By Joshua Baggett
As the winter quarter begins to wind down, most of us in the MSLCE cohort are still in the throes of internship application season. With the average student’s application list reaching anywhere from 20-30 internships, the process can often feel like you’ve gotten lost in a one-sided game of Marco/Polo. To help demystify the hiring process, the program recently arranged a panel event with a few industry professionals who offered some great advice on how to be a standout applicant. The session was moderated by Jonah Zeiger (Associate Director of EPICS) and included Becky Schultz (Director of Marketing and Communication) from Music Box Films, Dayna Calkins (Senior Account Executive of Public Relations) and Whitney Rhodes (Senior Account Executive of Marketing) from Carol Fox and Associates. While the panel offered a breadth of information on best application practices, the conversation had a special focus on application tips and interview prep.
The event kicked off with panelists providing an overview of what employers look for in application materials, with special attention paid to crafting an effective cover letter. An ongoing point all three panelists stressed was the importance of research and preparation, particularly when it comes to letter writing. Mentioning some of the company’s current events or congratulating them on recent awards will show recruiters you’re serious about the position and that you’ve done your homework. Letters should also reflect your personality and be written in your voice. “Curiosity and passion go a long way,” to making a positive impression and employers want to see genuine candidates who are sincere in their intentions.
A good portion of the event was focused on the dos and don’ts of interviewing and our panelists offered up the details on how to stand out. All three panelists encouraged us to be prepared with well-planned questions for each step in the interview process and to always follow-up with each person we meet along the way. Following up is not only polite but also a standard practice that, if overlooked, usually means you won’t get hired.
With many of us already starting to interview for summer positions, it was helpful having time set aside to speak directly with working professionals on best practices in the hiring process. It was also an especially well-timed event as many students are starting to hear back from initial applications and for some, interviews have already begun. I’m looking forward to applying the techniques we learned today to my upcoming interviews and can’t wait to see the difference it makes.