Tag: Careers

8 Steps to Interview Success

You’ve read every article there is to read about finding and successfully landing a job after graduation and followed all of the guidelines to a T. You’ve spent countless hours on Glassdoor, Indeed, and CareerBuilder browsing for any and all potential job openings. You’ve produced draft after draft of your resume in the hopes of grabbing the attention of your potential employers. On top of that, you’ve networked, attended career fairs and customized your cover letter for each specific job you’ve applied for. Graduation day is just around the corner and just when you are starting to warm up to the idea of living in your parent’s basement, you get the phone call you’ve been waiting for.

All of your work has finally paid off; you’ve been invited to interview! Unfortunately, your few brief moments of relief are quickly overshadowed by an entirely new wave of nerves. No matter how old you are, how many jobs you’ve had, or how qualified you might be, interviews are scary. That’s why we have a few tips that we hope will inspire you to be more confident, prepared and ultimately more successful when sitting down for the first time with your potential future employer.

    1. Analyze the Job: It’s no secret that there is strength in numbers. Like most other college graduates, you have probably applied to any and every job you thought you were even semi-qualified for. That’s what makes this first step so important. Take the time to go back and find the initial job posting that you applied for. Make sure you take note of the title of the position you will be interviewing for, as well as the responsibilities and job duties that will be expected of you. Make a list of any descriptive language that tells you what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Then make a corresponding list of qualities you have comparable to that list. By having a solid understanding of what your potential employer wants as well as what you, as a potential employee, can bring to the table, you will have a better understanding of how to present yourself as a promising professional during the interview.
    2. Do your Research: In many areas of the professional world, research is a fundamental key to success. If you learn this lesson early, it will carry you throughout your career, make your life easier, and prevent big mistakes before they occur. When it comes to job interviews, doing proper and thorough research about the company will set you apart from other candidates and show your employer that you are taking the hiring process seriously; you demonstrate that you are invested and interested in becoming a part of their company. In order to maximize preparedness, you should make sure you do the following:
      • Review the Company’s Online Presence: Take the time to familiarize yourself with the company website. Pay attention to the About Us section in particular. Before the interview you should have a firm grasp of the company’s mission, vision and values, as well as the list of products/services that they provide. In addition, get up-to-date on the company’s current events by browsing its social media platforms.
      • Look at the News: Before sitting down for your interview, you should be well aware of anything new and exciting going on within the company, as well as any crises they are currently facing. Take the time to review recent press releases issued by the company, as well as any recent news coverage. Google Alerts are an easy way to stay up-to-date in the days leading up to your interview. Create them for the company, the industry and any other relevant information you may want to know.
      • Stalk your Interviewer: Ok, no, you’re not really stalking. But it is highly recommended that before you meet your interviewer, you try to learn something about them. If you have their name, look them up on LinkedIn or Facebook. Find their name and picture on the company website. Hopefully you will be able to get a feel for the type of personality this person has. Do they seem more fun and casual, or lean more towards the sincere and serious side? The more you know about your interviewer, the more prepared you will be to communicate with them.
      • The Industry: Before going into your job interview, you should do some research regarding the trends of the industry and establish an idea of the type of environment your company is currently working under. Take note of some of the company’s top competitors and make a list of things that differentiate the company from the competition.
    3. Practice, Practice, Practice: Practice makes perfect. That same rule of thumb applies to you before your interview. Print out a list of popular interview questions and visualize yourself answering them. Take the time to sit down with a friend or family member and conduct a mock interview. You may feel silly, but you’ll thank yourself later. Practicing will help to calm your nerves and inspire confidence in your answers on interview day.
    4. Do the Little Things Ahead of Time: On the day of your interview, you will have plenty to worry about. Make your life easier by preparing the small stuff beforehand.
      • Pick out your outfit: I think we all can admit to scrambling around the house last minute in search of our favorite tie or pair of shoes at one time or another. Unfortunately, these things happen, so it is better to prepare ahead of time. Plan and lay out what you are going to wear the night before your interview. By doing this you will make more time for yourself in the morning and eliminate unnecessary stress. Trust us, you will be thankful you did.
      • Plan Travel Time: Always make sure you map out the time it will take to get from your house to your destination before the day of your interview. If you will be traveling in the morning, make sure you research your journey during the morning before your interview. Sometimes people forget that even though at 3:00 pm it estimates a 20-minute ride, that same 20-minute ride could very well become 40 minutes during rush hour traffic.
    5. Bring the Right Materials: You don’t ever want to meet your potential employer empty handed. Here is a list of things you will definitely want to have with you on interview day:
      • Resume: Although you have already submitted your resume with your application, it is always a good idea to bring two clean copies of it with you to your interview.
      • References: It is a good idea to have at least two references. This list should be printed and include the name, title, company, and contact information of the individuals.
      • Work Samples: Showcase yourself by bringing work that you are particularly proud of to leave behind with your potential employer. This could include writing samples, design layouts, or maybe even a particularly challenging and detailed school project that you are proud of. There is no limit to what you could bring. Just make sure what you do choose is relevant, memorable and sets you apart from your peers.
      • Questions: Make sure you have a list of questions ready to ask your interviewer. You don’t need to have these physically printed out on paper but definitely think of a few and have them at the top of your mind. Asking thoughtful questions shows you are interested and care about both the future of the company and yourself as a potential employee.
    6. Have Confident Body Language: Nailing your answers to the interview questions and having a killer resume aren’t always enough. To communicate yourself as both a capable and confident candidate for the job make sure you:
      • Have a firm handshake
      • Make eye contact
      • Speak slowly and clearly
      • Sit up straight
      • Smile
    7. Say Thank You: Make sure you take the time to write a Thank You note to your interviewer following your interview. An email will suffice, but if you want to go above and beyond, take the time to write a handwritten note. This shows the employer that you are well aware of how valuable their time is and that you are grateful that they took the time to get to know you. This is a courteous gesture that will set you apart from other candidates. If for whatever reason you don’t get the job this time, they might be more likely to consider you the next time there is an opening.
    8. Breathe: Last but not least, don’t forget to breathe. Remember you are intelligent and qualified, and any employer would be lucky to have you. You can’t win them all, and sometimes no matter how prepared you are, another candidate will get the job. Don’t get discouraged; you will have many more interviews and many more job offers throughout your career. Be confident, be knowledgeable and be prepared and remember at the end of the day you will find a job and things will be okay.

