EASTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY
GRADUATE SCHOOL GUIDE
Complied by McNAIR SCHOLARS PROGRAM & CAREER SERVICES Graduate Student Council
GRADUATE SCHOOL GUIDE Table of Contents
Introduction . ......................................................................................................... 3 Application Timeline . ............................................................................................ 4 Deciding on Graduate School ................................................................................ 6 Letter of Application .............................................................................................. 7 Preparing a Curriculum Vita .................................................................................. 9 Curriculum Vita Writing ......................................................................................... 10 Curriculum Vita Categories . .................................................................................. 11 Action Words ......................................................................................................... 12 Curriculum Vita Worksheet ................................................................................... 13 How to List References .......................................................................................... 15 Curriculum Vita Example ....................................................................................... 16 Requesting Recommendation Letters . .................................................................. 17 Writing Effective Personal Statements .................................................................. 18 Networking for Graduate Students ....................................................................... 20 Interviewing Skills – the preparation ..................................................................... 21 Interviewing Skills – the questions ........................................................................ 23 Behavioral Based Interviewing .............................................................................. 24 Interviewing Skills – outside the office .................................................................. 25 Resources for Graduate Programs ......................................................................... 26 Career Services is a part of the Division of Student Affairs at Eastern Kentucky University McNair Scholars Program at Eastern Kentucky University is a federal TRiO project, currently receiving $225,000 in operating costs from the U.S. Department of Education for each project year.
GRADUATE SCHOOL GUIDE This Graduate School Guide was compiled by McNair Scholars and Career Services staff to assist McNair Scholars and other EKU students and alumni in preparing for and applying to graduate school programs.
What is graduate school? Graduate school involves obtaining specialized knowledge and concentration in a specific area of study. Typically, it involves the application of original research. Graduate school may also require participation in internships or practicum experiences to apply newly acquired professional skills. There are two basic types of graduate degrees: academic and professional programs. An academic degree provides more experience in research and scholarship in a particular discipline (e.g., Medieval History, Philosophy). A professional degree provides training to acquire specific skills and knowledge needed to work in a particular profession (e.g., Law, Medicine).
Is graduate school for me? Before applying to graduate school, be fully aware of your motivation to pursue an advanced degree. Ask yourself what exactly do you want to accomplish by pursuing graduate education? Become familiar with the working conditions, employment prospects, and physical and mental requirements of the field you plan to pursue. Make sure that graduate study is the best move for you to make in this phase of your career planning. Evaluate whether or not you understand what the graduate program involves, as well as, what the profession for which you are preparing is really like. Be sure to consult with EKU staff, faculty and mentors to help estimate your readiness for graduate work and to evaluate the types of programs that best fit your goals. A significant commitment of time, money, and energy is involved in graduate study, so it is important to investigate and consider your options thoroughly.
What resources are available for me at EKU? Career Services The Career Services staff at Eastern Kentucky University can assist you with the graduate application process including career exploration as it relates to pursuing graduate school, researching graduate schools, and preparing curriculum vitas and personal statements for the graduate school application. Individual appointments are always available and we offer graduate school preparation workshops throughout the year. For more information, contact Career Services staff: Mailing address: SSB CPO 62, 521 Lancaster Avenue, Richmond, KY 40475-3162. Phone: 859.622.1568 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.career.eku.edu
McNair Scholars Program The McNair Scholars Program at Eastern Kentucky University prepares participants for doctoral studies through involvement in undergraduate research, scholarly presentations, conference attendance and other graduate school preparation activities. McNair Scholars receive individualized assistance and support throughout the graduate application process. For more information, contact McNair Scholars staff: Mailing address: Coates CPO 11-A, Jones 409, 521 Lancaster Avenue, Richmond, KY 40475-3102. Phone: 859.622.6247 Email: email@example.com Website: www.mcnair.eku.edu
Graduate School Guide
APPLICATION TIMELINE Spring of Junior Year Research all graduate programs and begin requesting graduate school catalogues. Plan to attend graduate school fairs and conduct online research to thoroughly understand the graduate programs and what they offer you as a student. Get GRE Information at http://www.ets.org/gre. For McNair Scholars ~ Get GRE Information Bulletin and take sample tests through McNair Scholars Office. Begin talking with your adviser and other professors about your graduate school goals. Ask them for advice pertinent to identifying good graduate programs. Begin soliciting letters of recommendation from your professors and references. Give them an updated resume or any information that will help them in writing about your strengths and educational objectives. Become involved in a research project – seriously consider participating in the Indiana University Summer Research Program. Create a “Graduate School Application File” and keep copies of everything you receive or send for applying to graduate schools. If you want to study abroad or conduct research abroad, opportunities are abundant! Look into the Fulbright, Rotary, Rhodes, Marshall, and Churchill fellowships and other programs during the spring semester of your junior year. Starting early is crucial and the potential for getting funded is good. Consider presenting a workshop at a conference in your career field.
Summer before Senior Year For McNair Scholars ~ Plan to attend the Senior Summer Camp, the Research Internship at Indiana University, and the ISU McNair Scholars Conference. Develop your personal timeline for the application process and write or phone for applications and graduate school catalogues. As applications arrive, read each carefully. Note all documents and other supporting materials that you are required to provide. Make a master checklist of deadlines which you can use to note whether you have sent applications, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and other necessary materials. Many schools have two deadlines – one for the application and one for financial aid. Verify that your official transcript is correct and complete. Prepare your curriculum vita (a long version of a resume). Begin writing the first draft of your personal essay. Draft a general statement of purpose (educational objectives) outlining reasons you wish to attend graduate school. Utilize on-campus resources including the Writing Center, Career Services, your Faculty Advisor or Mentor. For McNair Scholars ~ contact the McNair Scholars Coordinator. Practice GRE exams, if you have not done so already. Study to improve your final scores. Consider taking the real GRE exam during the summer or early fall. At least two months before deadlines, ask your professors for letters of recommendation. Supply a resume and if possible, a copy of your statement of educational objectives – this will help your professors write specifically about your strengths as a future graduate student. Continue correspondence (phone/e-mail) with any graduate program staff or faculty that you are applying to. Consider when campus visitations will work best for you
Graduate School Guide
APPLICATION TIMELINE Fall of Senior Year Take the GRE or other standard exams required for your graduate program of interest. Request that the ETS send GRE scores to the schools of your choice. Schedule campus visitations with graduate school representatives at the institutions you are most interested in. Ask to schedule an appointment with faculty and current graduate students within the department. While on campus, gather pertinent information on assistantships, teaching assistantships, financial aid, and fellowship opportunities. Complete your list of application deadlines and supporting documents. Complete financial aid applications for institutions (complete the Graduate and Professional Schools Financial Aid Services form - GAPSFAS). Check with each school for financial aid application requirements and forms and request aschool catalog. Make copies of your application and all materials you are submitting. If you are completing an online application, be sure to print out a copy for your records. Submit all application materials as requested at least ONE MONTH prior to the deadline date. This includes, but not limited to, your completed application, admissions entrance exam scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal essays, curriculum vita, portfolios, etc. Schedule an interview or audition as requested. Consider sending your application packet via registered mail so that if it is delayed or lost, you have proof that it was mailed on time. Wait for admissions decisions. Decide among the offers you receive and choose the graduate program that is right for you. Send an acceptance letter to the graduate school you decide to attend. For McNair Scholars ~ Forward a copy of your acceptance letter to the Scholars Office. Send thank you notes to professors and university staff that aided you in the application process (this includes everyone at your undergraduate program and everyone at the graduate school you will be attending).
