planning that will determine which direction our bright new careers will take us in.

The Huffington Post has an article to assist seniors in their last semester properly prepare for job hunting. I want to stress the importance of taking your resume to a workshop, securing personal online accounts and expanding your professional network.

I feel that one of the best ways to prepare for job hunting is by being active on LinkedIn. I advise that you add all family, friends, professors and colleges because just one of these connections could lead you to the career of your dreams.

After completing the necessary tasks that will ultimately allow you to land your first job after college, seniors should take the time to fully experience what Chico has to offer.

Sadly, most of us will never live in or even visit Chico ever again.

Bidwell fall colors
Photo Credit: Nicole Hamon

I really would like to encourage students to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. Taking a break from your academics with a simple stroll through Bidwell Park or a nice hike around Bear Hole can really allow you to experience Chico.

These are the type of memories that will stay with you when you fondly reflect on your academic experience at Chico.

A favorite hike of mine, one that everyone should accomplish before leaving, is the Feather Falls trail in Oroville. The surroundings are gorgeous and there is a massive waterfall at the turn around point of the hike.

Students should acknowledge that the nature that surrounds Chico is a great source to alleviate stress.

Enjoy your last semester to the fullest, you only have this opportunity once.

Climb Your Way Out of Your Comfort Zone

I am by no means a mountain climber. In fact, I am terribly afraid of heights. The prospect of getting on a ladder is terrifying. So it’s only natural that hiking would be far from my to-do list.

Last summer, after extensive begging and convincing, a friend got me to agree to hike up Black Butte just outside Mount Shasta. Granted this is not the largest peak in Northern California, but still for me this might as well have been Mount Everest.

The morning of, I’m in the kitchen stuffing as many water bottles in my backpack that I can find, simultaneously reaching for any substantial food that I can travel with. After all, this was my apocalypse. No way was I going to be stranded on some butte without water. Besides it’s July.  It’s 9 a.m. and already 95 degrees. This is going to be a long day.

10 a.m., I’m ready… or at least as much as I’m ever going to be.  My friend Is laughing at me carrying my heavy backpack like a life preserve as he gingerly throws his CamelBak over his shoulder.  I’m already sweating through the thick layer of sunscreen I have put on. I get in the car fed up with the day that has barely started.

We are finally at the base of the butte. I look up hopelessly trying to find the top, asking where the rocks we climb up are. I’m given a lesson on what a switchback trail is and how we don’t just simply climb rocks to get to the top. We weave back and forth through carved trails up the mountain. Great, just another way to prolong this.

It’s 100 degrees now. We are about an hour into this “fun” experience.  It only took about 15 minutes into the hike to realize that the gallon of water bottles and 10 Granola bars I so naively insisted on bringing was a terrible decision. I’m walking up steep trails fighting the weight of the backpack. My friend takes the backpack, giving me control over the CamelBak. Anything to shut me up. I remind him that it’s his fault we are here in the first place.

It’s noon. We are about halfway. I have stopped looking up. Solely focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. I’m drenched in sweat and pretty sure acquiring a tan line that would make a farmer jealous.  I found a large stick that I have been walking with, trying to conserve energy.  I truly underestimated the endurance this takes.

2 p.m. My exhaustion has turned into unbridled anger. I’m yelling at my friend between draining the CamelBak and trying to maintain a steady breathing pattern. He’s yelling back. “You’ll thank me, you’ll see,” he says. “Stop being a baby.”

We finally make it.  Four long, hot hours later. I look up for the first time since beginning at the base.

It’s unbelievable.  The anger subsides, replaced by genuine awe.  I’m literally on top of the world.

I can see everything. The place that I have called home for the past 18 years I feel like I am seeing for the first time. It’s incredible.

I sit down. It’s so quiet. My friend is off on another rock doing the same. We both just sit there, not talking, silently suspended from reality.

On the way down we don’t say much. The descent only takes about an hour. We get in the car, dumping our stuff in the back seat and start driving back to the house.

“I told you, “ he said. I just nod. He is completely right.

Climbing Black Butte for the experienced hiker might not be a spectacular feat. However, to this day I never experienced anything like that again.  My purpose for writing this is to urge those of you reading this who might not consider yourself a candidate to do something like this. It was worth it.

