The Secret to Acing Your Next Interview

Interviews are a huge step toward landing a job, but the process is often accompanied by anxiety surrounding what to say, how to dress, or what steps to take after the interview. This week’s Career Camp focused on frequently asked interview questions and provided helpful tips from Dale Austin and Hope alumni, Morgan Seiler ’15. They covered a broad range of topics, beginning with how to dress and ending with closing remarks after the interview. 

Something that stood out in this presentation was the discussion on in-person and online or over-the-phone interviews. In today’s world, students must be ready for any interview format. The session did a great job of discussing various interview types and how students can best adapt. This Career Camp was great and left every participant with a feeling of preparedness and confidence to bring into their next interview.     

The Job & Internship Search

Hope’s Career Fair is right around the corner, and now is the time for students to begin preparing to meet employers and finding internships that align with their interests. This week’s Career Camp featured guest speaker, Niki Ramírez, from the Kellog Company and discussed the best ways for students to come into Career Fair confident and prepared to talk to employers. Niki highlighted the importance of networking, resume preparation, elevator pitches, and the steps to take after attending the Career Fair. 

A great way to prepare for conversations with employers is by researching their company to have a general overview of the company values as well as what positions they are looking to fill. Students should come dressed in business professional clothing and bring copies of a newly updated resume to hand out. Being confident and genuinely interested in a company is the best way to stand out and show employers you are excited to hear more about their company and potentially working with them. 

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is an ongoing question asked in interviews and opportunities by employers. In this Career Camp session of “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years,” Kamara Sudberry (’15) and Dr. Raquel Mendizábal Martell (’15) both encourage that the answer of this question can be identified in what each individual seeks for their future in terms of work-culture, values, and identity. We discussed the importance of workplace culture investigation and the purpose of corporate social responsibility. 

Dr. Raquel Mendizábal Martell (’15) suggests that seeking growth opportunities in the organization or company is also a method to answering this question. Touching back on the mission and value of the organization or company is also essential, says Kamara Sudberry. We were left to reflect on what is to come and what we will become stem from our awareness of what we want in the future.

Not Your Average Online Profile

When it comes to looking for a job, creating an online presence can be one of the most valuable tools in helping you stand out from other applicants. While there are benefits to creating a business-related social presence, it becomes pretty overwhelming if you don’t know where to start! In this Career Camp Session, alumna Hadley Roy ’15 joins Megan Scheldt in discussing the best ways to build your online profiles.

For many, the biggest question for online networking is “Where do I start?”; thankfully, Megan and Hadley had some pretty great suggestions!

Financially Savvy Students: Current Plans & Future Goals

What steps can I take right now to be financially secure? Starting to save money and opening a checking account are the first steps, but there is even more you can do today as a student. In this Career Camp session Dan Osterbaan (‘91) and Amanda Root (‘02) taught us how to be financially savvy and secure.   

Love of Learning: Your Guide to Applying for Grad School

Graduate school — what a daunting and thought provoking topic. What is graduate school? Is it the right fit for me? When and why should I apply? These are just some of the many questions undergraduate students have about this next step in their academic journey. On Tuesday, September 7, we had the privilege of hosting Rachel Van Den Broek from GVSU’s Graduate Programs and our very own Dale Austin to help us grapple with these questions.

First and foremost, the path towards graduate school is not a “one size fits all” process; rather, each route is different and unique to its applicant. Some students, for example, choose to attend graduate or professional school in order to start their career. Others attend in order to enhance their career, while others yet to change their career completely. 

This leads us to the question of “How do you find the right fit?” when it comes to graduate school. If everyone’s experience is so unique and so different, how do we determine what is best for us? Rachel explained that the best way to dive deeply into this question is to do some self reflection and ask ourselves where our greatest strengths, excitements, and passions lie. From there, we can compare these personal assets to our short- and long-term career goals and ask our academic advisors (or BCCC team!!!) for guidance and advice.

Additionally, it is important to consider several institution-specific factors including track record of graduates, demographics and culture, faculty publications and research, admissions requirements, and funding when determining our “best fit” for graduate school. Comparing all of these components to our own expectations, interests, and values will greatly help narrow our search and find schools that most align with our personal needs.

