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    “Great graduation present!”

    Inspired to extend a helping hand to ambitious women working in corporate America, a veteran executive offers honest, practical, slightly irreverent advice about navigating companies that are run and populated predominately by men.


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    Learn to see yourself as others do and become magnetic, magnanimous, and memorable! Savvy advice, specific examples, and tactical exercises to develop your presence—in months, not years.

  • About the Author

    Jennifer K. Crittenden earned an MBA in finance and worked for over twenty years in the US and abroad, rising from financial analyst to chief financial officer. She is the author of five books, including the award-winning Discreet Guide for Executive Women. She offers professional development programs through her company The Discreet Guide.

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Get Out There! Interviewing for New Graduates

Excerpt from The Discreet Guide for Executive Women

Interviews are the key to advancement, so don’t leave them to chance. The more preparation you have, the more confident you’ll feel, and the more likely you are to go on interviews and do well. I like Martin Yates’s books about job hunting, but there are many excellent ones. Consult several.
That brings us to another mistake young women who are still in school sometimes make: avoiding interviewing. Again, the excuses are usually weak: “That company isn’t hiring—they’re just keeping up a presence at the placement center,” “I don’t like talking about myself,” “I know they won’t hire me anyway—I’m not their type.” Ha! All these excuses are actually good reasons to go and interview, just for practice. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll feel, and the better you’ll get at it. Then, when you get an interview at a company you really care about, you’ll knock ‘em dead.
Here’s an example: The director of the placement center at my graduate school predicted I would struggle during the interview process. “You’re too quiet and too modest,” he said. He probably also meant “too unconventional and too female,” but he stopped himself. I was stunned. I’d been successful at finding work before business school—were these interviews really that different? But I buckled down. I read, practiced, sought feedback, and interviewed and interviewed. Any company that invited me to their site got a visit from me—and guess what—I ended up with fourteen job offers. The director just laughed and shook his head when he told me I’d set a new record at the center. I was surprised and glad I’d overcome the weaknesses he’d observed.
A recruiter made an observation I’ll pass along here. She said, “Once you’ve been invited to the interview, nothing is standing between you and the job offer. They’ve invited you because they think you’re a match. You have the correct background, experience, education, etc. On paper, you fulfill their expectations. So, it’s only up to you to blow it during the interview.” That’s a new perspective on what you’re trying to accomplish in the interview. Make sure it’s a job you want, and don’t blow it.
On the other hand, when you get turned down for a job, I wouldn’t worry about it. Recruiters are often very skilled at identifying candidates who will fit into their company. That’s why you want to be forthright and transparent during the interview process. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not and try to fool the company into hiring you. If you’re not a natural fit with their culture, you’ll hate it there and you won’t stay. Trust them to make an accurate evaluation of your style and character and objectively assess whether you’ll flourish in their environment. If you get rejected, be happy—maybe they’ve just saved you from some horrible boss you wouldn’t have been able to tolerate.
Beware, occasionally, junior business people become a bit defensive during and after the interview, so they miss an opportunity to make an even better impression. Of course, you’re not over-selling during the interview—that just hinders the process. But you are gathering an extraordinary amount of information about what the company needs during your time there. Why not capitalize on that information to impress upon your potential employer that you’ve been listening, assimilating, and reflecting on how you might contribute? A followup thank you letter or email is a great way to do that. I sometimes hear candidates say, “Well, I’ll wait to see if I get an offer before I get in touch again.” Why? Is contact with you such a coveted experience that people are standing by breathlessly in hopes of stealing a rare exchange? Nope, it isn’t. So, write a formal thank you letter and make some observations about what you learned and what your thoughts are. Make it meaty; don’t just go through the motions. Also don’t handwrite your thank you notes for interviews. If you’re invited to dinner at someone’s house, you can handwrite a thank you note to the hosts, but business correspondence should be typed.
You should be getting the general drift here of my guidance: Don’t be shy. Show off! Have fun! I envy you just starting out. I hope you have a thirty-year career and that in the end, you’ve been transformed into a revered and powerful businessperson. This can be a fabulous adventure.

  • Invest in Yourself! Executive Presence

    Customized one-on-one consulting program to enhance your presence, both professionally and personally. Available from anywhere. Starts anytime. Ten 90-minute individualized sessions. Private and confidential. More info
  • Experts About the Presence of Others

  • Trailer for Exceptional Presence Program

  • Archived Issues

    Click here for the "Debunking Psychological Studies" Issue - November 2019.

    Click here for the "Imposter Syndrome" Issue - May 2019.

    Click here for the "Improv" Issue - Mar 2019.

    Click here for the "Podcast" Issue - Jan 2019.

    Click here for the "Books" Issue - Nov 2018.

    Click here for the "Civility and Anger" Issue - Sep 2018.

    Click here for the "Women and Money" Issue - July 2018.

    Click here for the "Training" Issue - May 2018.

    Click here for the "Lady" Issue - Mar 2018.

    Click here for the "Year of the Woman" Issue - Jan 2018.

    Click here for the "Sexual Misconduct" Issue - Nov 2017.

    Click here for the "Empathy" Issue - Sep 2017.

    Click here for the "Uncommon Courtesy" Issue - July 2017.

    Click here for the "Humor" Issue - May 2017.

    Click here for the "Stage Fright" Issue - Mar 2017.

    Click here for the "Women's March" Issue - Jan 2017.

    Click here for the "Executive Presence" Issue - Nov 2016.

    Click here for the "New Opportunity, i.e., Looking for Work" Issue - Sep 2016.

    Click here for the "Business Travel" Issue - July 2016.

    Click here for the "Bully" Issue - May 2016.

    Click here for the "Men, Women, and Money" Issue - March 2016.

    Click here for the "Boss" Issue - January 2016.

    Click here for the November 2015 Apology Edition.

    Click here for the September 2015 Single Mother Edition.

    Click here for the July 2015 Negotiation Edition.

    Click here for the May 2015 Birthday Edition.

    Click here for the Mar 2015 First Edition.

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