Black Butte mountain
Photo credit: Kiely Nelson

Here are some hiking tips for you first-timers:
• Wear shoes with good grip
• Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate in the days leading up to the day of the hike
• Don’t over pack. Carrying an extra load will only exhaust you more.
• Buddy system. You don’t know how hard it is until you’re well into the hike. Support and encouragement is definitely recommended.
• Food: you will get hungry.
• Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses will be your saving grace.
• Camera: document it.

For more tips visit: http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/hike-tips.htm

Pursuing Your Passion

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
– Confucius

This quote from Confucius is one of my favorite quotes because it’s not only great advice to follow, but it is also very true. In the past, I have had my fair share of jobs that I absolutely did not love and it wasn’t because I didn’t like to work, it was because I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing at those jobs. Passion is a very powerful emotion. When you’re passionate about something it gives you the motivation to do things and to do them well.

women's soccer team
Photo credit: Jen Basulto

I am a big believer in pursuing your passions because I have come to find that when you are doing something you are passionate about that is when you find your true bliss. A few years ago I was at a point in my life where I needed to decided what I wanted to do as a career. I had narrowed my choices down to two: work in the entertainment industry or work in the sports industry. I was leaning more towards the former. I knew I needed to get an internship in both industries to help with my decision and ended up landing an internship, which later turned into a job, with the University of California, Santa Barbara men’s soccer team.

It was here where I found what I was most passionate about and where I eventually found my bliss. Everyday I went into work with a spring in my step that I did not have in my previous jobs; I truly loved my job. It’s because of this experience, that I have chosen to pursue my passion of sports and make a career out of it. More than anything I am passionate about soccer and hope to one day be able to pursue my passion and work for Major League Soccer or for U.S. Soccer.

It’s not always easy to figure out what you love and what you are really passionate about to make a career out of it. The Huffington Post has a great article on how to identify and pursue your passions. The article provides a step-by-step plan on how to pinpoint what you are passionate about and ways on how to turn that passion into your career.

I found my passion, now it’s your turn to go out there and find yours.

Eye Shadow Tutorial #NewYears

What better way to ring in the new year than with a glittery, smokey eye. This video is a quick and easy way to achieve the perfect New Year’s Eve eye shadow. The last day of the year is perfect for a little glitter and shine.

Dare to be glamorous.

Products used:

Base (Under Eyebrow):
MAC Brush 266SE
MAC Pro Longwear Concealer: NC25
Covergirl Eye Enhancers: Champagne

Eyelid:
MAC brush 219SE
L’Oreal Paris High Intensity Pigment: Metallic Shadow Duo
MAC Glitter Pigment: Reflects Gold
MAC Duo Adhesive
MAC Liquidlast Liner

Eye Crease:
MAC Brush 214SE
MAC Eye Shadow: Black Tied

Mascara:
Rimmel London Volume Accelerator: 001 Black

Have a Healthy Holiday

Remember that New Years resolution you made last December? Well, if you’re like the rest of America, it probably had something to do with losing weight or being healthy. Just because the year is almost over, there’s no excuse to forget your goals.

The holidays are an easy time to lose sight of the fact that although the delicious food will soon be gone, you’re stuck with the extra calories. Luckily there are multiple ways to enjoy those sweet, seasonal dishes without the guilt that tends to arrive shortly after.

Here are a few tips on how to stay healthy during the holidays:

1. Stuffing is something you do to a turkey, not your face.
Holiday food is delicious; there’s no denying that. Because of this, it is often difficult to stop eating because of the conflict between taste buds and stomach capacity. When you are full, put down the fork. Don’t eat until it hurts.

2. Keep your hands busy, not your mouth.
Holiday activities tend to be centered on food. Instead of decorating cookies or building gingerbread houses, try decorating stockings and ornaments, make red and green construction paper wreaths, put Christmas lights up outside or try making your own season’s greetings cards to give to friends, family and even professors. See if you can make better paper snowflakes than you could ten years ago. Pinterest is full of other great ideas!

Christmas ornaments
Photo credit: Joe Buckingham

3. Eat your calories, don’t drink them.
You might be surprised by how many calories are hidden in holiday drinks. If you really want to make your calories count, go for that slice of cheesecake but skip the Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte. Water isn’t hiding calories, so drink up!