Spring of Senior Year For McNair Scholars ~ Check with McNair Scholars Staff to confirm fulfillment of all contract requirements prior to graduation. For McNair Scholars ~ Schedule and complete an exit interview McNair Scholars Staff prior to graduation.
Most applications will request the following information, but not limited to: Application Fee Online Application/Hard-copy Application Curriculum Vita Personal Statement/Application Essay Letter of Application Letters of Reference Transcripts
Graduate School Guide
DECIDING ON GRADUATE SCHOOL Research and identify graduate programs that interest you
Review the following factors and answer the questions (and think of your own questions that you may have as you begin deciding which graduate programs to apply to: • Your personal background Does the academic environment of the graduate program match with your personality/interests/values/experience? Is the graduate program focus on teamwork or individual research? • Funding/Money Is it affordable? Just because you can get the loans doesn’t mean that you want the bill at graduation. Not all graduate schools have funding – check into assistantships, financial aid and scholarships available.
• Location How far away from your family will you be? Is that important to you?
• Housing availability Is it affordable? Is it convenient to campus?
Institutional Compatibility Is the institution a good match for your research interests? What is the caliber of faculty for your area of interest? Do they offer a wide range of courses to cover your area of interest? What size is the institution? Program/department? How many students in each class?
• Reputation What is the satisfaction of current students with the program/institution? What professional opportunities are available to you during your graduate program? Does it include one of the following - clinical experience, for credit internships, externships, or research assistantships? What connections/services does the program offer to help with job placement following graduation? What are the alumni doing now? What is the alumni success rate? What connections do they have to help alumni with job placement following graduation? • Environmental and Mentor Support Is the graduate program environment comfortable for you and your lifestyle? Are there potential mentors available for you at this graduate program? What kind of mentoring program is established to help you integrate into a new academic environment? • Personal sacrifice What costs/sacrifices (other than money) will you be faced with? What challenges will you need to overcome? • Ph.D. Program opportunities Is there a Ph.D. program of interest to you at this institution or would you need to go to another institution for further education?
Graduate School Guide
LETTER OF APPLICATION During the graduate school application process, there are many times when it is necessary to write to a faculty member or graduate school representative. The following are basic types of letters that you may send to graduate school departments. When writing a letter, be sure to carefully proofread to avoid any grammatical or typographical errors.
Letter of Application
A strong letter of application accompanying your curriculum vita is one of your best marketing tools. While your curriculum vita may not change significantly when sending it from graduate school to graduate school, your cover letter should be personalized to each specific graduate school program. Your cover letter communicates your value to the program and paves the way for your curriculum vita, application and your personal statement. Thoroughly read the description of the department, the profile and list of courses for the graduate school program, and research the reputation of the faculty and the university, so that you can reflect your knowledge of their program in your letter and make a positive impression. Create a letter that will catch the reader’s attention and stand out from the other applicants.
Writing a successful letter includes: Address it to a specific person - preferably the Dean, Department Chair or Faculty member in charge of the department. Refer to the specific graduate program. If you are applying to an assistantship or fellowship, be specific about the position or department you are interested in. Show initiative and knowledge of the graduate school program (refer to what they do and why you are Interested in getting your degree from their program). Point out specific skills and experience that relate to the graduate school program’s needs. Expand on and draw attention to areas noted on your curriculum vita. Take initiative by outlining the next step. Use the last paragraph to state how you will follow through - mention that you will contact the graduate school program to discuss scheduling an interview, if appropriate
LETTERS TO GRADUATE SCHOOLS Thank-You Letter A thank-you letter should be sent to faculty and/or graduate school representatives immediately after an interview. Make sure you thank them for taking the time to interview you and reinforce your interest in their program (and in the assistantship position, if applicable). Also, mention some key points that you discussed during the interview. If you forgot to mention something important about yourself at the interview, feel free to include that in your thank-you letter. Be sure to send a thank-you letter to each person that participated in your interview. Inquiry Letter After Submitting an Application Following an interview it is generally accepted to wait to hear back from the faculty. However, if an appropriate amount of time has passed and you have not heard from them, you may send a letter to the faculty/graduate school representatives inquiring about the status of your application. Reiterate your interest in the position and in the organization, remind the faculty of your qualifications and recap the history of your contact with them. Be sure to thank the contact for her/his time and assistance.
Graduate School Guide
Acceptance Letter If the graduate school extends an offer to you and you accept it, send a letter of acceptance expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to join their department. Confirm your date of enrollment and, if you have accepted a graduate assistantship, you may want to list the stipend that was agreed upon. Also, if you received an offer letter from the graduate school, you may briefly confirm any additional terms of research, educational experience or employment that was outlined. Rejection Letter If you have been accepted into a graduate program or have been asked to participate in a second round of interviews, but you do not plan on attending that particular school, send them a letter notifying the faculty/admissions staff that you are declining their offer or would not like to participate in the interview process any longer. Express your appreciation for their time and consideration and above all, don’t burn any bridges.
LETTER OF APPLICATION YOUR PERSONAL LETTERHEAD
(matching your CV and other documents with your contact info – name, address, phone, email) (3 spaces) DATE (2 spaces) FACULTY or HEAD OF ADMISSIONS & Title - Whomever the appropriate person is to send your application package to Department, University Address City, State Zip Dear Name of the Contact Person: (use colon - not comma)
First PARAGRAPH - ABOUT WHY YOU ARE WRITING.
Use this paragraph to talk about THEM – what makes you interested in attending their University and studying in their specific program?After your sentence about what makes you interested in THEM, write a sentence that leads into your next paragraph
Second PARAGRAPH - ABOUT WHY THEY SHOULD ACCEPT YOU INTO THEIR GRADUATE PROGRAM.
Outline your educational experience, your educational goals, your professional/work experience (not just where you worked, but what experience you’ve gained that has prepared you for research or adding to their graduate program) and your career goals to show how their program fits into your long-term goals. Outline your personal and professional characteristics that show you are well-rounded student and have what it takes to be an asset to their graduate program.
Third PARAGRAPH – state what your next step will be.
Don’t wait to hear from them, but let them know that you will be following up with them. Mention everything enclosed in your application package and consider noting anything missing and when they can expect to receive it. If you are planning a campus visitation, mention it in this paragraph. Close your letter in a positive and professional way. Sincerely, (4 spaces – SIGN your name)
TYPE YOUR NAME
Graduate School Guide
PREPARING A CURRICULUM VITA (CV) (CURRICULUM VITA vs. RESUME Vitas and resumes both have similar purposes â€“ as marketing documents that provide key information about your skills, experiences, education, and personal qualities that show you as the ideal candidate. Where a resume and a curriculum vita differ is their use, format, and length. This section will help with your writing and preparing your vita. A curriculum vita -â€“ often called a CV or Vita -- tends to be used more for scientific and teaching positions than a resume. Thus, vitas tend to provide great detail about academic and research experiences. Where resumes tend to be brief, vitas lean toward completeness. Unlike resumes, there is no set format to vitas. Discuss any special formatting your field requires with a mentor or faculty member within your area of study. While vitas do not have the one-page rule of resumes, you need to walk the line between providing a good quality of depth to showcase your qualifications and attract potential graduate school interest and providing too much information thus appearing verbose and turning off potential graduate schools. Helpful books about vitas: Developing a Professional Vita or Resume, by Carl McDaniels and Mary Anne Knobloch (Ferguson Publishing). The Global Resume and CV Guide, by Mary Anne Thompson (Wiley). How to Prepare Your Curriculum Vita, by Acy L. Jackson and C. Kathleen Geckeis (McGraw-Hill). Dr. Randall Hansen is currently Webmaster of Quintessential Careers, as well as publisher of its electronic newsletter, QuintZine. He writes a biweekly career advice column under the name, The Career Doctor.
Why Write a CV? To apply for graduate school. So the time has come for applying to graduate school. You have thought hard and decided that you want to pursue an advanced degree in a specific field. Write a CV that highlights your education, experience and qualifications in the area you are planning to pursue. You may also want to include an objective or summary statement on your CV outlining why you want to attend graduate school. To summarize your life achievements. Having a full CV is always a good idea, as you never know when a good opportunity will come up. Keep your CV updated at all times, adding any relevant experiences, course work, research, conference participation, or additional qualifications that you have acquired. This way, when you find yourself applying for a professional position after graduate school, your CV will be updated and ready to submit to a future employer. What NOT to include on your CV There is no need to include your photo, your salary history, or references in your CV. References should be listed separately and given to graduate schools upon request.
Graduate School Guide
CURRICULUM VITA WRITING DOS AND DON’TS
DOS: • Format and wording should be clear and concise. Proofread to avoid mistakes spelling and grammar should be perfect. •
Use action words (refer to list on page 13) to highlight your problem solving abilities, in addition to outlining your professional skills and job responsibilities.
Laser print copies onto quality paper.
Always send a letter of intent or email with your curriculum vita.
Only fax your curriculum vita and letter of intent when the faculty or graduate school representative specifies it. Mail the original vita, letter and all other application materials to the graduate school program as a follow up to the faxed copy. You should not use the fax machine to meet a submission deadline – unless the graduate school representatives have given you permission to do so.
Only use abbreviations that are common to potential readers such as B.A., M.B.A., etc.
Design stationery/letterhead for yourself and use this for your curriculum vita, cover letter, reference sheet, and your statement of intent/educational objectives. Make sure the design of your stationery does not overwhelm the content of your documents. Choose a font that is standard and accepted via online applications or printed materials (Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, or Verdana). If you use graphics, make sure they are appropriate and compliment the message of your professional curriculum vita.
Consider revising your documents if after several months you’ve received little or no response.
DON’TS: • Personal information such as age, health, race, marital status, sexual orientation and religious preference should not be listed. •
Absolutely no spelling errors.
“CURRICULUM VITA” should not appear anywhere on your vita.
Do not write your vita in the “first person”! Begin each sentence or phrase with an action word to describe your experience, rather than using “I” statements.
Do not cram too much information on your vita leave some white space on the page and edit resume content appropriately. It is appropriate to have a lengthy curriculum vita - up to 4 pages for applicants that just completed an undergraduate degree; a longer vita is appropriate for applicants with extensive work experience or doctoral applicants.
Avoid listing high school education or experiences, hobbies or personal interests.
Get some advice before you send out your curriculum vita!
Knowing how to prepare and write your vita is a skill that you will use throughout your life. The Career Services staff and the Writing Center are all available can assist you with this process and will critique your curriculum vita. For individual appointments, contact Career Services via phone at 859.622.1568 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate School Guide
CURRICULUM VITAE CATEGORIES There are a variety of category titles or headers to choose from when compiling your resume. Review the list below and choose the title for each area that markets your skills most effectively. Objective Objective Job Objective Professional Objective Career Objective Employment Objective Job Target Career Goal Job Goal Goal Position Desired Mission Statement of Purpose Other Opening Headers Highlights Profile Executive Profile Synopsis Key Qualifiers Overview Abilities Strengths Capabilities Specialty Professional Summary Proficiency Areas Background Summary Background Qualifications Education Education Education and Credentials Education/Related Training Professional Development Continuing Education Formal Education Academic Preparation Study Abroad Programs Overseas Study Institutions Professional Seminars Business Training Licensing and Specialized Training Specialized Training Related Training
Other Educational Experience Academic Projects Related Course Work Relevant Course Work Publications Research and Publications Selected Publications Notable Publications Presentations Notable Projects Work Samples Recent Publications
Activities Activities Leadership Activities Publications Community Service Campus Affiliations Memberships Civic/Community Activities Extracurricular Activities Activities and Honors Activities and Interests International Travel
Experience Work History Work Experience Accomplishments Recent Experience Relevant Experience Related Experience Experience Highlights Professional Experience Summary of Experiences Career Related Experience Other Experience Teaching Experience Volunteer Experience Sales Experience Coaching Experience Career Highlights Apprenticeship Experience College Experience International Experience Accomplishments Employment History Employment Experience Previous Employment Career Progression Occupational History Professional Background Career Profile Apprenticeship Internships Training Military Service Special Projects
Skills and Qualifications Relevant Skills Professional Skills Professional Expertise Computer Skills Computer Expertise Computer Proficiencies Software Skills Software Expertise Software Proficiencies Technical Skills Technical Expertise Technical Proficiencies Technical Knowledge Hardware Skills Summary of Skills Skills and Training Areas of Expertise Credentials Capabilities Key Qualifications Skills and Qualifications Highlights of Qualifications Summary of Qualifications Qualifications Management Skills Research & Development Skills
Graduate School Guide
Marketing Skills Special Skills Core Competencies Competencies Credits Capabilities Summary of Abilities Language Proficiencies Languages Research Conducted Affiliations, Memberships, and Awards Licenses and Certifications Credentials Certifications Licensure Accreditations Professional Affiliations Affiliations Professional Memberships Professional Associations Bar Admission Patents Achievements Major Accomplishments School Achievements Awards/Recognition Success Factor Accomplishments Notable Accomplishments Notable Achievements Accolades Corporate Highlights Honors Honors and Fellowships Awards Community Involvement Commendations
ACTION WORDS Curriculum vitas and letters written to graduate school faculty should describe your work educational experience, professional skills and career related experiences using language that persuasively presents your qualifications and background. If you “developed” a program, “supervised” a group, “initiated” an idea, or “researched” an academic project, say so. Don’t be hesitant to give yourself credit for your accomplishments but do not misrepresent your accomplishments and responsibilities you were actually involved in. Use the words listed below to persuade the graduate school faculty that you are the best person for their program! Administrative approved arranged catalogued classified collected compiled dispatched executed generated implemented inspected monitored operated organized prepared processed purchased recorded retrieved screened specified systematized tabulated validated Communication addressed arbitrated arranged authored corresponded developed directed drafted edited enlisted formulated influenced interpreted lectured mediated moderated motivated negotiated persuaded promoted publicized reconciled recruited wrote
Creative acted conceptualized created designed developed directed established fashioned founded illustrated initiated instituted integrated introduced invented originated performed planned revitalized shaped Financial administered allocated analyzed appraised audited balanced budgeted calculated computed developed forecast managed marketed planned projected researched Helping assessed assisted clarified coached counseled demonstrated educated expedited facilitated familiarized
guided referred rehabilitated represented Management administered analyzed assigned attained chaired contracted consolidated coordinated delegated developed directed evaluated executed improved increased organized oversaw planned prioritized produced recommended reviewed scheduled strengthened supervised Research clarified collected critiqued diagnosed evaluated examined extracted identified inspected interpreted interviewed investigated organized reviewed summarized surveyed systematized
Teaching adapted advised clarified coached communicated coordinated developed enabled encouraged evaluated explained facilitated guided informed instructed persuaded set goals stimulated Technical assembled built calculated computed designed devised engineered fabricated maintained operated overhauled programmed remolded repaired solved trained upgraded achieved adjusted Miscellaneous accomplished advertised anticipated applied approached budgeted collaborated compared conceived conciliated
conducted controlled cooperated defined detailed determined distributed estimated exchanged expanded governed handled hired innovated installed lead manipulated merchandised modified obtained participated perceived presented provided proposed raised funds rectified re-designed related renewed reported reduced scanned selected served staffed standardized synthesized transmitted updated utilized
Graduate School Guide
CURRICULUM VITAE WORKSHEET HEADER – Create personal letterhead for yourself:
Include permanent and current addresses, especially if you seeking to relocate. EXAMPLE:
Sue Smith 123 East Liberty Street, Richmond, Kentucky 40475
Be specific... what position/degree are you seeking? What skills are you seeking to utilize - computer skills, technical/mechanical skills? EXAMPLE: Seeking admission to the Master of Science for Career and Human Resource Development at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.
