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4 Ways I’m Preparing For An Interview As A UConn Student

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes the pressure to plan what you’re going to do — an internship? A job? Both? Even more pressure comes with the application and interview process; you’re basically putting yourself out there to be judged. If you’re anything like me, the thought of an interview is both exciting and stressful, and can take over your thoughts for the days leading up to the interview.

Two days ago, I got offered an interview for an internship I really want, and the turnaround time is quick; I’m just four days away from my interview. While thinking over what to do to prepare for the interview, I realized many of my friends also get super nervous and don’t really know what to do before they interview for a position. So, for the next four days, I’m documenting everything I’m doing to prepare for this interview, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

feedback, feedback, feedback

The first thing I’m doing to prepare is looking for feedback from people who have interviewed me in the past. Luckily for me, this is actually my second time interviewing for this internship (I didn’t get it last time… second time’s the charm?), so when I decided to reapply, the first thing I did was reach out to the woman who interviewed me last time. I sent her an email letting her know that I was reapplying, and asking if there was any qualities she was looking for in an intern that I could highlight on my resume this time around. Luckily for me, she responded within hours, and let me know that she thought my application was super strong. She gave me a few characteristics to highlight on my resume, and told me that she was super excited to see my application again. This made me feel super confident, and made the process feel way less scary since I had some insider info on what she was looking for.

But I wasn’t done yet! I still had one person to go to for feedback: my on-campus job employer. I’m super close with my boss, so all I had to do here was send her a quick text asking if she had any advice for my upcoming interview. She went above and beyond on this one, giving me some tips based on my interview with her, and some general tips she knows she looks for as an employer. I highly recommend doing this, even if you’re not super close with your boss, because getting constructive feedback based on an interview that clearly worked well enough for you to get hired can really help you moving forward!

preparing the look

A huge part of interviewing is based on appearances, whether it should be or not. Your look says SO much about you, and the effort you put into preparing for the interview. So needless to say, preparing for this aspect of my interview needed some time and effort.

Knowing what to wear for an interview can be SO confusing, so I had to put in some research for this one. After considering a few different sources, I had a pretty good sense of what was required. I’m interviewing in a government office, so my outfit had to be super formal. Luckily for me, I found the cutest suit at Abercrombie, borrowed some flats from my roommate, and with that my outfit was complete!

For hair and makeup, I kept it super simple. A neutral, no-makeup makeup look with a slick back bun felt both formal and comfortable for me, so that’s what I went with. It’s all about being comfortable while looking professional, so keep in mind that you still want to feel like yourself. For me, an all-black suit and no makeup felt way too monotone, so I found a way to look professional while adding a little flare of me. I found a cream suit that fit my style way better, and complemented it with some simple jewelry that I love.

A selfie of an outfit I wore for an interview
Original photo by Lauren Tocman
developing my elevator pitch

Everyone always talks about the infamous elevator pitch, but does anyone actually know what it is? I personally had no idea, so I started asking around to see if my friends had any tips. Luckily for me, a bunch of my friends are in the business school here, and they are really well prepared on interview tactics through their classes. Their advice helped me realize that your elevator pitch is a perfect time to show how much you’ve thought about the job and why you fit for it.

I started with some generic facts about me, and then tailored it for the job description I was working with. Doing this not only made me feel confident for what’s usually an interviewer’s first question, but also brought up some parts about me that I realized I wanted to bring up later. It’s the perfect way to introduce yourself and your purpose, without getting too in depth. So what I learned is to add specifics for the job you’re applying for, and use this time to show your interviewer a little about yourself and your abilities.

using Uconn’s resources

This is where being a UConn student helped me most. UConn has an amazing career center with so many resources for preparing for an interview just like this. Their website has manuals, example resumes, video guides, and so much more to make you feel as prepared as you can be. You can even set up a practice interview, where you can run through the interview process and see firsthand where your strengths and weaknesses in the interview process are.

Since my interview was just a few days away, I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to take advantage of all UConn’s career center has to offer. But, I did have time to look over everything the interview prep section has to offer. This was so helpful to me, and allowed me to spend time working on every aspect of my interview. I highly recommend checking the career center out!

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My results

So, it’s a few days after the interview. I haven’t heard back yet, and I probably still won’t have heard back by the time this article is out. But, what’s even more important than if I do or don’t get the internship is how I felt leaving the interview. Honestly, I felt great. This was the first interview that I truly didn’t feel nervous while talking during, and I left feeling so confident in how I performed. Theres always more we wish we could say when trying to represent ourselves in a 20-minute time slot, but honestly, I feel like I gave it all I could. Hopefully my efforts pay off by me getting the internship, but either way, I know they paid off in how I feel about how I did. If you’ve got an interview coming up, try out some of these tips, and maybe they’ll pay off for you too!

Lauren is a junior at the University of Connecticut majoring in Political Science on the Pre-Law Track, with a minor in Human Development and Family Sciences. She loves coffee, Harry Styles, and finding new study spots on campus!