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Get that Dream Job with a Good Resume

Resume Writing Graphic

If you type “how to write a resume” into Google you are going to come up with thousands of results with varying and sometimes conflicting advice. That’s because there is no perfect way to write a resume. In fact, many experts recommend you steer clear from resume generating sites or cookie cutter formats all together. Resumes are unique and what you should and should not include varies based on several factors including industry, personal experience, profession and qualifications.

A good resume will get your foot in the door while a bad one may ruin your chances of landing the job from the start. There is no doubt that writing a resume can be a very daunting task and there really is no “right answer” in how you should do it. However, there are generally accepted guidelines that you can trust to help you along the way. We want you to be as successful as possible so before sitting down and updating your resume, take a minute to review these tips:

Spelling & Grammar: Missing typos or using bad grammar is the single easiest way to get your resume thrown out. Despite industry affiliation, most employers demand strong written communication skills in their new hires. To ensure your resume is free of any spelling and grammar mistakes, make sure you review it several times on several different occasions. Sometimes all you need is a pair of fresh eyes to catch a mistake you didn’t see before. In addition, have a friend or family member review it as well; the more people who review your resume, the less likely a simple error will go unnoticed and cost you your shot at landing an interview. For more advice, check out this list of top 5 grammar mistakes people tend to make on their resumes.

One size DOES NOT fit all: Sending out the same resume for every job that you apply for is not going to do you any favors and will most likely hurt your chances in the long run. Every job is different and every employer is looking for something different, so why would you give them all the same resume? You should customize your resume for each job you apply for. Although it may seem tedious and time consuming, you are increasing your chances of grabbing a hiring manager’s attention. If you’re not willing to tailor your resume to the job description, the employer has no reason to think that you are serious about the job opportunity and will not find it worth their while to call you in for an interview. Take your time to be thorough, research the company you are applying to work for, and tailor your resume to the job description. We promise the extra effort will pay off.

