Category Archives: Internships and jobs

Online meeting etiquette

Show up prepared; be on time; get involved in the discussion: these are just some of the basics of meeting etiquette that we’re all familiar with.

When it comes to online meetings, having good etiquette is just as important, and although many of the same rules apply, there are a few other vital things you need to consider.

Online meeting

Preparing for the meeting

  • Read through the agenda (if there is one) so you know what to expect and have your own notes ready.
  • Dress appropriately. You may be tempted to work in your pyjamas when you’re at home but ensure you get appropriately dressed before jumping on a call. Just like you would in a regular, face-to-face meeting, dress according to your audience; more formal meetings may require a more formal outfit.
  • Choose a quiet spot to sit where you know you won’t be disturbed. Make sure it’s well lit (don’t sit with your back to a window!), and the background is neutral and uncluttered.
  • Mute notifications on your computer and put your phone on silent. If you’re sharing your screen, make sure you only have the relevant windows open.
  • Let the people you live with know you’re going to be on a call so they won’t disturb you and shut the door behind you if you can.
  • Check your equipment. This includes making sure your battery is charged and your camera and microphone are working correctly. Most video conferencing tools let you check your equipment before joining the call.
  • Get comfortable! Especially with long meetings, you must be sitting in a comfortable chair (not bed). Don’t forget to grab yourself something to drink as well.

During the meeting

  • Turn your camera on. Being able to see each other will significantly enhance engagement, and you’ll get used to being on camera in no time.
  • Make sure to greet everyone when you join the video call and, if there’s time for some informal chatting before the start of the meeting, try to get involved. Ask how everyone’s doing; it’s a great way to break the ice and feel more comfortable in front of the camera.
  • Mute yourself when you’re not speaking to avoid background noise disrupting the call.
  • Pay attention to the presenter as you would in real life. Stay focused on your screen – don’t start typing or working on other tasks, even if it is tempting from time to time. Phones are off-limits too.
  • Be mindful of your body language. From the presenter’s perspective, it can be hard to interpret how the meeting is going without verbal feedback, so making an effort to nod or smile when you agree with something can help them read the room. Avoid yawning and stretching as they will probably take this as a sign of disengagement.
  • Don’t interrupt people. This can be rather tricky during video calls as there may be a slight delay, and you and someone else may accidentally end up speaking simultaneously. Be gracious and let them make their point before jumping in.

Navigating meetings in the virtual world may bring new challenges. Still, ultimately the etiquette is essentially the same: come prepared, focus, get involved and be polite, friendly and professional, and you’re well on your way to having a successful and productive meeting.

Te Rōpū Rapuara | UC Careers

Interning? Start strong with these tips for Day 1

Starting an internship can be exciting yet unnerving. After all, there are new bosses to impress, umpteen co-workers’ names to remember, IT networks to get your head around, and chunky induction packs to plough through.

The good news is, nobody is expecting you to master all of that in just one day. So instead of putting too much pressure on yourself, focus on finding your feet and kicking things off on a positive note. Here are our top DOs and DON’Ts to do just that.

Internship

DO 

Get off to a good start
Start the day as you intend to finish it – in a friendly, calm, orderly fashion. Pick out what you’re wearing the night before, get an early night and make sure to wake up to a good breakfast. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to your workspace, ideally arriving about 10-15 minutes early. If you can, do a dummy run of your route to get the timing right. If you’re starting work remotely, familiarise yourself with the systems you will be using before your first day and make sure your tech is fully up and running.

Have your introduction ready
With so many people to meet, there are an awful lot of first impressions to risk getting wrong. Pre-prepare a 30-second elevator pitch outlining who you are and what you’ve been doing. Also, be prepared to talk about your interest in the role and your goals and ambitions going forward.

Ask questions
The initial stages of any job are all about learning, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Especially when you’re set a task, it’s important to have all the relevant information upfront, so don’t hesitate to ask if anything is unclear. Moreover, take notes!

DON’T

Turn down an invitation.
Putting your hand up and getting involved is a sure-fire way to make a positive first impression. Equally, the more people you meet, the sooner you’ll be able to get the lay of the land and to understand the organisation’s structure and hierarchy. Strike up conversations with people and say yes to everything, whether that’s sitting in on a meeting or going for a coffee or after-work drink. If you’re working remotely, arrange video calls with colleagues to get to know them better.

Try too hard
Day one is all about keeping things simple – there will be plenty of opportunities for quick wins and revolutionary ideas over the coming weeks. While you should avoid rushing out of the office at 5pm sharp, you don’t want to be staying late into the night for appearance’s sake either. The last thing you want to do is to burn out in week one. Take it easy, look after your physical and mental health, and set boundaries between work and life. This is especially important when working from home.

Forget to reflect
An internship can be a great opportunity to develop critical skills and get a perspective on your career direction. To truly reap the benefits though, you need to reflect on the experience, perhaps taking a few minutes after work each day or a few times a week. Ask yourself questions such as ‘What tasks am I enjoying the most?’ ‘What comes naturally to me?’ and ‘What do I find most challenging?’

As important as those first few hours of your new internship are, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. As long as you’re professional, friendly, positive and eager to learn, you’re already off to a great start.

Reference: The Muse; Business Insider

Te Rōpū Rapuara | UC Careers

How to answer: What did you do during lockdown?

As companies start hiring again, employers have started asking the question: ‘What did you do during the lockdown?’

Don’t worry if you feel slightly panicked because you didn’t think you did anything worth mentioning. In fact, you probably did more than you think.

By asking this question, the interviewer is testing your self-awareness, your ability to reflect and pick out the positives during a trying time.

Lockdown career image

Employers want to know what you did or learnt was meaningful or impactful, whether big or small, to get some perspective on your adaptability and resilience.

There’s no doubt that the last couple of months have been challenging; although experiences differ from person to person, we’ve all had to deal with change and uncertainty to some degree.

So, as part of your interview preparation, take time to reflect on what you have done during the lockdown.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:

Did you gain any valuable work experience?
Make sure to highlight any work or volunteer experience you gained during this time, even if it was in a different role or industry than the job you’re applying for. For example, you may have volunteered to help vulnerable people in your community with shopping and delivering medicine. Emphasise the transferable skills you gained that are valuable to your potential new roles, such as taking the initiative, teamwork or communication. If you already had a job when lockdown started, you can also talk about the changes you went through and how you successfully adapted or supported your teammates through these changes.

Did you start a new project?
From online courses to new hobbies, if you could start something new, that’s worth celebrating. You could talk about how you taught yourself to edit videos, for example, or how taking up knitting has helped you manage stress. Whatever it is, explain why you did it and the personal or professional benefits that resulted from it.

Did you learn anything about yourself?
If your gut reaction is that you did nothing during the lockdown, try to think about what you’ve learned about yourself instead of the actions that you took. For example, you may have known how to take care of your mental health better or the importance of staying in touch with friends and colleagues. Emphasise how this has positively influenced your behaviours since.

If you spent lockdown shielding, ill, or caring for others, it is absolutely okay to say this. If you feel comfortable disclosing this information, you can talk about how you took on responsibility for others or learned how resilient you are.

It is also acceptable to say that you followed government guidelines and focused on your health during this time.

Adaptability, resilience and positivity are skills that are now more important than ever, and by asking this question, the interviewer is hoping to get evidence that you possess them.

So, before the interview, take the time to look back and pick out some key points that you are comfortable sharing and if it’s relevant to the job at hand, even better.

Te Rōpū Rapuara | UC Careers