Get a Jump Start on Interview Prep!
July 21, 2011
Today's blog is written by Engineering Co-op and Intern Program Advisor, Meg Flood...
Summertime is a wonderful time of the year. It's a time for students to gain hands-on experience at internships and co-ops, network with professionals, and hopefully squeeze in some time in the sun! Summer is also a great time for getting a jump start on preparing for fall interviews.
I know, I know, you just want to enjoy working this summer and not have to think ahead to those interviews where you have to talk about yourself and tell interviewers about a time when you persuaded someone, took initiative, or showed leadership. But if you start thinking about these examples now, you will be ahead of the game when interviews roll around in October.
Here is an effective strategy that doesn’t take much time—but will have big payoffs this fall: once a week spend a little bit of time reflecting on your work week. Did you make progress on a project? Make a presentation? Come up with a way to improve a process? Manage a conflict with a co-worker? Think if anything you did this week that could be used in an interview as an example of your skills and abilities (see our How-To Guides for examples of common interview questions).
Once you think of a situation or two, WRITE THEM DOWN. It will be a waste of time to reflect on things you did and then not keep track of them. Some students like to keep track of examples using Excel or Word, other students like to use note cards. Find a method that works for you. For each example, regardless of what method you use, write down the following:
- Circumstances (what was going on, what project you were working on)
- Actions (what you did in this situation, how did you contribute)
- Results (what was the outcome)
If you do this once a week by the end of your co-op or internship you should have a nice list of examples. Then when you begin preparing for your fall interviews, you will no longer have to wrack your brain for a time you took initiative, instead you can just go to the spreadsheet or stack of notecards you worked on this summer and find an example. Practice explaining these situations out loud, remind yourself of the details and you can walk into your interviews confident that you have strong examples.
So while everyone wants to enjoy their summer, if you take thirty minutes a week to keep track of things that you are doing in your job, it will pay off this fall as you try to balance classes, projects, and interviewing.
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
– Alexander Graham Bell
Authored by ECS.