By: Alex Su, Fall 2017 Braven Fellow at Rutgers University-Newark
In my life, I’ve only had one official job interview. The other jobs I had were recommended by friends and other people I knew, and I never went through the interview process. When I finally had a formal job interview last year, it was disastrous. I felt awkward and very closed off and the words that escaped my mouth didn’t come out right. I got the job, but I was later told that I was one person away from not being hired. Although I appreciated the honesty, I was definitely hurt, but not surprised by that response.
From there, I realized I needed more experience in applying and successfully landing jobs. To be completely honest, I had no idea where to look for this type of help. Professional development always had been a mystery to me, since my high school didn’t really focus on those skills. Joining Braven was the perfect solution to develop my professional skill set..
During the course of the semester, Braven built our skills and harnessed our innate desires and goals. Towards the middle of the semester, we put those newfound skills to the test during mock interview night. I was extremely nervous about the mock interviews, even though Braven prepared us the whole time by giving us a workshop the week before the actual event. I entered the room expecting to fail, but because of Braven, I walked out of three interviews feeling better about myself each time.
From the very beginning, we were taught how to be a successful storyteller. I learned quickly that telling stories not only personalizes who you are with the other person, it allows them to understand your motives, your drive, your passion. Just by having us learn that so early in the course, I was able to successfully utilize that skill in my interview seamlessly without having to mentally prepare for it. I felt more comfortable telling my story than I could have ever imagined.
My leadership coach, Joe, and other staff members told me something that I had never really thought of – interviewers are trying to LIKE you, not trying to hate you. Now instead of being intimidated by my interviewer, I have the urge to try and get to know them, just like they want to know me.
I’m so grateful for the experience to give my resume and cover letter to an interviewer and effectively tell them my story. Without Braven I don’t really know if I would have learned any of the skills I own today. For that, , I am extremely grateful.. Mock interviews were much more enjoyable than I initially thought, and now I have much more confidence in interviewing. I even want to get reinterviewed at the job where I barely was hired, all because I know very well that I would perform much better than last time.