By Mriganka Maroo, CAS Class of 2024, Wasserman Career Ambassador
Hi guys! My name is Mriganka Maroo, and I am a sophomore at CAS, majoring in Economics. I am also a career ambassador for the Wasserman Center. I recently attended a DICP event that spoke about understanding how to pitch yourself to employers. The Diversity Internship and Career Preparation Program (DICP) enables students to take an active role in their career search and prep by equipping them with skills such as resume and cover letter writing, networking, and so on. This particular event was led by Fatou Kebbeh, a Campus Client Success Coordinator for Jopwell, a career advancement platform that focuses on Black and Latinx communities.
Build your brand: Fatou started the session by talking about personal branding. She broke down a person’s professional brand into four questions: who are you, what do you want to become, what service do you provide, and how is your service different or better than others in your industry. Your brand sets you apart from other people, highlights your niche services and qualities, and makes it easier to pitch yourself to potential employers, as you can tell them “why you?” Talking about elevator pitches, Fatour recommended keeping your pitch between 30-60 seconds, for it to be effective and yet considerate of the other person’s time,
Explore your network: Moving on to other aspects of the job search, Fatou suggested reaching out to professionals and talking to people in the roles you want to have, to understand the work they do and the intricacies of the job. This may help you figure out what role you want to pursue. She is also a fan of LinkedIn and advised using it and other professional social media sites as often as you can. And if being active is a little difficult for you, do the bare minimum and keep posting your professional updates on it.
Enhance your resume: Your resume is crucial to any job search and can make or break your chances. Fatou’s top tips for your resume include being consistent and maintaining your format, being mindful of tenses, highlighting your transferable skills from any roles you may have held, and scanning the job description to pick up on keywords and outsmart the ATS (Applicant Tracking System), which scans your resume before a human recruiter.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to interviewing: As someone who has conducted many job interviews herself, Fatou urged us to practice! You can find lists of common interview questions in the Interviewing Guide on Handshake. Preparing your answers makes you come across as confident and well-prepared. She spoke about the STAR method of tackling questions: Situation, Task, Action, and Result. This is a common yet effective method that covers everything an interviewer wants to know. She mentioned using any online interview software for practice. The Wasserman Center coaches are also available to practice interview questions with you (book your appointments via Handshake!) For interviews that occur via Zoom, she suggested blurring the background, using a fake background that’s not distracting, and making sure you are in a quiet space; you want the interviewer to focus on you, and not get distracted by anything around you.
The last tip she mentioned was emailing the interviewer with a follow-up email after the interview thanking them. This should be done within 8-24 hours, depending on the time of your interview. Not everybody does it, but this small step go long way.
The tips and tricks Fatou shared are common to almost every industry, so prepare yourself for your job or internship search by using her advice, and get a step ahead in the game!