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  • Jared Randle, Western Connecticut State University

Crucial Interviewing Skills the Career Planning and Placement Office Didn't Teach You

For the two months following my college graduation in May, I had the opportunity to prepare for and complete several interviews for Verizon’s AdFellows program.

Led by Diego Scotti, CMO at Verizon, the company created AdFellows as part of their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry. The program is an eight-month-long fellowship, in which 30 college graduates with diverse backgrounds will rotate across different positions at both Verizon and a handful of its partner agencies. The goal is to give participants valuable experience across Verizon's array of marketing functions, from creative and media to public relations.

When the opportunity was presented to me back in May, I knew it could change my life. I understood this level of exposure and experience had the potential to shift the trajectory of my career. With that being said, it was clear that I needed to be 100% prepared for the interview process. There are two things in particular that I learned when interviewing for the job that were not covered by my career planning and placement office in college.

Firstly, I learned that getting in contact or communicating with someone who worked for the company of interest is vitally important. Finding a person with direct knowledge regarding your upcoming meeting can make a huge difference in your ability to perform at a high level during the interview.

I was lucky enough to have help from a mentor who put me in contact with a former intern at his company that completed the AdFellows program last year. Through numerous email exchanges and brief phone calls, I learned more about the interview process than I could have ever anticipated. Those conversations allowed me to narrow my focus while preparing, and left me feeling much more confident with the direction of my research. It may be difficult or uncomfortable to reach out to a random person, so also consider getting in touch with friends who interviewed for jobs in your field. Ask them all of the questions you have concerning the interview process, format, including the style of interviewer, attire at the office, types of questions that were asked, etc. Familiarizing yourself with more of the inner workings of the interviewing experience can prove to go a very a long way.

Secondly, and possibly the most important piece of advice I will have for anyone going on a job interview is also the simplest. RELAX. After all of the prep, research, and hours of practicing for different questions, make sure to relax.

After about five or six days of preparation, I was sure that I was interview-ready. From there I could have put more pressure on myself and over analyzed what was to come. Instead, I spent the next week like I would had spent any other. For the entire week, I pretended that everything was the same and that the most important interview of my life wasn’t days away. I felt content doing this because of the connection I was fortunate to make and the work that I put in beforehand. I knew that all there was left to do is show up and be myself.

Special thanks to Bill Imada and all of the incredible people who have contributed to the National Millennial Community.

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