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work-life balance

Career Student Life

How to Land a Job Through a Video Interview

January 15, 2021

By now, most of us have accepted the shift from in-person interviews to digital interviewing. Even as life returns to a pre-pandemic state, hiring is unlikely to revert completely back to the way it once was. 

Employers have realized the benefits that come from remote recruiting, including the larger pool of qualified candidates that comes from eliminating geographical barriers. Video interviewing has become so popular, 86% of organizations are now using them to hire employees, with no signs of slowing down.

Here are some tips to make sure you’re prepared for your next video interview

What You Should Know about Video Interviewing

Video interviews do not always occur in real-time, like a Zoom call where you meet face-to-face electronically at an agreed upon time. They can also take the form of a one-way, pre-recorded interview where the interviewer is not present. 

In pre-recorded interviews, you record answers to pre-set questions, asked either in written form or via video, and the recruiters review your responses at a later time. Many students and graduates are unaware of this, and the surprise can throw off even the most prepped job seekers. Now you know!

Tech Tips for Virtual Interviews

Since video interviews occur online, naturally you’ll need some hardware and software to participate. The specifics depend on the platform being used, but here’s some general information to help:

  • Make sure your Internet connection is strong and secure.
  • Use a desktop or laptop rather than a cell phone or tablet. This will provide a better experience and limit shaky recordings.
  • While you can use built-in audio, you may want to opt for headphones with a microphone. This helps to minimize echoes and improve sound quality.
  • Use Chrome or Firefox as your browser as these are the most reliable.
  • Exit out of any apps that require access to your camera or microphone.

Looking Good on Camera


Nailing your video interview starts with looking the part. Dress professionally, style your hair appropriately, and find a well-lit and quiet location where you can be easily seen by the interviewer.


More tips:

  • Position the camera at or slightly above eye level.
  • Be mindful of what’s behind you! Tidy your surroundings and ensure nothing unprofessional is on display.
  • Project confidence by practicing good posture and open, positive body language. Smile and try not to cross your arms or fidget.

Increase Focus by Minimizing Distractions


Since most virtual interviews are done at home, this increases the potential for interruptions, which might throw you and those evaluating you off.

Stay in the game with these suggestions:

  • Let roommates, partners, or or children know when you’re participating in a video interview. Ask them to be quiet and considerate for the duration of it.
  • Close doors and windows to reduce noise and prevent pets from entering.
  • Silence your phone and turn off any music or television in the background.

What Questions to Expect During Your Video Interview

Now that you’ve taken steps to prepare your environment, it’s time to prep answers to anticipated interview questions. The most common video interview questions include:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why are you interested in this job?
  • What is/are your greatest strength(s)?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What makes you the right person for this position?


These are the types of questions that would be asked whether you are interviewing in person or over video. Think of concrete examples you can share from your work, school or volunteer experiences. Be honest, project confidence, express enthusiasm for the position and practice, but make sure not to sound like you’re reading from a script.

With these practical, easy-to-follow tips, you’ll be well-positioned to land a job offer following your video interview. Good luck!

Student Life

Paying for College on Your Own? Here’s Some Advice

November 14, 2020

It’s no secret that college can be one of the most costly journeys in life. Considering tuition, fees, books, room and board, traveling back home, and gas for those students who have a car, the amount of money spent on education can add up quickly! Some students have family and others to help with these expenses which can make life as a college student a little easier. But many others are paying their own way through college with little to no assistance.

Here are a few tips for students to consider if they’re paying for college on their own:

Don’t forget to fill out the FAFSA before each semester.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Whether you have help from family or you’re pushing through college on your own, all students should fill out their FAFSA each semester. This federally funded program provides grants and loans for college students. It is always best to research the requirements and criteria before filling out this application because it can be a little hard to understand at some points. Always remember that grants and scholarship money generally do not have to be paid back. Loans must be paid back so it’s important to get as many grants and scholarships as you can!

Get a part or full-time job with a flexible schedule.

While some students work while in school for extra cash, others have to work in order to pay for all of their education expenses. Those students who must work in order to pay for their education should find a job that is willing to work with their school schedule. Sometimes, this is easier said than done. Use your best judgement when making the choice to work part-time or full-time. Remember that the most important goal is to graduate and keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy. So if you’re already taking 18 credits this semester, adding on a full-time job would be really difficult.

Make sure the school that you choose is affordable. 