More tips:
• Don’t go for seconds.
• Don’t linger by the appetizer table.
• Instead of driving your car to see Christmas lights, walk through the neighborhood with friends or family.
• Volunteer!
• 25 more ideas!

Enjoy the holidays. It’s okay to indulge in yummy food, but family and friends are a much more rewarding indulgence. Cheers!

Benefits of Volunteering

Every small act counts.

I live by this motto day in and day out. I am so involved in community activities that the standing joke from the Enterprise-Record is trying not to photograph me.

Bald is Beautiful! Photo credit: Chantal Richards
Bald is Beautiful! Photo credit: Chantal Richards

Whether it be covering my “sex and relationships” beat for The Orion to attending volunteer opportunities like Up ‘til Dawn, I have become a regular customer to everything I feel will benefit someone else.

I have done small things like donating my last dollar to someone in need to being a co-captain on the Relay for Life Survivor/Caretaker Committee for Chico, and more recently, shaved my head for cancer solidarity at Up ‘til Dawn’s Bald is Beautiful event.

There are so many benefits to volunteering besides the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I do something for someone else.


Here are my top choices:

• What goes around, comes around
I have always had the mentality that if I were ever in a position where I needed help, I would want someone to help me. This could be anything from changing a flat tire on the side of the road to asking to borrow money. Good acts lead to it coming back somewhere in your life.

• Great networking
It reminds me of the movie “The Pursuit of Happiness,” where Will Smith’s character is literally down on his luck. But through perseverance, he takes those experiences and lands a job that makes him a billionaire. Volunteering has led to some unlikely connections that I wouldn’t have been able to make elsewhere.

• New experiences
I have had many experiences that I wouldn’t have dreamed of having. Recently, I went to a conference for Relay for Life and met a lot of cancer survivors and caretakers. That passion led me to shave my head for cancer solidarity and from there, I participated in the Chico State Up ‘til Dawn for nine hours straight writing more than 100 letters to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

• Meet new people
I have met a lot of people that are passionate about the same things I am. I have volunteered with my sorority sisters before on many things like the Kristina Chesterman Foundation and the Heart Walk. We share a common goal in volunteering our time to educate, raise awareness and help the community in a lot of ways. Through that, I have met many people from different walks of life and have been able to grow friendships I never thought I would have.

• Great stories
There are countless stories that I could write forever and would take multiple books to convey. One story is how a homeless woman approached me asking if I could spare $5 so she could get food. I dug into my wallet, pulled out the crisp $5 bill and handed it over. With tears in her eyes, she hugged me and thanked me by giving me a green necklace I still treasure today.

There are so many ways to volunteer and the benefits vary for each person but remember that every small act counts, even if it is a few dollars here and a few hours there.

Can’t We All Just Get Along? – Respectful Competition

As an Oakland Raiders (and Athletics) fan, I know what it’s like to be disappointed. I love my team, but let’s admit it, we’ve had some rough seasons. What makes it even worse is friends getting in your face about it.

I’ve found myself rooting against teams just because my friends (that are clearly against my team) are wearing their jersey. Well, it’s time to step up and say, “I’m tired of it!” Can’t we all just get along and like our own teams in peace?

It’s always fun to support your team, but what about your friends?

Here are some tips on how to be competitive in a respectful way:

1. Don’t get in anyone’s face. It’s always fun when your team has scored, is winning, etc., but respectfully cheer for your team and don’t say anything bad about the other.

2. Walk away if something bad happens in the game that you are going to overreact about. No one plays a perfect game every time, so get up, take a deep breath and relax.

3. Don’t hate just because your friend is. It isn’t always a good idea to follow the crowd. Have your own opinion and don’t put anyone down just for the sake of putting them down.

4. After a win, don’t post on social media about how another team lost. Support your team and be a true fan!

No one likes to be put down for something they can’t control. So remember, keep calm, and be respectful. All that being said… Let’s go Oakland!

For a deeper understanding on why people are so competitive visit this Psychology Today article or to learn more about competitive friends read this CBS article.

sports team rivalry
A little team rivalry between friends. Photo credit: Catriona Lund