Why Your University’s Career Services Department is its Best-Kept Secret!
This is a blog written by our Intern Queen Campus Ambassador, Bianca, who attends Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
This semester, I’m taking an eight-week course called Internship Lab. Many of you are probably wondering, what exactly is an Internship Lab? Well, my university requires students pursuing an internship in the entertainment industry to complete this lab, because it provides students with the fundamental knowledge needed to successful in searching for and landing an internship. In the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing interview strategies, and I’ve garnered some new tips and tricks that will help you in perfecting your interviewing skills and make you stand out from other applicants. Many of these resources are provided by my university’s career services department, a wonderful resource that I’ve tended to overlook. Here are some reasons why career services should be your new one-stop shop for interview preparation!
1. Ask your career services department about online interviewing practice!
Many career services departments have subscriptions to interview practice websites. For example, my university has provided students with access to InterviewStream, an online program that allows interviewees to take part in practice interviews that are recorded using a webcam and can be re-played to look for weaknesses and flaws in one’s interviewing skills. Another similar resource is Perfect Interview. Contact your university’s career services department to find out more information and to receive login credentials for these useful interview practice sites.
2. Take advantage of mock interview opportunities!
In addition to providing online interview resources, it’s likely that your school offers mock interviews for students seeking jobs and internships. This is a great opportunity to receive feedback and constructive criticism from professionals at your university. Schedule a mock interview when you have a particular job or internship in mind, and you can tailor your answers in respect to that job’s requirements. Even though you won’t be able to predict what questions will be asked at your interview, a mock interview will help your practice proper behavior, mannerisms, and strategies that will apply to any interview.
3. Résumé Review
Although many of us have résumés made up and ready to go, there’s never any harm in taking your résumé and cover letter to get reviewed by career services. If you have an internship or job you’re determined to land, take your résumé and cover letter to get reviewed before sending them off. It’s always good to have an extra set of eyes review your professional materials, not to mention by someone who specializes in job placement! One of my assignments in my Internship Lab was to turn in my résumé, cover letter, and reference sheet, and because I have interest in a highly selective internship program for next summer, I wrote my cover letter to that particular internship position. Now that my academic department has approved my cover letter and résumé, I feel confident that my application is ready to send off to the employer.
4. After the Interview – It never hurts to say thank you!
Once you’ve gone in for your interview, follow up afterwards. My university’s internship coordinator places a strong emphasis on following up with the potential employer right after the interview is over. She suggests sending an e-mail and mailing a thank you card on the same day of interview. Make sure to grab a business card, so you can send a proper thank you in the mail! In your follow-up correspondence, thank the potential employer for taking the time to meet with you and mention how much you look forward to hearing from them in the near future. Keep the card simple and sweet, as you don’t want to sound like you’re absolutely desperate for the position!
Your school has a career services department for a reason. Don’t waste an opportunity to receive assistance from professionals and useful resources for interview preparation. Your current interview skills and resume may have landed you an internship already, but there’s always room for improvement and advice from career specialists.