Highlight your degree and your major, along with the College or University you attended. Only include Dean’s List recognition if you have achieved this honor every quarter. GPA is optional and can be included if 3.5 or above. Don’t include high school! Information about course work completed at other colleges or universities should be included after your most current degree. EXAMPLE: Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky Bachelor of Arts in Sociology Minor: Art History Anticipated Graduation: June 2000 GPA: 3.75
EDUCATION/ACADEMIC PREPARATION continued ~ RELEVANT COURSEWORK:
List names of relevant courses to show educational experience and knowledge that directly relate to your plans for graduate study.
PROFESSIONAL SKILLS/SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS:
Specify skills pertaining to the position you are seeking should be listed first. Skills or qualifications are usually listed in bulleted format. Think about outlining your major coursework into your skills - what have you learned in your classes that you will be applying as professional skills in graduate school/work setting? RESEARCH SKILLS EXAMPLE: - Utilized SPSS and SAS statistical programs extensively - Survey and evaluation research techniques LANGUAGES EXAMPLE: - Fluent in English and French - Able to read German and Spanish OTHER EXAMPLES: Read descriptions from the upper level classes in your major and outline specialized skills or computer skills that apply to your career field. For example: • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. • Strong creative, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. • Over 5 years experience working in customer service and sales.
Graduate School Guide
CURRICULUM VITAE WORKSHEET EXPERIENCE:
This area can include freelance, internship, volunteer, full-time and part-time experience. Information should be listed in chronological order (most recent first). Include specific dates (month/year) and a brief but articulate description of your responsibilities and accomplishments under each position listed. INTERNSHIP or CO-OP EXPERIENCE EXAMPLE: Graphic Design Intern, XYZ Design Firm, Louisville, KY ~ Summer 1999 Assisted Creative Director with print campaign to benefit non-profit organization. Worked with a team of professional designers to create billboards and newspaper layouts. CAREER RELATED EXPERIENCE EXAMPLE: Market Research Assistant, Matrix, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio ~ November 2001 to Present. Responsible for preparing sales and advertising materials, assist Director of Marketing with various projects, and work directly with customers to handle orders, shipping requests, and concerns or complaints. Provide general office support and assistance.
Other experience includes any positions (full-time or part-time) that are not necessarily career related. This category gives you an opportunity to market your transferable skills including communication skills, decision-making skills, ability to train new employees, sales ability, management skills and ability to meet deadlines. EXAMPLE: Wait Staff, Applebeeâ€™s, Lexington, KY Summer 1999 â€“ Present.
OTHER CATEGORIES: HONORS & AWARDS/ACTIVITES/ PUBLICATIONS:
There are many other categories that you may create that reflect your accomplishments and capabilities. Choose headings that are appropriate. Include memberships to professional organizations, honors, and possibly extracurricular activities, as they relate to your long term goals. HONORS & AWARDS EXAMPLE:
Bower Scholarship, Riverside, CA, 1998 Outstanding Dissertation Award, University of California, Riverside, 2000
Member, Student Government Association, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY. May 2000 to Present.
PUBLICATIONS EXAMPLE: Thomas, W.I. (1998), Effects of Standardized Achievement Testing on Self-Concepts of Middle School Children. Clearing House, 23(1), 986-989.
Graduate School Guide
CURRICULUM VITAE WORKSHEET RESEARCH SUBMITTED AND IN PREPARATION EXAMPLES: - Interaction of Verbal and Nonverbal Communications Among Learning Handicapped Fourth Graders - The Great Debate: A Qualitative Analysis of Reading Instruction PAPERS PRESENTED AT CONFERENCES EXAMPLE: Critical Thinking and Reading. Presented at the 57th Annual Conference of the California State Federation Council for Exceptional Children, San Luis Obispo, CA, 1999 CURRENT RESEARCH INTERESTS EXAMPLE: A survey questionnaire and follow-up interview study of parents of EKU students to assess the need for parent support groups GRANTS RECEIVED EXAMPLE: Kentucky State Teacher Grant (KTIP) A Motivational Field Trip for EKU Students. Awarded October 1997. PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS EXAMPLE: Member, National Career Development Association, 2001 – Present. PROFESSIONAL SERVICE EXAMPLES: - Vice President, Pacific Coast Consortium on Innovation in Teaching, 2000 - Chair, University Relations Committee, Society for Gifted and Talented Children, 1999-2000
HOW TO LIST REFERENCES Be sure to ask permission of each employer, faculty member or personal reference that you choose. On a separate sheet of paper with your contact information at the top (paste your personal letterhead from your resume and cover letter – use the same font!), list each reference out with the following information: REFERENCES Name of Reference Title Company/Organization Street Address City, State, Zip Phone Fax Email
Graduate School Guide
CURRICULUM VITAE EXAMPLE SAMANTHA WRIGHT
SAMANTHA WRIGHT 136 Green Leaf Drive Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 622-2784 email@example.com SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
Highly motivated and hardworking student with exceptional interpersonal and communication skills and an extensive background in the following broad-based competencies:
Seeking a challenging position in a laboratory setting performing chemical and biological testing; the ideal position will provide the opportunity for team work and offer diverse tasks.
Research/Laboratory Skills: • Antimicrobial Testing Techniques • Cell and Tissue Culture • PCR methodologies • Serological Testing • Utilized Genbank, Swissprot, BLAST and other bioinformatic systems frequently • Various immunological assays • Outstanding laboratory skills and techniques
EDUCATION Master of Science in Molecular, Cellular and Microbial Biology University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Bachelor of Science in Molecular, Cellular and Microbial Biology Other emphasis: Chemistry Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky
Computer Skills: • Proficient in MS Word, PowerPoint and Excel • Navigate MAC • Capable of learning new software quickly and efficiently
ACADEMIC PREPARATION Relevant Coursework: Anatomy and Physiology I and II Biochemistry Clinical Microbiology Genetics Independent Research, two semesters Organic Chemistry I and II Virology
Animal Physiology Cell Biology Experimental Approaches in Molecular Biology Immunology Microbiology Physics I and II
Personal Profile: • Goal oriented, outgoing, very organized, dependable, disciplined, adaptable, resourceful and committed. • Excellent communication skills demonstrated by the ability to work with individuals of diverse backgrounds. • Welcomes a challenge. • Willing to relocate.
RESEARCH EXPERIENCE Research Submitted and in Preparation: Streptococcus agalactiae: Resistance Patterns Across Kentucky.
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY AND CAREER RELATED EXPERIENCE Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY Pathogenic Microbiology Laboratory Assistant
Papers presented at conferences: Streptococcus agalactiae: Resistance Patterns Across Kentucky. Presented at the 93rd annual conference of the Kentucky Academy of Science, Louisville, KY, 20xx.
Other research prepared: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: A Survey of Community-Acquired MRSA and HospitalAcquired MRSA in Urban and Rural Counties in Kentucky.
Farmers National Bank, Lexington, KY Bank Teller •
AWARDS & AFFILIATIONS • • •
First Place in Undergraduate Research Competition, Kentucky Academy of Science, 20xx Dean’s List Phi Sigma-Biology Honors Society
EMPLOYMENT HISTORY AND CAREER RELATED EXPERIENCE continued
June19xx - December 20xx
Handled entry of patient information into computer system; counted, reconstituted and labeled prescribed medication; handled cash drawer and customer transactions; responsible for inventory, ordering and restocking
St. Joseph Hospital, Lexington, KY Pharmacy Technician •
October 20xx - October 20xx
Handled entry of patient information into computer system; counted, reconstituted and labeled prescribed medication; handled cash drawer and customer transactions; responsible for inventory, ordering and restocking
CVS Pharmacy, Richmond, KY Pharmacy Technician
November 20xx - May 20xx
Prepared all prescribed medications; prepared chemotherapeutic agents under chemo-fume hood; stocked hospital code carts; attended code calls with IV push; prepared prescribed IV medications
REFERENCES Available upon request.
June 20xx - April 20xx
Handled all bank transactions including cash deposits, withdrawals and loan payments; balanced cash drawer and checks daily; direct interaction with bank members, performing about 200 transactions each day; handled all account inquiries; correctly and efficiently logged all customer transactions and information
Wal-mart Inc., Richmond, KY Pharmacy Technician
September 20xx – Present
Assist with research projects involving Streptococcus agalactiae and Streptococcus pyogenes; prepare subcultures for growth and storage; perform antimicrobial testing, PCR, gel electrophoresis; compile, analyze and interpret data and results
Graduate School Guide
REQUESTING RECOMMENDATION LETTERS Begin thinking about which faculty you want to ask to write letters of recommendation for you during your sophomore or junior year. Do not wait until your senior year to try to establish the kind for relationship needed with a professor to obtain a strong letter of recommendation. In the process of deciding whom to ask and how to ask students often procrastinate for fear of imposing on the faculty member. Writing letters of recommendation for students is part of a faculty member’s job. However, the faculty member will expect you to provide vital information in order for them complete the task of writing a strong letter of recommendation for you.
Follow these steps in asking for letters of recommendation: 1. Ask (in person) only faculty members with whom you have had significant contact, and who can give specific details and examples that illustrate your academic abilities. Do not ask Priest/Rabbi/minister, family members, faculty in departments not related to your graduate field, personal therapist, or graduate students.
If you ask a faculty member and they seem reluctant, you might want to consider asking another faculty member. 2. Give the person you are asking 3-6 weeks’ notice from when the first letter is due. Only count weeks school is in session, do not count midterm or final exam weeks. 3. Ask at least three to five people to write recommendation letters for you or serve as references for you. Be sure to comply with the instructions of the graduate schools you are applying to regarding letters or list or references. • • • • • • • •
Complete the references forms for the schools you are applying and provide that for the faculty member. That eliminates one extra step that helps them complete the process. Provide the faculty member with a copy of your curriculum vita, unofficial transcript, GRE scores (if available), personal statement, statement of your graduate school goals (if not included in your personal statement), and any other information you consider helpful. Arrange your information in a systematic way. Provide a cover page that includes a table indicating the schools, to which you are applying, the name of the program, and the due date for receipt of the letters. You might also add a column to the table for any special notes you have about individual programs. If you are applying to a large number of schools, ask the faculty member if they would like you to fill in the blanks on the various recommendation forms. When requesting the letters, ask each faculty member how he or she prefers to be listed on the recommendation forms. Remember to provide envelopes and stamps for your letters. Make sure you pre-address the envelope and that you have enough postage on it. Ask the faculty member if they would like you to leave them a reminder message on their voice mail one week before the deadline.
4. Send a thank you letter one week after the person has agreed to write the letter, if the person has not written the letter yet this can also serve as a reminder for them. 5. Check with the graduate schools that you applied to 3-weeks to one month prior to the deadline to see if your application packet has arrived and if any additional information is needed.
Should I waive the right to see the letters?
The Buckley Amendment grants students rights to have access to their educational records including letter for recommendations. Most recommendation forms ask students if they will waive their right to see their letters of recommendation. Most authorities advise students to waive their rights because the graduate school admissions committee will know that the information in the letters is more candid. Information contained in letters where students did not waive their right to see the letters may be discounted by the schools that receive them. Once you are accepted and enrolled into the school and your program you have the right to see your records.
Graduate School Guide
WRITING EFFECTIVE PERSONAL STATEMENTS Writing Effective Personal Statements & Application Essays You will need to write a statement or essay as part of the graduate or professional school application process. The requirements for these statements/essays will vary from program to program, but some general rules apply. They give you an opportunity to explain parts of your personal, educational, and professional background that have influenced your decision to pursue an advanced degree at a particular institution. Admissions committees rely heavily on these essays, as they paint a more three-dimensional picture of you than do test scores or GPAs. It’s critical for you to reflect on the uniqueness of your background and to be specific about your goals, to help the committee feel like they would be gaining a valuable new member to their program. It’s also critical that you answer the question they ask! The personal statement should be focused - you should be connecting your experiences, education, and motivations to the program you have selected. What has prepared you for this program? What do you hope to gain from it? Where do you see yourself after completing the degree? Depending on what they ask you to write, you will likely have to address these types of issues in a relatively concise framework. Effective essays need to say a lot in a fairly limited amount of space. Some tips that might help you in crafting your essays: • • •
• • • •
Do not procrastinate! Give yourself plenty of time to organize your thoughts and write a successful essay about you and your educational objectives. Be concise and selective. Focus on common themes and specific goal statements, rather than providing a biography or a list of accomplishments. Give specific examples that are unique to you - don’t generalize. For example, if applying to a program in social work, the following statement (while true) may be read as cliché: “I want to become a social worker because I like to help people.” A stronger statement would include a specific example of volunteer work you performed, and how that experience influenced your decision to enter this field -- this will convey genuine enthusiasm and motivation. Emphasize that the information you are providing demonstrates your potential for this kind of advanced study (just as you must do in a job search, don’t forget to “sell your skills”). Follow instructions! Answer the question, and all parts of each question, put forth. Proofread, proofread, and proofread! Be sure to have a counselor in Career Services, advisers, and others read your essays. Useful books in the Career Services’ library and the Crabbe Library can help you get started. Take time to utilize these resources.
