Resources help students nail job interviews

In Features

When applying for internships or a job, sending off applications, resumes and cover letters is a pivotal factor in getting you through the door.

Interviews are just another step in the application process, but are probably the most important.

A one-on-one conversation with a potential employer is not always the most anticipated meeting.

Interviews are infamous for being a nerve-racking experience because they can make or break your chances at landing the job.

In making sure that students are best prepared for internships, the workforce and interviews, Cal State Fullerton provides resources and services for students who seek help.

An example of one resource that CSUF has readily available for students is the Center for Internships and Community Engagement. The center provides a variety of services that are listed on their website.

The center provides orientations on academic internship and service-learning opportunities to ensure the internships have academic relevance and are in a professional environment.

“The compensations (students) receive in internships is in the form of learning and experience. Our office is here to facilitate that the placement works well and meets university policies and procedures,” said Kathleen Costello, assistant director of the center.

In the 2011-12 year, the center had 2,200 walk-ins and approximately 3,620 calls.

Students are welcomed to their office in Langsdorf Hall for counselling on internships possibilities.

The Career Center is another useful resource for students to take advantage as its services and website provide great amount of information, specifically about interviewing.

One important service the center provides is mock interviews.

In these mock interviews, “counselors simulate as much as possible the conditions of an actual employer interview,” according to its website.

Students are given coaching and pointers on what to improve on and are given a copy of their interview on a CD afterwards.

When it comes to what employers expect from potential employees there are some significant things to keep in mind.

Patty Malone, a professor that teaches a human communications course called “Interviewing: Principles Practices,” said that the most important thing employers seek is communication skills.

A description found on the Careers Portal confirms that communication skills are the primary thing that employers and interviewers look for in a candidate.

Not only do employers look for verbal or written communication skills, students must also be able to communicate and work alongside others.

This will show employers that they will have an effective relationship with co-workers. It will also show whether that ability will extend to clients and other essential people to their business.

Preparation is another key factor potential employers take into consideration.

Numerous human resource departments have reported that demonstrating no evidence that you researched their company is a red flag.

Ideally those applying will have to research the company, and visit its website if they have one, before they even apply for the job.

Doing some research can give candidates an edge.

This advantage can be especially useful when an internship or job is competitive.

“To prepare for my interview I evaluated my strengths, weaknesses and prepared questions to ask,” said senior Jennifer Truong, a business finance and entertainment and tourism major.

Malone said employers do not mind answering questions candidates might have during an interview.

When candidates ask questions it assures employers of their interest in the position and shows they will be not hesitate to point out concerns in the future.

A basic rule of thumb to follow in interviews, and with every meeting in life, is to make a great first impression.

Malone said you have seven seconds to make a first impression.

He said in that time an employer makes up their mind if they are interested or not in the candidate becoming an employee.

Arriving ahead of time, dressing formally and displaying a positive attitude are all simple ways to make a good impression.

Knowing what employers want in a potential employee may help ease nerves on future interviews.

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