Interview, Internship, Career

By Brandon Keller

The Summer internship search for USF’s Master’s of Professional Communication students is in full swing. Whether you’re in the early stages of the job hunt or if you already have a few solid leads, it’s always crucial to sharpen your interview skills. Everybody gets nervous for job interviews; you’re not alone. However, not everybody spends enough time researching the best tips and techniques that will guide you in the right direction.

Always remember to empower yourself with the right information so you come across as capable and prepared. Most interviews you have will vary. Some of them might be on the phone, in-person, one-on-one, or with a committee. Plus, there isn’t any possible way you can prepare for every question they might throw at you, right? Even when the odds are stacked up against you, always remember to put yourself in the best position for success.

You’re probably wondering how the heck you’re supposed to do that. With the right approach and mindset, the interview process can be a constructive and enlightening experience. Before I get into the coveted useful tips everybody needs, it’s necessary to share a bit of my own recent interview experience.

The obvious main goal of my internship search is to find a job in communications or public relations that is a good fit for me. Most importantly, I’m applying to organizations that are interesting to me. In order to get the most out of my internship, the position needs to be something that will further develop my skills towards a full-time position. That’s what everybody on the job hunt wants, right? Don’t forget that you also need to put everything you can into the organization that gives you a chance. Employees want the best fit for themselves, and employers want candidates who fit their needs.

If an organization isn’t appealing to you, there isn’t any point in applying. You’ll be wasting yours and the organization’s time. Plus, there’s always the possibility that an internship will lead to a full-time gig within the same company. You might as well apply for positions that are interesting to you in order to get the most out of it for yourself and the organization that hires you.

I recently interviewed for a public relations internship for a marketing communications firm located in San Francisco. The interview was over the phone, so I wasn’t overly nervous for it. Afterwards, I felt I answered each question confidently, but there’s always room to improve as an interviewee. I recently got some great advice that will hopefully lead to an internship that’s ideal for me now and in the future.

Research, research, research

Before an interview, research everything about the company that you can. Learning about the company will help you anticipate interviewer questions and be ready to ask effective questions yourself. Frame questions with proof that you did your homework. Showing the interviewer that you’re familiar with the company will prove your seriousness for the position.

Study the job description and prepare potential interview questions

Put yourself in the position of the interviewer and think about questions from their perspective. The easiest way to do this is by looking at the job description to formulate direct and logical questions.

Don’t over-rehearse

Spend time anticipating questions and some of your answers, but do not seem canned. It’s difficult, but strive to find a balance between preparation and spontaneity.

Treat a phone interview like it’s in-person

Typically, phone interviews act as a first-round screening. Put yourself in the best position right away by preparing as seriously as you would for an in-person interview.

If you’re like me, you’re also pretty stressed with the application and interview process. The job hunt can throw self-doubt and rejection right in your face, but take notes of every helpful piece of information you learn along the way to make your experience as productive as possible.

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