We understand that figuring out all things graduate school can be confusing and intimidating, but have no fear! There is a plethora of resources available to you, and we are more than happy to help you along your journey. For more information about graduate school, check out the BCCC’s Graduate School page!

Under Construction: Your Resume/CV and Cover Letter

How do you get to the interview process when applying for an internship or job? Having a great résumé, curriculum vitae (CV), or cover letter will get you past the filtering programs and onto the desk of a recruiter. In this Career Camp session we learned how to create and improve these documents. We were also able to answer some current students’ questions.   

Starting with the most common documents, résumé and CV, and after explaining what the difference between them is. We discussed the sections to include on both, formatting, construction, and where resources can be found on Handshake. Then moving onto the less common cover letters. We discussed the reasons employers want them, and how to write it so it matches your purpose… landing that interview!

Spotlight on Experiential Learning

While today is National Intern Day, we would be remiss not to recognize the hard work of other Hope students who are participating in non-internship experiential learning opportunities, such as those who are a part of SHARP this summer. The Summer Hope Academic Research Program is a wonderful opportunity for students to learn while getting hands-on experience in their academic field. 

Olivia Jackson and Madeline Heter

Assistant Researchers on MMMI Accuracy of Test Weights Study

Madeline and Olivia are both working on the Mothers Milk for Michigan Infants Accuracy of Test Weights Study. Olivia states that she feels that the biggest thing she is getting out of her experience is improving her communication skills with participants which will help her when she communicates with patients in the future. Planning and scheduling have been quite important for her. 

Madeline elaborates more on how this opportunity is “ preparing me for nursing work experience by learning how to interact with patients and how to utilize the nursing role of education. I have learned how to teach moms about their breastmilk through my human milk analysis project. The milk analyses that I conduct measure the specific gravity, creamatocrit, fat, and calorie content of the milk samples. I would advise students to get to know other student researchers and professors in order to become more involved in the Hope College research community.”

Evan Thomas and Hannah Gray

Assistant Researchers on Study on Neurogenesis in Zebrafish

Hannah and Evan are working in the Biology department this summer studying Neurogenesis in Zebrafish. Hannah talks about how this experience is preparing her for the future, saying “We are using many techniques in order to determine how the zebrafish brain regenerates. This research experience is helping me decide on which career path I would like to go down. Make sure to get involved and apply for as many internships or research positions as possible, because there’s nothing like having a hands-on experience.” 

Evan’s thoughts bounce off of Hannah’s statements nicely, “This research is preparing me for work experience by allowing me to get valuable hours working in the lab while also exposing me to new areas of biology that I haven’t explored. It is nice waking up and being excited to go every day, and finding something that you’re interested in will make the experience a lot more fulfilling and enjoyable.”

Yeageon Song

Assistant Researcher on Biomechanics of Patient-Handling Activities

“I am doing Summer Research with the engineering department at my college. The project I am working on is called the Biomechanics of Patient-Handling tasks. 30 to 60 percent of the nursing personnel in the USA suffer from some sort of lower back pain. This is caused by stress on the lower back during manual patient handling tasks. In our group, we are validating the use of a computational simulation model in estimating this stress on the lower back of the caregivers during these tasks. I am planning to go into the Biomedical Engineering field after college. This research has given me valuable insight and experience on what it means to work as a biomedical engineer. The most surprising thing I learnt in my research site is that nothing (barely!) is figured out and done straight away. Behind the results shown by the research are countless hours of troubleshooting and revisiting past works. The results reported only show a small proportion of the researchers’ hard work.”

National Intern Day is Here: Celebrating Interns from Hope College!

National Intern Day is here! This is a day to celebrate the important contributions that interns make to their respective workplaces. We are taking this moment to spotlight Hope students who are participating in these opportunities, so check out their work! 

Allison Harvey

Gentex Corporation – Talent Development Team Intern

Allison is on the Talent Development Team at Gentex where she is assisting with leading orientation each week along with training and development plans for current employees. 

“I have learned how important it is to be careful as you navigate between working with cooperate and with the manufacturing staff. I have to be careful about how I portray myself to both different groups. When you land your internship, just be yourself! It is also important to just have fun with it, but also important to build your network.”

Eric Hoogland

Farm Bureau Insurance – Marketing and Sales Intern

His Marketing and Sales internship at the Jared Kimber Agency, Farm Bureau Insurance has equipped Eric in several ways.

