Get ready to interview! Joyce’s Career Tip of the Week

The Fulton Schools Fall 2017 Career Fair is only one week away! In addition to polishing your résumé and having it reviewed by peer coaches and employers, you should be researching the employers who will be attending — pay extra attention to those that interest you the most. Employers who will be attending the career fair are listed in Handshake. From there, it is easy to find company websites.

You will need to have multiple copies of your résumé ready to distribute. Your professional clothing should be cleaned and pressed. You’ve probably practiced your 30-second introduction (out loud) and are able to tell your top choice companies why they should be interested in getting to know more about you.

These preparation activities will have you career-fair-ready. You also have to be ready for interviews. Some employers will conduct screening interviews right there at the career fair. Many will be hosting first-round formal interviews on campus the following day.

Make sure that you have your STAR stories ready!

S    Briefly describe the Situation
T    Explain the Task to accomplish (or your role)
A    Describe the Actions you took to meet the challenge (highlighting the skills you used)
R    Show the Results

I am going to suggest that you improve the process by adding a second R – for Relevance to the position.

Suppose that you are asked: “Tell me about a time when you had to prioritize several tasks and responsibilities in order to meet multiple deadlines.”

You describe a scenario with class projects, student organization activities, exams and work assignments all converging on you. You talk about how you went about deciding, arranging and rearranging changing priorities. You share your thought process and include how you communicated and collaborated with others. (This is where you want to be very specific and paint a verbal picture that illustrates the challenges and illustrates your strengths.) Finally, you show the results by explaining how you successfully met each deadline.

Next, you add the second R. Rather than stopping here, you can take one more step and show the interviewer how you are the best person for the position and a genuine asset to the company. (Remember, everyone who is involved in the hiring process wants to see what’s in it for them.) So, you add, “I know that it often happens in the workplace that additional responsibilities can be added at the last minute, and people have to make changes and take on additional work. I have experience in handling multiple responsibilities and knowing how to prioritize. I am flexible and willing to work extra time when needed. I am confident that I will be a valuable member of your team.”

Adding that second R for relevance allows you to show how you will be able to make an immediate positive impact. It is also a way for you to show your enthusiasm and let the interviewer know that you really want the job!


Joyce Donahue is a career counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center. She is a nationally certified career counselor and holds “Master Career Counselor” membership status in the National Career Development Association.