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The Eyes are the Windows to the Job Offer

It’s the day of your interview,                                                                                                                 your black blazer is ironed and lint brushed,                                                                                 you’ve done your reseamsirch on the company, reviewed your talking points, and your handshake is just firm enough to make a lasting first impression… or so you thought. You didn’t prepare to maintain eye contact with the Hiring Manager and, all other preparation aside, you are unable to convince them you really want the job. Ironically, the importance of eye contact in a professional setting can often be overlooked. It is important to understand what your eyes can be “saying” during an interview.

Looking Straight Up: Motioning your eyes up usually conveys that you are in the middle of a thought. This can signal that you are trying to remember words you’ve prepared or visualizing an answer after being asked a situational or behavioral question.

Looking up and to the left: specifically signifies you’re remembering, this usually occurs in an interview when you’re asked a question, trying to process it, and relating it to a past event.

Looking up and to the right: specifically signifies you’re visualizing, mainly, this occurs when you’re able to picture something that happened recently. Also, your eyes may shift this way when assessing the logic in a question you’ve been asked.

It is in your best interest to practice maintaining eye contact even when thinking through an answer. A Hiring Manager can interpret frequent looking up as a lack of focus/interest in the conversation.

Looking Down: AVOID! Looking down signifies insecurity, defeat, and/or guilt. A manager’s ultimate goal is to hire someone that they have confidence in. How can they have confidence in you if you don’t show you have confidence in yourself? Your eyes have the power to give your nerves away, don’t let them. When it comes to less looking down, practice makes perfect. Build yourself up, before an interview remind yourself that GETTING the interview means you’re qualified and now all that’s left to do is let your personality shine through.

Making Eye Contact: Looking directly into someone’s eyes lets them know you’re interested in the conversation and that you’re not distracted by your surroundings or thoughts. Hiring Managers obviously want to see your interest in the opportunity they’re giving you. Your eyes can be the foremost way to nonverbally tell them – there is no place I’d rather be than at this interview. Eye contact between both parties in the conversation signifies respect. Respect that they’ve taken the time to meet with you and consider you a fit for the company’s opening.

One of the best ways to maintain eye contact is by preparing answers to commonly asked interview questions ahead of time, and then practicing your answers in the mirror or with someone. The internet is a great tool to find the most common interview questions for certain positions and from specific companies. This way you can be prepared and focused on the pair of eyes in front of you!

You can bet the Hiring Manager will be looking at you, so if you want to send the right message make sure you’re looking back. There are many aspects to tackle during an interview, don’t let lack of eye contact be what strips you of an offer. Instead, use this information to captivate and ensure no manager can take their eyes off of you!interview-cartoon

Tori Pollock

Bryant University 2017

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The Power of Being Aware

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How did you get to the United States? How does it feel to grow up in an island? Do you people have malls over there? Are there highways? Did you learn English in Puerto Rico?  These are all questions I’ve been asked at some point in my life. To be honest, they make me feel ignored.

I have lived a very privileged life, and by privileged I do not mean “the advantage that wealthy and powerful people have over other people in a society” as defined by The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. I mean that I have had great opportunities as a result of my background. I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and I have had the pleasure of living in various countries including Costa Rica, Canada, and now the Unites States.  Living in all of these different places has made me understand how important it is to know about different cultures.

To know about different cultures is to be aware. It’s to know that there are other people with different backgrounds all around you.  Understanding this fact and taking advantage of it will make you a more successful person, because it will allows you to create better relationships with others around you and this is incredibly powerful. When you take the time to appreciate other cultures around you, it actually makes people from other parts of the world feel important instead of simply ignored.

When I meet someone that asks me if there are shopping malls on the island, I am annoyed. On the other hand, when another person knows about Puerto Rico’s current status and asks me a more insightful question, I immediately gain respect for that person. Furthermore, I am equally impressed by someone from a Latin American country that knows about the main issues Italy and Greece are facing today and can speak about these issues logically when they meet someone from those countries.

I’ve experienced the benefits of appreciating different cultures first hand. Last summer, I worked at PepsiCo as a sales representative. Initially, I was very successful in stores with Hispanic owners and unlucky in those with Asian or Indian owners. However, once I understood how you were supposed to act and speak with these owners depending on their culture, I was much more successful.  What I mean is that understanding different cultures will help me succeed in my career because I will be able to communicate and establish better relationships with people from different parts of the world when I know where they come from and how they themselves would act with someone from their country and culture.  I was blessed to be part of both the Puerto Rican and United States’ culture because it has helped me learn this important lesson.  I am excited to grow in my career and I know now that people from around the world, not just from Puerto Rico and the United States, will be a part of my whole experience, so it is up to me to learn about their cultures and make the most out of every interaction.