“Learning how to work in an office environment alongside a diverse range of individuals is extremely valuable. This summer, I have strengthened my communication and sales skills through a variety of projects. Farm Bureau and Jared have taught me how to truly care for customers. The opportunity to shadow Jared and meet with clients has provided me firsthand experience on how to make sure clients are not just insured but also protected.

One project I am most excited about is creating a professional video for the agency. I was able to use the skills I learned at Hope in film to tell Jared’s story to his current and future clients. I was the sole screenwriter, director, videographer, and editor. This project challenged me in several ways and strengthened my film skills. I was not expecting to be producing videos this summer, but I was presented the opportunity and jumped right at it.”

Ethan Larson

NOW Foods – Human Resources Internship

Ethan’s focus in his Human Resource Internship has been on exposure in developing sourcing and recruiting skills with various responsibilities, such as coordinating a job fair event. 

If you haven’t done an internship yet and are looking into doing one, Ethan has some advice to keep in mind, “Networking is crucial, establish connections anywhere you can. This is one trait I had to learn to understand, develop, and work at. Don’t hesitate to get out of your comfort zone. Go out of your way and take initiative, to build intentional relationships with intelligent people. People who you see can become potential mentors during your course in life. Set aside time to make the extra effort to keep in touch, sustain relationships. Reach out and check in with friends from high school, coaches, coworkers, etc.”

Justin Kneeshaw

Grand Hotel Mackinac Island – Summer Intern

“At the Grand Hotel I have been learning about customer service in the hotel management industry as well as accounting skills that will continue to benefit me throughout my education and future career. Serving guests as a front office intern in a renowned top quality hotel can often have a lot of pressure but it is teaching me to deal with situations in a well composed yet quick and efficient way. One thing that has been interesting to work on is helping to organize registration for groups and conferences coming to the Hotel as well as working on correcting billing information for guests at the hotel. This internship so far has been incredible, interesting, and insightful.”

Macy Brown

GreenMark Equipment – Marketing Intern

Macy was selected as HelloWest Michigan’s Intern of the Summer! Congrats Macy.

Jeff Bikus

Gallagher – National Risk Control Analytics Intern

Jeff landed a National Risk Control Analytics Internship this summer where he is giving presentations on both general and industry/client specific topics. 

“The most important aspect that has been stressed to us time and time again has been to network. Building a strong foundational network is absolutely essential in every successful business career. We are allowed the opportunity to meet all types of people, including some of the top executives! As a company with over 35,000 employees, the opportunities to network are endless.

If you are able to be an intern, go for it! The knowledge, networking, and experiences you gain really are invaluable. After completing an internship, you will understand exactly how your studies apply and get insights into how real world companies operate!”

Sydney Burns

Royal Technologies – Accounting Intern

“My internship has been a great exposure to the field of corporate accounting. It has been really cool to see the financial ins and outs of a manufacturing business. This was not ever a path that I was considering but I think it is definitely an avenue that I will keep open for my future!

I would definitely recommend looking early and often for internships. I was lucky that Professor LaBarge showed this internship for me because the post was taken down soon after I applied. I would also tell students to be open to paths that aren’t necessarily exactly what your major is or what you are going for because you may find something that you really like!”

Kylie Galloway

Guinness World Records – Public Relations Intern

Kylie’s internship in Public Relations has her doing so much more than she expected. With the opportunity to be involved with various PR matters, her work includes research and analysis, development of coverage reportsm media lists, and pitch letters, as well as building press packets and writing profiles for record holders. 

“I was surprised to learn that the Tallest stack of M&Ms is 5, the Largest serving of pancakes is 13,000, and the Most hula hoops caught in one minutes is 245!

Yes, that sounds like trivia and it is, but the most surprising thing I’ve learned is how much fun it is that each day is not the same and how many different things unfold in one day. To put it in short, the most surprising thing I’ve learned in my internship is different each day! Sometimes, I think the stereotype of the “real world” is that it isn’t fun. I love that everything and everybody at GWR is so enjoyable. It also helped me learn something surprising that I may be interested in the future: talent management. I knew this internship would entail building relationships with the record holders, but I didn’t expect to love it so much! 

