My hands are clammy, I keep telling myself to sit up straight, and that knot in the pit of my stomach becomes more tangled. That is how all of my interviews go. After spending an hour getting dressed with all the pep talk I could muster up, I’m finally in front of another panel. I quickly learned that I’ll have to face these panels for the rest of my life; they are not about to leave me soon.
Luckily, I discovered that St. Lawrence University has numerous resources, including Career Services and Career Connections. Every year, these two departments come together to host the Sophomore Career Boot Camp. It is as rigorous as it sounds! There are panels, interviews, pitching, elevator talks, and more!
This event taught me that a great interview is the same as performing Mozart. A great musician is not one with natural talent, but one who practices for several hours every day. Being good at interviewing requires practice, practice, and practice. Walking past the threshold to the interview room is the same as being on stage. All eyes are on me and it’s those hours of practice that calm my nerves and lets the knot in my stomach untangle as I look at those faces who are impressed by my answers and can feel the confidence radiating from me.
Sophomore Boot Camp is two days packed with panels, networking, and interviews with industry representatives. It is as arduous as training for an Olympic event! There are approximately 40 alumni and parents who represent nine industries and fields (business, banking/finance, communications, entrepreneurship, environment/sustainability, health/medicine, government/law, nonprofits/education, and science/technology). This is where it is okay to mess up; at the same time, these people are judging whether or not they would give you the job. People say that an interview is where you market yourself, but I disagree. I believe that interviews, resumes, and presentations are a performance. You present the audience with an image, tell them a story, capture their attention, and leave them wanting more, hence hiring you.
Every elevator pitch at the Boot Camp gives you the confidence to do it again, each panel discussion is a step towards getting over stage fright, and each networking conversation is a covert display of your assets. The Sophomore Boot Camp produces masters of the art of presentations. They now have the ability to enter a hiring executive’s office with a smile, an aura of confidence and the skill of untangling those nerves.