Tools For You
Of course you're brand savvy! Clothes, cars and electronics—you know the best brands and why you love them. But how about actually building the most important brand you'll ever rely on—yours. KPMG Branding U can get you admitted to the online college of (career) cool, with spectacular information and advice about creating your resume, looking professional, displaying good manners, acing an interview and maintaining an online persona that is virtually perfect.
Dining & Etiquette
MIND YOUR MANNERS
The way you handle yourself while dining says a lot about who you are to employers and to future clients. You may already know, but there are simple rules about the simplest things, such as which utensils to use and which glass is yours. Those rules can be somewhat overwhelming, but they don't have to be. We'll walk you through the dos and don'ts so you know what to order, when to order, and which conversations are safe to bring up at the dinner table. With the help of these tips—and a few simple reminders—your confidence will carry you through any professional dinner with panache.
Know Your Etiquette
Excellent etiquette is crucial to professional success. From the way you use your eating utensils to what food you order, everything matters. Read on to develop your etiquette, bolstering your brand.
If you are ever unsure about how to handle a situation at the table, follow the golden rule of etiquette by following the lead of the host. By paying close attention, you'll learn many things, including:
When is it OK to be seated?
Is it OK to order alcohol?
Should I order an appetizer, salad, or dessert?
Can I order the most expensive item on the menu?
When can I start eating?
Engaging in appropriate conversation is also very important at a business meeting or dinner. Again, following the lead of the host can be helpful but the most important thing is knowing your audience and tailoring your conversation accordingly. Remember these rules:
Don't bring up religion or politics.
If the purpose of the dinner is to accomplish business, minimize small talk, jokes, and talking about yourself.
If it is a networking dinner, you may want to share more about yourself, but listening to what others have to say is equally important.
Don't get too personal. Avoid TMI!
MANAGING YOUR VIRTUAL BRAND
Before you post jokes on Facebook or tag photos on Instagram, you might want to think of your online brand. While KPMG doesn't actively search social media during the interview process, other firms may. What you say and do online can spread virally and turn up when it's least expected—or wanted. Even the most innocent joke can be read the wrong way by a potential employer. Privacy settings can help, but so can a good dose of professional prevention. Use these simple guidelines to surf social media with your reputation intact. We'll also show you ways to use social media to build your brand, build your network, and show your expertise online. It's all in this video, Managing Your Reputation Online.
In today's dynamic business environment, KPMG uses an assortment of social media and online Web tools such as Twitter, Intern Inc, and YouTube, in addition to our Web site to communicate and enhance our brand. As the world of social media continues to grow in popularity, it too will grow as a powerful networking and professional development tool. We invite you to jump-start your professional career with our virtual branding tips, quiz, and self-assessment worksheet.
Did You Tweet Today?
- Be thoughtful about your brand and ask yourself these questions. Your answers to these questions should help guide your decisions as you build your virtual brand.
- Who am I?
- What do I want to know now?
- What can I teach others?
- Develop goals. What do you want to get out of your presence on social media? Let that guide what to sign up for, contribute to, and participate in.
- Use a consistent name or handle on all of your sites. If you can, use your first and last name; you will make it easy for people to find you.
- Create your Google profile on google.com/profiles so that when people are searching for you, they'll have the best chance at finding you and the information you want them to see.
- Choose a professional avatar or photo that represents who you are and will help people recognize you on all of your sites and if they were to meet you in person. You don't want your LinkedIn profile picture to be outdated just because you liked the haircut you had five years ago.
- Take time to create and fully utilize the "about page." Take advantage of bio pages; this is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the world.
- Clean out your contacts/friends/connections. Keep your list tight—you want to target people in the industry you want to enter. Make connections with professionals who can help you.
- Create relevant updates or comments and post often. Cross-post to your other sites. If you're not producing and sharing, you're not getting your virtual brand in front of others and you're not proving that you're a valued member of the online community.
- Complete relevant book reviews or product reviews on Amazon.com to increase the reach of your virtual brand.
- Once you've established your online brand, you must monitor it and keep it up to date.
Self-Assessment & Resume
REVIEW YOUR RESUME
Review your resume thoroughly, noting your strengths and weaknesses, personal values, and key skills, and how they relate to the job for which you are interviewing. Ultimately, know what image of yourself that you want to project to the interviewer. Your resume is all about you, so make sure it comes across that way during the interview. For more advice on building your resume, check out our resume tips below.
ASSESS YOUR SKILLS
Take some time to think about your skills and experiences, both in general and specifically by completing the Self Assessment Worksheet.
- Be concise and do not exceed one page
- Keep it neat, attractive, organized, and easy to read
- Ensure formatting is consistent throughout the resume and use spell check
- State your best qualities through your work experience and on campus activities
- Be honest
- Use action verbs to describe your duties and responsibilities (e.g., developed, managed, created, etc.)
- Quantify experiences to show levels of responsibility (e.g., number of people supervised).
- Be professional and appropriate.
