The series debut focused on the importance of first impressions during a professional interview and allowed participants to practice their approach to creating a personal story.
“It’s really important to have a personal story in a career-minded situation. When you go into an interview they often ask you to tell a little bit about yourself. That’s the time where you can really engage that story,” said Shaya Rogers, a leadership and mentoring program assistant at the WRC.
Rogers said the idea behind the “personal story” is for anyone to be able to express a brief and concise history or back story that might pertain to a specific job.
During the seminar, Rogers conducted an interactive training seminar where participants could listen to each other’s personal stories and provide constructive critiques. For those less versed in professional skills, Rogers also provided a basic introduction to formatting a personal story to exhibit confidence to potential employers.
Caitlin Henke, a program specialist for the WRC, said most people want to present their professional self during a job interview but for some it can be challenging to establish an individualized professional identity. The Women and Leadership Series is providing an avenue for women to start practicing professional conduct, she said.
“You hear so much about the importance of getting a job while you’re in college. You hear about the importance of getting out there and meeting the right people, but there aren’t a lot of opportunities to figure out how to actually do that and what it looks like,” Henke said. “We are creating a space where women can be professionals and be effective.”
The scope of professional interviewing knowledge around campus varies. Freshman Lauren Epler said she hasn’t had very much experience with practicing job interviews and usually wings it according to what job she is applying for.
Jennifer Lake, a second-year graduate student at Anderson School of Business, said she is well aware of the importance of first impressions during an interview.
“I was interviewed recently by a group of 10 people. You can imagine that my first impression wasn’t a good one — I walk in the room and immediately freeze up,” Lake said. “Unfortunately we are really aware of our first impressions, and if you know you’ve made a bad one it’s going to affect the rest of the interview.”
Lake, who is also a career service ambassador for Anderson, said she strongly believes in the value of a first impression and how it is one of the most important parts of an interview. She also said that the first encounter can definitely make or break a job interview, further emphasizing the need for seminars like the Women and Leadership Series.
The second part of the Women and Leadership Series, which will be held Tuesday, will center on integrating the importance of first impressions with professional networking.
Robert Salas is a freelance reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo.