How to prepare yourself now for those tricky interview questions later.

Have you ever been in an interview, and the interviewer asks the question, “Describe a specific example of a time you…?” Suddenly, you can’t remember a single thing you have ever done in your life. Completely blanking on a specific situation and giving a more general answer is a sure way to hurt your confidence during an interview. I’ve been there, and I’m here to help make sure this doesn’t happen to you again.

There is a way to prevent this common occurrence from happening. The answer is to track your progress. If you are currently in an internship and know you will be seeking another job in the future, try tracking your progress now to benefit yourself later.

What does tracking your progress look like? For me, I turn in a time sheet every two weeks at my current internship. Printing two copies and writing a few key points of what I did those two weeks on the copy I keep for myself helps me collect specific instances to use later in a job interview. This way, I can remember the time I was given an Instagram Story campaign project with only one hour to research and brainstorm, write copy, create graphics and post. This instance is perfect for the question, “Can you describe a specific time you were under pressure and performed well?” Writing down and remembering a handful of specific examples can help build confidence before, during and after the interview.

Another benefit of tracking progress is the ability to place specific data on a resume to snag an interview. Compiling monthly reports of quantitative data such as social media analytics or event participation offers opportunity for listing specific analytics and results. Instead of stating that you “maintained all social media platforms,” your resume will stand out by stating a quantifiable result like, “Increased social media engagements by 327 percent during my first month.”

Lastly, don’t be afraid to grab a copy of something you wrote or worked on in an internship. Did you write a small article in the company newsletter one month? Take a few copies to include as a writing sample. Holding an actual piece of work and not just a previous class assignment can make your skills seem more tangible.

Hopefully these tips inspire you to track your progress. I was amazed by how the tiny tasks I have done all year added up to a large set of skills by the end of the summer. Please reach out to me by email, lgilber7@vols.utk.edu, if you have any questions!

Loren Gilbert

2019-2020 PRSSA President

Sammie Lynn Puett Chapter

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