We live in a world in which business has become global, and it is up to you to make relationships and impress people and not to be a little fish in a huge ocean. For that reason, I advise you to make an effort to learn about different cultures and countries. I’m not asking you to know every single detail about every country, what I’m asking is for you to be intrigued. When you meet someone from a place you haven’t heard about, ask worthwhile and respectful questions, not basic ones that won’t teach you anything.  Be curious about the world because it has a lot to offer, and you will be able to find hidden treasures in every country and culture you visit and learn about.


Estefanía Vale Guerra

Bryant University, Class of 2016

Taking the Leap: The Importance of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

“All dreams are outside of our comfort zone. Leaving our comfort zone is the price we must pay to achieve them” – Steve Jobs

To be honest- I have never written a blog before, so that is my inspiration for this post. I am stepping out of my comfort zone, in the hopes of improving my communication skills by exploring opportunities in this new outlet (and pleasing my boss).

600px-Globe.svgWe have all experienced a fresh start at some point in our lives, whether it was moving away to college, to a new town, or even a new country. Whenever you look back on one of these experiences you forget about how uncomfortable that change was at first. I remember how uncomfortable I was just moving from middle school to high school, even though I had all of my friends moving up with me. The combination of the older kids and the new environment, with teachers expecting so much more from me, was a lot to take in. Fast forward 6 years and I am moving across the world by myself to live with a group of individuals that I have never met before.

So what changed? What makes us want to step out of our comfort zone? We do it because we are told to. Because everyone always tells us, “This is how you grow; this is how you can become a better person”. And as cliché as it sounds; this almost always rings true. If it turns out to be a great experience, you grow. If it is a terrible experience, you learn from it, and you grow. Everything we experience changes us and shapes us into who we are today and who we are going to become tomorrow.

Thinking back to the airport on the day that I moved to Australia, I distinctly remember the moment after I hugged my mom goodbye and I turned around and began to walk away. I remember vividly the feeling of panic that immediately ensued. This was the moment I officially stepped out of my comfort zone. This was the most miserable and also the most exhilarating moment of my experience abroad, and maybe one of the scarier things I have experienced in my life (even more so than free falling from 14,000 feet). This moment of panic, was a moment that changed my life, I would not trade my experiences abroad for anything in the world. Without experiencing this uncomfortable beginning, I would never had made such great friends and had so many incredible experiences.How-To-Step-Out-Of-Your-Comfort-Zone

These are the types of experiences that are applicable to everything we do in life. They change us, who we are and how we see the world around us. We all have our own comfort zone- the areas in our lives where we feel safe, in control, and at ease. It could be our home, our job, our school, pretty much anything. Stepping out of our comfort zone may never get easier; the panicky, unsure feelings may never go away, but we embrace these feelings once we realize how rewarding these experiences can be.

The comfort zone is not just something that is found in your personal life, it is extremely relevant to your career. And I am not the only one who feels this way- Forbes does too (Forbes Article). If you find yourself in career with little room for growth, if you find yourself interested in another industry or position, go for it! Take a chance and try something new. This is YOUR life, so do what you have to in order to advance in your career, or if your current career path is not making you happy; try out something else. Chase after new opportunities and make the most of the ones that are given to you. If you are too afraid to step out of your comfort zone you will miss out on countless promotions, raises, or career moves.

I know, I make it sound so easy, “Just go for it”, but believe me I know it’s not as easy as it seems. So what can we do to make these changes happen? Here are a few suggestions…

cartoon-eyes Keep your eyes open: Always be on the lookout for new opportunities, new job openings etc. These things can be easy to miss- so make sure you are aware of what is going on in the world around you.

networkingNetworking: Meet new people! Put yourself out there and try to make as many friends as possible (preferably those in high places). Welcome any and all into your circle. These connections can inform you of new opportunities and even get your foot in the door with a recommendation or introduction.

cheerleaderEnlist your own personal cheerleader: Whether it is your spouse, significant other, sibling, parent, or friend. This person could be anyone, anyone who you can talk to about your insecurities and fears and will be by your side for the long haul. This is the kind of person you need to boost your confidence and help to encourage and support you on your new journey.

When you find yourself facing a difficult decision or looking for some new adventure, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and leap. Have faith in yourself and in your ability to adapt and succeed in a new environment. It could be a new career move or a more personal experience. Whatever it is- take the challenges as they come and embrace the changes and new experiences you are having. This is the only way you will ever truly find out what you are capable of. By pushing your limits you find out what you can really do and maybe even some things that you can’t. In either one of these scenarios you benefit. The outcome is not the most important thing (although it may seem it at the time). It is the experience that is most valuable and it is the experience and lessons learned that you will carry with you into the future. As the old adage goes- the lessons learned along the way, you keep forever.

I would like to acknowledge all of my friends in Gold Coast, Australia and my boss Tony Pivirotto for the inspiration to write this post.

Katie Campbell, Bryant University Class of 2016

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