- Avoid "buzzwords" and abbreviations
Key areas to cover:
- Contact Information: Name, Address, Phone (School and Home if applicable)
- Email address: Be certain your e-mail address is appropriate and make sure to check your e-mail daily
- Objective: Include position you are looking for (internship, fulltime employment), practice you are interested in, city you are interested in working and date you are seeking employment. For example: I am seeking a 2010 winter internship in the audit practice of the Charlotte office.
- Education/GPA: Include both overall and major
- Include work experience and any activity where you developed and/or used abilities applicable to
- Include position held, name and location of organization, and dates of employment
- Describe your work responsibilities with emphasis on specific skills and achievements
- Highlight any tangible accomplishments that have made an impact in your workplace
- Use reverse chronological order
- Activities/Leadership Roles
- Volunteer activities
- Honors and Achievements
- Interests/Other (Optional)
What's the first thing to do to prepare for interviews? Practice, practice, practice. Most of the magic in interviewing is about being comfortable talking—and answering questions about—you. We'll offer several ways to rehearse what you want to say about your talents, skills, education, interests and goals. And while you're prepping, learn all you can about the firm you'll be interviewing with: asking cogent questions can be as impressive as answering them. You can access some great questions right here on our Web site. Watch this video to have KPMG recruiters walk you through Interview Preparation and the On-Campus Interview.
- Do your research! Check out KPMG, including sections of this site such as What We Do. Familiarize yourself with KPMG's business environment and the various career paths available within the firm. Resources include firm-issued literature, the firm's Web site, annual reports, and the guidance of professors, professionals, recruiters, and former interns.
- Don't rush. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the interview. Stressing out because you're late is not a good way to start off.
- Practice, practice, practice. Grab a friend and have him or her go over the sample interview questions with you. Being prepared for the questions, even if they are a different type, will make you comfortable during the real interview.
Sample Interview Questions
Being prepared by reviewing sample questions is a surefire way to come across calm, cool and collected during the interview.
Take some time to go over these sample questions with a friend. Being prepared for the questions, even if they are a different type, will help make you comfortable during the real interview.
- How effectively do you balance your course load at school with any jobs or extracurricular activities?
- Describe the most challenging situation you've had to deal with and the ways you dealt with it.
- Describe a situation where you have thought of a new or creative way of dealing with a problem.
- Describe a time when you encountered an especially difficult project. What did you do and what was the result?
- What do you consider to be your greatest personal or school related accomplishment and what steps did you take to achieve it?
- Describe your most successful effort in promoting teamwork within a group and how they responded.
- What would someone you've worked for describe as your strengths? What about areas that need improvement?
- Describe a situation when your work or one of your ideas was criticized. How did you respond?
- Describe a situation in which you've shown a great deal of initiative.
- Describe a goal that you have set for yourself in the last year.
Were your answers concise and clear? What other questions can you think of to help you?
The most important aspect of this exercise is to give real thought to yourself and your abilities, while helping you to be more comfortable during the interview.
Learn some key do's and don'ts with regard to building your Virtual Brand.
- First impressions count. What can we say, the cliche is true. Give a firm handshake and a smile; it'll express confidence and a relaxed manner.
- Pay attention. Don't let your attention wander during the interview, and be sure to give concise answers.
- Don't umm or uhh. Sounds funny, right? If you need to organize your thoughts as you're speaking, pause; silence works better than stumbling over words.
- Be positive. No one else is you, so talk about your experiences in and out of school. Don't apologize for a lack of experience, instead emphasize your strong points.
- Watch your body language. Maintain eye contact, and don't be too rigid (yet not overly relaxed either). And listen to your mother...don't fidget. Everything makes an impression.
- Question the question. If you don't understand a question, ask. It shows you are paying attention. There's nothing worse than not being sure what someone just asked and making up an answer that may or may not be what they were looking for.
- To thine own self...be true. Be positive and upbeat, energetic and express your interest. When you are confident and comfortable, it makes a big difference during the interview.
After The Interview
- Ask for a business card. If the person interviewing you doesn't offer to give you one, be sure to ask. You'll need it to remember his or her name to write a thank-you letter.
- Write a thank-you letter. It is professional to send a letter (or email) of thanks to the person who interviewed you. Reiterate your interest in the position, and reflect on some of the highlights of the interview. Remember to be concise and gracious - and PROMPT.
For more advice on preparation for second-round interviews and receiving a job offer, visit How We Hire.
Dress for Success
How you dress is important when Branding U. Here are a few points to help you navigate through the sometimes confusing business casual dress.
- When wearing a skirt, hosiery is a good idea.
- Shoes should be clean and not too high. Strappy sandals are not very professional.
- Spaghetti straps and strapless tops are not okay in the office or a networking event.
- Make sure skirts and tops are not too tight or too short. Your midriff should never be exposed.
- Hair should be kept neat and simple. Jewelry should be conservative and tasteful - never make noise or too distracting.
- Keep any facial hair neatly trimmed.
- Pants should be clean and pressed. They should be tailored, sit at the waist and rest on the top of the shoes.
