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Penn State Can Help You Make The Most Out Of Interview Season

The school year is winding down and you might be preparing to get your foot in the door somewhere this summer.

Whether you’re working on securing an internship between semesters here at Penn State or — gasp! — your time in Happy Valley has come to a close and you’re interviewing for jobs in the real world, Penn State has you covered.

It can be a stressful time. Trying to find a place outside of your crowded apartment to make a phone call or book a likely-already-full room in the library to finish your Skype interview can add an unneeded extra layer of stress. When you’re already trying to make a good first impression, you don’t want to have to worry about uncalled for disturbances.

Here are some some lesser known interview resources that can help you make the most of interview season.

Mock Interviews

Practice. Practice. Practice. If you’ve ever had a career counselor guest speak in one of your classes, or if you’ve ever taken a career readiness course during your time at Penn State, the one thing they always tell you is that the only way to get better at interviewing is to just keep doing it.

But how do you get better if the only time you’re ever interviewing is for a position you desperately want to get? It seems counterproductive to practice in real-world scenarios where your interview skills do matter.

Well, if you’ve ever found yourself in this very pickle, Career Services can help with that. They offer in-person, phone, and virtual mock interviews to get students ready for any interview that comes their way.

All appointments for mock interviews must be made in person at the Bank of America Career Services Center. However, since the Career Services Center’s located on campus, it’s not too hard to do.

The mock interviews themselves usually last somewhere between 20-60 minutes depending upon the type of interview selected. The cool thing about them is that they’re all simulated to reflect an actual interview experience. So, the feedback you get during the mock interviews can lend itself to helping you secure your dream job in the future.

Professional Interview Rooms

At a campus with more than 40,000 students, finding a quiet space to conduct an interview can be quite a task.

Taking the chance of conducting the interview in your apartment can leave you at the (hopefully) merciful hands of your roommate. Of course, on the off chance that you live in a crowded house or your roommate is having friends over, it can be awkward to ask them to keep the noise down.

Moreover, study spaces on campus are usually reserved for groups of two or more — so unless you’re participating in a group interview (which is unlikely), you’re out of luck. Plus, it can be difficult to schedule a time to use one of these spaces anyway.

Thankfully, Career Services has a tool for students to conduct on-campus interviews on their own easily and efficiently. By simply sending an email, students can reserve a quiet interview space in the Bank of America Career Services Center.

The rooms are subject to availability, but in my experience, they’re not all that well known and there’s plenty of rooms available so they’re often free. The cool thing about these rooms is that they’re set up like office spaces, so potential employers get the opportunity to see what you would look like in action. Plus, they’re the best way to ensure that your online or phone interview goes on undisturbed.

Dress for Success Tips

Being a broke college student can often make dressing the part of a professional a difficult task. Lingering questions about whether or not you look prepared enough for an interview can make you even more paranoid for the big day than the interview itself.

Once again, Penn State gets it. That’s why they not only have a handy-dandy list of tips and tricks online for you to use when selecting your outfit, but also the Professional Attire Closet.

To take advantage of the Professional Attire Closet, students can sign up for an appointment by email or by phone at 814-865-4630. The asset provides all students with one professionally cleaned suit/outfit for free, so long as they bring their student ID with them to their appointment.

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Whether you’re looking to brush up on your interview skills or find that perfect outfit to impress recruiters, there’s a plethora of free professional resources out there for students.

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]

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