Month: February 2014

3 Ways my Mock Interview Positively Affected Me

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The wrinkles just disappear…

Most of the time that I have to involve myself in any high anxiety situation, I go into it so closed minded that it always turns out terrible. And that’s exactly how I felt about this interview going into it. It was required for a class (I’d never volunteer for an interview, or at least that’s what I thought) and it wasn’t an interview for a real position, so I was uninspired going into it. The only inspiration I had was giving myself a goal to act self-composed and confident, but it ended up being a positive experience for me. If you go to Ball State and you’re interested in signing up for a practice interview with the career center, they can be found here.

1. I finally shaved my beard.

After 3 months of being too lazy to trim up my facial hair, I finally had a reason to stop looking like a bum and become more professional. And because making a first impression is important, I felt like it was crucial to look well-maintained. Speaking of maintenance the first problem I faced was that I didn’t have an iron to smooth the wrinkles out of my clothes. With some good advice from my friend Lee Banister (her blog found here), she informed me of a way to navigate the issue. It was keep your clothes in the bathroom with you while you’re in the bathroom and the steam will de-wrinkle them

2. My confidence was boosted

Going into the interview, my biggest concern was that I was going to have problems maintaining eye contact and stumble over my words out of nervousness. Through:

  • the preparation and tips on how to interview effectively that were given to me through my literary citizenship class,
  • my interviewer, John F. Skelton from Merchants Bank in Planfield, Indiana,  and his ability to make the interview into a conversation between casual acquaintances trying to learn more about one another,

I was able to walk in with my head high and maintain eye contact throughout the entire interview. I walked out of the interviewers room knowing that I was clear in my communication and I portrayed that I would be competent in whatever job I was interviewing for.

Mr. Skelton (second on the left) presenting an oversized check at First Merchants Bank. Find his LinkedIn here.

Mr. Skelton (second on the left) presenting an oversized check at First Merchants Bank. Find his LinkedIn here.

3. I learned the importance of preparation

In my interview, the interviewer was a banker and I was interview for a job as a professor, so neither of us had any knowledge about each others field of work. I knew that he was going to ask me if I had any questions for him. I was completely unprepared, I researched about the university I was fake applying for, but I knew he couldn’t have any answers. But, I also remembered that in Lit. Citizenship class, we talked about how it was crucial to have something to ask. I stammered, and eventually asked if the occupational world he entered into was exactly how he thought it was going to be, or if it wasn’t how it differed from his ideas about the banking world. It lead to a nice ending discussion to the interview, so I think preparedness and knowing what to expect is pretty key.

He also asked me the questions:

  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Tell me a little about yourself?
  • Tell me about a time where you encountered a challenge and how you dealt with it.

If you want some interviewing help, Ball Sate has released this informative 20 minute video. If you need some help with résumés or cover letters, the Career Center offers help. All you need to do is check out this page!

If there were any major highlights about an interview that you’ve had or anything that you’ve learned through interviews, feel free to share them. For tips on how to prepare for an interview, check out Jeff Owens post “Three Interview Tips for the Person with Sweaty Palms.” If you want to read more about about the interviews impact on the students who took advantage of it, check out my classmate Rianne’s post, “Interviews: The good, the bad, the ugly.”

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3 Novels that Show the World

In my life, I’ve had a desire to learn what life is like outside of the Americas. I haven’t been able to leave the continent, but I’ve searched for the next best thing; and that is reading about experiences people have in different parts of the world. If you’ve ever wanted to read books that have alternative views on life and leave the reader in amazement then I recommend these three influential books as a good place to start.

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1. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram explores and exposes life in an Australian maximum security prison, the slums of Bombay, the rural towns in India, 5 star hotels, and the seedy underbelly of the city.  Filled with themes of friendship, escape, love, and agony, Shataram’s 933 pages fly by and leave the reader inspired and dignified. Shantaram is a fiction novel that is currently being worked into a movie.

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2. What is the What by Dave Eggers

This novel of fiction follows Valentino Achak Deng’s escape from Sudan on foot, followed by militias and government bombers. The search for freedom is accomplished for Deng and his group, the Lost Boys, and they eventually make it to the United States. The story highlights the challenge, heartache, and promise of living in the United States and Sudan. The mixture of humor and trial throughout the novel lead to a feeling of enlightenment for the reader.

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In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

In the Country of Men follows the life of nine year old Suleiman in Libya during the Qaddafi reign. Suleiman gets caught in the whirlwind of parental issues where his fathers anti-Qaddafi actions lead to terror, while his mothers drug abuse leaves him turning to others. The books depiction of a child caught in a nightmare highlights the anguish of trying to live through political oppression.

If you have any books to add to the list feel free to share in the comments below.