We all have different ideas of what is considered affordable and what isn’t. If you are a college student that is paying for your education out of pocket, be sure that the school you attend is the right choice for your wallet. Students often hear that in order to excel in your career you must attend the best or the most elite college or university. Some of the more highly recognized and notable universities often have higher tuition costs as well as room and board. Don’t fall into peer pressure! Always do your research on the schools that you are interested in and if the cost and atmosphere are right for you, making the right choice will be simple.

If you are a college student paying for college on your own, know that you are not the only one. Remember to always fill out the FAFSA before each semester and get as many grants and scholarships as you can. When looking for a job, whether it’s part or full time, make sure they are willing to accommodate your schedule and keep your physical and mental health a priority as well. Most importantly, find a college that is affordable for you and within your means! College will always be costly, but you don’t have to strain yourself in order to achieve your goals.

Career Other

Best Practices to Transition to a Home Office

May 12, 2020

Welcome to the world of nearly universal remote work. Just a few weeks ago, COVID-19 turned the business world completely upside down in a matter of weeks, scattering workers from their offices, cubicles and conference rooms in brick-and-mortar office buildings to using their kitchen tables and ottomans as makeshift desks. Gone, at least for now, are the days of collaborating through in-person meetings and gossiping at the watercooler. Transitioning to your new work environment may be a little jarring at first, but here are a few tips to help you stay motivated and productive:

Establish a Routine for Yourself and Stick with It

Whether we know it or not, we all crave some sort of routine to keep ourselves focused on accomplishing our goals. This is not to say that idle hands immediately become the devil’s plaything, but setting out a loose routine for yourself will help you make the most efficient use of your time. It worked for you as you established a routine going to the office, and it will behoove you to do the same for your home office. 

Resist the urge to sleep in too much, roll out of bed and start working right then and there. Get up at a reasonable hour, eat a nutritious breakfast, maybe try to get in a little exercise, clean yourself up and then begin your workday. Getting yourself into a routine and holding yourself accountable for sticking with it will help you stay productive and engaged.

Set Aside a Dedicated Workspace to Use As a Home Office

For many people, working from home will blur the lines between work and non-work activities. After all, work used to happen primarily–if not entirely–at a workplace outside of and completely separate from everyone’s houses. Now, you can start and stop working practically whenever you want. Suddenly, the physical delineations between your workplace and your home have disappeared. To help yourself adjust, set aside a specific area of your living space for work and use that area as your home office. If you work only in this space, you can still maintain some semblance of physical separation from your job while you work from home.

Make an Effort to Keep in Contact with the Other Members of Your Team

Collaborating on group projects and keeping morale high is undeniably more difficult when you and the other members of your team cannot interact in person. There are still plenty of other ways to stay in contact with them, though. Try setting up occasional video meetings and holding group chats on your organization’s internal instant messaging system. If all else fails, start an informal team email chain. However you need to do it, find a way to communicate with and stay connected to the rest of your team or department. 

Take Regular Breaks from Working If You Need Them

It is easy to lose track of time when you do not have the rhythms typically associated with a standard workday to guide you unconsciously from start to finish. Before you know it, you may have spent several hours sitting in one place trying to complete a task. Try to give yourself regular breaks from working so you can go to a different area of your living space and relax your mind for a few moments. You will go back to your workspace feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever comes next. 

A Combination of Exercise and Relaxation

Not leaving your living space for work means you will probably get far less incidental exercise–like, for example, walking from your desk to conference rooms or other common spaces and back, walking up and down stairs in your building or walking to a restaurant to go to lunch with your team–than you did during the average pre-COVID-19 workday. 

It is important to remain healthy and maintain your good habits while you work from home, so make an effort to incorporate exercise, a healthy diet and plenty of water into your routine. Maybe it’s something simple like a 20 minute walk during your lunch break. But it’s advantageous to maximize your movements and get as much vitamin D as you can. 

We also recommend relaxation techniques if you’re feeling any combination of anxiety from changes in work, to financial worries. Breathing techniques can help alleviate stress and calm your heart rate. 

Know When to Call It Quits for the Day

Compartmentalization is one of the keys to a healthy work-life balance, and that is particularly true when you are working exclusively from home. Unless you have a looming, immovable deadline to meet, you should stop working at or around a set time every day. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Your work will still be there in the morning, so be sure to take time for yourself.

Things are strange right now and time has only proven that we have no idea when things are going to shift again. Use these tips for adjusting to the new normal that is in this moment. With a good headspace, workspace, and taking the time you need to distinguish the two, you’re sure to adjust the best way possible.

