As an undergraduate, actively looking for the opportunity to land an internship is a ritual that all must eventually undertake. After the initial stages of writing up and submitting your CV, then comes the grueling tests which you’d have to pass in order be considered worthy of an audience with the company of your choice.
Let’s say you get through all of that, and you end up finding yourself in front of some big names with big accolades. What would you say at that point? What could you possibly say that can impress someone who has seen it all. If you, like me, have the extraordinary ability to be extremely ordinary, then trust me when I say you cannot.
Do not despair! There is hope yet. Here are some tips and tricks to break through that glass ceiling and nail the interview.
Before the interview:
It is common for interviewees to memorize potential questions that would be thrown at them, deciding on what to wear, how to approach that first handshake.
My advice: Don’t do that.
One aspect of the interview that must be achieved is the confidence in yourself. Every word uttered must be laced with the self-confidence and belief that the position you’re applying for was made for you. Everything from the handshake to the clothes on your back to the shoes on your feet must exude the feeling that you are confident in your abilities. Only then can you make a lasting first impression.
Another favorite cliche among interviewees is too use as many buzzwords and jargon as possible to give the interviewer the impression that they are defined by them, and expect the interviewer to take their word for it. In my opinion, it is always better to use your personal experiences to express yourself. This would ensure that you can give vivid details of your experiences and guarantee that the interviewer knows about your past work and how you would handle a project of similar caliber. Need to prove you’re a team-player? Tell them about your group project! Need to tell them about your strengths and weaknesses? Tell them about that time you pull several all-nighters to finally put together your masterpiece, and how it failed due to an unfortunate oversight that became a cornerstone for your future work. I may not have mentioned any particulars, but a story from your past may be starting to resurface!
Finally, be honest. There is no need to be someone more than who you really are to pass your interview. Being yourself means you have years of experience from your life behind you to catapult you to the future that awaits. Sometimes, that future may not be ready yet, and you may be required to build it up to be the bright utopia you dreamed it would be. Telling the interviewer that you know how your future is going to be, then finding out that it was not to be is a surefire way of getting the boot early, and everything you have worked for thus far would be in vain. Be honest and be confident than you can work to overcome your shortcomings. If you as yourself was not enough to pass the interview, fine, pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Work on your weaknesses and try again.
This path we take as students will have its rejections, its low blows and its trials. Eventually, life after school will hit you harder still with its own version of hardships. Steel yourself, and brace for impact. Take a step back if you must, but pray do not run from the battle. As the great man Thomas Whitmore once said:
We will not go quietly into the night!
We will not vanish without a fight!
We’re going to live on!
We’re going to survive!
Today we celebrate our Independence Day!