Referenced from http://web.princeton.edu/sites/career/Undergrad/GradSchool/applying.html
Graduate School Guide
WRITING EFFECTIVE PERSONAL STATEMENTS Questions to ask yourself: (the conventional approach) • • • • • • • • • •
What’s special, unique, distinctive, or impressive about you or your life story? What details of your life might help a committee better understand you or help set you apart from other applicants? When did you originally become interested in this field and what have you since learned about it – and about yourself – that has further stimulated your interest and reinforced your conviction that you are well suited to this field? What insights have you gained? How have you learned about this field – through classes, readings, seminars, work or other experiences, or conversations with people already in the field? If work experiences have consumed significant periods of time during your college years, what have you learned (leadership or managerial skills, for example) and how has the work contributed to your personal growth? What skills do you possess (leadership, communicative, analytical, for example)? What are your career goals? Have you had to overcome any unusual obstacles or hardships in your life? Are there any gaps or discrepancies in your academic record that you should explain? What personal characteristics (integrity, compassion, persistence, for example) do you possess that would enhance your prospects for success in the field or profession? Is there a way to demonstrate or document that you have these characteristics? Why might you be a stronger candidate for graduate school – and potentially more successful and effective in the profession or field – than other applicants? What are the most compelling reason you can give for the admissions committee to be interested in you?
Questions to help you express yourself more creatively • • • • • • •
What writers and which particular articles in your field of study have had the greatest influence on the development of your thought? Who were your favorite professors in college and why? How has each influenced you? What is the best paper exam you ever wrote in your major and what makes it so good? What do you consider the most important book, play, article, or film you have ever read/seen, and how has it influenced you? What is the single most important concept you have learned in college? What are some of the encouraging words others have said to or about you over the years? At what point in your life did you start considering obtaining a graduate degree in this particular field of study?
Questions reflecting your career choice: How has your career interests evolved, and what specific turning points can you identify? What work experiences have led you to believe you would like to pursue graduate education? What experiences as a volunteer or traveler have influenced your career direction? What experiences from your family have contributed to this choice? Questions considering your academic background: How have you prepared yourself to succeed in graduate school? What body of relevant knowledge will you take with you? What study or laboratory skills have you honed to date? What personal attributes or physical characteristics make you particularly likely to succeed in your new career? Other questions: Can you describe an experience that demonstrates remarkable drive or perseverance? Are you involved in sports? What do you do with your leisure time? What can you tell someone that would lead them to believe that they would enjoy your company? Questions considering your future: What classes are you going to take between now and your arrival at your targeted graduate school? What laboratory or research skills will you be learning? What research projects will you complete between now and when you begin graduate school? Will you complete a thesis or capstone project? What are your long-term goals? How will a graduate education facilitate those plans? Will you be pursuing additional education or professional training beyond the program that you are applying to now?
Graduate School Guide
NETWORKING for GRADUATE STUDENTS One of the most important skills you should be learning in graduate school is how to “network”. Just going to conferences and watching the interactions from a distance is not enough. You have to make a conscious effort to meet and build relationships with professionals in your field. People who network make themselves known, they are more likely to learn about hidden opportunities (jobs or research projects) and benefit from tapping into a large circle of professional contacts. Mentally prepare yourself to talk about your research interests every chance you get. Have summaries of your work of various lengths and levels of detail prepared so that you can be clear and concise about what you are working on. (Be sure to spend time listening too; you’ll learn more this way and people will feel that your conversations are a two-way street.)
Always be professional…
Effective networking can be a tremendous boost to your professional endeavors, but employing inappropriate techniques can cause you to lose valuable opportunities. Approaching people in a professional and courteous manner will encourage them to share information with you. Mention the name of the person who referred you and remember not to infringe on your professional contact’s offer to help - don’t waste their time but politely remind them of your situation. Establish realistic expectations of how your networking contacts can help you and continue to employ other strategies to ensure your success.
Potential networking opportunities: • • •
Start networking in your comfort zone and talk with people on or around campus – professors, academic advisors, Contact University alumni that are working in your field – ask for opportunities in research, summer employment, etc. Attend professional presentations and introduce yourself to people whose presentations you find interesting, and ask relevant questions to deepen the conversation (but be mindful of the other person’s time and commitments). • Present papers at professional conferences opens doors to promote your area of expertise and connect with other professionals in your field. • Volunteer for program committees at professional conferences. • Send emails to professionals in your field and ask them pertinent questions or discuss new ideas. Ask them if they would be willing to read a draft of your research paper or if they would be willing to share papers that they have written. Be careful with your online presence – the difference between social networking and professional networking More than ever, the power of networking through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. is essential to building contacts and reaching out to professionals in your field. So, think twice before posting evidence of your craziest summer moments on your Facebook page or laughing at the photos in which you’ve been tagged, it’s important to consider the effect exposing your private life could have on your job search and your professional endeavors. Social networks like MySpace and Facebook have not only become new ways to check out a friend, a friend’s friend, or an ex-friend’s new friend—they have become a tool for employers/research professionals to scope prospective hires— with that in mind, be cautious about how you use your social networking presence and “clean up your act” (so to speak) as you begin pursuing professional opportunities in earnest.
Cultivate your network and always say thank you…
Stay in touch with your contacts by email, phone or snail mail. If you have an opportunity to meet with a professional in your career field, get their business card and send them a thank you note. If someone helps you, even if you perceive it to be something small that they did for you, be sure to thank them. Keep contacts updated about your research or any achievements. Even if there is nothing to “report”, send your contacts a note to update them on your situation and let them know how much you appreciate their continued help and support.
Graduate School Guide
INTERVIEWING SKILLS - the preparation Interview Preparation Checklist
Know what graduate schools look for in applicants Prepare for the interview by researching the potential graduate schools and practicing your interview skills Dress professionally Be punctual - know where you are going and arrive early to your interview Bring at least ten extra copies of your curriculum vita Prepare questions to ask the graduate school interviewer regarding details about the position and the university Plan to follow-up after the interview
First Impression – Lasting Impression: Dress for Success
Research the graduate school program before the interview and learn about the dress requirements typical of that career field, and if possible, that specific university. Ask to receive an itinerary of your interview beforehand to make appropriate decisions of what you should wear. Some graduate school committees may encourage business casual for the interview, but be sure to check first and avoid making a mistake.
