Top 5 Interview Tips

me.jpgWhile I’m only 22 years old, I’ve had my fair share of successful interviews through the years of interning and landing my first full time job post grad. Throughout college I interviewed with 5 different companies for engineering internships, 3 of which I worked for over the course of 4 summers, but I had offers from all 5. Now I may not have the most experience of anyone out there, but I have had much success which is why I’d like to share my top 5 most important interviewing tips since summer internships and full time jobs are only a few months away.

1) Have Confidence

This is ALWAYS the first advice I give to anyone going into an interview. Having a strong mental state before going in is crucial to showing the employer your best self. The thoughts going through your head those few minutes before they pull you into the interview room could make or break you. Which is why you must remind yourself how incredible you are. Even if you’re lacking experience, or your grades may not be the best, focus on what you’re great at. Then think of all of the amazing work you could do for this company and the value they would gain from you. You are valuable to them. You will make a difference for their company. THEY would be lucky to have you. Pull your shoulders back, and feel comfortable; there’s no need to have nerves as long as you can feel good about who you are and what you have to offer and you’re not afraid to show it. THESE are the thoughts that should be going through your head those few minutes before. Pep talk yourself. Feed your confidence. Listen to your favorite pump up song on the way there. Whatever it is that fuels you, that’s what you should be thinking about before you go kill that interview.

2) Prepare Scenarios

Although I’ve only interviewed for engineering positions, by comparing my interview experiences with others I’ve found we all run into the same problem. Time and time again we are asked the dreadful, “Tell me a time when… you worked well with a team… you helped solve a conflict… you voiced the unpopular opinion…” the list goes on and on. You will almost for certain be asked questions where you need to reference your experiences. This is where preparation comes into play. When preparing scenarios, I think back on my past job and school experiences and try to highlight critical points. Like a school project where I had to deal with team members not filling their part. Or the time I had to work with members of my sorority to make decisions about our chapter. Or the time I executed a successful project at an internship from start to finish. These are the things you should be adding to your list. Critical experiences you could reference in an interview. I also highly suggest looking up a list of interview questions and preparing answers. This doesn’t mean writing down word for word what to say and memorizing it, but practicing the ability to be asked a question and quickly come up with a good answer or experience to reference. This takes time and practice. If you’ve never interviewed, the first one might hit you out of left field or maybe you’ll hit it out of the ball park. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, but one you can be far better at when you prepare.

3) Review Your Resume

Of course you know how crucial a good resume is because yours was good enough to land the interview! But, sometimes we tend to forget about our resume once we’ve perfected it and are in the interviewing phase. Make SURE you know your resume backwards and forwards. This isn’t something you need to stress about, just take the time to review it. As you’ve been building your resume, the things you did one, two, or three years ago aren’t as fresh in your mind. It’s important to remind yourself what it is you did at your first summer job or whatever it may be. The night before your interview I recommend reading your resume from top to bottom because you just might read over something and have that “oh I forgot about that!” moment. I say this because this has happened to me. In an interview I was asked about a project I had COMPLETELY forgotten about and couldn’t even think about the details or which job it was that I worked on this project. Luckily I was able to think on my feet and make something up, but refreshing myself on my resume would have been a much easier solution.

4) Know the Company

Now you may be interviewing for your dream company and know everything you possibly could about it, but many of you are probably just trying to get a job and may not know the first thing about the company you’re interviewing for. This is where you can try and set yourself apart from all the other interviewees by taking the time to research the basics about this company beforehand. Learn what they do, where their locations are, if they own any other companies. Knowing some of these details will add to your hand and allow you to play your cards better come game time. It will also help you come up with questions. NEVER go into an interview without at least three questions prepared. You can use something generic like “what’s your company culture like?”, but it’s possible these questions may be answered during the interview. This is why specific questions about the company are good to have in the back of your head as well. ALWAYS ask questions. It shows you’re interested, did your research, and you’re hungry to learn.