- Shirts should be clean, pressed, and collared.
- Be sure to wear socks that match-not athletic socks.
- Aim for a neat, clean look.
- Remove visible body piercings and cover tattoos.
- Pay attention to the fit of your clothes-make sure they aren't too tight.
- Keep perfume/cologne to a minimum.
- Always think about what message you want to send. If you have to stop and wonder, "Can I get away with this?" it's probably not a good idea.
Networking & Communication
TIME TO MAKE THE TRANSITION FROM COLLEGE STUDENT TO PROFESSIONAL:
- Observe others - what do they wear, grooming, etc. Might be time to get a haircut!
- Note that college attire does not necessarily equal business casual attire
- Be interested in other people and don't focus on yourself
- Be prepared - knowing what to expect will help you relax and feel confident!
NETWORKING EVENT PLANNING GUIDE
Having analyzed your strengths and areas of improvement, you should already be feeling more self-confident. Here are some planning tips for networking situations.
- Understand what kind of event you are attending: is it an information session, a reception, a dinner, etc.
- Make a plan on what you want to accomplish at the event (i.e. meet new people, reconnect with people you have already met, questions that you want to ensure are answered, etc.)
- When you arrive, approach a small group and join the conversation
- Ask meaningful questions
- Dress appropriately
- Talk with as many people as possible to gain different perspectives and maximize your time
- Be sensitive to and avoid topics such as politics and religion
- Don't overstay your welcome
- Get business cards and follow up with an email or written note
It's easy to forget you're communicating with a potential employer when you're using the same tools you use to text or e-mail friends-but first impressions do matter. In many cases, an e-mail or voice mail message is one of the first things your potential employer has to go by when judging your wonderful and vibrant character. Make a misspelling in an e-mail or speak too informally on voice mail and you may get passed up in favor of another candidate. We wouldn't want that to happen. That's why we've put together this smart set of tips on punctuation and salutations as well as suggestions on how to handle yourself on the phone. Communication skills form the foundation of your professional career, so take time to review these tips on Communicating Effectively.
Every day, we communicate with other people. Communication is sometimes verbal, written, or even nonverbal through our body language. To improve your communication skills, it takes practice and constant self-review.
Top 10 Ways to Communicate
- Be clear about what you want to express. It is important to be clear and to emphasize your main ideas in communication. This keeps your audience focused on you.
- Be mindful of what you say. Try to avoid profanity, etc., because it offends some people.
- Be precise. Do not waste words. Your communication should be clear and concise.
- Different perspectives arise in a diverse world. There is not one singular communication style; there are many different ways to communicate.
- Find common ground in any communication situation. You can build relationships by embracing the similarities.
- Aligning your actions and words. This makes you more consistent and trustworthy.
- Nonverbal cues. Studies show that body language is a more integral part of communication than speech.
- Conflict and differences arise from different perspectives. Different cultures may be offended by common American practices. It is important to be cognizant of other perspectives in the global marketplace that we serve.
- Communicating styles impact your brand. Be enthusiastic and optimistic in order to enhance your brand.
- Responsibility. Be committed to communicating well. You might have to repeat yourself or use different words to explain a topic.
Etiquette Top 10 List
Top ten email, telephone, and nonverbal tips to enhance your communication skills.
- E-mail matters.
Sending e-mails rife with errors is the equivalent to wearing jeans and a T-shirt to an interview.
- Double check.
Thoroughly proofread and spell check written correspondence.
- Be careful.
Be cautious about what you send. E-mails remain on servers forever. What was meant as a joke can tarnish your reputation.
- Be professional.
Include a relevant subject, appropriate salutation, and closing with every e-mail.
- Play nice.
Answer the phone courteously.
Your tone of voice means more than the words you use.
- Be polite.
Answer questions nicely and maintain a positive demeanor.
- Be Responsive.
Respond to voice mails as soon as possible. Being responsive makes you more dependable.
Smile often. It is an easy way to make a good first impression.
- Be confident.
You know more than you think you do. Maintain a good posture and have confidence; it is contagious.
Welcome to MyLife@KPMG! Learn more about KPMG employees and their every day experiences in the office and in their daily activities. Let them tell you their stories using the Video Diaries and Intern Journals featured on this site.Learn More
JELA FOOTE, MANAGING DIRECTOR
Jela Foote, managing director, Advisory, KPMG in Philadelphia, and U.S. Army veteran, has followed a unique and successful career path. He joined the army at an early age, served near the tense DMZ between North and South Korea, completed college and entered the accounting field. Jela began as an Advisory senior associate at KPMG in Los Angeles and later worked in the Phoenix and Philadelphia offices. Now, he is the subject of the latest MyLife@ KPMG video — offering a glimpse into both his professional and personal lives.
JUNE, A KPMG INTERN IN THE ADVISORY OPERATIONS RISK MANAGEMENT PRACTICE
Check out June's video diary! She's a KPMG intern in the Advisory Operations Risk Management practice and talks about her experience throughout the internship process and why she chose KPMG.