Follow the guidelines below for the suggested proper attire for a professional interview
Recommended for Women • Pant suit, dress suit or tailored dress – best colors: Navy, Black, Gray, or Taupe • Skirts should be no shorter than 1 – 2 inches above the knee and avoid extreme slits • Polished and closed toed shoes or basic dark pumps with medium or low heels (1 – 2 inch heels) • Nail polish should be subtle - fingernails well groomed • Make-up should be minimal • Folio, briefcase, or professional bag with small purse is recommended • Simple, basic jewelry – one bracelet or watch per arm, one ring per hand (with the exception of the wedding set) • Always wear hosiery and keep color neutral • Avoid wearing perfume Recommended for Men • Dark suit or dress pants and jacket – best colors: Navy, Black, Gray, or Taupe • Shined leather shoes - tassel loafers, wing tip, or lace-up in black, brown, or cordovan • Belt should coordinate with your shoes and wear socks that coordinate with pants • Clean, well-groomed hands and nails • Conservative tie that coordinates with outfit, tied just long enough to cover the belt buckle • Solid cotton blend shirt with plain or button down pressed collar - make sure it is a good fit • Avoid flashy cuff links, rings or neck chains • Avoid cologne Career Services’ staff is happy to advise you on dressing appropriately for an interview. When in doubt, dress professionally.
Graduate School Guide
INTERVIEWING SKILLS - the preparation Research potential graduate schools
It is important that you research graduate schools so you can relate your abilities to the needs of their program. Also, by having “done your homework,” it will show the graduate school that you are interested in their program.
Making conversation – practice interviewing
You don’t have to memorize a lot of answers to difficult interview questions, but it is important to practice how you will present yourself in an interview situation. Generally graduate school committees are asking questions to find out why you are interested in their program, to find out what you can do for them, to learn what kind of person you are/what makes you unique, and if you will add value to their program through study and research. Review the interview questions listed on the next page and practice your responses by incorporating information about your previous education, experience, skills and specialized knowledge that makes you the best candidate for their graduate program. Stay focused on the specific field of study you are pursuing and refer to your qualifications and experience noted on your curriculum vita.
Active listening behaviors signal that you are listening to the speaker, that you heard and understand what the speaker is talking about, and that you care about the conversation. Use the following strategies to enhance your listening skills: • Good eye contact • Attentive posture (lean forward and sit up) • Verbal following (respond with ideas that logically follow what just said) • Paraphrase (clarify that you understood the interviewer and shows interest in what they are asking you)
Steps to a successful interview
During the interview you will want to convince the interviewer that you are the most qualified applicant for the graduate school program. Remember, you only have one chance to make a good first impression! • Arrive 10 - 15 minutes early. Give the interviewer a firm handshake. • Be aware of your body language - maintain eye contact and remember to smile. Don’t smoke or chew gum at any time during the interview. • Choose your words and topics of conversation carefully. Avoid filler words while speaking - i.e., “um”, “uh”, “ya know”, “well”, “like”, and “yeah”. Be professional by avoiding the following – swear words, gossip, jokes, lengthy personal stories, criticism, religion, politics, and diet and weight topics, talking about your personal relationships, and talking about your boss or co-workers. • Maintain your professionalism - don’t let the interviewer’s casual approach fool you. Remember, don’t address the interviewer by his/her first name unless invited to do so. • Have your documents handy. Be sure to carry additional copies of your curriculum vita, a list of references or recommendation letters, and a quality pen. • Be gracious when referring to your previous experiences - bringing up negative information only reflects poorly on you. • Display an upbeat and positive attitude. Being overly critical of yourself or discussing your personal problems leaves the interviewer with a negative first impression and the interviewer will begin to doubt your viability as a graduate school candidate. • Listen to the interviewer carefully and give clear and concise answers. Don’t appear overly confident and remember, don’t dominate the interview - avoid interrupting when the interviewer is talking. • At the close of the interview, establish a date for your next communication and always remember to thank the interviewer for his/her time. Plan to send the interviewer a thank-you letter as soon as possible after the interview.
Graduate School Guide
INTERVIEWING SKILLS - the questions Anticipate Answers to Questions an Interviewer May Ask You • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Tell me about yourself as it relates to your desire to attend graduate school. Why did you choose the major/career for which you are preparing? How has your college experience prepared you for pursuing a Master’s/Doctoral degree? What have you learned from participation in extracurricular activities? How would a professor who knows you well describe you? Do you think that your grades are a good indication of your academic achievement? What qualifications do you have that make you think you will be a successful graduate/doctoral student? What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses as a student? What have you learned from your mistakes? What motivates you to put forth your greatest effort? What is the most significant contribution you have made to your undergraduate program? What is the most important development in the field of _________ over the past 25 years and why? What accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction and why? How would you define “success” in the academic environment? What kind of learning environment do you feel most comfortable - working on your own or as part of a team? Give an example of how you work under pressure or when meeting a project deadline. What leadership positions have you held? Describe your leadership style. What are your short-term and long-term career goals, and how do you plan to achieve them? Why are you pursuing a graduate/doctoral degree? What do you know about our university/program/faculty? What do you think it takes to be successful in as a graduate/doctoral student at our university? In what ways do you think you can make a contribution to our program? What criteria are you using to evaluate the graduate program for which you hope to attend? Do you have a geographical preference? Are you willing to relocate? Are you willing to travel? Practice through Why should our department accept you over other candidates?
Formulate Intelligent Questions to Ask the Interviewer
Use the interview as an opportunity to gather as much information as possible about what you should expect if you were to be accepted at the university of your choice. It is essential that you find out what the department expects of new graduate students and decide whether or not you see yourself fitting into the program.
Plan to participate in a mock interview to sharpen your presentation skills prior to interviewing with any graduate schools.
Here are some sample questions to ask the graduate school committee: Contact Career Services by • Please describe a typical day for a graduate student in this department. phone at 859.622.1568 to • What do you see as the greatest challenge for a graduate student in this program? schedule a mock interview. • In what way does the department support new students in the program? • What are the skills most essential for success in this program? • How is this program perceived on campus? • How much contact and exposure to other departments are the students in this program given? • How much freedom and responsibility is given to new graduate students in research and academic projects? • What is the retention rate of students in this program? • What opportunities exist for professional growth and development outside of the classroom? • What are the typical career paths for alumni? What are realistic time frames for advancement? • What is the department’s plan for future growth? • What makes your university program different from your competitors? • How do you feel my experience and skills match up with your program?
Graduate School Guide
BEHAVIORAL-BASED INTERVIEWING Behavioral-based interviewing focuses on experiences, behaviors, knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics necessary to be successful. It is based on the belief that past behavior and performance predict future behavior and performance. Many organizations use behavioral-based interviewing to some degree.
Tips on Behavioral-Based Interviews • • •
Be detailed and give specific examples Prepare short descriptions of situations that demonstrate positive behaviors or actions Make sure that every story has a beginning, middle and an end.