The key is in the keywords: With today’s advanced technology, most resumes are screened electronically before landing on an employer’s desk. Large companies in particular use computer technology that will search for keywords, keeping the resumes with them for review by a manager and discarding the rest. With that being said, you could have the best resume in the world but if it lacks the specific keywords the computer is looking for, your application won’t even make it into the hands of your potential employer. Although there is not a specific list of keywords to include on your resume, you can make a pretty good guess as to what they might be by carefully reading and analyzing the job description. For more information on how to identify and utilize key words on a resume click here.

Design for “Skimmability”: Most employers decide within a few seconds whether a resume is worth a full read or not, so you need to make sure yours is clean, consistent and easily readable. You do not want to distract the employer from reading what’s really important (your skills and experiences). Choose a modern classic font and stick with it. Make sure the margins are even and that the layout is navigable. You should avoid writing in paragraphs and instead present all of your information in clear and concise bullet points. A hiring manager is not going to work to find the information they need, so if it doesn’t stand out to them at the very beginning, the higher the chances are that your resume will end up in the reject pile. Sometimes people create flashy resumes that are designed to get the attention of an employer; this might be a good idea if you are pursuing a profession in a creative industry like design, but otherwise it is best to avoid using this tactic because it is risky and could be potentially distracting or unwanted to an employer.

Find a balance: A resume is about marketing yourself to an employer by telling a story about how and why your professional career up until this point has prepared you for the job. Often times people get caught up in trying to squeeze every experience right down to the first job they had in high school onto their resume. Although that job might be important to you, it may no longer be relevant. When it comes to writing a resume, it really is quality over quantity. Be specific and tell the employer your experiences that are both relevant and applicable to your ability to be successful in the position you are applying for. The standard rule of thumb is to keep your resume to a page in length. If you truly have enough relevant and important experience training and credentials, then it is okay to add a second page.

Accomplishments over responsibilities:
When listing your job experiences, it’s easy to get caught up in listing your job duties and responsibilities. An employer does not care so much about what you did while at your past job but instead is interested in what you accomplished. For example, did you drive sales up by 5%? Were you responsible for landing a new client? These are things you should take note of on your resume. A good way to do this is to include as many quantifiable facts and figures on your resume as possible, allowing potential employers to better visualize your capabilities and the positive contributions you’ve made working for past employers.

It’s easy to get caught up in the “do’s” and “don’ts” of resume writing. There is so much out there to consider that it’s easy to get lost in all of the technicalities. Before you go rewrite every line of your resume, we would like to remind you that it’s important you don’t edit your resume so much that it loses personality. At the end of the day, your resume is your introduction to your potential employer. Let them get to know you, but at the same time be honest, be concise and be relevant.

Written by Grace Mulleavey

Stephanie Bishop: Experiencing Civil Engineering First Hand

Hoyle, Tanner recently partnered with Milford (NH) High School & Applied Technology Center to host Stephanie Bishop, a high school senior, for the fall semester so she could further her passion for engineering.poster

What are your career goals after high school: Civil and Environmental Engineer

What inspired/influenced you to choose this career path: I love hands-on work. The whole design process from an idea to a sketch to an object seemed appealing to me. After taking the first engineering course at my high school, one project particularly stood out: paper bridges. I always wondered how bridges were able to hold so much weight. That curiosity combined with the knowledge gained from that unit in class, influenced my decision that civil engineering was the right path for me.

Provide a short description of the steps you are taking while in high school to pursue your career path: To start, I took all of the engineering courses available at my high school to make sure I liked it

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Stephanie shares her internship experiences with her high school classmates.

and wanted to continue with the subject. I got involved with STE(A)M nights as a student ambassador and got to share my knowledge and potentially spark an interest in younger kids. I wanted to know what other types of engineering were like so I joined the Women in Technology program with BAE Systems. This helped me gain an understanding of other options available should I decide that civil isn’t a right fit for me. I am currently in an internship with Hoyle, Tanner which is an amazing opportunity at the high school level to experience civil engineering first hand.

