The UST Career Center has invited some guest bloggers to our forum. The below message is from a recent alum who is sharing her interview experience and advice with current students. Thank you, Michelle! Career specialists are happy to help students with interview preparation – come on in!
My name is Michelle Starkweather, and I am a 2013 UST graduate; a Paperboard Buyer at General Mills; a Finance major; and an active twenty-something. I have the privilege of guest blogging for UST, allowing me the opportunity to share with you firsthand accounts of the incredible UST talent we have here at General Mills. Before I share the experiences of others, I want to share my own journey, and how I ended up at General Mills.
So, how did I end up at General Mills? I first seriously started thinking about an internship during my Junior year as information about on-campus interviewing became all the buzz. It was during this On-Campus Interview that I first connected with General Mills, and fell in love with the opportunity to work in Sourcing. General Mills Sourcing presented the opportunity to own category spend, and shoulder a lot of responsibility right out of school, should you receive an offer at the end of your internship. What an amazing experience and challenge! I also thought it would be a great chance to gain exposure to the corporate world with a company that has an excellent reputation for treating their employees well.
The interview questions were behavioral based, and required me to pull from past experiences to convey certain skills. I prepared very diligently to ensure I put my best foot forward, reviewing past interview questions and online resources. I also used the Career Development Center to review my resume, and as a resource for cover letter and thank you templates. I made sure to read up on the company values and businesses, and connect these with the job requirements and my personal experience. I also stayed up to date with current events, and paid special attention to anything that might impact General Mills as a company.
Transforming these experiences from paper to words in the interview process were key; I worked hard to clearly communicate my competencies.
Although I was nervous, (I think that’s only natural), I was able to be a little more relaxed in the process, letting my personality shine through, because of the time I devoted to preparing for the interviews. My advice? Prepare and practice, and just be yourself!
In today’s highly digitalized world, many people are forgoing personal meetings; they are instead focusing on connecting with others through social media and other forms of digital communication. But you should always keep in mind that strong personal connections are best formed in person. There are many things that you can discover in a face-to-face meeting that you do not experience in a Skype call or even a teleconference.
Nothing can compare with face-to-face interaction. Social media such as LinkedIn, however, has made it easier for your first meeting to go smoothly, since you typically discover the other person through their pages and accounts.
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with an individual prior to that first vital meeting. So utilize your LinkedIn wisely, and enjoy forming deeper bonds with the people you meet.
Always remember that Linkedin is not Facebook. You should not post personal photos, nor engage in unprofessional conversations. Remember, no one wants to know what you ate for breakfast, or what you did on Saturday night. They are interested if you are looking for a new position, recently found a new one, or acquired an important competency. Business people are busy, and will disconnect you if you send out too many or too frivolous status updates.
Though you may be able to connect with someone meaningfully through LInkedIn, nothing beats connecting with someone in person. Face-to-face meetings continue to be invaluable in helping you form strong personal connections.
Now step away from the computer. There’s a perception that young people are only comfortable communicating online, so be sure to support your online networking with real human contact. Set up phone calls and attend live events.
Remember that LinkedIn should supplement, not replace, in-person relationship building.
When you update your LinkedIn profile or experiences, your network is automatically informed about these changes. You don’t have to send out individual e-mails to everybody. A nice side benefit is that this automatic notification brings you to their attention and awareness. Then, you will be on their mind when they learn about job possibilities that fit your qualifications.
Consider updating your status weekly-
- Share links (using a URL shortener) to interesting articles, websites or video you have found that some individuals in your network might appreciate. Don’t worry about whether all of your connections will find the information equally valuable. Also, try to use words that grab the readers and encourage them to click the link.
- Talk about an event you are attending or have attended to encourage involvement and/or questions about what you learned there.
- If you are a job seeker, don’t use this to say, “Hey, I’m still looking for a job.” Rather, mention job fairs you are attending, people you are interviewing with, networking events you are going to, etc.
- Use the “Like” feature when you see a helpful update from one of your connections. Doing this shares that update with your entire network. This is a great way to give the writer of the helpful update exposure to your network that he/she wouldn’t normally have.
Always keep your e-mail and phone number current. Remember to change these after graduation.
Tomorrow-Now step away from the computer and really link!