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The Blue & Gray Press | September 26, 2017

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Single, White Unemployed Female: Interviews: Good Ways to Gain Job Experience

I just bought my first suit jacket.

I felt like a “grown up” as I tried it on with a black pencil skirt at Ann Taylor Loft. Unfortunately, my face still looked like a high schooler. I even had chipped nail polish and had my hair up in a messy bun.

The process of getting ready for your first job interviews can be stressful and uncertain. You don’t always know what you are getting into. You don’t know what kind of company you’re interviewing for or what type of person will be asking you the questions. I have worked a few retail jobs and done internships, but I had never been through an interview for a full-time job until last week.

I interviewed for two jobs on Wednesday, and while one of the places sounds like it could be a good opportunity, the other was what my parents would call “practice for other interviews.”

The first red flag was that they were blasting the hit music station in the reception room as I filled out a form and waited for my name to be called. The second came when the application asked where I had gone to high school and whether or not I had graduated.

I knew this was not the place for me when the guy interviewing me called one of the other applicants “sweetie,” and when I learned that my first few weeks would be spent going door-to-door; offering people a free gift from a major newspaper in return for their contact information.

From that interview, I learned the importance of doing more than a Google search before applying anywhere. The pay was decent, but a lot of it was commission based. That can be scary when the only sale you’ve ever pitched was for Vera Bradley bags and stationary at a store in the mall. Even that wasn’t commission based.

But both the scariest and the best interview I have ever had was for a Fall internship last year. The woman asked me a lot of questions that made me stop and think, and in the end she got to know me through more than what was written on my resume and cover letter. I drew from my experiences working with deadlines and other people. While those things might be briefly mentioned on paper, I was allowed to explain them in an interview setting.

Scary as they may initially seem, interviews can help to make up for what you lack on that sheet of paper. Maybe you don’t have as many internships as another applicant, but if you can confidently show the interviewer that you know what they need and you’re here to offer it, you can be hired.

Though you may not always want the job you are applying for, use the interview time to gain experience. That way, you can be prepared for the job that you do want.

Now, if I could only actually look like I’m 22.

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