Mentee Perspective: The Best Advice from HR
By: Allyn Woodward
At the start of your junior semester in college, you start to wonder: is it really almost over? You’re almost done. Relief relaxes you, but only for a moment. The impending doom and dread overtakes you and college seminars become your top priority.
I am no different. Nearing the end of my college career, I have been trailing the path of prior anxious seniors by attending networking nights, student/alumni events, and career conferences. My attendance came from the anticipation and preparation for the interviewing cycle as well as curiosity. Through my research, I felt that most career information was repetitive. My notes all seemed to be a variation of prior notes. However, one seminar has surpassed the rest.
As apart of the Turner Broadcasting TS&O (Technology, Strategy & Operations) and WICT (Women in Cable Telecommunications) Southeast Mentorship Program, I was able to attend one of the most in-depth and applicable resume writing and interviewing seminars. Caron Cone, TS&O’s Director of Human Resources, gave an intensive presentation relevant to all industries and professions. I left with the most valuable information I have gained from a career seminar!
To pass on the information, here are a few tips I learned from Ms. Cone and a few she helped to inspire:
Talk the Talk.
Personally, the phone interview makes me anxious. I prefer face-to-face interaction where I can read body language. Nevertheless, phone interviews will be the first obstacle in a screening process.
My advice is to imagine talking to your best friend. This is the time to show you are passionate, interested, and friendly. Imagining talking to a close friend helps you to smile. This helps you to relax, laugh with ease, and come across as genuine.
Decorate Your Fishbowl.
In every setting you are selling yourself. Life is a fishbowl, but this doesn’t have to be confining. You are able to sell your best features. Your professional website, LinkedIn account, resume, and cover letter are all features to brand yourself.
Branding yourself isn’t only about how others view you. I think it is about how you view yourself. The Human Resources representative does not know you personally. It is up to you to reveal your personality, what you like, and what you want. You can do this by showcasing a creative, cohesive image. However, make sure this image is supported by an idea. Appearance can only be substantiated by substance. Make sure your image and brand has a point.
One organizational tip Caron Cone emphasized was the essential spreadsheet.
In the midst of internship and job applications, it will become difficult to stay organized. Therefore, she suggested organizing a spreadsheet with company name, position name and description, contact information, submission date, follow-up information, and any other pertinent information. This will help you keep up with your progress in each stage of each job opportunity.
Everyone has the fear of judgment specifically inaccurate, misrepresented judgment. As college juniors and seniors, this fear is surmounted by an even greater fear of failure. For some, networking is so intimidating that it becomes stifling. You don’t know what to ask or are too nervous to ask. As a result, you avoid.
I am not shy about asking questions. I prefer to listen than to talk. Therefore, to me, networking is information gathering. I want to know how someone achieved his or her goals. Why did they stand out? I want to know the back-story.
Don’t think of networking in a make-or-break sense. Don’t think it will land you a job. Networking is not a job interview. It is a way to get to know someone. So start from the back-story. In this attempt to understand someone else, it might help you to understand your own path.
As you’re navigating your way through senior year, there will be numerous networking events, mentorships, and career opportunities. You may start to feel like you’ve heard everything and exhausted every avenue. You haven’t. Take advantage of your resources, but expand. Expand your career search beyond your school and beyond your alumni. Something new or someone new will be a catalyst for improvement.
Allyn Woodward is currently a senior studying Science, Technology, & Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Allyn has been involved on campus in her college newspaper, the Technique, and as a Resident Assistant for three years. She has interned at a variety of Atlanta companies such as LittePINKBook.com, HowStuffWorks.com, and Habitat for Humanity-DeKalb. Her favorite part of the TS&O and WICT Mentorship Program has been learning about the different opportunities and events within WICT.