Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Final Frontier - The Job Interview

I've done this before.  I've taken the five deep breaths; I've walked confidently into the office; I've firmly shaken the hands; I've been asked countless times about my weaknesses; and I've left my resume each time.  At this point, it all blends into one, horribly long and excruciating interview.  All of this for menial jobs to support myself on the road to success.  As painful as this process is, I have embraced it -- I have become so used to it that the familiarity brings me a great deal of comfort.  I have become the Lebron James of job interviews I simply do not care about. 

And then this...

At the end of our second semester, there will be literally nothing standing in between myself and the real-world -- the rest of my life.  After 25 years, I will officially be prepared to take on the world, to make a name for myself and to carve my name into the annals of history.  And if I could simply leave Mohawk one day and start my life as a PR practitioner the next, I would have much less to worry about.  The step between, however, is daunting.

Throughout my 25 years of existence, I have worked jobs that I liked, I have worked with people I liked, and I would even go so far to say that I enjoyed a number of jobs that I held in the past.  I can say without hesitation, however, that I have never truly interviewed for a position that I wholeheartedly wanted.  The outcome of a job interview has never truly mattered to me on a scale as grand as what is coming my way, and it absolutely terrifies me.

Now, however, things are becoming quite real.  I am fully immersed in and enjoying my studies at Mohawk College, and I am looking forward to becoming a PR practitioner in the future.  In my long and distinguished schooling career, however, only twice before have I faced a prospect as daunting as what lies ahead.  In 2005, for the first time I had to make a decision that would resonate throughout the rest of my life and decide where to attend University.  In 2010, I again faced the prospect of a life-altering decision, and decided to uproot myself and explore the world.  Both are decisions that I am thankful for making each and every day of my life.  Now, however, things are different.  I am not deciding where to spend the next four years, or which country to live in on a whim; I am now staring my future directly in the eyes.  There are no more detours, no more stops along the way; our program of choice lasts only one school year.  This is it. 

So, what have I done to ensure that I ease my fears of the job hunt?  Well, to start, I have undertaken the horribly embarrassing process of interviewing myself in my bathroom mirror -- unfortunately, the mirror has yet to get back to me.  I make time to re-read my lecture notes each weekend to ensure that I fully understand the material; and I do my best to discuss assignments and new concepts with classmates in order to fully understand them.

What I am really looking forward to, however, is the second semester.  According to my research, the second semester of the PR post-graduate course features a heavy emphasis on resume presentation, presentation skills and portfolio building.  If I could chose three things that I need to improve on relating to my interview skills, it would be those exact three.  In reality, we could all probably, eventually land a job without learning these skills.  I did not, however, enroll in this program to probably, eventually land a job; I enrolled in this program because my research found that graduates had nothing but positive feedback.  I wanted a career and I chose a school and a program that I felt best prepared me for that future.  I enrolled in this program to ensure that I am, in fact, able to blow that job interview out of the water. 

So, at the moment do I feel prepared for that big interview?  No.  But, we need to put that in perspective.  The amount that I have learned since starting this program in September is baffling even to myself, and I am quite certain that, keeping up the same pace, there will be no interview too daunting by the time I leave this program. 

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