 

Tell me about your internship, what it involves, and who it’s with: My internship is with a private civil engineering firm called Hoyle, Tanner & Associates located in Manchester. I’m currently in the structures group which focuses on bridges but there’s also highway, environmental, and aviation groups within the firm. Being a structural engineer involves looking over blueprints, CAD drawings, quantities, load calculations, etc. To get out of the office you can also visit a job site and make sure everything is in check, which I’ve had the amazing opportunity to do within this internship.

We wish Stephanie the best in her college career and look forward to potentially having her return to Hoyle, Tanner, as a full-time employee.

Getting the Most out of Your First Entry-Level Position

Entry-level positions are more important than one may think. They are a chance to get a feel for the work world, establish some independence, and put your best skills to work. The thought of beginning a career is exciting, yet a bit daunting for some people, especially since you do not know what to expect. Although I never initially considered working at an engineering firm, landing my first job at Hoyle, Tanner has been the greatest career gift I could have received. Only six weeks have gone by since I started at Hoyle, Tanner, but I have already learned so much about marketing (and even a bit about engineering) and appreciating the value of an entry-level job.

Before being offered a position at Hoyle, Tanner, there were general rules I had to remember when searching for my first job. Keeping an open mind was extremely important during the job-searching process, especially for someone like me, a college graduate with little experience. I never dreamed of working at an engineering firm, especially as an English major. The thought never even crossed my mind. Marketing did interest me, but I was unaware that it could accompany engineering. Turns out, not only do marketing and engineering work well together, but they also need each other in order to accomplish project goals. Applying to anything and everything was crucial. It was important for me to not hold any judgements or preconceived notions about a particular job or industry.

Taking a step out of my comfort zone was also necessary. Finding a first job is daunting enough, especially with meeting new people, adapting to an unfamiliar office culture, navigating through a new area, and learning a job that may seem impossible to grasp at first. However, the only way to learn is by doing things that appear scary and out of reach. I decided to embrace my inexperience and to learn as much as I can from all different people. Also, I am grateful that I looked into all industries, even the ones that I never thought would have a place for me. There are so many jobs that people do not know exist, and you can tailor your skills to more positions than you think possible.

Despite the initial challenges of an entry-level positon, first jobs upon graduation are extremely valuable in setting the foundation for a successful career. Especially for individuals with a versatile college major, a wide set of interests, or uncertainty with their career path, an entry-level positon gives you the chance to try out a new industry and learn as much as you can. As I learned at Hoyle, Tanner, education and curiosity do not end after graduation.

New jobs and experiences are beneficial no matter the company, but Hoyle, Tanner definitely has a lot to offer to young professionals looking to build a career. First of all, the Manchester, New Hampshire headquarters are a bit on the smaller side, especially the marketing department. A small-scale company is extremely beneficial to recent graduates and to individuals new to the career world. First of all, you can never say, “That’s not part of my job.” In a smaller department, everyone does everything. This may be a bit intimidating to an individual who is unfamiliar with the company and with the job, but you learn how to do a variety of different tasks. For example, when building proposals, I learned how to use the computer applications, perform edits, communicate and work with a variety of people, and help in the printing, binding, and shipping process. From beginning to end, I am involved in almost all aspects of the process, not just a small piece of it.

At Hoyle, Tanner, I also have the opportunity to learn about engineering, an industry I had very little experience in upon graduation. I have the privilege of working with highly-skilled engineers, getting a taste of what the industry is about and the important impact it makes on everyday life. I never studied engineering before, but I now have the opportunity to work with engineering information and promote Hoyle, Tanner services. At the entry-level, Hoyle, Tanner exposes me to all areas of the company, helping me learn new things that I otherwise would never have discovered before.

Lastly, building relationships with the people I work with at Hoyle, Tanner comes naturally due to the essence of the environment. I must work directly with people, so therefore I get to know them better than if I rarely met with them face-to-face. On an average day, I work with people in marketing, in various engineering departments, and in printing. We respect each other as people, but also as coworkers because each person is absolutely essential in reaching our shared project goal, such as a printed proposal marketing the engineering expertise at Hoyle, Tanner.

For an individual out of college with little to no formal work experience, Hoyle, Tanner has plenty to offer in the way of multi-tasking, learning how to perform new job duties, communicating with a diverse group of people, and laying down a strong foundation to build a prosperous career on. Not only am I in a field that interests me, but I also experience new things every day that help me learn and grow as a young professional. Hopefully, I can help Hoyle, Tanner grow and continue to succeed, just like the company does for me.