My advice is to take advantage of every opportunity possible because you never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll be asked to do, or where that one opportunity may lead you. If you get invited to sit in on a meeting, go! If you get asked to do a particular project, do it! If you are invited to meet someone, meet them! You might not get those opportunities again, so take advantage of the opportunities in the moment!”

Rylee Thayer

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa – Marketing Intern

“My internship has required me to step completely out of my comfort zone, what with exploring the hospitality industry for the first time and relocating for the summer to Traverse City. It’s allowed me to take the lead on self-curated projects like an end of summer intern highlight video and has exposed me to the many pieces that go into marketing for an organization as large as a Resort. I’ve enjoyed planning promotional projects for events like Cherry Festival and the Michigan Open, along with working closely with partners like the Traverse City Pit Spitters. The most surprising thing I’ve learned in my internship is how small the world of marketing truly is. It has amazed me the number of people I’ve met already. I know that meeting so many professionals and entrepreneurs up here will help me immensely when I graduate.”

Cassandra Hogle

Bethany Christian Services – BSW Intern

“My internship is preparing me for my work experience because I am doing a lot of client summaries. This is beneficial for me because I am learning the precision and specific wording of how to successfully document things appropriately. I also get to sit in on client sessions which allows me to see how a therapist interacts with the client and what procedures and models are being used. My main projects are monthly reports and closing reports.

The most surprising thing I have learned is that there is a lot more hurt in my community than I would have ever thought. There are things that go on in people’s lives that are so hard to listen to. It is literally all around me. You never EVER know what someone is going through, so you must always be kind and willing to know someone before judging them.”

Other Hope Interns are also working extremely hard this summer and they have offered some advice about interning.

“Aim for the sky. After interning at the White House, I decided to pick up some part-time gigs around Holland while still in school. I managed to land three internships, all extremely part-time, and all were in different industries but surrounded the marketing sector. I loved each one for different reasons, and I preferred it over working a 9-5 my whole spring/summer.” – Megan Summerfield, Intern at Cento Anni

“The best time to look for an internship was yesterday, but the second best time is right now. Look for something that interests you, and don’t wait to apply, the spots always fill up quicker than you think!” – Max Zimmermann, Intern at American Axle & Manufacturing

“Try to find an internship!! I have had the best experience so far with learning new skills and getting real hands on experience from a business. Plus, this helps get your name out there and lets you start thinking about what you do and do not want for your future career.

When you do get an internship, try to learn as much as you can while you’re there, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.” – Madelyn Velting, Marketing Intern at Rivershores Hardwood Flooring

We are proud of the Hope students that have taken the leap this summer and participated in an internship and we give them a huge round of applause for all their hard work. Are you interested in interning? Swing over to Handshake and sign up for an Internship Search appointment.

Mid-Semester Advice

Attention Juniors and Seniors: We are now halfway through the semester! Keep pushing, you can do this! You have done amazing things so far. Enjoy your break and remember, no matter where you are in your internship, job, or graduate school search, the Boerigter Center is here for YOU. There are incredible people and resources just waiting to come alongside you wherever you find yourself and walk you through this process. Breathe! We have something for everyone.

If you’re like me, and you’re not exactly sure what your next steps are going to be, there’s a few things to get in order. First, check out our Résumé and Cover Letter Guide and Curriculum Vitae Guide if you haven’t done that already. How’s Your LinkedIn Profile? While you’re there, check out our Networking Guide. Wondering about “How to Write Letters of Inquiry?” We’ve got answers! What about “Obtaining a Letter of Recommendation?” Like I said, we’ve got you covered. And don’t forget to follow up with a Thank You Note.

Now is the time to start applying for open positions if you haven’t already! As you prepare for your job search, make sure to schedule an appointment for a mock interview through Handshake (every student has an account with Hope email). You can also practice interviewing online through InterviewStream. If you prefer, you can download a virtual customized Hope College Backgrounds. (Especially useful if your roomate has a messy desk!) Wondering what to wear? We’ve got some great advice! Dressing For Success in an Interview.

On our website, hope.edu/boerigter you may select any category (résumé prep, internships, networking/mentoring, interview prep, job/graduate school search and more) to find tips, resources, and a link to make an appointment via Handshake with a spectacular Boerigter professionals.

We can’t wait to see where you’ll go! And . . . if you happen to have made plans for your next steps, let us know! We’ll send you a custom digital frame for your social media accounts.