Career Boot Camp Spring 2014

Career Boot Camp Spring 2014

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Fiorella Gil
February 28, 2014

Spring interns participated in The Washington Center's Career Boot Camp, held at the National Association of Home Builders. This event takes place every semester, and gives TWC interns the opportunity to attend workshops that cover networking, workplace etiquette, and tips on how to apply to graduate school. The afternoon kicked off with a panel of four experienced recruiters who answered questions from students. Panelists included:


  • Holly Bienia, recruiting manager for Capital One
  • Jennifer Boulanger, director of talent acquisition at Opwer
  • Michael Heller, managing principal of Pillar One Consulting
  • Pete Radloff, talent acquisition professional at NPR & exaqueo & Recruiting In3D.

Some questions addressed by the panel included:


Are the chances of getting a job higher for an applicant who has had many internships?

The panel unanimously responded that it is more about quality over quantity, stating that one meaningful internship has more value than several unrelated internships. However, they recommended that candidates who have a series of unrelated internships should weave all their internships into a single story that makes sense to recruiters.


When reviewing applications what stands out more: GPA, extracurricular activities, languages, or a combination of each component?

Everything counts because recruiters are looking for someone well rounded. However GPA is key, because it shows that a person is responsible, dedicated, and knows what it means to work hard towards a goal.


What are applicant tracking systems? How are they used in the decision making process today?

An applicant tracking system is a database of resumes, which allows job recruiters to narrow down the search for candidates based on resumes attached to that job description. The panelists recommended that applicants include key words that are in the job posting to ensure their resume comes up in the search.


What advice do you have for resumes?

  • Put bullet points in an “Action-Result-Benefit” format: explain what you did, what it resulted in, and how it benefitted the company.
  • Always remember to name your resume file with your first and last name ONLY.
  • Make sure email addresses are professional and include elements from your first and last name.

What networking advice can you offer?

The panelists stressed the importance of networking and using channels such as LinkedIn to post online resumes. They also recommended job seekers look up the person who will be conducting their interview online and learn about their background. This will provide them with ways to walk into a conversation with intelligent questions already prepared.


What do you look for in a LinkedIn profile?

Mention any groups, associations or personal activities at the bottom of a LinkedIn profile because it can help recruiters make additional associations that they might not make from a resume alone. The panel also suggested interns ask for recommendations from supervisors they have worked for or references from fellow interns or classmates they worked with to complete a project.


How important are cover letters in the hiring process?

Unless a cover letter says something unique or witty, it is not worth attaching. If a candidate is submitting one, they must ensure sure it is memorable and sticks out to the recruiter.


What are some tips for job interviews?

Conducting extensive research on the company before going into an interview is key, since it allows job seekers to walk into an interview and talk intelligently about that company. The applicant should also interview the company, so they must come prepared with questions of their own, such as:


  • What is the company's culture?
  • How do people grow in the firm?
  • How does that company support continuing education?
  • What do YOU like about working here?

Additional interviewing tips included:


  • Be prepared to respond to the question "When have you stumbled or failed? What have you done to pick yourself up and dust yourself off? How have you learned from that?”
  • Always answer questions directly and avoid rambling. If a person is asked something they don't know, make sure to clarify if you have not done the task at hand or tell the interviewer you are not sure but will get them the answer. Always offer a solution if you do not know something.
  • Be prepared to respond to the question, "tell me about yourself,"and offer a concise answer that is relevant to the company.

Professional Development Workshops

Once the panel discussion concluded, the interns broke out into workshops of their choice at several nearby locations. Students had the opportunity to choose two of the following options:


  • Business Writing 101
  • The Intern Games: Be the Best Candidate
  • Careers in International Development
  • Congress, Campaigns, and Casework: Careers in Politics
  • Discover Your Calling
  • Don’t Leave Money on the Table: Negotiating Your First Salary
  • Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
  • Exploring Careers in the Federal Sector
  • GRE Strategy Session
  • How to Network and Develop Your Power Greeting
  • LSAT Strategy Session
  • Mock First Year Law Class
  • The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love: Joining the Peace Corps
  • Job Search Tips for International Students
  • United States Secret Service Employment Opportunities

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