By Sabrina Bong — One of the sixth grade students I am working with recently asked me if I could stay until she graduates from middle school.
At first, we both laughed about it. Then, she said seriously, “Miss Bong, I really want you to stay. What will I do next year?”
Ironically, that’s the same question I have been asking myself: What will I be doing next school year? Even though my internships have prepared me well for my future job, there are still so many things that are uncertain. How should I react when a specific situation occurs? What is the best course of action for dealing with angry parents who refuse to listen? Will I enjoy the school I am at? But the biggest question of all is: Where will I be working?
Job interviews are always stressful, and part of that is because of all the uncertainty that comes with the interview. You don’t know what the other person is thinking, or what your competition brought to the table. However, there are always things you can do to portray yourself in a brighter light. Though I am by no means a veteran at job interviews, I’ve prepared a few handy tips for those of you embarking on the job search. Hopefully they are helpful!
- Buy cardstock to print your resume on. This is what one of my professors told me, and it’s really handy advice. The cardstock is sturdier and actually gives the printing more definition. Also, when buying cardstock, choose a white or slightly off-white color. Avoid bright neon colors.
- Ask about parking accommodations and directions immediately. When someone calls to inform you about your interview, feel free to ask for directions. The person you are speaking with probably knows what areas are under construction, or any detours that might confuse you. Also, be sure to ask where you can park and how to get there. One of the places I interviewed with had a parking lot that adjoined to the high school one. I spent almost 10 minutes (and was almost late for my interview) just looking for the entrance to the parking lot!
- Have a folder specifically for your resumes and letters of recommendation. It looks so much better pulling out one set folder and giving those items to your interviewers, versus digging through your bag trying to remember which folder you put them in.
- Be polite to everyone you meet. This probably goes without saying, but remember that everyone you encounter is assessing you. I once saw a girl who was incredibly nice to her interviewers, but was horribly rude to the secretary who asked her to sign in and pick up her visitor’s badge. This gives off a very negative impression, and probably will not lead to a second interview.
- Research. I know that once we are done with school, the last thing we want to talk about is the dreaded “r” word. But researching the place you are interviewing with is incredibly helpful. This way, when your interviewers mention a specific aspect of their district or company, you can respond with how much you know! It’s flattering to your interviewers, since you took the time to get to know the place you are interviewing with, but also shows how you are interested in that place at a very individual level.
Happy job hunting!