Other Transition

4 Years, 8 Semesters, 120 Credit Hours

September 24, 2019

This task ahead of every full-time college student. For some, it will take longer and others shorter. This usually means that a student will have to take about 15 credit hours per semester. Some students take more.

Accommodating

Many college students have to work while they are in school and it can be a major challenge to manage a coursework load and an employee workload. Thankfully there are multiple solutions to manage 120 credit hours and 20-40 hr work week. Online classes and summer classes are just two of the options available to lighten the load allowing for students to achieve academic success while not having to be stressed out over the balance between working and completing school. 

Online Courses

Online classes are great ways to give students more control over managing their time. An online class does not have a set time that students have to attend a lecture. There are due dates for assignments and as long as the student is able to complete the assignments within the time that is due they are fine. Online classes allow students to work from wherever and whenever they want to. Some students will work on their academic material while they are at work. 

Summer Courses

Summer classes are extremely effective in allowing students to get more work done over the same amount of time. Just think, if you take two summer classes in between every spring and fall semester then you would only have to take 12 credits per semester instead of 15 and still graduate on time with 120 credits. Another great reason to take summer classes is that they keep the mind going. Students will be working hard during the school year and then after finals week of the spring semester, they will enter summer break mode. While it is nice to take a small break from schoolwork, a three-month-long break is not healthy for staying in the academic groove. Working out the mind is very similar to working out the body. If one does not continue to workout the mind it will become sluggish, making it difficult to start the next fall semester. But taking a couple summer classes allows students to continue exercising their mind but not to the point that it’s a burden. Keeping a small connection to academics during the offseason will make the transition back into the academic year a swift one. 

Navigating the course of college is not a simple task. It takes grit, determination and strategic planning. 4 years, 8 semesters, 120 credit hours. This can seem like a lot being thrown at you but there are plenty of ways to lighten the load and smoothen the path. Taking online courses and summer classes are just two ways to help simplify the college management process. Learn more about college tips, tricks, and hacks by visiting the GradGuard blog.

Career Health Other

How to Effectively Juggle Work-Study and College

June 3, 2019

Whether you’re a freshman stepping on to campus or a senior getting ready to walk the stage at graduation, balancing work-study and academics is definitely a tough act. As these are the two biggest time commitments for any college students, it can seem almost impossible at times to match working a job and studying for a test. It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few times to help relieve the stress!

1. Stay organized and think ahead with your money

The key to having effective organization skills is to use every resource you can to keep track of your day-to-day. In terms of time management, calendars and planners are always great ways to stay on top of both your work-study and school work. Tons of online calendars and apps can help too, and can even send push notifications with reminders and more.

For financial organization, try out different online banks that offer different benefits that can help you pay off your tuition while you work-study, or if you’re a senior, can help pay off your loans once you graduate.

There are so many different options out there to use, so don’t be afraid to experiment with something until you find one that fits your workflow and lifestyle. Everyone is undoubtedly different, but a little organization can go quite a long way!

2. Find a job you like

Although this can sometimes be out of your control, if you are able to choose a job that you’ll actually like and enjoy spending time at, it can be a nice stress reliever from your school work. In fact, in some cases, it can serve as something to look forward to in your day or week to give you that little break you may need in between class and homework.

Try finding something that interests you, that will help you in your career path, or something that will get you out and socializing with others. Whether it’s working at the library, swiping cards at the campus gym, or becoming an assistant or intern in your related major, these can all be great ways to get a work-study job you’ll actually desire.

3. Separate work time and school time

One of the most important parts of balancing your commitments might actually be separating your time allocated to each. If you know the time you have to work every week is the same, it will be relatively easy to plan time for your academics. If this changes every week however, it can get trickier and might need a little more coordination on your end.

Being sure to separate these will be important though, especially so you can be mentally focused on each task. While at work, try to enjoy your shift. Socialize with others, work hard and try not to think about your other obligations. Reversely, while studying or doing homework, focus solely on that and completing it to your best abilities.


By focusing on one task at a time, it can not only prevent becoming overwhelmed but also increase productivity. Remember these tips from GradGuard when the stress begins to creep in. You’ve got this!

Other Transition

Transitioning to Life After College

November 15, 2016

Graduating from college is a mix of emotions. On one hand, it’s one of the greatest accomplishment of your life. On the other, you’re leaving behind everything you’ve known for the past few years and diving head first into the real world that in many ways are not as forgiving as college. The prospect of becoming financially independent and keeping a job can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many have made the transition, some more graceful than others, and if you keep the following in mind you should be able to successfully make the transition too.