The best way to accomplish this is to use the STAR process: • • • •
Situation - describe a specific situation that relates to the question Task - what was your task, what goals did you have Action - what action you specifically took Result - the positive result or outcome of the situation
Using the STAR process is a productive way for you to structure your experiences and accomplishments for the interviewer. For example: (the situation) My department had been doing all their reports manually, which was very time consuming. I was confident that we could (the task) save time and money by automating the process. Therefore, (the action) I developed computer program that would help expedite the report workload. Since then, (the result) our staff have cut their report workload in half, creating time to implement new projects that we did not have time to work on in the past.
Behavioral-based questions usually begin with such phrases as: • • •
Describe for me... Tell me about... Give me an example of...
Example Behavioral Interview Questions • • • • • • •
How have you demonstrated initiative? How have you motivated your self to complete an assignment or task that you did not want to do? Think about a difficult person that you have worked with in the past. What made him or her difficult? How did you successfully interact with this person? Think about a complex project or assignment you have been given. What approach did you take to complete it? Tell me about the riskiest decision you ever made. Describe when you or a group that you were part of was in danger of missing a deadline. What did you do? Tell me about a situation when you had to learn something new in a short time. How did you proceed? • Describe your three greatest accomplishments to date.
• • • • • • •
Walk me through a situation where you had to do research and analyze the results for one of your classes. What leadership positions have you held? Describe your leadership style. Have you generated any new ideas or suggestions while at school or at work? Summarize a situation where you successfully persuaded others to do something or to see your point of view. Give an example of when your persistence had the biggest payoff. How have you most constructively dealt with disappointment and turned it into a learning experience? Describe a situation in which you effectively developed a solution to a problem by combining different perspectives or approaches.
Graduate School Guide
INTERVIEWING SKILLS - outside the office Phone Interviews
Phone interviews can be tough, but making sure you are prepared to answer the questions they ask is key - since the phone interview focuses on the content of your conversation. Depending on the length of the phone interview, they may only have time to ask you 5 - 8 questions. Be sure to practice the clarity of your answers and use the following tips to ensure that your phone interview goes smoothly. • • • • •
If you are using a cordless phone, make sure that it is a clear connection and that they can hear you. Be sure to have a glass of water nearby to ensure that your voice stays clear. Sit in a room by yourself where you will not be disturbed by anyone, or TV or radio noise. Do not be surprised if you are put on a speaker phone and are asked questions by several different interviewers (especially if you are being interviewed by a search committee). This can be intimidating, but try not to be nervous. Just remember, the more you practice interviewing, the easier it will be for you to answer smoothly under pressure. Be sure to have a notepad and pen easily accessible. When the interviewer(s) begin introductions, write down each persons name and title. This will help you when you go back to send thank you notes after your phone interview.
When they ask questions, jot down a few notes to make sure you remember the question they asked - stay focused on whatever they are talking about. Be concise when you are answering your questions - don’t ramble! Be sure to ask them to clarify the question if you are not sure what they are asking you. Take notes on anything that you may want to ask them at the end of the interview.
Dining can be a vital part of the interview process. All of your professional skills are on display –be on your best behavior and polish your meal manners. Utensils: When deciding the proper utensils for each course, remember the simple rule: start at the outside and work inward. Move to the next proper utensil as the courses progress. Example: the salad for will be furthest from the plate, the dinner fork will be closest to the plate. When finished with each course, leave utensils on the plate. Napkin: Place the napkin in your lap within the first 15 second of sitting. If you must leave during the meal, place the napkin in your seat. This allows the waiter/waitress to know you will return to finish your meal. When you finish dining and are ready to leave, place your napkin beside of the plate. Do not place the napkin on the plate. During the meal: Wait for everyone to be served before you begin to eat. If member of the party has not been served, and encourages you to eat, you may do so. Reach only for items in front of you, wait for other items to be passed. When passing items, offer to your left and pass to your right. If items are passed in the wrong direction, go with the flow. Tips for a successful dinner: Be clear about where to meet and arrive on time. If you cannot avoid being more than 15 minutes late, phone the restaurant or your host to let them know when to expect you. If you must cancel, call personally, apologize, and suggest a rescheduling. Follow your host’s lead in ordering food and drinks. Use basic table manners - do not talk with food in your mouth, do not wave your utensils. Confine your conversation to appropriate topics. Avoid topics such as: illness, politics, highly debated issues, money, crude or offensive jokes, anything that would cause someone to feel squeamish. Use the “magic” words: thank you, please, and excuse me. Do not smoke during dinner. Send a thank you note after the meeting. Let the Career Services’ Staff help you prepare for any interview situation! Make an appointment to talk with someone in our office and prepare yourself for the world that awaits you. Contact Career Services at 859.622.1568 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate School Guide
RESOURCES FOR GRADUATE PROGRAMS ONLINE RESOURCES
Peterson’s graduate planner – student edition www.petersons.com/graduate_home The Princeton Review www.princetonreview.com/home.asp GradSchools.com www.gradschools.com SchoolGuides.com www.schoolguides.com USNews.com – America’s Best Graduate Schools 2006 www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/grad/rankings/rankindex_brief.php Allaboutgradschools.com www.allaboutgradschools.com Grad Source www.gradsource.com
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) http://www.gre.org/ttindex.html
TIPS ON FINANCIAL AID RESOURCES:
Graduate students are not eligible for Federal Pell Grants or Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, but they are eligible for: • Specialized scholarships and grants • Federal Work-Study aid, which provides employment opportunities for students • Loan programs, such as Federal Stafford Loans, Federal Direct Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans • First step in applying for federal programs is to submit a (FAFSA) Millions of dollars in financial aid are also provided through many state governments – investigate what is available to you. • Financial aid opportunities vary from state to state • Many target minorities, women, or special fields of study, such as medicine or education • To qualify – you must be a resident of the state and attend college in the state you are applying to Colleges or universities are another source of money, look for opportunities to apply for • Department fellowships • Grants • Teaching and research assistantships Other sources of financial aid offer millions of dollars a year in service-related awards, loan programs, and grants to graduate students including • Foundations • Religious organizations • Employers • Clubs local governments • Individuals • Corporations
Graduate School Guide
WORKS CONSULTED & INFORMATION ADAPTED Dentil, Kweku. Indiana State University, McNair Scholar’s Conference, 2005. desJardins, Marie. How to Be a Good Graduate Student. From: http://www.psychology.nottingham.ac.uk/staff/ritter/public/local-databases/grad-school/how-to-do-phs.txt Eastern Kentucky University Career Services, Job Search Guide 2005 – 2006. March, Priscilla. Networking for students: a step-by-step guide. From: http://www.boston.com, 5/30/2007. Peters, R. D. Getting what you came for: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning a Master’s or PhD, 1997. Princeton University, Career Services, 2005. Applying to Graduate School? Available: http://web.princeton.edu/sites/career/Undergrad/GradSchool/applying.html Requesting Letters of Recommendation. Available: http://www.csulb.edu University of Wisconsin-Madison (2002). Guidelines for Requesting Letters of Recommendations. Ernst, M. (2002). Requesting a Letter of Recommendation. Keith-Spiegel, P. (1991). The Complete Guide to Graduate Schools Admission.
Graduate School Guide
Graduate School Guide
Utillize this tool to prepare for graduate school.