5) Be Yourself

Showing your personality is so important when you’re interviewing. By doing so, you’re showing the company who you are so they can see if you’re the right “fit”. You don’t want to be working somewhere that doesn’t see you as the right fit; you don’t want them if they don’t want you. By showing who you are and expressing your personality throughout the interview, it’s more likely you’ll end up with a job that works for who you are so you can have a company culture that blends with your personality. Also, showing your personality may make a company more likely to hire you. By cracking a joke or two (when appropriate) or having a touch of personal conversation you can really draw a connection with people and the stronger that connection, the better your chances of making a good impression and landing the job. Being yourself will also help you feel at ease and answer questions more smoothly. There’s no need to overthink anything, just be sure of who you are and make sure the company can see that too.

Get out there and show em what you’ve got!

GOOD LUCK!

Please leave a comment or email us with your feedback and questions 🙂

xx Kelsey

 

He’s Not the Sun

Grey’s Anatomy is my favorite show. It’s also about a million other people’s favorite show. For me though I think I connect to it for different reasons, besides the fact that it’s really addictive and dramatic.

My mom passed away in 2009, Grey’s Anatomy was in its’ beginning seasons and my mom was OBSESSED. I did watch it with her, but it was more to lay in bed with her than to watch the show because I was pretty young. I have a very vivid memory of laying next to her while watching it and her on the phone with my older sister discussing the show while it happened. I think watching the show makes me feel close to her in a way, because it’s something I know we would have enjoy doing together if we had the chance.

But I also find myself relating to the different female characters on the show in interesting ways. Meredith Grey and Christina Yang have made me realize parts of my self, that I don’t think I would have on my own.

Some of Yang’s biggest character traits are her not wanting children, her father passing away when she was a child, and how she can come off cold to everyone. I view myself as a semi-feminine woman, I love makeup and getting all dressed up. My favorite color is pink and I love decorating (I also know these are all stereotypical things). But I try to present myself in a more confident and powerful way that really shows I will not put up with your bullshit. I can also be a cold person, this is not intended, but I naturally have a resting bitch face and can be intimating at times. Christina has furthered the belief that I do not need to smile whenever an old man says to, I can be who I want and the people who care will understand. I do not need to change how I present myself for anyone.

Christina’s father passed away in a car crash that she witnessed and her character struggles in several episodes with his death. Mainly it is shown as her own personal inner battles that she does not share with others, and I share my grief in similar ways. And she has shown me that’s ok. I have dealt with grief from my mother’s passing as well as my sexual assault. These are things I have felt ashamed of and have let controlled certain parts of my life. My mother’s passing will always be an important part of me, I miss her every day and would give ANYTHING to have her back. My sexual assault has definitely shaped the way I behave in some ways, but I try not to let it play a huge role (even though sometimes it can). Grey’s has confirmed you can deal with your grief in what ever way works for you. It has also shown that these parts of my life are not my entire story; even though they are still an important part and a constant theme in my life.

One quote Christina said to Meredith has continuously stuck with me:

grey

“Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. He’s very dreamy, but he’s not the sun, you are.”

This to me is probably the most important lesson Grey’s has taught me. Throughout the whole show, many of the female characters show struggles with being overpowered by their partners/family/friends. I am in no way saying this happens in my life, but that it is something I’m terrified of becoming a problem in my life. I see myself as a force. I think I can do great things. I dream of having a fantastic and impactful career. I do not see myself settling for anything. I am terrified of finding myself in a position where I am standing in the shadows of someone else. I see this quote as summing that belief up.

I am the sun. I must be the sun.

 

xx Hannah

Passion and Resentment

Last week I had someone ask me when I was hoping to settle down and start having kids. Mind you, I’m 22 years old, single, and I’m only in the first year of my first “adult” job. But this is honestly a fairly common question.

The thing is, I’ve never been the person who has wished to be a mother or a “homemaker”. I know some women want that life, and that’s their choice (that’s literally what feminism is, giving the woman a choice in how she spends her life). I’m not saying I’ll never have children, I assume I will, but I don’t ever see myself being a stay at home mom (stay at home pet mom is a different story).

