With resumes in hand and smiles all around, about 50 seniors learned tips for successful interviewing and then put them into practice during the 7th Interview Crash Course. In this event hosted by the Career Center on Jan. 21, students participated in a panel discussion with alumni, listened to a keynote speech by Melissa Joyce Rosen ’86, and practiced with one-on-one interviews.
The event began with words from Rosen, who has been volunteering with Hamilton for over 30 years. She spoke on the search for employment and the importance of three major themes: exploring your interests, networking, and following-up with interviewers. She also commended students for their participation in the event, saying, “You’re making an investment in yourself by being here.”
Rosen then led a panel of alumni including DK Lee ’16, digital content officer at the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, Amrika Sieunarine ’16, school-college partnerships administrative coordinator at CUNY, Madison Kircher ’14, associate editor at New York Magazine, and Amanda Berman ’13, a student at the Cooperstown graduate program for Museum Studies.
Discussion focused on themes like selling your liberal arts education, describing your weaknesses, getting over modesty, and asking questions at the end of an interview.
When asked about how to distinguish yourself from other candidates, Lee advised, “Instead of just portraying yourself as a statistic, or being someone who is going to mark off all the check boxes that people might have in their interviews, just tell your own story and brand yourself as someone that interviewers might not expect.”
Kircher, who was a tour guide, senior admissions intern, part of the Oral Communications Center, and even won awards for her public speaking, admitted, “I assumed all of that would translate into each other and it turns out that’s not how it works - you have to actually practice at interviews in order to be good at them.” She remembers speaking in front of a mirror before interviews and told students, “Don’t be afraid to sound dumb practicing.”
To end the day, each student had two separate interviews with guests who are business leaders in the area or members of the Hamilton community.
“One piece of advice [my interviewers] gave me is to just be confident in my abilities,” Kureem Nugent ’18 commented, referencing the importance of dispelling your nerves before participating in any interview. “We’re Hamilton students, we all had these meaningful experiences, and we shouldn’t get caught up in the right way to say things exactly - it comes naturally. We communicate inside and outside the classroom confidently already so we should take pride in ourselves.”