 

No More Homework, But….

One of the best things about being a college graduate and transitioning into the real world is the fact that you don’t have any more homework! However, that euphoric thought is fairly short-lived once you realize that you have to find a job. Instead of reading and essays, your homework will be doing market research on growth industries, where they are hiring, and finally applying for those jobs.

Unless you were working full-time during school, you’ll soon realize that having a career is more demanding than having a full course load. Another key difference between college and the real world is what is expected of you. Sure, during college you are expected to complete readings, papers, homework, and projects. If you did poorly, or simply chose not to complete some of these things, the worst you could expect was a bad grade. This is not the case in the professional working world. Work deadlines are a very real thing and if you miss them often times it can mean losing your job. Organizing yourself and keeping a steady workflow will be key to your success in your first job.

One key thing to remember during and after making the transition into a working professional is that the world does not owe you anything. Simply having a degree doesn’t mean you are entitled to a job and it doesn’t mean you automatically get a paycheck. It qualifies you to be able to apply for positions, but beyond that, you have to earn it. This means you have to become your own biggest advocate. Knowing what you want and how to get it will give a leg up when looking for a job. A lot of recent graduates make the mistake of accepting the first offer that comes their way. While this can be enticing, it is better to vet companies to make sure that they are a good fit for you and vice versa. There’s few things worse than being stuck at a job you hate so make sure to ask questions about the company during the interview process. Questions like what do employees in this role say the hardest part of the job is? What are the best parts of working for this company? What kind of benefits does this position offer? If you have student loans find out if the position offers loan refinancing. Remember, finding a job won’t be easy. Often times, you’ll have to apply to 50 plus jobs before finding one that sticks.

 

New Financial Responsibilities

Graduation comes with a host of new responsibilities. Some of us will have experienced a few of these things in college, but most of us didn’t have to juggle all of it. I’m talking about rent, car insurance, health insurance, car payments, etc… There are plenty of monthly expenses that all of a sudden you are expected to pay for. Thinking about it all at once can be frightening, but keeping a detailed budget will help you to understand what you have coming in and what you have after all your monthly financial obligations have been met. Remember, having a credit card is okay, but be vigilant about paying what you charge on a monthly basis.

 

You’ve Landed the Job

You’ve accepted an offer and your first day is imminent, so exciting! Remember, this is just the beginning and now you actually have to perform. Take initiative and study your company and its competitors. Follow industry thought leaders on Twitter and subscribe to industry sources of news. Read books related to your job. Basically, keep yourself informed. Increased knowledge of your space will allow you to bring fresh ideas to superiors and will put you ahead of many of your colleagues.

If, six months into your position, you find that you severely dislike your job or feel that you aren’t being valued, do not be discouraged. Some people love the first job they get, but many others aren’t so lucky. It takes time to discover yourself after college and really understand what it is you want to do. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your current job seriously. In fact, it means you should try even harder because you want to be able to list your accomplishments when going into interviews. Always leave an employer on a good note and never leave a job before you have secured another one. You still have to pay the bills!

 

Balancing Work and Play

One of the hardest concepts for a recent grad to grasp is the balance between being professional and still having a social life. During college it was easy, often times you could choose to only have classes in the afternoon and not have class on Fridays. Impromptu road trips weren’t a problem. Unfortunately, that is not the case when you have a career. A lot of positions will have you working 8 to 5 Monday through Friday and you’ll be lucky to get two weeks of paid vacation. This reality can be depressing, but all it means is that you’ll have to manage your free time more effectively. Fill it with contact with family and old friends. Engage in the community around you, join adult sports leagues, book clubs, or an art class. This will help keep a healthy balance between work and having a social life.

 

Becoming an adult is a scary, fun, anxious, and rewarding process. Nothing is going to happen exactly as you expect it to. Sometimes you’ll fail and deal with rejection, but the key is to stay as positive as possible and learn from your mistakes. Talk to your parents and mentors, chances are, they have experienced problems similar to what you’re going through. Most of all, be happy! College was fun, but being an adult has plenty of rewards too!

 

Sometimes you’ll fail and deal with rejection, but the key is to stay as positive as possible and learn from your mistakes.

 

About the Author: Brooks Hill is a freelance blogger with a B.S. in Strategic Communication and a minor in History from the University of Utah. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar, discovering new music, mountain biking, camping and socializing with friends.