Growing up my father has always been the “Mr. Mom”. Partly because my mom was unable to fulfill that “role” because she was sick, and partly because I think he actually enjoys doing it. He does the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and all of that stuff. I see myself marrying someone like him, I’m fine doing cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. and will be sharing those roles with my husband, but I also see my husband sharing the role of providing and taking care of the children (I mean more than just going to their events, I mean full fledged parenting and playing a large role in their lives). I am no way saying I won’t love, spend time, or provide for my children. I just don’t see myself being the generic soccer mom, and I think that is okay.

I’m currently taking an online class through work on Resource Development and Grant Writing and today’s reading included a quote by Craig Bowman stating:

“Passion fuels our work. It sparks our dreams. It gives us hope. It fires our imaginations. Passion gives us the courage to do, to give, and to share.”

That quote really struck a chord with me. I think that summarizes what I’m feeling about the question of settling down.

I am passionate about have a career I am proud of. I am passionate to find a job I love, where I feel fulfilled, and believe I am impacting the world in some way (no matter how big or small). I see my future as a destination where I feel passionate about my career and hopeful for the future. I do want to “settle down” at some point (I’m sick of being single but also don’t put any effort in so that’s on me). Later in life my opinion on having kids may change, but for now I think it’s okay for choosing to be passionate about a career and fulfillment in that way.

I know myself and know I can be very resentful. It’s one of my biggest flaws, and I recognize that and try not to be at all times. But I know that it is something that I constantly have to work on. I think recognizing your flaws and actively working towards bettering yourself through them is important. I would never say I want to “fix” my flaws, because that implies that I’m broken in some way and need to repair a part of my personality, but that’s not the case.

For me I think there’s a connection between my passion and imagination versus reality and resentment. I am passionate about having a meaningful career, as I’ve mentioned, and imagine myself having this extravagant professional life. Even if this doesn’t happen, I know I will grow to accept it. But I’m at the point where I’m still allowed to have hope and passion that this will happen. Because of that, I don’t want to “settle” into a life where it will limit me in that sense, because I know I will resent myself and the people around me because I’ll believe all of us played a role in my “failure” (my interpretation of failure, I’m not saying settling down equates to failure).

I think the important part, for me at least, is to at least try to follow the plan I’m passionate about. If it is not my fate, if I do end up settling down and going down a different path, I know I’ll come to accept it and love it. But I don’t want that to be my path because I didn’t try hard enough to follow my passion. I wish to never lose hope that I can succeed in the ways I imagine, but also wish to never resent my life because I thought I could do more.

xo Hannah

Loosely Based Resolutions

I was going through photos on my phone and found one from the summer after senior year of high school, which was about five years ago now (yikes). It’s of me and Kelsey in my backyard holding a plastic bag filled with what you could call “resolutions” but was more like predictions for what our senior year would bring us. I think we said we’d wait a few years before digging it up (we literally buried it in my backyard, which my dad was not a fan of) but we barely made it a year.

Both of us had predictions involving boys that stopped being in our lives shortly after we buried the notes, which is hilarious and embarrassing at the same time. I also referenced my Dad’s new relationship and she had something written down about moving to Tennessee. It was honestly really cool to see what had changed in a year, but also ridiculous that we even did that.

Looking at this picture is making me think of what lessons I’ve learned and how they relate to my future. So I’ve decided to make a list of new resolutions.

 

  1. Take care of your mental health. It is not something to be ashamed of. Everyone else in the world is not perfect; stop comparing how you cope with things to them.
  2. Buy more candles. You love them. They smell good. They can be really cute and complete any table setting. You can spend the $10.
  3. You do not need to keep toxic people in your life. If you are stressed from maintaining the friendship chances are it is not worth it. You do not need to parent people who are supposed to be your friends.
  4. Going to the movies alone is AWESOME. You don’t have to deal with anyone else. You get to react and sing along without any care. You don’t get distracted. It’s also a great feeling knowing you can do it alone and there’s nothing negative or anxiety-related attached to it.
  5. Don’t let boys who won’t give you the time of day control your thoughts, choices, or actions.
  6. It’s okay to binge watch a season of some TV in a day. Netflix exists for a reason. Everyone does it. Sometimes you just need it.
  7. Everything somehow has a way of figuring itself out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

 

Now let’s hope I actually believe what I’m preaching here.

xo Hannah