Written by Abigael Donahue

The Value of an Internship

Navigating through college can be a tough endeavor for a lot of people. There is only so much that high school can do to prepare a student for what they can expect from college life and even less where career preparation is concerned. Luckily, in every college, exists the opportunity to gain real world experience and knowledge in whatever academic field a student chooses and often these opportunities can, when approached with the right attitude and with the right timing, lead to a potential career after college. I am talking of course about internships; often stereotyped as a position involving coffee runs, slave labor, underappreciated efforts and a general sense of hopelessness that the experience will lead to nothing but a few credits and a lot of wasted time. Fortunately for the most part, these stereotypes are nothing more than exaggerated tales from a few bad experiences and these days more and more students are realizing the importance of an internship, paid or unpaid in their respective field.

The benefit of an internship in the field of engineering is exceptional in what can be gained from it for the both the intern and the firm alike. Participating in an engineering internship allows the student to fully immerse themselves into their chosen career with real world applications through hands on projects that they may or may not be exposed to in their classes, as well as allowing them to explore other disciplines they may have never knew they were interested in. The firm on the other hand can not only gain additional manpower for arduous projects, but can benefit from a fresh mind with new ideas that is likely eager to learn and put classroom theories into practice.

We at Hoyle, Tanner believe in the value of an internship and what the experience can provide young and aspiring engineers. We regularly take on interns for summer positions as they near the end of their college career in an effort to prepare them for a long and successful career in civil engineering.

Hoyle, Tanner currently has two interns working in our Manchester headquarters this summer. Katelyn Welch, who is working with our bridge group and Amy Johnson, who is working with our environmental group. I recently talked with both of them to get a better understanding of what they feel are the benefits of an internship in the engineering field, and what I found out was that engineering students who seek out an internship have more than a few things in common; the main aspect being that they want to be challenged. The challenge seems to be the driving force behind the decision to pursue major in engineering in the first place as those in the field tend to have a curiosity in new ways to approach a problem as well as a desire for growth and continual education.

The value of the internship really shines through when they are given the opportunity to work in the field and experience what the job is really like. Both Katelyn and Amy noted that the work they have done so far has exceeded their expectations. Since engineering is very much a team effort, they have both been given the opportunity to collaborate with our full time staff on a wide variety of projects and have been fully involved throughout the process. Aside from their direct involvement with Hoyle, Tanner projects, both Katelyn and Amy are gaining insight into a lot of aspects of engineering in the real world that will surely give them a leg up in the future, such as countless terms, procedures, tasks and calculations that they feel they wouldn’t learn otherwise as well as gaining a better understanding of their chosen major/field is the right fit for them.

The other value they feel an internship provides is the anticipated ease of transition that comes when they enter the workforce after college. This much should be obviously evident, however, so many college graduates find out that they are either underqualified and need to take an entry level position at low pay when they need to actually make a paycheck, or that they are severely underprepared for what lies ahead of them. While many colleges have opted to make an internship mandatory to graduate, this is not always the case. With internships typically paying little to no money, many of them forego the opportunity to take on a low paying internship that would provide real world experience for a full time job on top of being a full time student. What we find with this recurring trend is a growing number of students who are graduating with little to no experience in their chosen field and without the connections that an internship provides, they are often left to fend for themselves in a sea of jobs with increasing standards and expectations for incoming applicants for entry level positions.

Fortunately, with this realization, many internships are either offering some form of pay or those who can’t afford to pay are working with local colleges to offer substantial credits towards the degree and in turn, more and more students are willing to take on an internship and more of these opportunities are leading to full time careers for the student at that company after graduation or it could lead to networking opportunities for those students that they may have not had before.

It is clear that the field of engineering is one that requires real immersion and involvement to really understand what to expect and can’t be mastered through books and classes alone. Internships like the ones we offer here at Hoyle, Tanner provide students with the real world knowledge and experience that is necessary to a successful career in the civil engineering world. If you are interested in an internship with Hoyle, Tanner visit our careers page or contact our Human Resources Department.